Sunday, February 15, 2015

"On Fire": Are You and He on the Same Page? 7 Ways to Know

Over the weekend...

I had the chance to hang out with a "love little sister" of mine and her husband. We talked about a lot of things, one of which was Adam and Eve and how they showed out in the Garden (Genesis 3). As I reflected some more on that conversation once I got home, I thought about something that I read on the subject; something that I actually agree with---a lot:

Eve is deceived . . . and rather easily, as my friend Jan Meyers points out. In The Allure of Hope, Jan says, "Eve was convinced that God was withholding something from her." Not even the extravagance of Eden could convince her that God's heart is good. "When Eve was [deceived], the artistry of being a woman took a fateful dive into the barren places of control and loneliness." Now every daughter of Eve wants to "control her surroundings, her relationships, her God." No longer is she vulnerable; now she will be grasping. No longer does she want simply to share in the adventure; now she wants to control it. And as for her beauty, she either hides it in fear and anger, or she uses it to secure her place in the world. "In our fear that no one will speak on our behalf or protect us or fight for us, we start to recreate both ourselves and our role in the story. We manipulate our surroundings so we don't feel so defenseless." Fallen Eve either becomes rigid or clingy. Put simply, Eve is no longer simply inviting. She is either hiding in busyness or demanding that Adam come through for her; usually, an odd combination of both.

It's so good.
It's so on point.
It's so what so many women need to hear.

Especially when it comes to relationships with men.

Something that I say in my own prayers about my future marriage is "Lord, I want to be 'the Woman' in my marriage. I don't want to be 'Eve'." And you know what? More and more I'm seeing that a big part of that is means taking a man *at his word*. I don't need to be trying interpret what he really means or convince myself that he's withholding something from me and so therefore, I should "help him along" by manipulating the situation. The Woman messed up the moment she decided that God didn't mean *just what he said*. She messed up when she decided to take it upon herself to "help God and Adam out". What God and Adam said needed to be enough.


It's not our job to help a man to figure out what he's saying.
It's our responsibility to listen, to accept and to respect what is being said.
Whether we like it, agree with it---or not.

So, in the effort to help all of us to live in reality (Ecclesiastes 7:18-Message) in our relationships, here are 7 ways to know if you and "him" are on the same page when it comes to your relationship (or ever-evolving situation). Or not.

He will tell you. Honestly, if we all embraced this first point, I'm not even sure if the other nine would even be necessary. If you want to know how a guy feels about you, what his thoughts are about the relationship and what his future intentions are, *ask him*. If he says he wants to be just friends, he means it. If he says he's not looking for anything serious right now, he means it. If he says that he has some other priorities at the moment, he means it. Just because you may not like what a guy tells you doesn't make it any less true. Plus, how would you feel if you told a guy how you felt and he didn't take you seriously? It's not your job to "help him to see it your way" or "change his mind". It's your job to take things at face value and then decide if it's gonna work for you. Or not.

His actions will line up with his words. When it comes to the five love languages (Physical Touch, Acts of Service, Words of Affirmation, Gifts and Quality Time), one of my top ones is "Words of Affirmation". When it comes to "him", in some ways, he will get off lucky because I would rather get a Hallmark card or a letter more than stuff from the mall. On the other hand, it has jacked me up in the past because I used to have the habit of words being enough; that if a guy said something, he would not have to follow through with his actions. That kind of mentality is not even biblically sound: "My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth." (I John 3:18-NKJV) Lip service doesn't cut it with God. You're his daughter (Psalm 82:6). This means that it shouldn't cut it with you either. It's not enough for a guy to say he's going to do something or say that he cares about you/likes you/loves you. There need to be some deeds that line up with his words. The Word says so.

He will be upfront about praying for and about you. One thing that my longest running relationships had in common is there was not much spiritual focus in them. At all. Ironically, the guys I actually considered to be my boyfriends were very smart and had a spiritual foundation. It just wasn't a part of our relationship. That's so not good. There are a whole lot of wives out here who feel vulnerable and uncovered and it's because their husbands are not good spiritual leaders in their home. If a man you're dating is not proactive in his relationship with God and a part of that consists of praying for and with you, that's a *huge red flag*. Prayer helps us to get the wisdom that we need in order to know how to proceed with our lives (James 1:5). How are you going to expect him to nourish and cherish (Ephesians 5:25-33) later when he's not even going to God about you and with you now? (P.S. You shouldn't have to beg or nag him to do this either. A spiritually mature man will do it all on his own.)

He will not rely solely on texting as a form of communication. I know some women who loathe texting when it comes to corresponding with guys. Personally, I find that to be more of an age thing than a courtesy issue. A guy is not automatically a jerk or not thoughtful because he texts you. If that's the case, why respond to his emails or take calls on your cell phone? All of these forms of communication speak to the evolution of technology more than anything else. That said, do pay attention to the guy who does nothing more than text you. A guy who's into you is going to want to hear your voice and establish a real connection. Texting is convenient. I do it and I get that. Oh, but when you're really into someone, convenience has moments when it goes straight out the window. Bottom line: If more than half the time the two of you talk, it's via text...that's something to "pause and reflect" on. Sometimes he should want to speak with you. Point blank and period.

He courts, not dates. I've come to realize that I don't have a problem with dating. I really don't. I see dating as spending casual time with members of the opposite sex. However, it's a good idea to always keep in mind what casual means: "without definite or serious intention". This is why the term "casual sex" is such a joke to me. *Sex, out the gate, is designed to have a definite and serious intention* (Genesis 2:24-25, I Corinthians 7:1-5, I Corinthians 6:16-20-Message). God never intended for any of his children to be seen or treated in a way that is "careless", "passing" or "apathetic". That said, if you're in a season in your life where you don't want to get into anything serious but you don't want to hang around women all the time, have a ball with some of your guy friends! Just make sure it's vertical and not horizontal fun (LOL). At the same time, if you're looking for something serious, meaningful and purposeful, then you need to spend intentional time with someone who *courts* you and doesn't *date* you. The online dating website Match has a pretty good explanation of the difference between dating and courting: "Dating may be fleeting and occurs when two people take part in an activity, such as seeing a movie, having dinner, cooking a meal together or going to a concert. They may talk on the phone and exchange text messages, e-mails, flowers and letters. It doesn't have a set time frame, but a couple may go on as few as one or two dates before they decide to stop dating. Both people in the dating relationship know that it may not last long. Couples who are courting, however, know that they will continue to see one another for a longer period of time. They engage in the same activities as a dating couple, but their courtship doesn't stop after just a few dates. A courting couple intends to become engaged and get married. They know that their relationship is intended to be long-term and permanent. A couple that is dating may not have any specific expectations for their relationship. They may or may not see engagement or marriage as possibilities for the future, but are just having fun and seeing where the relationship goes. They may intend for the relationship to be short-term, or they may leave the possibility for it to become long-term open." One of the biggest mistakes that women make is mistaking the two. I remember a guy once telling me "I'm dating you and a whole lot of other women." Actually, I didn't even think that we were dating. I thought we were simply going out to dinner. (LOL) Yet the point is this: Don't assume that because you and a guy have gone out a few times that it's more than fun, light and social experience for him. When a guy is courting you, he will make it clear that you being in his long-term future is a part of his plan. Anything short of that is well, dinner. And maybe a movie. No more, no less.

He will not freak out about marriage or "the future" talks. OK, let's stay on the future thing for a moment. When a guy is not thinking about getting married, why would he be thinking about building a future with you in it? At least when it comes to being in a serious relationship. Take it from me, one of the biggest mistakes that we as women make is being attracted to the point of seriously entertaining guys who are nowhere near being on the same page as we are when it comes to marriage. One of my favorite quotes about the topic is "You will never be a good enough woman for a man who isn't ready." So true! And you know what else? *It is not your job to get him ready*. Some people may disagree with me and I'm more than fine with that but look, time is precious. After the second or third date with someone, I think it's advantageous to mention that marriage is something that you desire. A guy who is interested in marriage too (not necessarily in the next six months but less than 3-5 years from now), will not be uncomfortable with that topic of conversation. He'll let you know if that's on his menu or if it's time to look elsewhere.

He will invite you into his world. I know some women who've been dating for quite some time and they still don't know much about the guy they are seeing when it comes to his family, his friends, his church or really much of anything else. A guy who is really interested in you is going to want to see if you will fit well into his world. So, if you're not around him other than when it's just the two of you, after a few months, it's time to ask why. If you're scared to, well...just take it as a sign that you're not a part of the rest of his life (eh hem) because he doesn't want you to be. And it's pretty much impossible to be a person's spouse without being in their world. That's something to think about if you decide to remain in the relationship anyway.

He will handle you with care. When a person wants you in their life, *they are going to be proactive, not reactive*. I wish I had embraced that reality, shoot, in my 20s. To that I'll add that when a guy is serious about you, your mind/heart/body all matter. ALL THREE MATTER. He understands that harming one in one way or another harms the others. That said, remember Romans 13:10 tells us that love does *no* harm. Harm is not only "physical injury or mental damage". It's also "moral injury; evil; wrong". If you're being put into moral jeopardy now, marriage isn't going to make things any better. And if you find yourself crying more than laughing now, that's not something to take lightly. You are precious. You deserve to be handled with extreme care. You also deserve someone who comes up with his own ways to express his feelings. *Without your assistance*. Guys know how to get jobs, homes and cars and none of those things can talk. A man who wants you will figure it out without your "yada yada" too.

There's nothing worse than not only not being on the same page with someone, but discovering that the two of you are not even in the same book...shoot, the same universe when it comes to what you expect from one another.

Eve didn't take God just at what he said. We're all still paying for that.
Don't make the same mistake in your own relationship.

What a guy says, respect him enough to believe it.
How a guy acts, don't deceive yourself into misinterpreting it.

A guy who wants what you want will be clear---not vague.
A guy who doesn't want what you want will do the same.

Accepting that is a game changer...
A heart guarder...
And a time saver...

Amen? Amen.



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