Don’t Find The One, Be The One

Photo Cred: (1) | Updated: 5/4/2022

I’ve never really had anything to add to the purity culture conversation until now. For the uninitiated, this was a Christian subculture movement in the late 1990s, which influenced how parents raised their kids in the 2000s to roughly the early 2010s. This was in response to a lot of cultural artifacts of that time: celebrity sex tapes, normalization of hook-up culture, online pornography, the AIDS epidemic, and even the internet boom of the 1990s.

Purity Culture Defined

Now were there other factors during this period of time? Of course, but this helps set the stage for why the purity culture movement began and what was the root of parents’ fears. The introduction of the new always brings the reversion back to the old for some. This happens with everything.

In this case, it was the reversion back to old ideas about dating. Like arranged marriages by a church congregation or even the Christian concept of courtship. This time, it just had a new spin. That spin is what spun an entire generation into sexual shame.

Under immense pressure to balance the natural inclinations of adolescence with the fear-mongering led by thought leaders at the time, people were stuck in a state of never knowing if they handled their dating life right. Doubts on if they were even good enough to be with someone because they weren’t virgins or “pure” enough. It was a movement that had good intentions at first, but with awful execution ended in disastrous results.

When a movement is rooted in fear and not grace, it always ends poorly. The purity culture movement was rooted in the fears of its time, not in the grace of God. Given it was grounded in the former and not the latter, Christians recoiled from what they thought was God’s hate. Instead of emulating God’s love in their relationships and enjoying the grace that’s supposed to be found within them.

From side hugs and purity rings to parents having to meet each other to decide if this was a “good” relationship, it was the norm for a lot of kids at this time. Even the perversion of modesty to the point of being a tool to elicit the young to be ashamed of their own bodily desires was standard malpractice. Then again, these repulsive symptoms were more of a theological problem than anything. At least, that’s where I think it starts.

The Modern Myth Of The One

What bothered me the most about this whole thing was the prevalent concept of the one and how that framework warped everything going into this movement. Which then bled into our current relationship climate of the #MeToo era. How all modern dating is based on the lie of the one. A theological misconception that has ties to determinism, God’s sovereignty, and a blatant misunderstanding of what it means to become one in marriage.

How is this the root? Well, it starts with some believing that everything is determined by God. A sort of manifest destiny, but instead of land promised by God it’s people in this case. Those people are the one.

The person you were destined to marry no matter what. It’s this idea I believe laid dormant in the subconscious of Christians until the purity culture movement awakened this aged-out concept. A framework that gave rise to a lot of these conventions we mock now.

Then again, what does the Bible actually say about this? What is God’s design for relationships really? Put simply, the Bible doesn’t promote the one. Rather it does promote becoming the one for someone else. Let me explain.

Becoming The One vs. Finding The One

We could go in a lot of different directions, but for now I just want to zero in on the book of Ruth. Why? Well, it dispels this lie of the one quickly with a simple question. Who was the one for Ruth? Was it Mahlon or Boaz?

Her first husband Mahlon was married to her for 10 years, provided in the famine-infested land of Moab, and married Ruth when she was fairly young. Her second husband was Boaz, grafted her into the family of Jesus, and married Ruth when she was middle aged. The first husband gave away his health to provide, while the second gave away his wealth to provide.

The former was equivalent to a blue-collar worker if he worked in our time. The latter was a man of valor whose military service allowed him to benefit from the spoils of war. When you think about it, neither of them were the one but rather became the one she needed.

Mahlon became the one in that he sacrificed everything to care for Ruth. Boaz then became the one in that he shared everything to care for Ruth. Both men became the one over time.

A good, godly relationship isn’t about finding the one. It’s about becoming the one for the sake of someone else. That you love someone so much you change to become better for them and to them. Not to say you shouldn’t choose wisely who you end up with, but you’re not agreeing to a completed person. You’re agreeing to being there as they are made complete in Christ.

Like God commands, they fully committed themselves to Ruth. Loving sacrificially and being there. At the time, Mahlon was the best possible choice for Ruth and later on Boaz was the same. Of course it’s conjecture since we only know snippets of their life, but their character bleeds through the page. Where we progress, God perfects. Marriages thrive when God guides them. Grace is our guide, not fear. Becoming the one is a grace-guided process.

Although, this could be distorted into a work-mentality where you have to do all of these self-help hacks to appear to be better. That’s not what becoming the one means. Becoming the one isn’t about performance, but patience and persistence.

The humble heart in asking God to better you so that you can be the best possible spouse in your marriage. An acknowledgement that your starting point is bad and only God can restore your soul to its best. The idea of the one is an attractive cultural myth, while becoming the one is simply self-actualizing into who God designed us to be in him. One is chasing after the winds of the world, yet the other is weathering the storms of a holy covenant and promise.

Final Thoughts

Having been in the most serious relationship of my life currently that’s heading towards marriage now, I just see this flaw so much more clearly. Our culture taught our brains to go after plastic-bound porn stars and the powerful with influence, instead of ordinary people that look and act just like us.

What makes the person you end up with special isn’t status or a lack of stretch marks, but the extraordinary fact that God made them and you get to be with them. Modernity has killed the mundane. Public image defines us more so than being imagers of God. We need to change that toxic perspective that has hurt a lot of people.

Don’t look for the perfect person because you’ll never find anyone close to that sinful standard. Rather, become someone who is by God’s sanctification transforming you into the one for someone in your life. Don’t find the one, be the one. With that, Godspeed and Jesus bless.

Footnotes

  1. https://www.pexels.com/

Dawn + Joe’s Wedding | 7-24-2021

Photo Cred: (1) | Updated: 11/25/2021

This was a first for me. As a young pastor in the making, to officiate my first wedding was a huge deal. There was a lot of deliberation on my part in deciding to even commit to such a large responsibility in the first place. Never thought I’d be the guy to run one of these.

I distinctly remember being asked by Dawn if I would like to officiate their wedding. She texted me on January 23rd, 2021 and I took a whole day to text back. For one, I was shocked that they would want me to do it in the first place. I knew they were going to get married one day, but to seal the deal as their friend was such an honor after all these years.

Wedding Theology

The other roadblock I had to overcome was can I as a Christian pastor marry two people who may not be Christians? To be honest, I wasn’t sure about their faith and didn’t know the answer. To the surprise of many, there are very few people that I know are Christians. For most people, I have no idea and neither do you. Only God knows who is his and who isn’t.

So in the single day where I deliberated and asked advice from several people, I also studied this out for myself. I needed to know what I believed before I made a decision. So I did what I usually do and went back to Scripture itself.

From there I came to a new conclusion: marriage was a universal good that preceded the fall of mankind and this was critical in a lot of ways. One of those ways is that it’s one of a few, universal goods we find before mankind fell out of God’s grace and into sin. Here we see that taking care of Earth and its inhabitants or work and handling responsibilities is good, along with marriage itself. Therefore, these things must be better than the lack of them.

It’s better to be taking care of Earth than destroying it. It’s better to work hard than to be lazy. It’s better to be together than to be alone. Adam and Eve were alone, but God united them.

Premarital Prep

But should everyone be married? No and that led to my next question. Should they be married? They were dating for years, lived together raising teenagers, and were in their 40s as a couple after previous long-term relationships. From first glance, this was a very stable relationship already. So why did they get married?

Well, for them it was about telling their world and the world that they were together forever. Similar to how Protestants look at baptism, it was an outward expression of an inward decision. A pledge from the heart to be one with the one they love. For them, this was a permanent promise and I could discern that in prayer. The intent was there and obvious.

So over a period of 4 months, we did about 8 sessions of premarital counseling leading up to the wedding on July 24th, 2021. We began with Larry Crabb’s book, The Marriage Builder, but realised that book is dated and not that good. So I developed my own material for them to finish the rest of the sessions of premarital counseling. Using a framework I made from a previous blogpost of mine, each week we focused on 1 of the 5 core pillars of any good marriage: worldview, social status, intimacy, finances, and communication. This was what they needed and it worked well.

When the premarital counseling ended in early June, it gave them almost 2 months to prepare the rest of the wedding and myself time to think through what the hell I was going to say during the ceremony. As a preacher, sharing a message at a wedding is drastically different from your typical Sunday sermon. The atmosphere, the audience, and even the actual flow of this type of public speaking is far different than a normal church service.

Believe it or not, for the life of me I couldn’t get myself to write the message until it was the day before the wedding. Usually I write out my messages on Google Drive a few days earlier in the week word-for-word, wait a day or two, and then hand-write the key ideas into bullet points in my sermon journal the day before sharing it. This time, I buckled down with a glass of my reliable Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban whisky neat and got to work in the afternoon. I eventually stopped writing after hours around 1:00 am and then picked up again later that morning of the wedding. Quick advice: don’t do that.

Wedding Day

Regardless, I finished the message right in the knick of time and headed to the Historic Rapids Lodge & Restaurant in Grand Lake. During the end of my over 2 hour trek there, I prayed for their future as husband and wife. After typical set up and small talk, along with teaching Dawn’s son how to play chess it was time to start the ceremony.

Now I can’t recall everything I said because a good half of it was improvised in-the-moment, which is my style of preaching. Mostly the examples and jokes were on the fly, while the main ideas and structure was relatively intact. Either way, here’s most of the basic outline I had written in my sermon journal:

  • All rise.
  • On behalf of Dawn and Joe, I want to thank you for being here today. Not as observers only, but as active participants of the first day of the rest of their lives.
  • Marriage is a covenant, not a contract.
    • Contract = the desire to gain
    • Covenant = the desire to give
  • Marriage is the personal promise to be someone’s always and forever.
  • Let’s pray for the bride and groom.

Their Marriage Story

  • Dawn, you look beautiful and lovely on this wonderful day.
  • Joe, you look… present.
  • After all these years as your friend, it’s my honor and privilege to be here officiating your special day.
  • Before we share their marriage story, I’d like to share a personal promise from the book of Ruth.

Ruth 1:16-17 (NLT)

“But Ruth replied, “Don’t ask me to leave you and turn back. Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God. Wherever you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord punish me severely if I allow anything but death to seperate us!”

  • When I met Dawn
    • I was 18 and aimless
    • AvidMax highlights
  • When I met Joe
    • I was the investigative instigator
    • The moment I knew you were the guy for Dawn
  • Rules to Remember
    • Life is a garden.
      • Explain inosculation
      • Marriage is when two gardens become one.
    • Head, Heart; Hands
      • Actively listen and empathetically act.
    • Life is a pain, but God is our joy.
      • You get to be married, so live like it and embrace the adventure.
      • There will be trials and triumph, yet God will always be your constant.
  • Be one, be open, and be optimistic.

Outro

  • Vows
  • Rings
  • I pronounce you husband and wife. You may now kiss the bride.
  • Ladies and gentlemen, give it up for Mr. and Mrs. Quinn!

Final Thoughts

Overall, I think it went ok for my first time officiating a wedding. They loved it and the crowd thought it was hilarious. Most of the audience didn’t know me, so I used that as my comedic edge to catch them by surprise with shocking zingers and also to balance the more serious stuff. There were definitely minor things I would do differently, but I wouldn’t have known those things anyway unless I had already officiated a wedding before. You don’t know until you know those sorts of things.

My only major regret was skipping over the vows section of the wedding on accident because of my nervousness. Not nervous from the public speaking per se, but more so the pressure of just trying to give them the wedding they wanted. Total amateur move, but learned my lesson there. Don’t veer from audience expectations and tradition too much or else some key moments could be missed that people want to see.

Either way, this is one of the highlights of the year for me and I’m glad I got to be a part of it with them. Cheers to the mighty Quinns! With that, Godspeed and Jesus bless.

Footnotes

  1. Free stock photos · Pexels

To the Bride and Groom

Photo Cred: (1) | Updated: 5/27/2019

Recently, my friend David got married and it got me thinking about marriage in general. If someone was to tell me something I needed to know before I ever got married to have a successful marriage, what would I need to hear? What is something every couple needs to know and have in mind before their wedding day? Well, I would want realistic expectations and some sort of idea of what will happen regardless of what that marriage turns out to be in the future. Something that needs to be known before “just married” becomes married.

As I have observed other marriages in my life, I have noticed five things that every marriage faces. Five obstacles that can repair or ruin this relationship. These obstacles are communication, finances, intimacy, society, and worldview. Every couple will face one, if not, all five of these types of obstacles during the duration of their marriage. So for those of you who are either going to be married or just got married, then this blog-post is for you.

1) Communication

The obstacle of communication revolves around the issue of who matters more in this conversation: me, you, or us. The answer is us, not you or me. It’s called a team effort for a reason: teams communicate well because they have to, in order to win. Likewise, spouses communicate well, in order to maintain their marriage.

In marriage, everything you and your spouse do in life from now on will be communicated one way or the other. There are always going to be two types of marriages: those that communicate well and those that communicate poorly. Which marriage do you want?

By taking the effort to communicate well with your spouse on little things, you won’t have to worry when big situations come up. You will have all of that discipline to not only speak openly, but also to listen actively. All good marriages have a great sense of communication. Does yours? Will yours? If not, say something to your spouse or spouse-to-be and work on being better before it’s too late.

2) Intimacy

The obstacle of intimacy is a matter of understanding love and then living that out practically. Love at its core is sacrificial, not sexual. Christ was sacrificed because of God’s love for us, even while we were in sin. The husband is commanded to follow this example and sacrificially love his wife.

Likewise, Christ respects His Father in Heaven. The wife is commanded to follow this example and respectfully love her husband. The answer to the obstacle of intimacy in marriage is sacrificially loving your lover with consistency. Better to have loved too much than to have never loved someone enough.

3) Finances

The obstacle of finances is a problem rooted in a combination of faithfulness, honesty, and wisdom. If you are faithful with little, then you can be faithful with much. Whether that be saving, spending, or investing. Your faithfulness in finances will translate into honest use of your money as one couple. This faithfulness and honesty will in turn become wisdom in all of your financial endeavors.

I’ve seen countless couples who have a horrible marriage because of the tensions of bad financial decisions. This can lead them to either go broke or divorce. Don’t be them. Prepare ahead of time for the financial emergencies and general costs of marriage before they happen. Save, spend, and invest wisely while you have the advantage at the beginning of your marriage, not after you have already dug your financial ruin like everybody else. Be wise by making financially wise decisions in marriage.

4) Society

When two families join together and become in-laws to one another, this can be both bad and good. The obstacle of society is the social pressures of maintaining the expectations of those closest to you. This could be your in-laws, your family, your friends, or even your “public image” on social media.

First and foremost, live out the expectations for marriage as instructed by God before you ever listen to anyone else. Everyone else’s opinions on your marriage can wait as you listen to the Lord’s instruction. God’s expectations should be your standard for how your marriage should look and be perceived by others.

On the other hand, when two families unite through marriage you will inherit newfound responsibilities that you should certainly prepare for now rather than later. These are natural and should be celebrated new changes in your new life together. Nevertheless, marriage is two people married under God and it doesn’t have any wiggle room for control-freak family members, friends, or nosy neighbors to nitpick your every decision. If you follow God first and then listen to others, you’ll be just fine.

5) Worldview

The obstacle of worldview is a problem that deals with how the home will be run. How does your worldview align with your spouse? Do you share the same worldview or do they differ? Are you both Buddhist or Christian? Atheist or Muslim?

You need to be aware of the fact that if you both have differing worldviews, it will be much harder to run the home as a team because of the disagreements that can arise in different ideologies. It is crucial to keep in mind how each other’s worldview will impact the other as you both grow closer together. Your combined worldviews are the foundation for the way your new life together will turn out. If you have no foundation, how can you even begin to build a home? Start with a firm foundation and work from there. Know your spouse and allow yourself to be known by your spouse. With that, Godspeed and Jesus bless!

Footnotes

  1. www.pexels.com

 

Dear Brad and Rachel

Photo Cred: Steve Martin | Updated: 5/27/2019

Dear Bradford,

When we first met, I thought you were weird. After many years of being your friend, I still think you’re weird. From our summer camp experiences in youth group to our thrift store crawls after a bustling night of vending at Coors Field, you have never seized to be instantaneously fun when the time calls for it. With that said, the attribute that I will always associate with you is diligent perseverance when it’s time to go to work. The way you buckle in and finish everything you do in life with excellence is an admirable trait that the majority of men our age sadly are severely lacking, including me.

In remembrance of this admirable trait, I am reminded of Genesis 2:15. A verse I uphold with great significance as to what it means to not only be human, but how to be a man after God’s own heart. For God created with the intent that we would take care of His Creation. If we know anything about our world and gardens in particular, it is that they require a good gardener to “cultivate it and keep it (1)” from becoming overgrown or branching away from the original design.

Every person that is of Christ has been given a garden from God to cultivate and keep together. Hence, our lives are gardens. Even those who are not of Christ have been endowed with a garden to cultivate and maintain, but those gardens bear bad fruit. We must trim and maintain these gardens. Eventually, we will present what we did with these God-given gardens to the Gardener that wept for His Creation in the Garden of Gethsemane (2) not to long ago before dying on a tree.

Brad, you’re a married man now. All that is yours is now Rachel’s too. Like all aspects of life, with the addition of time comes the addition of responsibility for the time we have lived. Be responsible and respectful of God’s garden and watch the fruits of your labor flourish as the years go by, which may include a quiver of children one day in the future.

Walk humbly before God. May this new change in the dynamics of your garden be one of challenge, yet of great gain. In all things, be the husband your wife needs, then the one she wants. Above all, “examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good and abstain from every form of evil (3).”

Your brother in law and in the LORD,

Chris Cribari

 

Dear Rachel,

Your day has finally arrived. The one that you have dreamed of and prayed for fervently is finally here. Now your wedding is the past and the present is at hand. Now is the time to seize time by taking every opportunity to glorify God in all that you do, which now includes marriage. Although marriage is a new dynamic to your life, it is a new tree that must be cared for on a daily basis.

From our long nights talking about the greater good found in God to the the obscure photo shoots we would have every so often, the attribute of yours that sticks out the most to me is how eager you’re to help others. How when we were younger and my autism was much more prevalent in those days, you helped me figure out the world as I was not quite like the other kids. It was your kindness and ability to aid others that has to be your greatest attribute. When Bradford came onto the scene to sweep you off of your feet, it fit perfectly with the groove of our family’s rhythm. With Bradford’s diligent perseverance and your elegant grace in helping others, the two of you fit excellently together.

Take our father and mother’s greatest attributes, Dad’s gratitude and Mom’s grace, with you into your covenant with your knight in shinning armor. Never forget the lessons of your youth and remain in the pursuit of truth. Let each passing day with its inevitable challenges bring forth comfort as you rest in the fact that you never have to face these challenges alone. Oh, and happily ever after. Always and forever.

Your brother in blood and the blood of Christ,

Chris Cribari

With that, Godspeed and Jesus bless!

Footnotes

  1. Genesis 2:15 (NASB)
  2. Matthew 26:36 (NASB)
  3. 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22 (NASB)

1 + 1 = 1: Entering Marriage in the Modern World

Photo Cred: (1) | Updated: 5/21/2019

There are many out there that usually skip the marital vows and go straight to the sexually and emotionally appealing part of a marriage, but when this happens they lose sight of what a relationship is really all about. Known as modern day dating or “friends with benefits,” this structure for relationships removes the covenant of marriage because a couple may want to immediately jump right into the “good stuff.” These so called relationships should really be referred to as, “children pretending to be adults who allow their senses to guide their every decision.”

In reality, that is what most people do when it comes to relationships. We have thrown marriage out the window because marriage is the hardest thing anyone will participate in for the very fact that it lasts years, decades, and even entire lifetimes. Marriage seriously takes a lot of work from both in the relationship.

What you find in the Western World is a lack of doing anything God’s way among most in society. This way of pursuing a relationship is similar in the way people go shopping for clothes. They try on a bunch of t-shirts, pants, socks, and so on before eventually finding “the one” outfit. This ideology for relationships is flawed because if you truly wanted to know who “the one” was, then you would have no need to try everyone else, but could just wait for God to reveal them to you. You would save time, money, and a lot of unnecessary complications. As Pastor Chuck Smith once said, “keep it simple stupid.”

In Psychology, Dr. Jean Piaget has this theory that there are four main stages of cognitive development in humans. They include the sensori-motor stage (birth to 2yrs.), the pre-operational stage (2yrs. to 7yrs.), the concrete operational stage (7yrs. to 11yrs.), and the formal operational stage (11yrs. to death). Now when observing a typical relationship in the Western World, both individuals may very well cognitively be in the formal operational stage, but in their relationship together, the couple lives like they are stuck in the sensori-motor stage which consists of “exploring the environment and acquiring knowledge through sensing and manipulating objects” the way a child figures the world out (2).

Most couples display this type of thinking in a way when interacting together by manipulating each other for either sexual pleasure or emotional highs. This way of manipulation can only lead to disappointment because both are temporary solutions to a constant problem: unquenchable satisfaction and purpose. This is why God created marriage and the ability to interact with Him on a relational basis. Humanity strives to be surrounded by others that fulfill their needs.

Today, the covenant and institution of marriage is changing so rapidly to fulfill the demands of everyone in society that eventually the original intentions for marriage will vanish. Where marriage once was about the sacred union between one man and one woman that was God ordained, today you could marry anyone for any reason. Humanity has forgotten why marriage exists in the first place: to reflect “the union of one man and one woman for life” that started with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden (3). God realized this predicament of Adam having no spouse and in that moment said “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him” (4). This is the origin of marriage and this is where anyone needs to start before thinking about beginning a marital relationship with someone else. But before someone should enter a marital relationship, here are five factors to consider.

The Biological Factor

This one is kind of easy to figure out. If you like someone, they will know. If someone likes you, you will know. Not to hard to figure out whether or not you like someone from a physical standpoint. This is also the first factor of the five that you may find out about one of your friends that you would like to pursue in a marital relationship, but nevertheless is still an essential factor to consider.

The Moral Factor

Does this person have morals? Are they morally upright? Marry someone who shares the worldview that you do. Where do morals come from? God. So marry a godly person and not someone ungodly. If you are a Christian, then by golly do not marry an Atheist! Go and marry someone with your worldview, not someone with views that collide with your own concerning the important stuff like “Who is Jesus?” or “What is the purpose of life?” Anyways, find someone aligned with what you believe.

King David once sang about the godly man in Psalm 1 where he said “Blessed is the man who walks not in the council of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the Law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night” (5). In life, your friends influence you and you influence your friends. So make sure that the friend that you pursue is a godly influence as you both walk together towards marriage. Whoever you begin to pursue, make sure they are someone who lives a life like the man from this psalm.

The Integrity Factor

Take into consideration who this person is on the inside, behind the masquerade that they may project when others are present. Who are they really when nobody is watching? These are questions you must contemplate to truly know what you are getting yourself into when you enter this marital relationship. Studies show that as couples grow old together they tend to become more and more like each other whether physically, emotionally, psychologically, etc. Is the person you pursue worth turning into as time goes on?

Several weeks ago, I was listening to a sermon from the pastor in my church’s high school youth group. While taking notes I suddenly heard a thought in my head that said, “when two trees grow next to each other, they either die or grow together.” Now this little thought had nothing to do with the teaching which really perplexed me and this thought suddenly pulled me right out of the sermon.

After the sermon was over I went to bed hours later still dwelling on this thought because it really did come from nowhere (i.e. it was Holy Spirit speaking internally to me). A day or two later after still thinking on this phrase, I finally went online, Googled the phrase, and came upon the scientific term called inosculation. In studies such as botany, bionomics, and dendrology, inosculation is a natural phenomenon where when two trees grow in a close proximity, they grow into each other either becoming one tree or killing each other.

Let me explain why this relates to marriage. This natural phenomenon is a great real life parallel of what happens over time when “two become one flesh” through marriage (6). A couple either becomes stronger together as “iron sharpens iron” or a couple ruins each other (7). With divorce rates always on the rise, the need to find someone of integrity should be a priority for things to look for in a future spouse.

The Spiritual Factor

This one is quite simple and does need much explanation. Find someone who is led by the Holy Spirit and knows the one true, triune God. Pursue someone who knows Jesus and has a relationship with Him. That person is worth the effort needed for a fulfilling marital relationship. I would rather marry a woman of character than the caricature of a woman. Sadly, most people settle for the caricature of a man or a woman because they either lack patience or the discernment to detect what a true man or a true woman really is in this world.

In order to find that special someone of interest, look for the directions found in the Bible and the breadcrumb clues that God leaves in the experiences within your friendships. When you find someone of interest, ask questions like: “Are they a passive believer or an active believer?” What may also help is setting up a standard as to what you want in a good partner. This may be anything like if a certain denomination is important to you or if no denomination is important to you, for example. One standard you may hold is that they have to be actively in the ministry and not just a CEO Christian (Christmas, Easter, & Other Holidays). The point is that you need to find the friend that will point you back to God and not themselves, which can be one of the highest expressions of love.

The Social Factor

What are they like in social settings when they are interacting in society? What are they like at church, work, school, and so on? Are they the same or do they change into someone else to hide who they really are because they fear scrutiny or judgment from others? These are the types of questions that should cross your mind as you seek the person you will one day wed in the future.

If you do not plan to marry the person you want to pursue then go home, turn off all the lights, light a candle, sit in a corner, and rethink your life. If the end goal of the relationship is not for marriage, then why the pineapple are you in a relationship?! Sex? Companionship? Social status? These things are temporary and do not sustain a long lasting relationship which are also not the point of one either.

The point of a marital relationship is becoming one flesh (the fun part) and to reflect the love that God has for the church (the serious part). Plus there is the part where you may want to raise children. Is the person you want to pursue the same person you want to raise a family with in the future after you get married? Society thrives because of the lessons from a previous generation passed onto the children of a new generation. Raising godly children is the key to sustaining culture, family heritage, and society as a whole. Just another thing to think about before getting into a relationship.

Once these five factors have been acknowledged and a consistent amount of prayer has been given by both people in the potential marital relationship, only then should someone move forward into a marital relationship because they have the necessary foundation to begin pursuing a marital relationship. Prayer is key because if God says no, then for goodness sake do not go! Since God is the necessary being that keeps everything going and created everything, His say in who you marry matters. If God tells you yes to pursue someone, then pursue them. The point is just listen to what God has to say to you first.

Another necessity needed before pursuing a marital relationship with someone is to be friends beforehand. This is probably the easiest thing to understand and something that I have already mentioned at least a few times, but is constantly underutilized. I have seen many people get into a relationship that does not work out simply because there was no friendship to start. Put simply, be friends then become “best friends with benefits” within the context of marriage.

Remember, this is your relationship with your special someone whoever it may be in the future. There is no outline on how to do this crazy thing called marriage. Some of the greatest couples learn the good stuff from going through the really bad stuff, only to find it was all worth it because the journey brought them closer to each other. The best advice I can give is twofold: a) start from the Bible; branch outwards from there concerning truth on relationships and b) go talk to old people that have been married for decades. Old married people know their stuff on how to have a fulfilling marriage. So when in doubt on how to enter a relationship, just remember: the Bible and old people. With that, Godspeed and Jesus bless!

Footnotes

  1. https://howlingpixel.com/i-en/Inosculation
  2. Hockenbury & Hockenbury, Discovering Psychology
  3. www.gotquestions.org – What is the definition of marriage?
  4. NASB Genesis 2:18
  5. NKJV Psalm 1:1-2
  6. HCSB Genesis 2:24
  7. NASB Proverbs 27:17
  8. Disclaimer