Waiting & Dating
Review by Unity Ivongbe
Author: Dr. Myles Munroe
This book by Dr. Myles Munroe speaks to young people on how to manage the subject of relationships. It gives a step wise approach to succeeding on this front and a part of my takeaway is that the quality of the relationships we enter into (with the opposite sex) can either make or mar our destinies. There are a number of variables to consider on this subject and this book captures a couple of critical points that we all need. Every young person should have it.
Forget about popular culture or western media….dating is not just about feelings & how good it is. It begins first from having a firm understanding & awareness about the benefits and the pitfalls.
In the way we have the world’s way of Dating, we also have God’s way of Dating. Righteous dating…is everything contrary to what the world shows. Dating should be a time for talking…loads of talking — which makes for spiritual & soulical connections. Not touching.
Humans are social creatures and we relate with one another on 3 levels: Spiritual, Soulical and physical….and it must follow that same progression otherwise it is abused and corruption is introduced. It is almost impossible to see God’s result (in marriage) without following God’s principles.
_ soulical connection is the area that covers motivations, personality, dreams…..& all of the intangibles. Things that cannot be touched.
_ We should show a level of alignment in the areas of worldview, shared interests and dream…before we start talking of getting physically involved with one another (of the opposite sex).
Before you get into any relationship, you must decide within yourself on what is appropriate behavior and what’s not….with your partner. Have & set a boundary from the get-go. “You either follow God’s standards by choice or you follow the worlds by default.”
“….those who marry will face many troubles in this life.”. 1 Cor. 7:26-28. This is the other side of marriage that is often unsaid. It is not all a bed of roses.
In God’s scheme of things, we generally find what we NEED & WANT when we are not actively looking for them…..including a spouse (you find that special one on the way to the kingdom). It is the idea of Matt. 6:33. The King James Version used, all these things shall be ‘added’ to you: the Greek word for ‘added’ here is same as used for magnetised. So it means all things will be drawn to you effortlessly as a magnet.
* Any kind of walking together must be contingent on an agreement. Have we agreed to walk together in principle? This should be agreed before we date!
_ and this entails 1 Cor. 1:10. Agreement that is reflected in unity of mind & thought…where partners have one mind and similar thought pattern. Unity doesn’t necessarily mean we have to see eye to eye on every issue….but we should show some Unity of the Spirit (agreement based on the word of God)…which then leads to that of the mind. (Phil 4:2).
_ Dating is as Fellowship: ‘fellows on a ship’.
* Intimacy is not an act (eg sexual act, in the way society has wired us to think). It is a state of existence. An experience between two parties where they can trust themselves with their innermost thoughts. And by this definition, two lovers can be living together in the same room and both be apart in two different worlds. It goes beyond that.
“Don’t marry your lover but marry your friend, because physical & emotional love are 100% chemical”. Husbands & wives should enter into marriage as best friends. And the goal of friendship (before marriage) is to build character. To shape the other half into a better person. Not for physical experimentation.
Friendship building process/Stages: Strangers, acquaintance, casual friend, & close friend (fellows in a ship). The error of society is that many jump from acquaintance into intimate ‘friends’ — & this intimacy is defined by sexual relations. Wrong!
God often place acquaintances on our way. And we must manage them well into friendship. A key is to always remember people’s names….’it has been said that the sweetest sound on a person’s ear is the sound of his/her name”. Call people by their names.
Intimate friendship requires the freedom to be able to correct one another. Partners must be vulnerable at a level. “True friends are not afraid to say, ‘don’t do that, it’s not good for you'”. “One characteristic of intimacy is that we can both give & receive correction with grace….as we build each other’s character”. True friendship is built on love – the God kind.
Jesus had similar classification: The crowd, the 120, the 12 and the three (Peter, James & John). We are also supposed to classify our relationship with people – give varying levels of access.
“Praying for our friends, is the single most important thing we can do for them”.
Myths in finding a mate:
A. There is one special person. Lie. There is no such thing. The key variables are your Choice & commitment.
B. God will choose the right one for me. Another lie. The choice is always yours to make.
The world’s standard for choosing a mate includes: Physical Appearance, Social Status, Intellectual ability & financial capability. Sadly the Spiritual foundation is often relegated to the background until the union hits the rock. “Our focus shouldn’t be how a person looks, or what he does….but in who he is”.
….the follow up question then is, is he a Christian? Not whether he goes to church. Does s/he have a personal relationship with Jesus? Some say, ‘He is not a Christian but a nice guy’. But they forget that niceness is not a fruit of the Spirit.
“If a partner lacks self-control in the area of sex, he will almost certainly show this in other areas as well. One feeds the other”.
“A man tends to treat his wife in the way he treats his mother…..and a woman tend to respond to his husband in the way he responds to the father”…..watch out for those red flags.
Talking about what time to get married? You can discern if it is proper time by checking up on: Parental Consent; financial readiness; & fulfilment of educational goals.
It has been proven by a scientific study that after Sexual problems, financial stress is the second leading cause of divorce amongst couple today. You want to get in and be able. Able & buoyant. No assumptions.
Many young people view engagement period as a time to ‘test the waters’ before plunging into the ‘deep waters’ of marriage. No.
Biblically, an engagement could only be broken by a divorce (Deut. 22:23-29). That’s how much of a big deal this is….engagement is a period of time for prep. for marriage and not for wedding.
On purity standards, as we saw in the story of Mary & Joseph, we see that although they were betrothed to be married. But they didn’t come together in sexual union until after Jesus was born.
Engagement period can be used to develop a 50 year life plan. Could contain — where we want to go, what we want to do and what we want to become over our lifetime.
“Any sexual union before marriage is sin –the Bible calls it fornication — and when it involves and engaged person, it is adultery”…..engagement is the beginning of the covenant of marriage, which is consummated in marriage….during sexual union.
Contrary to cultural & worldly definitions, marriage ‘was not invented by man…but God. “As such it predates law — human or divine. It is beyond the definitions of contemporary culture.
Oneness is the glue that holds a relationship together. And part of Jesus’ prayer (in a sense) in John 17:20-23. In marriage, there is no ‘mine’ and ‘yours’….there is only ‘ours’.
Long before ‘I do’….couples must sit down and organize the financial strategy that they will take into marriage….otherwise, that’s another failure waiting to happen.
“Of all the activities between birth & death, nothing is more stressful than getting married”…it’s a world of its own that introduces changes of staggering magnitude to the lives of the parties and requires a lot of wisdom to navigate through.
Children should only be considered and born into a family that is emotionally, spiritually and financially stable.
Spouses to be must discuss everything during engagement. Everything. Whether or not they will have children, how many they will have, when they will start having, the mode of correction (corporal or oral punishment) for their children. Even other things like, agreeing not to disagree before their wards.
Love is one thing and chemicals are another thing. Sexual arousal is a chemical reaction and not a standard for love. We must stay with our mind on top and sharp during engagement period. “By successfully handling sexual temptation, a couple proves their maturity, integrity, faithfulness, & self-control’.
In sum, spouses must strive to be in gear (be engaged in truth & indeed) in the areas of their Spiritual Foundation, Economic Stability, Educational Goals, Parenting Philosophy, & Sexual standards. Proper wisdom in this areas will ensure that problems are waded off both today & in future.