3 Things That Happen When You Find Your Future Wife

Whether we’re conscious of it or not, each of us spends a fair amount of time looking for our future wife. Maybe it’s because we think a man isn’t a man unless he’s gotten a woman to agree to marry him. Or maybe it’s because we don’t want to be alone for the rest of our life. Regardless, quite a bit of time and energy can be put into the search for the future Mrs. You.

For some of us, this is a self-assigned mission, steeped in heartache and error-filled trials; for others, it’s an itch in the back of our brains, a passing thought of fancy that flitters in and out of our brainwaves from time to time. And whether the search is a full-time obsession or a shrug of the shoulders, what few of us fail to consider is what will happen (or not happen) once we do find the one woman we want to spend the rest of our days with.

Therein lies the majesty of the unknown.

For the sake of complete transparency, you should know that I’ve already found the woman who will soon be my wife. And I’m not just saying that in faith. I presented her a ring and she was kind enough to say yes to a lifetime with me. So when I speak of what’s to follow, I speak from a place of experience and truth, not misguided hopes and unfulfilled dreams.

First, you should know that when you find your one true love, things will change. Your life and way of thinking will change. And more importantly, you will change, as a person, a soul, and a man. But you aren’t being forced to change by her. No, she will love you just as you are, unaltered and raw. Instead, it’s that complete love that will make you want to change. You’ll want to be more considerate and thoughtful. You’ll want to be more responsible and mindful of her wants and needs. You’ll even find yourself smiling more, with no rhyme or reason to explain it. That one woman is a changer and whether you realize it now or not, she will change you from top to bottom without offering a single suggestion or passive aggressive thought. You will want to change because you know she deserves the absolute best version of yourself. And that’s what you’ll strive to give her.

Second (and this is important), when you meet your future wife, you’ll look back on the time you spent as a single chap and you’ll be able to rightly see every single mistake you made in this vicious fight known as romance. You’ll see how foolish and/or desperate you were. You’ll see the missteps and the mistakes. You’ll see where you tried too hard and when you didn’t try hard enough. You’ll see why things didn’t work out with that one girl, even though you were sure they would. You’ll see why you failed in love before because this love you have now will be impossible to compare against. [quote]You’ll see why you failed in love before because this love you have now will be impossible to compare against. [/quote]You’ll see that those past relationships couldn’t have lasted because they didn’t have what you have now. You weren’t complete in those past partners the way you are now. Through everything you’ve experienced and fought against, this love—this completeness—allows you to see why you fell short so many times before. It’s because it wasn’t with her. She’s the reason it works now and she’s the reason you know this is now forever.

Lastly, when you meet the woman you’ll marry, you’ll begin to work. And I don’t mean in the way that earns a paycheck or promotion. No, you’ll begin to work at this relationship in ways you never knew love required. Because you realize that her saying yes to your proposal isn’t the end of your journey, but only the beginning.

You’ve found her, but now you have to keep her. And through this given wisdom, you’ll realize that to make this wonderful, mesmerizing, beautiful gift work, you’re going to have to work and sweat and bleed. Because while love feels easy and breezy, it’s not. It’s a beast that requires work and struggle. And yet, while you work to make this relationship as strong as you can, you’ll do it with a smile and joyful step. Because even though you’re working and working and working, it’s with your best friend and the work isn’t a job, but a privilege.

The Bible says that he who finds a wife, finds a good thing (Proverbs 18:22). And once you find this one woman who captures you heart, mind, and soul, you’ll know it to be true.

If you haven’t found your one true love yet, don’t be discouraged. Personally, I had to grow through a failed marriage and numerous failed loves and relationships to find the woman who made it all worth the fight. So don’t give up, do not surrender. Just be prepared for the day that you do find her, you will change, you will be made wise, and you will begin to work. This I promise you.

Purity: Asking All The Wrong Questions (Plus Giveaway!)

[alert style=”info”] Ed. Note: Today’s guest post is from Ally Vesterfelt. She is a writer extraordinaire and the editor-in-chief at Prodigal. You can follow her on Twitter and scroll below for the chance to win a copy of her new book! [/alert]

I used to think that being single was awesome because I didn’t have to worry about anyone but me.

In some ways, I was right.

Then I met Darrell. We started dating. And really quickly I began to realize that it isn’t really fair to say that my single life was all about me. In fact, the decisions I made before I met him affected someone other than me, someone who I didn’t even know existed at the time was was making them.

There are some decisions I made as a single woman that I wish I wouldn’t have made so flippantly. I wish I would have realized that the decisions I was making in my single life were decisions that would one day impact my husband.

I grew up in church and heard the messages about “Waiting for Marriage” from the time I was young. I was part of the “True Love Waits” generation and read books like I Kissed Dating Goodbye and When God Writes Your Love Story.

I even went on a retreat with my youth group where I started writing letters to my future husband. Between the ages of 15 & 18 I wrote a few hundred letters and kept them in a box under my bed.

Cute, right?

 

During late high school and college I decided I didn’t really want anything to do with God anymore. I was sick of all the rules I had to follow and I just wanted to hang out and have fun.

It was a slow change at first. I would kiss guys and make out with them, that sort of thing. What I was doing wasn’t that big of a deal (or so I told myself) It was just kissing. Right?

When I got to college I started drinking and that changed everything. I never made good decisions while I was drinking but at least I got to use alcohol as an excuse. I partied and hooked up with guys.

I acted like I was having fun living the “college life” but it never made me feel as good as I thought it would. Especially after the fact.

Here’s the thing. My story doesn’t get any “worse” from there. No stories of rape or pregnancy or STDs. Pretty typical “college girl” type things as far as the world is concerned, right?

I was just really, really broken and lonely.

I started dating a guy who said he loved me, and pretty soon we were having sex too. I figured it was okay because we were in love; and love was what I had been missing before.

But when that relationship went down in flames, I felt as awful as I did before, the morning after a college party, hungover and used.

“How had I ended up here?” I wondered.

I had grown up in church. I had a box full of letters promising myself to my future husband. And I had been told since I was a little girl that I was “worth waiting for.”

I would read the Bible or hear a pastor talk about “sexual immorality” and cringe a little because I knew I wanted to do things God’s way again but I didn’t know how. I couldn’t even explain why I felt that way. It just felt right.

So I re-committed myself to purity. I wasn’t really sure I deserved it and I wasn’t sure how to do it but I knew I wanted to.

It didn’t come naturally.

 

I would set rules and boundaries for myself, cross them, and get disappointed and depressed. After making mistakes, I would set stricter boundaries to safeguard myself.

Even strict boundaries were no match for the insecurity and loneliness I felt. I would do just about anything I could to get attention. I kept messing up again and again and again.

Finally, I gave up. I isolated myself. I turned down dates when they came my way. I was friends with guys, but rarely more than that, because I knew that if I let it go beyond friendship I was in danger of making the same mistakes again.

I thought I was doing a pretty good job of being faithful to my future husband.

But looking back I realize how much I was just managing my sin.

Here’s the thing. I know I’m not alone. I’m not the only one who wants to honor God with my actions, but can’t figure out how to do it. I know I’m not the only one asking, “Why are we waiting anyway?” “What’s the point?” “Is there hope for me?” and “Is it worth it?”

I’m not the only one who needs the answer to “Why should I wait for marriage to have sex?” to be more than just, “Because the Bible says so.”

That wasn’t enough for me. I needed there to be more.

And instead of fighting silently, I want to start the conversation.

So I wrote a book called Asking All The Wrong Questions: Why Christians Are Waiting for Marriage for Sex. It talks honestly about my journey, my struggle, and the answers I’ve found to the questions I’ve asked. It also admits that there aren’t answers to every question. It highlights the nature of God, and how that helps us fill in the blank spaces.

If you want to commit yourself to purity, but you’re not sure how, or you aren’t sure it’s even practical, this book is for you. I hope it helps you in your process.

 

Book Giveaway!

Do you want a free copy of Ally’s new book, Asking All The Wrong Questions: Why Christians Are Waiting for Marriage for Sex? We are giving away one copy of Asking All The Wrong Questions to a random Twitter follower on December 1st!

Make sure you’re following us here and then tell us why purity is important to you for another entry (tweet to @QuarterlifeMan or use the hashtag #QuarterlifeQuestion).

Good luck!

 

Allison Vesterfelt is a writer and thinker who is becoming brave enough to live and tell the truth. She loves her job as the Editor-in-Chief of Prodigal Magazine  where she gets to help people live and tell good stories. She has one foot in Portland, OR, and one in Minneapolis, Minnesota. You can keep up with her by following her on TwitterFacebook and her blog.

(Full Disclosure: The link to Ally’s book is an affiliate link, which means that she/they receive a commission if you choose to purchase her book (or anything) at that link. Quarterlife Corporation does not explicitly endorse this link, so if you really feel horrible about helping their cause–––and we’re not sure why you would–––you can buy the book here.)

Singleness, Marriage, and Purity: Sifting Desires Through Scripture

For starters, let’s discuss what this is NOT.

“I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs- how he can please the Lord.”
(1 Corinthians 7:32)

I love love. I love romance. I love unity. The desire for this is natural and innate. I am NOT against relationships, nor am I against marriage. If you know me well, you would know that it is in fact one of the strongest desires I hold. But here, in this season, I am merely a mirror of the apostle Paul in his teaching of singleness, offering up the choice of singleness as a way of life (many times just for a season!) to seek a more important purpose for our life and to stand in PEACE at the center of God’s will. There is nothing like it in the whole universe.

Before reading this, I give you one ‘warning’:

If your hearts utmost, FULL desire is to work for the Kingdom, you will naturally take heed to these words. If you are still on the fence in faith, squabbling between your desire for the world and your desire for Jesus, you will naturally not find anything here helpful. You may find a sentence or two useful for a moments time, but once your emotions or the temptation of the world begins to squeal and yearn for your attention, you will feed that lion the very meat it was asking for. Sitting on the fence gives you leeway to move in either direction, depending on what your emotions are screaming for loudest. I pray in faith that any person reading these words is filled with the all-consuming Fire, drawing you into total submission and dependence upon the Word.

 

We must understand that there is always means for a renewal of the mind and a guidance by the Spirit.

Dating, sex, love… we each have a definition for all three that has come from experience, readings, or things observed. We can be honest here and admit that much of the molding of our definitions are from the world, for we are IN it. We MUST renew if we are believers in our glorious Lord, Jesus Christ.

“…if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body (worldly ways of thinking, actions that aren’t ultimately to magnify the name of Jesus Christ, etc.), you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.”

I believe the very first step to this rides on verse 8:4 in Song of Songs (also known as Song of Solomon), which says, “…never [again attempt to] stir up or awaken love until it pleases.”

As humans with such a strong desire to do this, we repeatedly stir it back up on our own time and as our desires and cravings ask of us. This is dangerous to our purity. Not just sexually, but the purity of our Spirit in dividing its’ attention between working for the Kingdom and working to appease ourselves. Again, awakening this love is not a bad thing, if it is in the proper timing; the only timing that will bring peace and blessing, God’s.

Seasons of singleness are crucial. I believe our God is intolerant to wasted time. Ephesians 5 talks about seizing the most out of every opportunity in every season. As believers, our focus should not be on becoming someone worth marrying, but our focus should be on the will of God, which is becoming like Christ. In complete focus on this, we lose sight of our tiring efforts on relationships and finding someone. A season of singleness is a time for full attention, full focus, full admiration, and eyes for the only true Romance, that of Jesus Christ.

This romance story teaches us a few things about the REAL definition of love.

Let’s first understand that the world’s belief is that love is primarily for the fulfillment and comfort of self. We seek for someone to go through life with to fill an inner craving and desire- to fill US. The world’s view is a deception by focusing first and foremost on meeting one’s own needs.

“…He began to be deeply distressed and horrified…[He] fell to the ground, and began to pray that if it were possible, the hour might pass from Him. And He said, ‘Abba, Father! All things are possible for You. Take this cup away from me. Nevertheless, not what I will, but what you will.'”
(Mark 14:33, 35-36)

The second deception I have come face to face with is that the world has fed the lie that love is an emotion. It is not. At least not fully. Emotions are not wrong, and they aren’t even bad. But when we use them as the measurement of love, we put ourselves at the center of importance. Our feelings, by themselves, don’t do others one bit of good. Christ showed us that true love is not measured or governed by feeling. He went to the cross when every emotion and instinct in His body told Him to turn back. “…Then an angel appeared to Him, strengthening Him. Being in anguish, He prayed more fervently, and his sweat became like drops of blood…”  (Luke 22:43-44).

Jesus’ example shows that love is in our control. He CHOSE to love us. Love is not some strange force that tosses us around against our will. We cannot justify our wrongdoings by saying that loved grabbed a hold of us and “made” us behave irresponsibly. That’s not love. That’s what 1 Thessalonians 4:5 actually describes as passionate lust.

Christ, through the Redemption story, taught us that love is not for the fulfillment of self, but for the glory of God and the good of others. So here poses another factor in finding the right significant other. We may have good connection with someone, we may even both love Jesus Christ and serve Him and others well together. But God has a purpose for each individual, and if the other does not fit the bill of His will for you, then they are not for you. So our question then is, how do we KNOW who is then? Scripture tells us that the Spirit searches us and knows us, so with faith we have the freedom to wait on Him and not search for ourselves. The Spirit is faithful in revealing wisdom to those who ask in faith (see James 1:5-8).

Sexual purity is one of the biggest struggles and factors when dealing with desires and relationships.

“‘Sex is pleasure,’ a movie tells us. And on the radio, ‘Pleasure is all that matters’ is sung sweetly into our ears. In the midst of this harangue from the world, God’s quiet message of true love still speaks to those who choose to listen.”
–I Kissed Dating Goodbye

This is a subject that is touchy and uncomfortable. Not because it’s a bad thing, but because often times we crave this intimacy and yield to the craving outside of its intended purpose. Blessing and peace are not found outside God’s purpose. The Word repeatedly talks about the union of two people, and each time inside the covenant of Marriage. But why? What is the intended purpose of sexual intimacy if not just to show mutual affection?

The main and original purpose of sex is to “become one flesh,” meaning a complete union. Tim Keller quotes in his blog ‘The Gospel and Sex’, “Romanticism considers emotional happiness to be the main condition for marriage; if there is interpersonal happiness, sex is warranted, and then comes marriage. But when love dies, it is also allowable to walk away from the marriage. In the biblical view, however, the main condition of marriage is a binding covenant. In the romantic view, sex is self-expression; in the biblical view, sex is self-giving.”

Sex is a God-invented way to say to another person,“I belong completely and exclusively and permanently to you.”

That cannot be said outside the permanent, exclusive covenantal commitment of marriage.

“Purity consists of more than remaining a virgin… Where, when, and with whom you choose to spend your time reveals your true commitment to purity.”

So now, all you who read, take it and go. Remain pure in body, mind and Spirit. Take hold over your hearts desire for a significant other. We have the Spirit of Power, our flesh does not control us. These inner desires may be a working of the Lord, but we must not arouse it before due time. Go do what you are called to live for.

We are sent to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion- to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.
–Isaiah 61:1b-3

[alert style=”info”] Sound Off: Singleness, marriage, and purity are all one intertwined mess of God’s love and how we (sometimes poorly) interpret it. If single, how can you focus on pursuing holiness in advance of marriage? If married, how are you balancing your commitment to God and your spouse? Let us know in the comments below.[/alert]

Be a Man and Act More Feminine

Society has done a lot to cultivate certain ideas about gender roles within relationships.  As men, we are fed misconceptions which we then hold to be truth.  Men are always supposed to be the strong ones.  Men don’t talk about their feelings.  Men don’t do housework.  Men don’t raise the children.  Well, if this is what it means to be a man, then I would say it is time to man-up and act more feminine.

 

IT’S OK TO OPEN UP

I know you’ve heard it before, but some things are cliche because they are true… relationships require communication.  Talk.  Open up.  Share your thoughts, dreams, and fears.  Nothing will ruin a relationship faster than a lack of communication.

Talk about your feelings.  You don’t always have to be the “strong one.”  Everyone has times in their life where they need to lean on someone else.  I’m not saying you have to be an emotional basket case, but don’t be ashamed of expressing how you feel.  Women want a man whose not afraid to say he needs them.

Share your thoughts, dreams, and fears.  Nothing is worse than feeling like you are going through life alone.  Discuss the things that are on your mind.  Share your excitement about goals and dreams.  Talk about what fears you face.  Don’t be afraid to admit that you don’t have it all figured out (after all, none of us do).

 

HOUSEWORK DOES NOT EQUAL WOMEN’S WORK

Men, this may seem like an insignificant issue, but step up and share in the responsibilities.  Clean up after yourself.  After a romantic dinner together, blow her away and do the dishes.

Whether your married or living in your bachelor pad, your floor does not equal your hamper, and your mommy, girlfriend, or wife does not have to do the laundry.

I have been constantly reminded of the impact that the simple act of sharing in the housework can have.  On several occasions, I have heard my wife tell someone how much it means to her when I help out without being asked or complaining.  I think you’ll be shocked with what these simple acts can mean.

To all the husbands out there, if you really want to shock her, vacuum… mop… dust… clean the bathroom… trust me, the rewards can very much be in your favor.  Someday, my daughter will be very embarrassed by my sharing, but we wound up with her because I painted the house.

 

DADS, THEY NEED YOU TOO

To the dads who happen upon this article (or those who want to be a dad someday), share in the joy of raising your kids.  Change the diapers.  Rock them to sleep.  Sit down to tea parties.  Take them to the park.  Let them see you helping around the house.  Tell them how much you love them and their mommy.  Make sure they (and your wife) come before work, friends, the game on TV, golf, or anything else.  Everyone needs to relax once in a while, but make sure they know they are a priority.

 

ABOVE ALL, PLACE GOD FIRST

This one doesn’t fit the title, but I cannot write about relationships without bringing it up.  In a world were we are afraid of sounding cheesy or weird if we talk about God, take a stand.  Place Him first and everything else will fall into place.

If you’re single and looking, pray that you will be the man deserving of the woman God brings into your life.

If you are dating, pray that God will protect your relationship.  Pray that His will for your relationship will be clear.  Pray that purity will remain within your relationship.

If your married, pray that you and your spouse will remain in His will.  Pray that He will protect your marriage in the midst of a world where marriages are crumbling around you.

Wherever you are in life, lead by example.  Strive to grow closer to the God who loves you and desires to see you succeed.

[alert style=”info”]Sound Off: What does it mean to be a man, yet more feminine in your life? How is this different from how things normally are? Let us know in the comments below.[/alert]

She Loves Me, She Loves Not-Me

“I want a girl who loves me for who I am.”

“I shouldn’t have to change to be with anyone.”

Have you thought, or said, things like this before?  A popular belief about relationships, is that you should find someone who accepts you for who you are, doesn’t try to change you, and the two of you will live happily ever after. However, this is a boring, static, and warped view of true relationship.

How many times have you heard (or said) statements like, “She wants me to ________, but that’s just not me.”. We cling to ideas of individuality, claiming we should be free to be ourselves, and then are surprised when things don’t work out in a relationship which involves two people.  The truth is, relationship requires that your individuality becomes deeply and profoundly interwoven with the other.

A true relationship is two individuals finding themselves as they grow, shape, and change each other.

[divider]

The question is not if you can find someone who will not change you, but if you can find someone who changes you into someone better than you are.

This is a truth which becomes drastically apparent in marriage.  When two people join together, if they hold to individualized identity, it is inevitable that they will move apart.

Change is inevitable.

You either change together, or change separately and move further apart.

I believe this is a truth evident in the very beginning of creation.

22 Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. 23 The man said, “This is now bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man. ” 24 That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.

Genesis 2:22-24 (NIV)

And affirmed again by Jesus in Mark 10:6-8.

But at the beginning of creation God “made them male and female.  For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” So they are no longer two, but one flesh. (NIV)

Two become one.

Individuality becomes communion.

[divider]

In true relationship, especially the sacred bond of marriage, identity is no longer defined by individuality, but emerges from continual, growing communion between two people.  Each constantly grows and changes to be what the other, and the relationship, needs.  Petty ideas of entitlement are traded for beautiful realizations of self-sacrificing love.  Neither is belittled, but both are uplifted, as two people strive to become a single, unified example of love.

What ideas of individuality are you clinging to, which drive a wedge between the relationship you are meant to have?

In what ways do you cling to the desires of self, and neglect the communion of two becoming one?

[divider]

If You Are Not Married

Focus on finding out what the other person needs in a relationship; talk about the things that matter most to each other.  Protect the one you are with, and do not cross the boundaries of physical relationship.

To have sex before the commitment of marriage, is to become one physically, before becoming one in identity.  It will inevitably bring confusion.

When you are not married, you protect the other by not joining into a communion that you are not ready for.  Do not take from your partner what they should only share in the communion and commitment of marriage.  This is not only about sex, but also about sharing parts of your life which you are not yet ready to share.

Be careful of the emotional dependency which can arise from becoming too close before you are committed to the other.

[divider]

If You Are Married

Your identity is deeply rooted in your spouse.  Every aspect of life is about the two of you.  Your thoughts are to be in light of what is best for the other.  Your choices are to be decisions which move you and your spouse closer together.  Even your body is to be cared for, as it is now shared with another.

Your identity is now the communion between you and your spouse.

Every decision (what you think, say, watch, or do) is now to be weighed against how it will impact the union between you and your spouse.

[divider]

For Us All

May we strive to let go of false notions of individual entitlement, and strive to discover the truth of relationship which embraces change.

[box_help]Thanks for reading. What can you do to better prepare for marriage, or to be a better husband? Let us know in the comments.[/box_help]

Coffee Shop Talk: Engagements, Hearts for Worship, and Loving Others

[box_light]Ed. note: This is B. She’s our weekly Q&A writer and will be answering questions from a female perspective (naturally). You can find her subsection under “Faith.” Do you have a question or comment? Send it to us on FacebookTwittervia email, or in the comments, and we’ll do our best to have her answer it in future weeks.[/box_light]

[divider]

She wants a long engagement, I want a short engagement. Which is better?

I think this all comes down to personal preference and the reasoning behind each. Whether your engagement is long or short it’s really up to you; it’s all about compromise.

Now, for me personally, anything longer than six months is a bit ridiculous. But, that being said, I know I’m a control freak who can plan a party in days–––so I don’t really need all that long to plan a wedding. Really, that’s the only reason I see having a long engagement. Perhaps you propose in June but she wants a June wedding; clearly you’ll have to wait a year (unless you’ve decided that an old man dressed like Elvis at some drive-thru is sufficient… then by all means)! Otherwise, long engagement wins.

Please don’t be that couple who is engaged for years and years. Just get married already or don’t propose!

Once you’ve decided that you liked it so you put a ring on it, [Beyonce is my jam!] you BOTH should be ready to say “I do” that very second. If you’re not, don’t ask! Ladies, don’t say yes! If you’re at a crossroads and are trying to decide what is best for the two of you–––talk over why each of you wants the length of engagement that you do. Talk about the pros and cons of each and then put it to prayer. God will open doors for you to walk through and close those that you need to steer clear from. Be mindful in all things to pray without ceasing. Especially in your marriage. It starts even now with the engagement.

[divider]

What helps you prepare your heart for worship?

Prayer.

Life is a mess most of the time. It’s full of joy and heartache all in one fell swoop. I don’t want my worship to be that way. Worship isn’t about me anyway. I think a lot of us get that confused.

We hear things like, “Oh man worship was great tonight! I felt so moved and I felt just on fire. I loved that song!” Or we will hear, “I just couldn’t get into it. The songs were lame, the beat was too slow, did you heart that guy’s voice? Can you say tone deaf?” [I’ll admit now–––I am just as much at fault for saying these things a time or two.] Worship isn’t about any of it. It’s all about God.

It’s our time to stop all that is going on around and in us and just say, “God, You are Faithful. You are Good. You are Holy.” Praying these truths about the character of God and telling Him all of these things is the best way to silence the white noise and just be with Him. It reminds my own heart and mind who I serve and why I even worship in the first place. Worship has nothing to do with my emotions and how I feel. Whether I am heartbroken, overflowing with joy, crippled by grief or crying from complete happiness, God deserves my worship because He is still God and I am not. Praying the whole way to church or even just those few seconds before service starts helps align my heart a little more with His and prepares me to give all I can to Him. He deserves nothing less.

[divider]

What do you do when you find it hard to love [or even tolerate] others?

[Ed. note: A certain “B” will be switching out this note for content later. She just plain forgot… so please don’t stone her!]

[divider]

Okay, okay! I FINALLY got to a place with internet! [Yes, some places are still in the dark ages–go figure!] Thank you so much for being patient everyone!

I don’t want to sound repetitive, but I pray. I had [and still do have] people in my life that would drive me up a wall and legitimately make my skin crawl when I would see them walk into a room. It went on for years. I felt justified in my anger and my disgust. My own selfish desires were to stay comfortable; let them fall through the cracks in my life because it’s easier to have them there than in my face. Then, as usual, God slapped me upside the head and the Holy Spirit convicted me— hard. He posed the question in my mind and it was something to this affect-

 

“Brittany, are you really going to let this keep you from loving MY child? Is their soul not worth more to you than your own comfortability?” 

 

Oh, God I am so sorry. Who am I before you, Lord, that I would idly stand by watching the ones You love so desperately, never encounter Your love through me? Jesus tells us that the greatest commandments are to the love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. [paraphrased Luke 10:27] It comes down to those two simple Truths.

 

Love God. Love people. 

 

Pray that God would give you eyes to see the people you find hardest to love as He sees them. Pray for a new heart that feels compassion and grace for those who irritate you. We are all struggling and trying to find our way through this life. We need to come together in the love of Christ and reach out our hands to the broken world around us. Prayer is an essential part to our faith and our daily lives. God wants us to fight for the things of His heart. He is in the business of loving people. We better get on board and start living lives that show we love His people—no matter what. Our love can’t be based on our own comforts and on who we think deserves it. I never deserve the love of God-but I praise Him that His love isn’t conditional. He will ALWAYS love me. I’m called to love the same way.

until our next chat,

B.

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Hitting the Wall

I grew up with parents who spent Saturdays running 15 miles and Sundays running marathons.

They describe this physical condition about hitting the wall around mile 20. One runner describes it like this: “It felt like an elephant had jumped out of a tree onto my shoulders and was making me carry it the rest of the way in.”

It’s the point where your muscles tighten up, you feel like vomiting and the last thing you want to do is take another step. I know you are thinking… what does this have to do with relationships and why is J-Smooth [Ed note: It’s J-Money, thank-you-very-much] having some guy talk about running marathons?

Here’s the reason: most relationships will hit that wall at some point when things get tough and thoughts of “I am not going to make it” creep in. Sometimes this wall may be visible to everyone around you, and sometimes it’s an inner battle where you question if this is the “one” you’ve been searching for. Couples start to set timelines and expectations on relationships that do nothing but cause problems. So what can we do to help fight through the wall?

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The first and most obvious response is prayer. As a couple you should be praying with and for each other. Pray that God will reveal if this is the person you should marry and ask God to give you the strength to share any regrets of the past that may cause issues while you’re married.

Secondly, you need to communicate with each other (and I don’t just mean talking about your day or what’s for dinner). Share your fears and struggles with one another. This goes hand and hand with prayer. If you do not communicate with each other, how will you know what to pray for?

Men: I know this is difficult because we do not like to show any type of weakness. We think that admitting we’re scared of something jeopardizes our man card, but it won’t. Be honest with your girlfriend/fiance and let her know how you feel.

Also… be transparent! Anything you hide now will cause MAJOR issues when you get married. That can be anything from your struggle with lust to finances. I have seen couples struggle time and time again because they hid certain areas of their lives from each other, thinking that if they shared this information they would lose that person. Withholding that information will actually cause a bigger gap between you and your significant other later in life because there are now trust issues.

A big reason why couples hit the wall is because of us. We fail at being a spiritual leader and that worries our women that we might not be able to lead the home. Men, we are called to be the head of the family; this does not mean we are above our families, but rather we are wholly responsible for their actions. When Eve sinned in the garden, God asked Adam what his wife did. We need to be the example for our families of what it means to be a Christian.

It’s easy to say that our girlfriend/fiance/wife means to the world to us, but it’s a lot harder to prove it. Hitting the wall is never easy, but if you are willing to fight through the pain, it will be a reward that will last a lifetime.