Is Attraction Necessary?

Tall, dark, and handsome.

Beauty and physical attraction are highly important in the world’s eyes. We can see it in the movies, social media, Hollywood, and many other places in culture. If he’s devastatingly handsome … if she’s drop-dead gorgeous … they’re on the radar. Versus that plain person who didn’t really catch your eye when you walked into the room; surely they couldn’t be your one?

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Sadly, the Church is often influenced by the culture, and I’m sure scores of unmarried Christian men and women have an unspoken  list of who their spouse must be…

He must be:

  • Tall
  • Dark, curly hair
  • Blue eyes
  • Muscular
  • Super fit
  • Strong jaw
  • Etc.

She must be:

  • Small
  • Blonde, straight hair
  • Long legs
  • Brown eyes
  • Curvy
  • Etc.

And whatever else is deemed attractive by you. We might pass up all sorts of people because they aren’t measuring up to our list … they aren’t super hot. And, obviously, we deserve a super hot person. Can’t settle for anything less than amazing, right?

First of all, we need to come back down to earth. No person is perfect. (That includes you.) We don’t deserve anything, in case you’re the man or woman who is praying for an outwardly flawless, model of a spouse. We don’t even deserve marriage in the first place, much less the perfection we think we need. But God does give to His children blessings undeserved. Furthermore, He is the giver of every good gift and every perfect gift, yet He looks at the heart, not the outward appearance.

So you may need to scrap the old list.

We were made to notice and appreciate beauty, yes. But let me tell you, arrogance is not beauty. Selfishness is not attractive. A bad temper is not beauty. Laziness is not attractive. Lack of self control is not beauty. Neediness is not attractive…

When you choose a spouse based on their outward attractiveness and know nothing of their true self, you are gambling dangerously. It could be that you didn’t choose beauty after all, but a clever facade.

That person’s outward beauty will fade in your eyes even before it diminishes in reality, and you will be left with the unattractive spouse you always feared … the idea you scoffed at. A bitter, passionless marriage.

But I’ve heard it said that a woman deeply longs to be ravishingly beautiful to her man and a man likewise desires to let his woman know how he delights in her beauty … so should we really swing the opposite direction and say physical attraction isn’t important?

Just become more pious and marry that unattractive person who we don’t even really enjoy hanging around?

Are attraction and romance ungodly notions?

Song of Solomon 8:6-7

Set me as a seal upon your heart,
As a seal upon your arm;
For love is as strong as death,
Jealousy as cruel as the grave;
Its flames are flames of fire,
A most vehement flame.

Many waters cannot quench love,
Nor can the floods drown it.
If a man would give for love
All the wealth of his house,
It would be utterly despised.

That may sound crazy to you, but sometimes I think the Church struggles with this. We act all super holy, like: love is an action! Butterflies in your stomach is just foolishness. Worldly! Silly infatuation.

But is it?

God created us to be attracted to the opposite sex. To appreciate beauty. Look how magnificently He designed the world – the trees, mountains, flowers, birds, and oceans! Look how we naturally gravitate toward the other gender with hopeful ideas of intimacy and deep companionship. God created us for love, passion, and romance. Read Song of Solomon, for one! And take note of how He instructs the husband to delight in the wife of his youth.

Proverbs 5:18-19

18 Let your fountain be blessed,
And rejoice with the wife of your youth.
19 As a loving deer and a graceful doe,
Let her breasts satisfy you at all times;
And always be enraptured with her love.

Digging even deeper, consider how marriage is to represent Christ and the Church. Isn’t the whole idea of passion, love, romance, and intimacy to point us to the depth of God’s feelings toward us? The truth that He will fill us more fully than even a fairy tale romance could? As a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so God rejoices over us?

Psalm 16:11

11 You will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Ephesians 5:28-33

28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. 30 For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. 31 “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

Revelation 19:6-8

And I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude, as the sound of many waters and as the sound of mighty thunderings, saying, “Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns! Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.” And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.

A man should, Biblically, delight in his bride so as to accurately point to God and His love for us.

Song of Solomon 4:9-10

You have ravished my heart,
My sister, my spouse;
You have ravished my heart
With one look of your eyes,
With one link of your necklace.
10 How fair is your love,
My sister, my spouse!
How much better than wine is your love,

1 Corinthians 2:9

But as it is written:

“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
Nor have entered into the heart of man
The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”

Psalm 18:19

19 He also brought me out into a broad place;
He delivered me because He delighted in me.

Without attraction, passion, love, and romance, marriage would be dull and lifeless. That doesn’t accurately represent Christ and the Church. Our relationship with Jesus shouldn’t be dull and lifeless. Christ loves us! He gave it all, even His own life, to rescue us. He is the true Prince of the fairy tales. He tenderly pursues and passionately loves (Hosea 2:14-16 & Matthew 18:12-14). And we are to adore and be devoted to Him. The Christian should be in a deep love relationship with the Savior and Creator God.

Matthew 22:37

37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’

So I don’t think a cold, pious marriage was what God had in mind when He said this earthly union reflects Christ and the Church. When a husband and wife delight in and are devoted to each other, I believe it so beautifully points to Christ.

Song of Solomon 6:3

I am my beloved’s,
And my beloved is mine.

Isaiah 62:4-5

You shall no longer be termed Forsaken,
Nor shall your land any more be termed Desolate;
But you shall be called Hephzibah, and your land Beulah;
For the Lord delights in you,
And your land shall be married.
For as a young man marries a virgin,
So shall your sons marry you;
And as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride,
So shall your God rejoice over you.

And for a man to rejoice and delight over his bride, there has to be a level of physical attraction and in-love-ness, right?

Song of Solomon 7:6 & 10

How fair and how pleasant you are,
O love, with your delights!

10 I am my beloved’s,
And his desire is toward me.

So all this to say, physical attraction does have its importance to the Christian single. But is attraction based entirely on looks? I think not.

And God may have to do some work in your heart before you’re at this point … But physical attraction doesn’t wholly depend on that toned physique and symmetrically pleasing face.

As you grow in Christ, you will find that you are drawn to other people who follow Him.

  • A love for the things of the Lord
  • An adoration of Jesus Christ
  • Similar interests, passions, and vision
  • A certain personality

All these greatly enhance physical attraction … even grow it where there was none.

So yes, if you are considering dating someone, I believe you should be drawn to them. If you’ve experienced this, you know what I’m talking about. They rise above every other in your mind and your gaze is pulled to them whenever they’re around. You’re excited to be around them and you genuinely enjoy spending lots of time with them. All this without introducing much of physical touch and the like. This is a true test of whether you’re drawn to the person, or to what they are giving you sexually.

Song of Solomon 2:2

Like a lily among thorns,
So is my love among the daughters.

Like an apple tree among the trees of the woods,
So is my beloved among the sons.

This pull doesn’t come simply from a handsome outward appearance, but it is an attraction to the heart and soul of a person. Or, at least, it should be. Because your spouse will fade and shrivel with age, but if  you love them for their heart … for them themself … you will be attracted to them still.

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Genesis 2:18 & 22-24

18 And the Lord God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.”

22 Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man.

23 And Adam said:

“This is now bone of my bones
And flesh of my flesh;
She shall be called Woman,
Because she was taken out of Man.”

24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.

If you are only attracted to the model-material type, it might be that you need a spiritual reset. It may be that you care solely about the external and the here and now, and nothing about the soul and the eternal. You have let the world define and teach you what beauty and love are. And they have lied to you.

Not many of us are model-material … And what even is model-material but a certain culture and era’s temporary definition of beauty?

Beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder and in the connection of souls.

I, personally, happen to think that beauty oftentimes looks much, much different than fashion models.

So, no, don’t date that dull, unattractive person. They might be super cool and attractive to someone else,  but your personality and heart call for something different. That’s okay. Not to say that you should dismiss someone immediately because of an unexciting first impression … be friends with all types! Firstly, because we are to deeply love our brothers and sisters in Christ. And secondly, because a genuine attraction might develop if you give them a chance.

It seems that falling in love is a sweet, mysterious thing. A mingling of two souls. The deepest earthly bond. It should lift our eyes upward. Make us in awe of its Creator. Make us marvel at how rich and complete God’s love must be that it will so fill us in heaven that we won’t even need this beauty that is earthly marriage!

In closing, if you are an unmarried person, I would encourage you to marry someone you truly are in love with and delight in, heart and soul.

Think a shared passion for Christ. A deep, true friendship. Similar vision and goals in life. A real enjoyment of each other’s personalities. Unconditional devotion. Blended passions and hobbies. And yes, even butterflies. 😉

Song of Solomon 5:16

Yes, he is altogether lovely.
This is my beloved,
And this is my friend,
O daughters of Jerusalem!

I think then your marriage will be a great blessing, joy, and help to you and your spouse. And will give you a taste, and the world a glimpse, of the depthless, unending love, passion, beauty, devotion, and joy we can experience with God now, and for sure in heaven when we are  united to Christ once and for all as His Bride. ❤

Zephaniah 3:17

17 The Lord your God in your midst,
The Mighty One, will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing.

Ephesians 3:17-19

17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— 19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Book Review: A Love Letter Life by Jeremy and Audrey Roloff

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A Love Letter Life: Pursue Creatively. Date Intentionally. Love Faithfully. by Jeremy & Audrey Roloff

My Personal Review ~ 4.5 stars

A Love Letter Life: Pursue Creatively. Date Intentionally. Love Faithfully. was a really great read! I’d seen it around on social media – from Jinger Vuolo, “Marriage After God”, and Dale & Veronica Partridge, I think – and became intrigued. Although I’ve never watched the TV reality show that Jeremy Roloff is a part of (Little People, Big World), I thoroughly enjoyed his and Audrey’s book! It was an easy read; interesting, fun, and thoughtful.

So basically it tells the story of Jeremy and Audrey. Little bits of their individual lives, and a lot of how they became friends, fell in love, and eventually joined lives in marriage! I thought it was awesome how they emphasized the importance of friendship first, and also being intentional and faithful about getting to know, understanding, and caring for one another. There were some hot topics discussed! Such as physical purity and close friendships with the opposite sex after you’re married. I appreciated how honest Jeremy and Audrey were about their relationship, purity, and where they failed … and the fact that they wrote it as a warning: Make boundaries! Have accountability partners. Don’t make the same mistakes that we did.

I loved the few pages of pictures near the center of the book. It’s so fun to see snippets of what you’re reading about! Absolutely lovely.

And the love letters they wrote each other? Absolutely precious! I love this idea – especially for dating couples! ^_^

This romance definitely wasn’t perfect. It had it’s ups and downs. It’s bumps and break-ups. But no love story is perfect. What makes the difference is how you pursue. How intentional you are. How faithful you are. Are you willing to fight for this person, despite the setbacks? And, once married, are you willing to cling to each other until death parts you … regardless if you “fall out of love” someday? Most importantly, are you actively putting Christ at the center? It’s wonderful to see a fun couple like Jeremy and Audrey pursuing God’s design for a man and his wife. Fighting for each other. Promoting a healthy marriage relationship that doesn’t give up.

This book talks about how to creatively love your special person, work through baggage from the past and/or generational sin, understand each other’s personality, respect each other, be intentional in a long distance relationship, and so on.

Jeremy and Audrey have a sweet story of coming together, and, overall, I very much enjoyed reading this book! I recommend to those who like learning about the real-life romances of Christian couples!

I received a copy of A Love Letter Life from Book Look Boggers Program. This review is honest and all my own.

 

**Originally posted on Between the Pages of This Bookish Life on May 25th, 2019**

Practicing Purity & Pursuing Righteousness in Romantic Relationships

How does one pursue purity and righteousness in a relationship?

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Even though if you read my relationship status it would say “single”, I’ve gleaned some insight and wisdom over the years on romance, dating, and marriage. By pursuing God and studying this particular topic through Christian Living books, sermons, and speakers—plus deep thought and discussion—I’ve perhaps gained some knowledge, and I want to share my ideas with you! I would love to converse with you in the comments below and hear your experiences and thoughts.

One thing I’ve learned: each relationship looks different! There are no perfect steps and cut-and-dry answers.

But as we strive to honor God in all areas of our lives, what are some ways we can intentionally practice the purity and righteousness He calls us to as His children?

There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. 6 For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. (Romans 8:1-6)

So here are some thoughts:

Meeting.

Wanting marriage is a God-given desire. While we need stay focused on our First Love and be careful not to get obsessed with “finding the one” or make marriage/a relationship an idol … desiring and seeking marriage is perfectly okay!

18 And the Lord God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.” (Genesis 2:18)

22 He who finds a wife finds a good thing,
And obtains favor from the Lord. (Proverbs 18:22)

Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge. (Hebrews 13:4)

I think it’s a beautiful and Biblical thing to connect with your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ and have meaningful friendships. God created us for community and relationships! So get involved. Meet men and women your own age – and of all ages!

If you find someone you’re interested in, make an effort to spend time with them. Get to know them in a group setting. Seek friendship first … show interest without flirting! Oftentimes, flirting can be shallow and self-focused – so check yourself. Strive to see this person through God’s eyes. They are a human created in God’s image; a beloved child of the King, with a heart worth really knowing! (Here is a letter I wrote to my future husband with these thoughts in mind.)

Pursuit.

Dear fellow women, wait for a man who will pursue you with godly intention and genuine attraction and interest in you. –Who you are as a person and your heart.

Take your time, know your mind, and let him win your heart. Don’t feel pressured to act or be a certain way. You don’t owe a single thing to the man who’s pursuing you. This is a trial period where you each get to know one another, deepen your friendship, and seek out each other’s hearts with the possibility of marriage in mind. You do not belong to him. He does not belong to you. The purpose of an intentional relationship should be to really get to know one another and find out if you want to marry. If, at any point, you realize the answer is “no”, end the relationship without delay. Be honest. Don’t lead them on.

In a man’s pursuit of you, I think it’s so important that he ask for your dad’s (or spiritual father’s) blessing. Involve your parents, mentors, and other family and friends who care about you and are invested in your life. I think it’s a beautiful thing when men and women involve wise people as they contemplate a relationship. Take steps to honor each other instead of just rushing into a relationship with only fun and pleasure in mind.

Men, you’re pursuing a woman, not a relationship.

Women, you’re responding to a man, not a potential fulfillment of all your hopes and dreams.

Take time to truly care about them.

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Friendship.

Be careful to use this dating/courtship time as an opportunity to deepen your friendship, rather than get all romantic too fast or too deeply. I’ve heard so many times that once you introduce physical touch into the relationship, your ability to really get to know one another seriously dwindles. Perhaps this is why many couples wake up six months to a year after their wedding day and wonder, “Do I really even know this person – my spouse?”

Besides that, remember, you do not belong to each other yet. So be careful of thinking that you have a right to any and all romantic touches, gestures, and talk.

I believe we should establish a solid foundation as brother and sister in Christ and focus on pursuing a deep, enjoyable, real friendship in dating/courting relationships.

Do not rebuke an older man, but exhort him as a father, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, with all purity. (1 Timothy 5:1-2)

Honor that young woman as your sister, men. Treat her with gentleness and care, and much respect!

Girls, treat him as an esteemed friend rather than spending all your time stressing over what to wear, flirting, jealousy, and posting a thousand and one pictures of you two snuggling on Instagram.

You don’t belong to each other yet. Maybe not ever.

Boundaries.

Establish boundaries right away. Realize your values, and stick to them. Pray about convictions you feel God is giving you. Study Scriptures that speak on the topic of sexual purity. As I mentioned above, honor each other as brothers and sisters and pursue an authentic friendship first and foremost. Relationships aren’t all about holding hands and cuddling.

16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16)

Concerning romance and physical touch, my basic thoughts always went something like this: I’ll meet this wonderful guy and we’ll become the best of friends. After a few months of courting, we’ll hold hands. Maybe after about a year, we’ll get married! And I’ll probably save my first kiss for my wedding day.

Well, yes. Every relationship is unique! So you can’t really plan out your future relationship perfectly – everything all black and white.

But I do think it’s important to ponder, pray, and contemplate. What do you stand for, and how would you like to proceed if a man shows interest?

Men, how are you going to go about things if you find a woman you want to pursue? Have you thought about how to best honor God in this area? How to best honor a girl you want to date?

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. (Romans 12:2)

What are your boundaries? Do you have any? I firmly believe that men and women seeking to have a godly relationship should have solid convictions and boundaries. Not something like, “Well, I might save my first kiss for my wedding day … that kinda sounds like a good idea …”

No. Figure out where you need to draw the line, and make some firm boundaries for yourself. If you don’t have convictions, you’re bound to go where you never set out to go. And be certain to honor the boundaries of the person you’re in a relationship with!

20 My son, give attention to my words;
Incline your ear to my sayings.
21 Do not let them depart from your eyes;
Keep them in the midst of your heart;
22 For they are life to those who find them,
And health to all their flesh.
23 Keep your heart with all diligence,
For out of it spring the issues of life. (Proverbs 4:20-23)

Lust is not part of a healthy, God-honoring relationship. Seek the Lord. Guard your heart. Take every thought captive. Watch your actions. If you start to lust, know that you’ve stepped into forbidden territory.

18 Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. 19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s. (1 Corinthians 6:18-20)

For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one should take advantage of and defraud his brother in this matter, because the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also forewarned you and testified. For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness. Therefore he who rejects this does not reject man, but God, who has also given us His Holy Spirit. (1 Thessalonians 4:3-8)

20 And He said, “What comes out of a man, that defiles a man. 21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, 22 thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. 23 All these evil things come from within and defile a man.” (Mark 7:20-22)

For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, (2 Corinthians 10:4-5)

Besides avoiding sexual compromise, I think we need to set boundaries to protect each other emotionally.

I, and perhaps most women, need to feel secure, emotionally connected, and trustful before I would be open to a man’s affectionate touch. I see holding hands, kissing, hugging, etc. as an expression of a love already deep. Not a way to “feel in love”.

And we, as women, need to know we’re being pursued for who we are – our hearts. Not our bodies, not our looks, not what we can give.

Men, pursue patiently, gently, and selflessly. A woman doesn’t owe you anything and you don’t have any right to her body, emotions, heart, etc. If you pursue her in a godly way and honorably win her heart in time, she’ll give you what is right to give you—in God’s eyes and for her personally—in each season.

I now hold to a conviction to save my first kiss for my husband. I want to honor him even now – and more importantly, honor God. So I’m intentionally learning, and reading, and practicing, and doing what I can to be ultra cautious and honorable in the areas of sexuality. Even if I never marry, I want to live purely before the Lord. If marriage is in my future, I want to save my body, romantic touches, and such for my husband, because he is the only man who has the right to them. And because I want to give him such a gift.

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12 All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any. 13 Foods for the stomach and the stomach for foods, but God will destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. (1 Corinthians 6:12-13)

10 Who can find a virtuous wife?
For her worth is far above rubies.
11 The heart of her husband safely trusts her;
So he will have no lack of gain.
12 She does him good and not evil
All the days of her life. (Proverbs 31:10-12)

This is not to say that I’ve been perfect in the area of sexual purity. Maintaining God’s standard of purity can be a battle, especially if you don’t know what you’re up against and aren’t seeking God in this area, and all areas, of your life! We’ve all made mistakes, entertained the world’s ideals, and fallen into sin.

19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. (Galatians 5:19-25)

But today is a new day. Though our sins are grave, our mighty God is faithful in forgiveness, mercy, compassion, and grace! You can turn from sexual impurity and walk in forgiveness and newness. Today you can choose to start honoring God in your love life and with your sexuality. Today you can commit to reserve your body and heart for your spouse only. Today, dear sisters and brothers in Christ, pray for a passion for God’s Word and His good design!

22 Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
23 They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“Therefore I hope in Him!”

25 The Lord is good to those who wait for Him,
To the soul who seeks Him. (Lamentations 3:22-25)

 

If you want to study more about God’s design for your sexuality, relationships, marriage, romance, and sex, here are some books I recommend (though I exhort you to read with discernment, because these are books written by fellow humans, not God!):

12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. 13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account. (Hebrews 4:12-13)

Pray. Serve. Be.

So, make friends, have fun, hang out, get to know people! Go wherever God calls you and do all that He gave you a passion and heart to do. Find a like-minded community of believers and serve together, work together, play together, laugh together, grow together …

But be serious about relationships and marriage. Give it some thought. And pray! Bring God into every aspect of your life. Tell Him about your struggles and concerns. Bring the person you’re interested in to Him in prayer. Tell Him about your desires for marriage. Ask for His leading. For wisdom, guidance, and clarity. He is faithful to write beautiful stories for those who follow Him and seek His face constantly.

Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.

But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. (Ephesians 5:1-4)

Be in prayer and surround yourself with good friends and mentors. Whether single or in a relationship, now is always the right time to learn more about God’s design and beautiful plan for purity, relationships, marriage, and the like!

How can a young man cleanse his way?
By taking heed according to Your word.
10 With my whole heart I have sought You;
Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments!
11 Your word I have hidden in my heart,
That I might not sin against You.

15 I will meditate on Your precepts,
And contemplate Your ways.
16 I will delight myself in Your statutes;
I will not forget Your word. (Psalm 119:9-11 & 15-16)

Pray for your future spouse. Pray for your future marriage. If you’re dating/courting, always be praying for you and the person you’re in a relationship with! I cannot stress enough the power and beauty of prayer. ❤

As you practice purity and pursue righteousness in your relationship, remember to enjoy this season! Laugh. Talk. Go on exciting adventures. Serve together. Pray. Rejoice. Count your blessings. Love being friends and being together! Even as you act intentionally in this, trust God to guide you each step of the way, and just be.

~ Lady Grace ~

Thoughts on Dating and Marriage

So here’s where I attempt to write a post about dating/marriage … something along those lines. This subject has been on my mind and heart lately, so I just want to share some of my thoughts.

thoughts on dating and marriage

To be honest, I’ve never dated before. Never been in a romantic relationship. I’ve had crushes on a few young men though the years, but nothing ever came of it … I doubt they liked me back in the same way! So I’m passed that “sixteen and never been kissed” and am now an even older “never been kissed” phenomenon. *wink* Okay, okay. It’s not that amazing; I actually know quite a few young women who are “older” and haven’t been in a relationship before either. But it’s just that in this day and age … where you get your first boyfriend at thirteen-years-old … yeah. I sometimes feel like a spectacle of some sort.

Yet, there is a reason that I’m still quite unattached, and I know what it is (not counting the fact that I was homeschooled, and am rather insecure and of an introverted nature). I see problems when I look out at the world and their system of finding true love. I see heartbreak, and scars, and pain, and foolish decisions, and regrets, and hurt, and confusion, and divorce.

I’ve been watching this all go on, guys. I’m just waiting. And while I wait, gathering wisdom on the subject, I hope.

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  • Dating is not “for fun”

I’ve never dated before, because I realize that dating is not something one should do for fun. Rather, dating/courting is to purposefully get to know someone, with marriage in mind.

When you “date” when you’re twelve to seventeen years old, you’re generally just fooling around. You don’t actually expect to marry that person someday. (There are exceptions, of course – especially in my parents’ background, where a lot of young people get married between the ages of seventeen to twenty; I’m just speaking of the average dating teenager who isn’t planning on getting married anytime soon).

So you’re getting emotionally attached … physically involved … and yet nothing is going to come of it. You’re not only giving pieces (in a sense) of your heart and body to some person other than your future spouse, you’re playing a dangerous game of “falling in love”, then breaking up when an issue comes up. “Falling in love”, then leaving when there are rough times that you don’t feel like working through. I mean, you’re a “child” playing at what adults do. And it’s not safe. As pastor/speaker Matt Chandler’s wife, Lauren, says: Dating (for fun, with no real direction or purpose) is like practicing divorce.

Also, I’ve read surveys on how many girls lose their purity by the time they’re out of high school when they start dating around thirteen and continually get into dating relationships from then on. Most studies said it was well over 50%. That is heart-breaking, people. *tears* Dating is not for teenagers, but for mature individuals seeking marriage.

“Dating with no intent to marry is like going to the grocery store with no money. You either leave unhappy or take something that isn’t yours.”

~ Jefferson Bethke

Hopefully by the time you’re an “adult”, you realize that dating is serious. Flirting, playing around, toying with someone’s heart, giving away your kisses … I think you’re just setting yourself up for future hurts and issues to work through. Not to mention, that’s not being very faithful to your future spouse. Want to talk about true love? That kind of amazing, fairy-tale true love? Well, maybe that can happen if we start loving our future spouses here and now instead of flippantly seeking out temporary pleasure and fun at every turn.

Do not rebuke an older man, but exhort him as a father, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, with all purity.

1 Timothy 5:1-2

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Let’s be serious. Let’s turn over the pen of our love story to God. Shouldn’t He be involved? Of course! God should be involved in every detail of our lives, especially the huge aspect of our love lives.

Date with intention, people. Not for pleasure, but to see if a solid friendship could blossom into a lasting, God-honoring romance. Seek God’s guidance. Wait possibly. Don’t date if you can’t see the relationship leading to a godly marriage.

I think this video (link below) talks about such things and lays it out pretty well. I would encourage you to watch it. *smiles*

Christians and Dating // @whatisjoedoing @chaseGodtv

“You don’t need scores of suitors. You only need one, if he’s the right one.”

~ Little Woman by Louisa May Alcott

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  • How Far is Too Far?

So what about when you believe you’ve found the one. You’re currently dating/courting, and falling more in love each day. How far is too far when it comes to the physical side?

Some people say you shouldn’t really touch at all. Others say holding hands is fine. Or light kissing. Some say kissing should wait until after engagement, or even until you’re at the altar. But still others say “making out” is perfectly appropriate at times.

I myself tend to lean toward saving your first kiss for your wedding day. Kissing is very special … end of discussion. I say save as many firsts as you can. Save it, value it, make it meaningful. It helps keep temptation at bay, and ensures you’re only kissing your spouse!

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However, some people just say I’m conservative and whatever else.

So here’s the best answer I’ve heard when it comes to the question, “How far is too far?” It comes from Youtuber, Joseph Solomon:

“Whenever you start to lust.”

Christian Singles: How Far Is Too Far? // @whatisjoedoing @chaseGodtv

So. Be honest with yourself. And ask your significant other to be honest with themselves. And then set some firm boundaries. Because entertaining lust can lead you to some places you never set out to go … and lust is a sin in and of itself.

So, to the Christian individual who wants to know how far they can go without sinning … there it is. And also, make sure you’re respecting not only your own boundaries, but your boyfriend’s/girlfriend’s.

But here’s another thought I’ve come across: Should you, as a child of God, be asking how far you can go without sinning? Or should you ask how far you can go to honor your God and your “neighbors”?

18 Flee sexual immorality.

1 Corinthians 6:18

Focus on friendship. Focus on really getting to know the other. Serving them. Growing closer together in the Lord. Most of the physical stuff is really best left to marriage. And it’s beautiful when you keep it safely there.

Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you:
    Do not arouse or awaken love
    until it so desires.

Song of Solomon 8:4

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  • No daydreaming

Okay, so you’re not in a relationship, but dutifully praying for your future husband/wife. And while you’re sincerely praying for that unknown person, so-and-so pops into your head. Then you’re like,“Wait … I’m supposed to be praying for my future spouse right now, not so-and-so”.

It’s kind of funny, but kind of not in the same breath. Because let’s face it; daydreaming doesn’t help anything. Most of the time it leads to discontentment, fretting, or even emotional attachment. Way to totally fall in love with someone who probably doesn’t exist, rather just bears the name of the person you “like”.

I’m not sure how men are, but, from a woman’s perspective, it is really easy to get caught up in daydreaming and all that silliness. And for a while, it can seem like just that – harmless silliness. But usually our hearts end up getting a little cracked.

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So let’s try to be patient and purposeful! Here’s some things to try:

  • When your mind wanders to daydreaming, try praying for someone who needs your prayers.
  • Daily give that person and your admiration of them over to God – surrender.
  • Pray for and write letters to your future spouse.
  • Pray for the distracting person separately, if you want to pray for them.

Instead of pining over someone who might not even be “yours”, try to gain wisdom about what makes a godly marriage and how to be a godly woman/man. Seek God, and strive to grow closer to Him. Those who are lonely, your soul is crying out for God! A spouse cannot fill that emptiness.

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Fight for your future marriage. Look around. Satan is avidly working at destroying marriages – perverting what God designed to be beautiful and sacred. So start fighting for your marriage even now, before it’s started.

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  • Marriage is not the goal in life

One way to keep yourself from idolizing marriage or a romantic relationship is to realize that marriage isn’t the goal. That a spouse isn’t going to fulfill you/make your life perfect.

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Marriage is a gift! Surrender that desire for marriage to God, and see where He goes with it! Trust that God has the best plan—no matter what. Because, in truth, you aren’t in control. And the sooner you give up that illusion, the happier and more at peace you’ll be! Just realize that God is in control, and choose to trust that He knows and sees what we can’t, and He loves us oh so much, and He delights in us.

20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, 21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Ephesians 3:20-21

Live your life. Serve others. Use your gifts. Go wherever God leads you. Don’t wait on marriage to start living. Finding a partner in life is a gift, not a goal.

Don’t waste your life. Don’t feel inferior because you’re not married. Surrender and seek the Lord! He has a plan for your life – follow it! ❤

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Jeremiah 29:11

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  • Godly Action and Pursuit

I don’t want to sound like I’m against marriage here, or Christian couples getting married young even. Marriage was designed by God, created to be a very good thing that not only is a gift to us, but glorifies Him and shines a light to the world! Marriage is a very beautiful thing. An honor. A sacred covenant. Loving and serving a spouse and raising children to know and serve the Lord are extremely important jobs!

22 Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man.

23 And Adam said:

“This is now bone of my bones
And flesh of my flesh;
She shall be called Woman,
Because she was taken out of Man.”

24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.

Genesis 2:22-24

And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”

Matthew 19:4-6

An excellent wife is the crown of her husband,

Proverbs 12:4

14 Houses and riches are an inheritance from fathers,
But a prudent wife is from the Lord.

Proverbs 19:14

So single women, I charge you to follow God’s path for your life, seek to learn how to become a godly woman. If you desire to get married someday, pray specifically and deeply for your future husband … ask God to prepare you to be the wife your man needs!

Not that we’re all guaranteed to get married. I could be meant to be single. I could die before marriage ever comes into view. Jesus could return before I become a wife. I don’t really know! And that’s okay. But as of now, I just feel a burden to pray for my future husband, and to learn what it means to be a godly wife. I find myself praying that God would mold me into the woman my future husband needs. I find myself asking God to urge him to pray for me. *smiles* Because I totally need to be held up in prayer also! I have struggles, and fears, and all that too.

So surrender your desire for marriage to God, and trust Him. But if you continue to feel urged to pray for your future husband and learn about being a godly wife, then go for it! Fight for your marriage!

10 Who can find a virtuous wife?
For her worth is far above rubies.
11 The heart of her husband safely trusts her;
So he will have no lack of gain.
12 She does him good and not evil
All the days of her life.

Proverbs 31:10-12

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Yes, do not pursue, ladies! That is what God calls the men to do. Not us. I’ve seen how masculinity and femininity have been so mixed and messed up and it’s not doing the world or our marriages any good. Men are the leaders. They’re meant to initiate – and women respond. Men pursue.

22 He who finds a wife finds a good thing,
And obtains favor from the Lord.

Proverbs 18:22

Did you get that? He who finds a wife. Not she who finds a husband. Haha. But seriously, stop. Stop the flirting, the hinting, the pressuring. Don’t ask guys out. No. Wait on the Lord. Wait on the man to pursue. If he’s a godly man, and he’s found a godly woman in you, and prayed about, and feels the Lord is leading you together, then he will intentionally and gently pursue you. Did you hear that? Let the men lead.

Here’s a video if there’s any men reading this post who want to be preached to about pursuing. I found it interesting myself. *smiles* (click link below)

Pursue Her: A Message to Christian Men // @whatisjoedoing @chaseGodtv

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So there are my thoughts! I do not follow them all perfectly. I’m not perfect! But I’m striving to trust God with my future … pray for my future marriage (if that’s indeed in God’s will for my life) … wait on a godly man … become a godly woman! Fall more in love with my Savior, and see more perfectly His design each day! ❤

Join me, single women! (And single men, if you’re reading this! *smiles*) Let’s be the exceptions. Pray sincerely for our future spouse. Fight for our future marriage. Strive for godliness. Live God’s design … not the world’s!

And even if you’ve been living the world’s design … you’ve messed up … Don’t worry; you can still start anew and start living God’s design! I’m far from having done it all right as well – but each day is a new day! Surrender to the Lord and strive to walk His path! He is faithful!

I hope this was encouraging/helpful. I love you all, my sisters and brothers in the Lord! Remember to fight for godly, beautiful marriages that shine our God’s incredible light! ❤

 

** Originally posted on Between the Pages of This Bookish Life July 24th, 2015 **