Tuesday, January 19, 2016

"On Fire": Love Is Meant to Last. (Pay Attention to 'Dating Red Flags')

"Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all your ways know, recognize, and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; reverently fear and worship the Lord and turn [entirely] away from evil. It shall be health to your nerves and sinews, and marrow and moistening to your bones."---Proverbs 3:5-8(AMPC)

Earlier today...

A friend of mine sent me a video from the band Mutemath. Apparently it premiered to do and boy, is it precious enough! It's a video that is in honor of a man---a widow---who turned the house that he shared with the love of his life of sixty years. Yeah, it might sound a bit creepy at first but when you watch it, you'll see all of the joy that he has...still in his heart...when it comes to her:

Oh how we can't afford to do marriage *any way other than God's way* (check out "The Role of Marriage in the Kingdom of God") and as I was telling someone who is engaged today, it's best to *take things slow* and make sure you're using *real discernment* (Proverbs 2, I Corinthians 2:14) before saying "I do". God takes marriage vows *far more seriously and literally* (Ecclesiastes 5:1-7) than people tend to. This blog is to help all of us understand what we're signing up for: marriage until death, not until divorce. That's what a marital covenant is all about (Matthew 19:6).

This brings me to another article that I checked out recently that is the *polar opposite* of that music video. It's entitled "Why I Canceled My Wedding At The Last Second". Here are a few excerpts:

I spent an awful lot of time getting the details just right. From the elbow-length gloves to the diamante bracelet, I was going to be the perfect bride and everyone would beam as I walked down the aisle of the church, seeing how beautiful and mature I was.

I paid for the catering, the silverware, the dress, the DJ, the cake, the invitations, and all the other details. I tried to keep an eye on the checkbook, but couldn’t help but see how additional money vanished from the account and how charges I wasn’t aware started to show up on my credit card.

If I asked Steve about it, he always had a reason. “It’s for you, baby,” he said. “I got it for you.”

Several months in, my sister invited me for lunch and tried to tell me that if I married Steve it would be a huge mistake; that there was something deeply wrong with him and I needed to break up with him. Horrified, I pretended I wasn’t hungry; I didn’t feel like eating anymore...

A few weeks before the wedding, Steve disappeared. He vanished for three days with my new car, finally showing up breezy and cheerful and energized, the way a person who might be using cocaine would be. And when I asked where he’d been, he said he was tracking down a guy who owed him money.

Steve had gone to collect the money and beat the guy up when he couldn’t pay. I sat there aghast, finally realizing, “I can’t marry this guy.” Then, “I’m getting married in six weeks. The invitations are going out Monday. The bridesmaids have their dresses. I have silverware. I have to marry him.”

I couldn’t tell my parents I had made a mistake. I couldn’t tell my co-workers who’d endured every moment of the wedding-planning for 14 months. I couldn’t tell my sisters and friends, who were bracing themselves to parade in their rainbow of finery. I couldn’t marry him, but I couldn’t back out now—it would mean that I’d made yet another earth-shatteringly stupid life choice. I didn’t know what to do.

The next day I had lunch with my sister again and told her I was thinking of calling the wedding off. “I’ll tell the family,” she immediately offered. Relief was clear on her face....

I took the bustled, lace-encrusted dress to a consignment shop. I got my deposit back from the caterer and the travel agent. My sisters sent back their dresses. I began to use my new silverware every day.

And then I decided to have an “Unwedding” party instead, on the date we had chosen. I ordered a cake with wedding bells and a red circle and slash through them. The bakery didn’t believe that’s what I really wanted.

“I Don’t,” I said. “Put that on the cake.”

The weather was sunny with a blue sky, a nice day for a white wedding. Friends and family came to my barbecue in the local park. We tossed a Frisbee and I thanked everyone for coming. We laughed and drank cheap champagne, and celebrated my not marrying the wrong man.

*Marrying the wrong man*.

First up, let me say this: When people who care about you warn you about someone or something you are doing that is contrary to Scripture with that individual, it's a good idea to not get defensive and to really pray about what's being said. At the end of the day, their life is not going to be drastically changed by your decision, *yours will* and it's actually an honor when loved ones care enough to speak up: "The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but he who heeds counsel is wise." (Proverbs 12:15-NKJV)

Secondly, as someone who comes from *a long line* of women who've been divorced and said that they knew the night before their wedding that marrying their ex(es) was not a good idea and also as someone who has counseled couples who know they settled for less than God's best when they married each other (hey, it happens), please adhere to red flags. To me, one of the biggest ones is a man who will *uncover you* (literally and non-repentantly so) before marriage but expects you to entrust him to lead after marriage (I Corinthians 6:16-20-Message, Colossians 3:18).

There are others, though...

An article entitled "10 Reasons I Shouldn't Have Married Him (And Neither Should You)" sheds some additional light---from a very practical perspective:

I'd never met his parents.
We were both "in love with love."
We didn't talk about the important, unromantic stuff.
We didn't share the same beliefs, attitudes and values — about almost everything.
We were better at conflict than we were at compromise.
We didn't much like each other's friends.
We didn't share the same outlook on life.
We didn't share a sense of humor.
We didn't have the same approach to money.
We didn't share the same desire for intimacy.

*In love with love*...

Some people have made marriage such an idol in their lives (Exodus 20:3, I Corinthians 10:14) that they're not really thinking about/questioning/pondering (Proverbs 4:26) if the person they are seeing will help them to thrive within their purpose (Psalm 20:4), if they will help them to become more like the image of Christ (Matthew 16:24) or if it's the kind of relationship God is proud of. They just want to be with someone: also a red flag.

This brings us to the points made in another article: "10 Signs You Should NOT Marry Your Partner":

When you imagine your future together, you imagine him changing in a LOT of ways.
[He] is mean to you.
You're afraid of being alone.
You don't feel like yourself when you're with him.
Your friends and family don't like [him].
He's disrespectful.
You don't feel good enough for [him].
You don't trust each other.
[He] doesn't want to marry you.
You know in your gut that he's not the one for you.

When James 1:5 says that we can ask God for wisdom that we may be lacking, *you can best believe* this includes what we need to know about who we are interested, we're dating or we're seriously considering marrying.

And I'll tell you what:

Where God is, there is no confusion (I Corinthians 15:33).
Where God is, there is peace (Philippians 4:6-7).
Where God is, there is no fear (I John 4:18).
Where God is, there is patience (I Corinthians 13:4).
Where God is, there is sexual purity (Hebrews 13:4, I Corinthians 6:18).
Where God is, there is *a calm spirit and a clear understanding* (Proverbs 17:27).

Wherever you are in your relationship to a man...*where is God*?

If you're not sure, that is the ULTIMATE red flag.

The very definition of love speaks to it not failing; no matter what: "Love never fails." (I Corinthians 13:8). If you're not sure that *godly love* is what you're in or what you're after or what you're giving or what you're receiving, spend some time in prayer, shoot me an email so that I can pray for you (missnosipho@gmail.com) and refer back to that sweet man and his wonderful and abundant love for his late wife.

Love is meant to last.
DON'T SETTLE by ignoring (potential) red flags.

It's soooooooo not worth it...
Especially when God has better for you than what you can try and "put together" yourself.

"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, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen."---Ephesians 3:20-21(NKJV)

Proverbs 12:4,


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