Think before you do
Attraction, love, marriage, sex, family. Ideally, this is the order how the stages of a Christian courtship should be arranged chronologically based on a Christian point of view. A couple should first have the mutual feelings of attracting to each other, fall in love and decides to make their vows in marriage. Only then shall the two can express their love for one another in a more intimate manner as love-making or having sex. Such a union between a man and a woman will bless, hopefully, with a child and then they become a family.
Ideal versus Reality
But the ideal is far from being real. Couples engaged in pre-marital sex way before they even get into high school. At the onset of puberty, kids begin to be curious about their sexuality. And without proper guidance, these kids explore and venture into the realm of the senses without much thought of the dire consequence of their impulsive actions. Come to think of it, teens are not the only ones guilty of such wanton behavior but even adults as well.
Indeed, the world has gone to have a permissive attitude towards pre-marital sex. Now, it has become Attraction, sex, family, marriage, love or attraction, love, sex, family, and marriage. That is if the couple succeeds to carry on the relationship and becomes emotionally mature after going through the un-ideal but more real stages of life. Think before you do.
The Consequence of Pre-Marital Sex
Some people ask themselves, is it ok to engage in pre-marital sex? And in their minds try to weigh its pros and cons. On the positive side of the scale, there is peer acceptance and the gratification of sexual desires. After all, the kind of message we receive in the media today, be it on TV or in the movies, is that everyone is doing it. But the negative side of the scale carries the risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases, unwanted pregnancy and the heavy weight of moral consequence such as guilt. Thus, morality plays a vital role in dealing with the issues about pre-marital sex. Think before you do.
Raising a Family
Parenthood is one of the noblest tasks a married couple has to take as they carry on with their relationship. Some who are not blessed to have their own children would even go to the extent of adopting someone else’s child just so they can experience parenthood.
In most countries, there is no limit as to the number of children a parent can have as long as he can provide for their needs and welfare. However, due to economic situations parents have decided upon themselves to put a limit to the number of kids they want to raise, much to the consternation of the church.
We all know that the church advocates procreation and is totally against family planning or birth control. Again, we face the dilemma of choosing between having a big and happy brood than a small but well-planned family. Think before you do.
Planned Parenthood and Birth Control
Family planning is not just to limit the number of kids a family could have but aims to improve the quality of life of each family member. It’s not just about birth control but laying a solid foundation for a better future.
The type of birth control you choose depends on your needs. Some people only need to prevent pregnancy. Modern couples try not to make babies in the first two years of marriage in order for them to enjoy each other as husband and wife. This will enable them to have strong bonding and prepares them for the coming of their future children. If and when they decide to have kids, they try to plan or limit its number as well as its succession. By doing so, they are able to manage and monitor the needs with respect to their financial, emotional and physical capabilities.
Other couples may also resort to contraceptives to protect themselves or their partners from diseases that can pass by having sex. These diseases are called sexually transmitted diseases (STDs): AIDS, chlamydia, herpes, genital warts, gonorrhea, and syphilis.
Statistics of Planned Parenthood shows that birth control paved the way for improved family life: The maternal death rate has fallen more than 60 percent. The infant death rate has declined by more than 70 percent. Birth control not only saves lives it helps women and their families prevent poverty; plan their futures, and take charge of their destinies.
To decide which method to use at this point in your life, talk with your family doctor about
A Guide To Christian Singles
Living as a single may be a choice for some, but for most people, it is a stage before marriage that is supposed to prepare you for a life-long commitment. In this stage, you usually date to find your future spouse. Even single parents, separated and divorced men and women, widowed and uninvolved persons who are similarly referred to as singles at one time or another are looking for their perfect match and intend to marry or remarry.
Since many (if not most) singles still plan to enter marriage, they are predisposed to date or go out with people of the same interests, ideas, nationality, affiliations and most especially, religion. Thus, singles are often described by the group or category they belong to such as Christian singles, American singles, single parents, Jewish singles, and LDS Singles.
Unquestionably, sharing the same faith is very crucial to a successful relationship; moreover, to a successful marriage. Thus, most Christian singles prefer to settle down with fellow Christians.
In the United States, Christian singles occupy more than eighty percent of the total number of American singles, based on a 2000 U.S. Census reports. The Christian singles category is further broken down into Catholics (24.5 %), Protestants (52.17 %), Mormons (1.80 %) and Other Christians (4.13%).
With a large portion of the entire American population occupied by single men and women, it is logical to infer that Christian singles occupy a large portion of the American population. This is substantiated by the multifarious sites that provide dating services for a large number of Christian singles.
Finding a Christian partner through these sites, however, has some drawbacks.
Sites that provide dating services for Christian singles, although managed by Christians, are business-like in nature. More often, they overlook the major aspect of dating for Christian singles, which is faith.
It is interesting to note that a majority of Christian singles are significantly interested with finding a born again or saved mate and a true Christian mate with a solid understanding of Gods words rather than a mere date. Finding such s partner entails more than just matching of qualifications, interests and other things most online dating services for Christian singles provide.
If you cannot find yet the right partner with whom you can share a Christ-centered marriage, do not worry. Life of a single Christian after all, should not distinguish by an intense longing to find a mate but rather by happiness and contentment in living a Christian life.
Christian Courtship: The Best Advice You Will Ever Hear
In Christian courtship, there are four things any Christian should do if they are dating. I borrowed a name for the four from the old mustard colored tract made so famous by Bill Brights organization, Campus Crusade for Christ. I call them The Four Spiritual Laws of Christian courtship. Although they are pointing at Christians, in general, I am sure they would work for anyone. I suppose to work on just anyone it might require that the reader first read the original Four Spiritual Laws tract, and believe it.
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1. Keep All The Rules of The Scripture. There are quite a few laws and rules set forth in the scripture about Christian courtship. Keep them all. Examples are, not having sex before marriage, not unequally yoked to unbelievers and the study of the principles and examples of a good marriage as set forth in the Bible. If you don’t know what these things are then you should be reading your Bible and seeking a Pastor or good Christian counselor to help you.
2. Pray About Every Aspect of Your Christian courtship and Your Intention To Marry. This is not simple or rudimentary advice it is absolute bottom line essential advice. Miss this and you have missed the boat. Pray about your potential mate, pray with them and pray together with others as well. God is always an honor when we include him in all our intentions and decision. To leave him out of such a major decision (marriage) is ridiculous and could only be insulting to God. Remember he is not just Jesus, he is the Lord Jesus.
3. Take Your Time. Rome wasn’t built in a day, but it is not Rome Satan is constantly attacking. Marriage, especially good marriages are under constant attack in today’s atmosphere of throw-away relationships. The breakup of the established fabric of most societies is something that prophecy predicts as one of the precursors to a time of anarchy and the rule of the world’s last dictator, the antichrist. Marriage is pretty high on the list of things to destroy in Satan’s agenda; don’t let him put yours on his list. Take time to look to listen to weigh your choice, thus giving God time to answer you back as you go.
4. Ask Your Prospective Mate this All Important Question. I wasn’t lucky enough to have heard this advice when I was a young man. So I would have given a kingdom to acquire it and I have never seen it fail anyone in many decades of telling it to others. I originated this test but I must say I was always sure it was God inspired.
You must pose the question within specific parameters for it to work. First, you must be sure that you tell your mate that this is a question that they might ask themselves if they were in a comfortable place where they go to sit and meditate or pray. You are not asking the question, they are asking it of themselves.
No one accepts the insane and fools would ever lie or try to deceive themselves. You would ask them if they were alone in a comfortable place. A place they liked to be in to think and pray. And if they were to ask themselves one single question, what would their answer be, to themselves?
The question is. If I could summarize in three sentences or less what I want out of life, what would my answer be to myself? Let them ponder this question, don’t rush the answer but take their answer with utmost seriousness. People will rarely lie to themselves and the answer will be the truth almost without fail.
If they say I just want to love and be loved, or I just want some security in life, or I want to get the best things in life or follow a career those are the real and lasting answers, you can count on it. If you should not marry that person but were to come around to see them for a period of one or two or fifty years you would see one thing, they would have found the things they told you they wanted or they would still be looking for them.
What has all this got to do with anything? Only everything! By posing the question as outlined with an honest person you will have boiled the forty gallons of sap it takes to make a quart of grade A maple syrup. You can believe the answer; you can also guide by the answer. That is, you can decide if the answer conjuncts with your own answer to yourself about your own life.
Comparing all the likes and dislikes you have with your prospective mate or having intimate discussions is a good thing. But life is in motion; everyone has a direction real or perceived. Find out what that direction is before marriage and you will not crash against it after you are married.
Whoso findeth a wife (mate) findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favor of the Lord. Proverbs 18:22
Christian Courtship: Learn to Maximize Your Relationship Success
Christian singles, do you want to build healthy and successful relationships? If your answer is “yes!”, then you must learn how to pick people with godly character traits, and be a person of godly character!
First, let’s take a look at what healthy and satisfying Christian courtship look like.
Henry Cloud and John Townsend teach in their book, Safe People, that Christian courtship includes four qualities. First, they are safe emotionally and physically. Second, they have boundaries that are respected. Third, they draw you closer to God and help you to grow spiritually. And fourth, they do not compromise your Christian values.
There are some other identifying marks of a Christian courtship which Cloud and Townsend mention. For example, you will feel built up not torn down. In other words, the relationship will help you become who God wants you to be. Also, you will draw closer to others in a healthy way. In Christian courtship, you can also expect mutual trust, respect, and vulnerability and a balanced sense of giving and taking.
Most importantly you will experience healthy and satisfying relationships by looking for a mate based on Christian principles; and by choosing to be a person of godly character yourself. Naturally, it is common even for Christian singles to attract to the outside of a person. For example their looks, their status, their achievements, and their intelligence. But remember, it is the inside of a person that we experience in relationships.
The time to evaluate character in others is before you get too deeply involved. As Cloud and Townsend say, “When the attachment deepens, the reasoning weakens”. The scriptures warn us to, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” Proverbs 4:23.
At this point you may be wondering, what kind of character traits should Christian singles look for and aspire to? Ruth and Boaz, two singles from the Bible, exemplify the kind of character traits to look for in a potential mate.
Ruth’s character traits were: devotion to God and to the family — the evidence of her character was in her actions. She was humble and teachable. She was focused on her responsibilities. Her faith was in God to provide for her — she trusted Him for a future spouse. She was a woman of her word. She did what she said she would do.
Boaz was devoted to God and to his farming responsibilities. He did not let his heart become entangled and distracted from his priorities. In addition, he was a man of his word who did what he said he would do. Hence, he was a Christ-type who exemplified the character and work of Christ – especially in his act of redemption for Ruth.
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If you want to become a person of character, you must take personal ownership of your character development. You must be willing to stop blaming others for your shortcomings and failures. You are the only one who can do it. If you have a pattern of painful relationships take an honest look at your own character traits. Confess to the Lord the things you discover about yourself and make a plan for change. For example read a book on the subject, set personal limits and develop an accountability system.
If you have unresolved issues from your past such as trauma, abuse, abandonment or neglect and you recognize a pattern of painful relationships, find someone who will help you work through them like a pastor or a counselor. When people are traumatizing by these things as children, they often need to make changes that will bring healing and wholeness in order to function well in Christian courtship.
Finally, Christian singles need a plan for spiritual growth. Your plan should include making knowing and loving God a priority in your life. Choose to order your life around knowing God rather than finding a mate. Then pray for a mate who is committing to the same things. You see, God’s primary work in each of us is to conform us to the image of Christ. As you devote yourself to God and His word and yield to His Holy Spirit, your character will change. As your character changes, you will likely experience more relationship success.