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The Lifetime Laptop Shop

Nicole Parker


Are you dreaming of your soul mate–but keep ending up in relational nightmares instead? Through parable, humor and real-life stories, this seminar will coach you on how to avoid some of the most common perilous dating traps.


Nicole Parker

Wife, mother, and Biblical counselor




  • October 21, 2017
    4:15 PM


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Father in heaven thank you so much for your love for us thank you for the Sabbath we ask that your Holy Spirit will be here with us GA each one of us Lord you know the future for every person here and I know you have a plan for them to find the right person to get married or to however they serve you to glorify you and to live a joyful and rich and fulfilling life so I pray that you will guide each person here and help us to love you more and to love others too amen the life time laptop shop some of you probably heard that title and said What is she going to talk about what I'm talking about tonight today is about principles of how to choose a life partner Now remember I said principles what word did I say principles thank you so when I talk about principles that's not the same thing as a recipe right when you follow a recipe No I'm bad appalling recipes anyway recipes are to me general suggestions so I read the recipe and I go I could add this and I don't like that and so recipes don't always work that great in my kitchen but that's OK because my family is a captive audience they have to eat them anyway. However you really don't want to be a captive when it comes to getting married and it's kind of difficult sometimes because people really want to recipe they want to be sure they're not going to end up with a bad marriage and unfortunately recipes just don't happen I don't find anywhere in the Bible or Spirit of Prophecy or anything where you kind of get a recipe that if you just follow this then God will give you what you want Nowhere does God promise if you put in the right amount of change and push the right buttons your future partner will pop out of the vending machine and be perfect for you just what you ordered right that's not anywhere in the promises of God However I do believe there are principles that God wants to use to guide us so I'm going to start out with an allegory here about dating something that I thought through one day as I was watching the way that people date. This story is about a Christmas tree right so one night a young man had a dream in his dream he found himself in this huge department store but the store was empty except for this magnificent Christmas tree now I'm sure you. As are all paranoid of the thought of starting out with Christmas decorations right now because it's only a job or bear with me anyway it's a Christmas story so here he is looking at this massive tree me says What am I doing here why is it Christmas in October right. He goes over to this brilliant gold sign beside the tree and it says lifetime laptop shop and he says oh wow lifetime laptop shop What is this in flaming letters it says in this store you will choose your lifetime laptop barring extraordinary circumstances this laptop will be your only laptop for the rest of your life don't worry these are not traditional laptops while it may accumulate Somewhere Over time your laptop will automatically download new applications and software to update itself but remember every laptop has limited capabilities in some areas and will likely only download software compatible with its design this laugh talk will be an intimate part of every area of the rest of your life above all you must choose your original model carefully to a significant degree this choice will determine your entire future happiness and your accomplishments from this day forward for additional vital information in the process of selection please consult a manual below so the man looks right below this and sure enough there was a stack of free manuals so he picked one up and said Room this looks good started opening it would you like some assistance a guy came over to him he had on his name tag and he's wearing a white robe he said Yeah I'd like some help for starters I'm wondering what's going on here he looked over at the Christmas tree and under the Christmas tree a bunch of people had arrived and they were all pawing through the packages underneath the tree so he said what are they doing so the guide said to them well they're choosing their life. Time laptops just then a guy jumped out of the stack and said I found it and raced off toward the checkout and he said what's that guy doing and the guy had said well he just chose his lifetime laptop and he said Wait how did he choose it and the guide said he liked the wrapping paper. Said OK. He said You've got to be kidding doesn't he understand this process. The guide said well he saw the sign if that's what you're asking he knows about the process he knows that we have a manual here I tried to hand him one but he just threw it aside and took off toward the pile OK he said Well so what's going to happen he said Well unfortunately that guy had said this is going to be the death of many of his dreams and the death of my dreams for him another man waited out of the mess right then he said I'm sick of looking this one looks really good I just want it excuse me the guide said but that would have happiness driven. And you're not going to really enjoys it or that happiness driven sounds great to me the man said and stormed off toward the checkout I want to be happy happiness is the main thing I want. So. Now the man said to the clerk will so what's happening with that why is that happiness true and what does that mean he said Well there are two different kinds of laptops happiness driven and holiness driven if you have a happiness driven one. Happiness driven one is going to do primarily whatever it wants to do. Or OK well what's the whole industry of and one holiness driven ones are ones that do what they are designed to do their interaction is the opposite they are designed so that your goal in life and in computer shopping should be to glorify God and fulfill His purpose so you can't just do whatever you want with a holiness driven computer you have to choose what. To do based on what it's designed to do and what you are called to do you have to agree to live your life and use your laptop to please its designer not just yourself. OK Like I said so either it will never satisfy me or I can't please myself. That's pretty much it said the guide Well that doesn't sound very good. This then a guy waited out with another laptop and said I want to take this want to date it. Why can't he do that said the guy the guy and the guy said Oh yeah most people do dating the computer means they can take it home for a little while they can access some of the functions but not others if they do access the others it releases a virus Oh no he said. What is the virus do. The virus rips through the hard drive it attacks the love the respect of the security it blocks the research process and handicaps the user's judgement woa has said nobody does that right. Well said the guide Unfortunately most do he said but can the virus be reversed Well sometimes with a laptop reboot sometimes you have to send it back to the manufacturer for a while sometimes it's irreversible and there are always losses and the more they defy the covenant the more damage is done the less they care that's crazy said the guy yes but it doesn't really matter to them that someday you see this is right now they want what they want right now when they want it they don't want to surrender their computer back to the designer or for any period of time surrender the guide said is actually the hardest part of the process well can they just return it afterward and get another one as the guy yes but they lose everything pictures work their whole lives are sometimes locked into that computer by the time they return it after dating so many people decide they don't want to lose all of that stuff they decide to keep the computer they've dated even though there's a price and that price can be very high. Wow So the man so they can date it if they're very careful they said yes they've If they don't research before dating the computer though they won't know what it's available to do some great computers are never going to be capable of doing what the specific user needs there are thousands of unique applications backgrounds options many of them are available on LI a few computers but people don't care said the guide unfortunately they just want a nice laptop fast they often just pick one because the wrapping paper looks great it was on top of the pile they they pick the color they say oh this is a pink one they don't even care about the rest of it they research later because they just can't keep their hands off it's like they're addicted later they find out about the capabilities and the design but they've already taken at home. Wow So they got a guy that's really terrible how do they get wrapped this way can't can't you figure out something from the right thing well you can you can actually figure out very little from the wrapping set the guide and sometimes the most attractively wrapped packages have the least options. But if all you're interested in it's appearance instead of holiness driven software it will come at a price often the users only this only discover the limitations too late and they've already invested so much they just can't bear to return it wow the man said looking back at this pile of packages with everybody just rummaging through them like crazy said look they're throwing laptops everywhere don't they care what they're doing to them Look he said yeah it's crazy the guy answered it's really unfortunate and the worst part is I would help them carefully do the research if they would let me if they would allow me to help them through the process I know every one of these laptops I'm the one who made every single one of them and I've designed each one I'll help them to choose one that will do the things that they want and that will be able to access all the options that they need but unfortunately almost nobody will let me help with that process and of course a person can survive with almost any laptop they have a laptop they can do the things that they need to do but they miss out on so much when they just snatch one I designed each one for a purpose you see I'm continually updating each one but if the interactions between the user and the computer become happiness driven Unfortunately they handicapped that constant redesign process not one of them will be utilized correctly or fulfill its purpose if they use it happiness driven away. So the guy said let me understand this correctly if I want to be happy and satisfied with my lifetime laptop Ideally I have to let you help me research and choose one then I practice guided interaction with it for a while and I follow the rules right here in the manual he held up his manual then if I do all of those things I safeguard the love respect and security. And if I avoid the off limits parts of the dating during the dating time if I void the stuff that's on off limits that will enrich the love the respect and the security Yes So the guide and if the weight and you access those at the right time with my permission the previously forbidden options provide tremendous happiness and fulfillment trust me follow the process toward ownership that I've laid out Wow The man said he set down the manual and he looked at the Gaiety said Please guide me. I surrender this process to you I realize looking at the way these people are handling it I don't want to damage all these other people's laptops I don't want to damage mine I want to choose one that you can help me to choose please help me show me how to be holiness driven not happiness driven I surrender this process to you now what do I need to do and the Master smiled and said you just did what you need to do. Now can you see the applications in the story. What what stuck out to you in this process have you seen people rummaging around like crazy through the laptops just grabbing whatever is closest to. Vesper States yes. My husband preaches the truth. Didn't find me on a Vespers day we'll talk about that later I'm going to talk with you about some steps to follow in choosing Now remember we mentioned earlier but I think it's really worth mentioning again a lot of people really like this idea that if you just pray hard enough and you restrain yourself and do everything right that God is going to keep you from getting your heart broken that you'll just find the person you'll pray about it God will make a a lovely light shine down upon the right one and he'll pick that person out and you might as well pick a wedding date at that point because God has shown you that you should be together and that means you're going to live happily ever after right I believe that's very dangerous My husband's going to talk a little bit more about the dangers of that approach later but I want you to remember this is not a recipe OK if you follow God's plan realize people are still people they're sinners we change we die we lie sometimes you can you can go through a whole process sincerely praying and dating this person and thinking that God is leaving you together and still end up in a very bad situation if you do God has backup plans to help you to work through that and to find help and healing in his church and through accountability and through counseling and things like that but I still believe that God does work powerfully to lead in the process of choosing a mate I told the Lord before I met my husband I said if there is somebody out there and I'm pretty sure there's not because I couldn't imagine myself walking down the aisle in the white dress you know girls how this is right you go to weddings and you're just like that could never POS. Simply happened to me right that's what I felt and it did happen so miracles happen. But I told the Lord if there is anybody out there that I could possibly marry then I just want you to help me to choose the best one the one that if I marry him there will be the most people in heaven because we married each other even if they were maybe there are five different guys that I could marry and any one of them would have a beautiful rich fulfilling marriage I want that one the one that will be the best a winning team with me so there will be the most people in heaven and I definitely believe that God answered that prayer and married me to the best man in the world but you know if I had married somebody who hadn't been the best person in the world for me if he and I had both been willing to surrender everything to the Lord God would still have been able to make a beautiful marriage out of our relationship so I want you to realize God helps us follow principles some people get so discouraged after they get married and they feel like wait I didn't marry the right one we have these conflicts we have these problems or even I know I didn't follow God's process I don't want you to be discouraged if you're in that situation because God still leads people he doesn't say well if you made a mistake rewind get out of that marriage he says let's keep going forward and grow in love and grace toward one another love is risky that's an important thing for us to realize did God have a guarantee that it would all work out great when he created us when he chose to love us he took the risk of being hurt and in a sinful world when we choose to love we take the risk of being hurt too in fact it's a guarantee if you marry that person even if they die the next day it's going to hurt right and if they don't die they're going to hurt you in other ways because people misunderstand each other people miscommunicate people are selfish so love is risky and marriage is risky but when we share these principles I think that following that will dramatically increase your risk of success because you know as much as you want to have a happy marriage how many people in here want to have a happy marriage. All right but your parents did too and a lot of them didn't end up having happy marriages right. If you want to have a happy marriage just take comfort in the fact that God wants you to have a happy marriage much more than you do he wants you to have a beautiful rich fulfilling relationship that teaches you to love him and to love others. But nowadays reliving a culture in which marriage is a very happiness driven concept and we're living in an age of wedding and marriage mania Pinterest right eight things you need to have in common for someone to be your soul mate I'm not recommending that I don't know what it's in there but I just put it up there is an illustration you know we live in Pinterest land everybody's got four million ideas of what they want their marriage to be like and what they want their wedding to be like and all of that and marketers know what we're interested in don't they. So we have a wedding everything on the market and anything that you want to dream about you can dream about and look it up on Pinterest and fantasize you know we all want the happily ever after marriage and some people get it so all of us are going wow maybe all be the one that gets lucky maybe I'll be the one who finds that you know guys look around the women around. You. Have probably mostly already chosen their bridesmaids right come on women how many of you know some of your bridesmaids. They change if you only get married five years from now it'll probably switch out a little bit you'll add some new ones you know but we're picking our bridesmaids guys. Women in this room look at that picture and thought that's a good color scheme. Or no I wouldn't do that I'm going to go for the brighter tones I've already chosen how many of you already chosen your wedding colors. OK There we go. I'm telling you we think about our wedding yes and we hope that our marriages will be good but often people put a lot more planning into their wedding than they do into their marriage with disastrous results. Researchers tracked more than twenty four thousand people from one thousand nine hundred to one nine hundred ninety five asking participants every year to rate their overall life satisfaction from zero totally unhappy to ten totally happy the average boost from marriage as these people got married was small one tenth of one point on the scale in other words they took single people and tracked them through these years as one by one they tied the knot and they watched to see how people rated their happiness and you know what they found people who were basically unhappy before marriage that if they rated themselves that a three then they would have a little blip of happiness around the wedding planning and honeymoon and then they would go right back to being about three. Or worse and then there were people who were not mine and they would go along happy happy happy and have a nine point five and then they would go back to being about a nine. People who were basically happy before marriage remain basically happy after marriage people who are basically unhappy before marriage remain basically unhappy after marriage and tragically many people who get. Married when they're basically unhappy end up even more unhappy after marriage because before marriage at least they had the hope someday I'm going to find my dream person. But once they're married and I like and now I'm stuck with this person who is not my dream person if only I could have that one or that one or any one except this jerk right. So marriage doesn't actually make you happier statistically it may make you live longer especially if you're a guy and there are things like that but the the end result of the research was people who get married and stayed married are more satisfied than average long before the marriage has occurred. However even though people know things like that we all know married people and we don't find that they're off the charts happy or even if everything that they post on social media makes it look like they are. But the pursuit of marriage often leads people to greater unhappiness fifty percent of all teenage relationships break up within a very short period of time and ninety percent of all teenage relationships will end in a breakup and even if they don't end in a break up before marriage they're much much more likely to end in divorce if they started in the teenage years more than fifty percent of all marriages started between the ages of twenty and twenty five eventually end in divorce according to the National Center for Health Statistics if you are under the age of eighteen when you get married then your divorce will likely happen in the first ten years of marriage if you decide on cohabitation instead of marriage in other words if you live together for a while before you get married your odds are even worse up to an eighty percent chance of a breakup so if you try cohabiting it's likely not going to work well now think about that for a minute. Let's say that you were planning to go on a vacation you're so excited you've bought the tickets you're headed for I don't know where should we go Hawaii hunder or I will do I.E. off we go to Hawaii we're so excited we've been planning this for months we've packed all our favorite clothes we sacrificed to buy some cool bathing suit that we think will make us look too bad on the beach right so we get into the airplane and just before we take off or on the runway we've got our seat belts fastened and the pilot comes on the the loudspeaker and says We just want you to know we're having some engine problems but we've decided to go ahead and take the flight anyway and according to our mechanics we have at least a fifty percent chance of making it to Hawaii without crashing. So we're going to go ahead and take off but we're giving you the option to get off the plane if you want. Are you headed for Hawaii all of a sudden you're not. All of a sudden it sounds great to sit by the pool in Birmingham for a week in comparison right so if this were a plane ride none of us would be doing it right but instead it's a marriage and astonishingly people are so much more willing to risk sacrificing essentially the rest of their lives for the shot at being able to be married Roger and Becky Tara basi wrote about working with dating engaged couples it's like working with people on drugs natural chemical such as dopamine endorphins serotonin and oxytocin can cause the same reaction as an illicit drug dating and engaged couples often find themselves in a chemically induced condition they have the uncanny ability to focus on their partner's positive strengths and traits while rarely noticing the reality of their partner's weaknesses how many of you have ever tried to persuade somebody who's in a bad relationship that they're in a bad relationship if you've done this and then you decided to just go do something useful like beat your head against a brick wall right. Because it's less frustrating. Yet people who are in this dopamine induced condition are just so desperate to continue this relationship that they can't see the stuff that's glaringly obvious sometimes even if they just dated somebody just like this last year and you watch the whole thing fall apart you're like but can't you see how she's doing exactly the same as that your same things your ex didn't like happen you don't understand her heart is so beautiful. Whatever Anyway people get do in this his potential I just see his potential Oh if I had a dollar for every time I've had somebody tell me that this person had potential Don't marry potential there you go OK end of that story studies suggest that romantic attachment is more powerful than the sex. Neurologically speaking that's in your brain it's easier to say no to physical sexual passion than it is to regulate the rush of emotional infatuation by Gary Thomas from the sacred search now men don't think that it's only women who read romance novels that fall for this stuff right men are attracted to physical appearance more than women are in general there are some women that are more into physical appearance but most psychologists believe that more men than women experience love at first sight Have you heard some love at first sight stories they lead to miserably ever after very often just so you know. Ellen White had something to say about this she said in administration page forty four marriage in a majority of cases most marriages in other words is a most galling yoke there are thousands that are mated but not matched the books of heaven are burdened with the woes the wickedness and the abuse that lie hidden under the marriage mantel just in case you thought that back in the good old days in the eight hundred one they lived on the farm everything was wonderful it's only our modern culture know as long as you got sinners getting married you're going to have problems and marriages and the fact that people couldn't divorce for whatever reason back then only meant that they stayed in abusive situations often no matter what happened how many of you have seen marriage to be a most galling yoke in the lives of your friends or family members if you watch that as a marriage counselor I see it every week terrible stories come to me of how people's lives are being destroyed and unfortunately children often come into that why is that why is it that people keep doing this to themselves because of love's evil twin lust when people fall into relationships instead of intentionally thinking and praying things through they desire happiness instead of holiness and that that thirst for happiness drives them forward even when they realize that the. Relationship is not imaging God Well. Here are some of the potholes in The Road Most Traveled attraction people make their decision based on attractiveness the wrapping paper right I hate to break it to you but if you're the most beautiful woman in the room today thirty years from now you're not going to be the most beautiful woman in the room anymore unless everybody in the room is older than you are right we just we do this I.V. bag elephant thing eventually we all do so if you choose somebody based on attractiveness or if you try to get somebody to choose you based on attractiveness you're going to be in trouble in a few years impulsiveness this one was right here she sat next to me a vest first I just prayed about it and I knew it was Providence because I had asked the Lord that if somebody would sit next to me a vespers and if she was wearing a red dress that would be my sign and so yes. Impulsiveness instead of prayerfully thinking things through infatuation or lust Well we started making out and after that it just everything she did seem so perfect test drive commitments Well I didn't really have anybody in my church at home there was only one person and you know we've kind of known each other for a long time but eventually we started dating just because it was the only person around and I figured well you know why not maybe it'll work out right the boy next door failed relationship which often comes after a test drive commitment after your relationship is shattered then you feel worse than you felt before it started and then along comes the floating cloud of happy person right and along we go into a new failed after the failed relationship we're looking for a new excitement and a fast track to feeling better and ultimately all of these are rooted in a self centered focus where wanting to find somebody who will make us happy rather than trying to glorify God Here is a summary of what drives a lot of those things a life partner is chosen based on attractiveness or circumstances Well we were at school together he was the only other person in my class. I liked whatever not character how much is this person like Jesus and personality how much is this person like me commitment based on feeling not choice and conviction and there are three possible outcomes when you get into a relationship like this you might end up with happily ever after some people do some people make the decision for all the wrong reasons she was pregnant so we got married and now we've been married for forty years and we're just so happy together you know God is a God of redemption he'll pull things around whenever he can for anyone he can so sometimes the happily ever after happens but the more you choose based on these factors the more likely it is that you'll fall into one of the other two categories a breakup that's made very very painful by bonding or a life commitment that's built on a faulty foundation you know I dated a guy before my husband unbelievable I know why didn't I just wait for him but along came a guy he seemed like the most spiritual guy around he had a nice car he had a nice job he seemed like a nice guy he liked me I liked him I was out of college so is he off we went into a wonderful relationship except it wasn't because I didn't realize I didn't know him well beforehand we just met a couple months before I didn't realize that we had massive personality clashes and our convictions about things like health like dress like life style were just very different but the more that we dated and the more these obvious glaring differences came between us the more I was like well we've got to talk about these things but he's like No let's not talk about them right now let's just keep dating maybe things will go away maybe it'll all work out let's date for a couple of years and if we still like each other and everything seems to be fine then we'll talk about those things so finally I sat down with him and I told him Look here's what's going to happen it's true it might all work out there's a small chance of that but here are the more likely things number one will stay together for those two years. And then at the end of it when we actually talk about these things will realize this is never going to work out and then we've blown two years of our lives and it hurts so much more to break up we've been together all of that time and then the other option is that even though we know it's not really working out well we'll remain committed because we've invested so much and we'll stay together and we'll have a life commitment built on a faulty foundation so I told him this feeling like OK now we'll finally talk through these things so two weeks later he broke up with me which was actually about the best thing that ever happened in my life but at the time of course I felt like my entire life had been ripped apart and I was just completely destroyed anyway so a lot of bad ideas of how to find somebody to marry God has a better plan let's talk about that OK. This is a idea my husband and I have that we're we're going to write a book on one of these days and we can finish it don't fall in love crawl in love in the queue our kids are cuter than to say and. Also there's no drool there but anyway. Crawling in love This is an intentional process that my husband's going to be building on some of the things that I'm talking about but I'm going to give you some basic five steps for how to work through some of your differences and how to choose a spouse in a wise way in a process it's not perfect it's not a recipe but you know most people don't end up with an I second Rebecca situation right you just pray and God sends a servant to a far away country and comes back with a spouse for you and you know this is the one because there aren't any others right maybe that's your dream situation but most of us would like to have a little more say in that. So I'm going to give you five simple steps that you need to follow Yes crawlin love crawling in love is intentional good point you know when you fall in something it's generally an accident right my son fell yesterday against the wall because my sons were wrestling with each other and they like to do that even though I said don't he fell against the wall and his two tooth went all the way through his cheek yeah ouch that's what happens when you fall you do not want to fall into love it is often a disaster it is even usually a disaster instead when you crawl you're doing something intentionally you're slowly carefully progressing into a relationship with your eyes wide open going carefully. So step one in the process of crawling in love becoming whole in Christ focusing on your relationship with God is the first thing you want to do when you're trying to get into a relationship that will be the basis of the rest of your life you're going to be driven to all the wrong things unless you're finding your security in Christ first. With my husband I didn't meet him until I was twenty six at that time I was fairly certain that I had met all the good guys in the world and none of them were going to be the right one for me so that was fine I was going to spend my life single and I'd probably end up as a missionary in some remote jungle corner until I died of a tropical disease which was good I was ready for that and then along came the man of my dreams and we got married a year later when I was twenty seven now to you guys it might sound like twenty six you know I remember somebody telling me the statistic that the best marriages the most stable marriages. According to research start when people are between the ages of twenty eight and thirty and I was like a whole Lord please don't make me wait that. So you answered my prayer I was twenty seven. Focus on your relationship with God I came to the point where I was so happy and fulfilled in ministry and with a rich friendship network. Just rejoicing in the Lord there were so many more ways that I needed to grow but I was very happy and content with my walk with God I built quality same sex friendships and you know what you may not realize it now but you're laying the groundwork right now for the people who are going to be there for you twenty years from now the friends that you know I've been married now for sixteen years and the people I call on and when I'm going through a tough time are typically the people that I've known for fifteen to twenty five years because back then when I was single I had time to spend time with my friends we went cold portering together I sold books I slept on church floors I went on mission trips I had so many great opportunities to build rich friendships with wonderful women that are still there in my life and we've gone through having our kids together some of them gone through divorces are losing their husbands or having health crises when my husband got sick with hepatitis C. and we didn't know if he was going to live I had this network you need that community and it's a priceless investment I'm glad that I didn't get married younger because I know I wouldn't have had a lot of those experiences and I wouldn't have built such a rich friendship network you want to prepare for your life calling there are a lot of people who get married before they prepare for their life calling but sometimes that means that you're having children and trying to finish your education in the midst of that I had two master's degrees to finish after I had kids my head husband had a doctorate to finish would have been nice if we'd done those things beforehand we've survived but you want to get your life calling generally under control and your education that's ideal to at least get your yourself going in the right direction then when you find somebody else who's going in a similar direction you know more for your going. And then overcome major weaknesses and develop your strengths this is really important that you can identify your weaknesses and be able to work on them if you've got addictions that are lingering and keep on being a chronic problem in your life you really need to get. The root of those allow God to help you to work through those things so that you can come out the other side truly victorious truly walking with him as the center of your life. A lot of people go into their search for a spouse like magnets have you ever played with magnets you know what makes magnets pull toward each other right. Where are their unbalanced you know you've got your electrons out of whack whatever that we met magnet people are unwilling to control themselves or unable you need to get healthy first magnet people are attracted to other magnet people unbalanced people are attracted to unbalanced people have you ever gone to a party or a gathering where you know within ten minutes you can see this person is one of the most unbalanced people in the room and that person is another one and sure enough by the end of the evening there they are talking to each other loudly and of noxious Lee. Or whatever people who are unbalanced tend to attract other people who are unbalanced and Ellen might even says like attracts like like appreciates like become a balanced person magnet people are controlled by an impulsive force they don't understand they're driven by their imbalances Now I'm not saying you need to become perfect before you get married because none of us are. But you don't want to be driven by something other than a healthy desire to be a companion to someone else they need to develop a dependence on Christ that brings them to balance and fullness or else they will develop a dependence on someone else codependency is just another word for idolatry if you don't base your sense of love and worth on God you will base it on what someone else thinks of you and then your life will rise and fall on what the other person thinks of you this is how people get into abusive relationships and they can't get out because they're finding their sense of identity of worth and love in what the other person thinks of them wherever you find your sense of identity your identity is. Where you get your sense of value and where you get your sense of love and these are the two great cravings of the human heart you know my husband and I have a bunch of seminars that are an audio verse if you go to audio verse star org and I talk more about this in depth but where you get your identity is where you get your sense of love and worth and wherever you get your sense of love and worth is what you're going to worship. If you get that from your relationship with this other person you will be powerless to break it off with them no matter what happens but if you get your sense of love and worth from your relationship with God you'll be able to do what you need to do in order to be healthy and safe. God wants you to find his sense of love and worth in what he thinks of you so you need to spend time before you look for a relationship with somebody else as your significant other build your relationship with God on quality time and communication what two things are relationships built on. Quality time and communication this is why God gave us a Sabbath a day to think about creation and redemption which are the two great foundations of how much we know were loved and how much we know were valued and God gave us a day for quality time and communication with him and also with others so we can learn to love God and love others as ourselves. Thank you the real solution to loneliness according to single and lonely finding the intimacy you desire is the real solution to loneliness lies not in marriage but in our union with Christ which leads to our union with one another we need to love people rather than fearing or using them can you see how if you go into a relationship looking for identity you're going to fear and use the other person. Why are you fearing them what do you fear if you're basing your sense of love and work on them what do you fear you fear rejection. And what do you use them for how do you use the other person if you're getting your sense of love and worth out of them and then they stop making you feel loved and valued what are you going to do you're going to look for another we're going to start demanding you're to try to squeeze that out of them make me feel loved make me feel valued. Step two is observing Let's say that you have built a reasonable growing relationship with God you're not actively searching out addictions you're dealing with things in your life in a healthy way now you move on to Step two observing now doesn't mean that you can't observe while you're building your relationship with God you know what I'm talking about here but these are layers as you're in the observing phase build quality friendships with quality people hang around the kind of people you want to marry if you want to marry somebody wonderful who loves the Lord and is in church every week you want to spend time loving the Lord going to church every week talking about how you love the Lord right so maybe you're going on campus with those kind of people but you probably don't want to go on the campus where there's a bunch of beer and partying on Friday night spent time together in groups with other people who are pursuing the same goals you're pursuing don't single the other person out this is important not that singling somebody out is wrong but that's a different stage if you start into that stage that stage three you're not in that yet Stage two is not singling another person out don't indicate interest or feel out the other person if you're not really serious if you haven't prayerfully gone through looking at this person and saying you are really really like this person I'd like to get to know them better if you haven't done that yet they don't have to our chat beside the fire after everybody else has gone to bed on your campout right don't go for long walks under the stars because you're not at that stage yet if you're at that stage that's a different stage but if you're not in the stage where you've chosen this person this person has not risen as the cream above all the others then don't do those things yet evaluate character and personality remember character is how much is this person like Jesus personality is how much is this person like me there's nothing evil about marrying somebody who has a very different personality than you but if your idea of a wonderful Saturday night is to bring a whole bunch of friends over and have a record party until eleven o'clock at night and your spouses idea of a wonderful Saturday night is. To have new body over and have a candlelight bath and read for hours you're going to have some problems neither of those is evil right but they're very different so you want to choose somebody who's reasonably close to you and personality my husband's going to talk more about that so evaluate character how much is this person like Jesus and personality how much is this person like me in this stage don't make mental an emotional commitment don't build intense opposite sex friendships people play house all the time drives me wild if you're if you have to explain to everybody that you're just friends maybe you're not I have a whole seminar called but we're just friends go listen to it if you're not sure if you're really just friends with this person or if you have to keep saying you know I'm so glad we're just friends you're just like a brother to me now please stop maybe they're not. So don't build intense opposite sex friendships if this is not a person that you're actually interested in I had a lot of close friends who were guys in college but the ones that I allowed to be intense friendships were the ones that I lost later on those that I kept at a good distance where we were able to be friends with each other he could date somebody else I could date somebody else without it being obnoxious or awkward those are the friends that I'm still friends with twenty years later if you value a friend enough that you want to have them a friend for life don't have to date them and pretend like you're brother and sister. And prayerfully continue evaluating character and personality and prayerfully surrender to the Lord in this whole process you know immaturity is characterized by inability to wait if you can't wait in that process if you start jumping the gun trying to pick out somebody really fast maybe there's something wrong. While pure love will take God into all its plans it will be in perfect harmony with the Spirit of God passion will be headstrong rash and reasonable defiant of all restraint and will make the object of its choice an idol from heaven to home page fifty and true love is not a strong fire. Impetuous passion unlike Hollywood. On the contrary it is calm and deep in its nature it looks beyond mere externals and is attracted by qualities alone it is wise and discriminating and its devotion is real and abiding that's evidence home page fifty one avoid serious pitfalls if you can identify things like lifestyle issues doctrinal issues this person doesn't believe the same way you do I dated somebody who didn't believe you should ever have any assurance of salvation that isn't where I come from and I'm really glad that I don't have to wrestle through that with my kids integrity issues if this person is lying to you my husband will talk more about that later and personality issues something serious that's going to come between you watch for those things and have a reasonably good idea that this person isn't going to have those issues before you move on to Step three if they've got issues with anger and self-discipline and stuff like that you want to watch out Step three is not just friends or also known as the messy stage when you're not dating but you're kind of dating but you kind of like each other you're not sure if the other person likes you yet or you're just totally trying to figure that out the messy stage that is what we call intentional friendship maybe the other person's already aware that you're intentionally pursuing them maybe they suspect it maybe you're going around to their mother and grandparents and all their friends and talking about it and they're kind of getting the idea you know what I'm talking about whatever when you're not just friends and you trolling them on Facebook like everything yes. Indicate interest slowly in small ways when you see this person has risen above the rest of the pack you're like wow this is somebody I really enjoy being around make a verbal commitment cautiously if at all in this stage you want to wait slowly go through figuring out how well you get along with each other seek wise and confidential counsel you really don't want this person here. From everybody and their dog you know so and so is interested in you he asked me to ask you please this is not sixth grade. Now it is risky to do this gradual process but the more homework you do ahead of time the less likely you are to break up later the less likely you are to break up later is a great thing because the more break ups you have the more exes you have wandering around in your world you don't want to run into those people later on their kids end up going to college with your kids it's awkward. You just really don't want that so as much as possible you want to try to get to know the person before hand your keys to success in step three are don't let intimacy get ahead of commitment emotional as well as physical Don't let commitment get ahead of knowledge and get wise counsel and of course prayerfully surrender. Then you have Step four which is when you're actually dating some people call it courting I don't care what you call it just this is when you both know you're in an official relationship that's when you make a commitment you continue focusing on getting to know one another's personality and character progress slowly slowly. In emotional intimacy do not instantly leap to being wild about one another just because you've now made it public on Facebook regulate physical intimacy by counsel and conviction doesn't mean if you don't feel guilty about it it's fine it means think it through carefully and get wise counsel you know you have basically you have different areas of vulnerability when you are dating somebody they shouldn't be somebody you just met but you don't want to immediately of invite them into Let me pour out my guts all my needs and fears of the deepest and most vulnerable areas of my life because you're still fairly likely to not end up spending your entire life with this person right so just go slowly if you find you can't hold yourself back from pouring your guts out it may be that you're leaning toward. Idolatry and looking to this person too quickly when my husband and I started dating we made a covenant which we wrote out and I had framed on my wall I was going to bring along and I forgot sorry but we made a covenant one of the things that we wrote in there was we choose to avoid other romantic attachments until we are sure of the will of God for our relationship if after prayerful consideration and counsel either of us believes God is not leading us together he or she will be free to share the reasons why and honesty and to terminate this relationship without guilt we have a lot of different things in there you can find it in the notes on my Facebook page if you want but it was really helpful for us to kind of have something written out that gave us this is these are the rules we're not going to engage physically this way we're going to make our devotional life a priority those kinds of things after you're courting dating whatever you want to call it comes engagement Yeah a you have finally a commitment to marriage and a lifetime of ministry together and a definite timeline toward marriage pleased to be like one of my friends who got engaged and four years later she was still saying yeah I'm engaged it's like when are you going to get married oh I don't know we'll get married one of these days unless somebody better comes along. I was like OK that's not calling Ajman I don't know what you call that but it's not engagement so finding a person to marry once you are engaged to each other that doesn't mean that you're morally obligated to go through with that that commitment but what God wants us to do is move steadily intentionally through steps where we think things through even when God brought together Rebecca and I sick which is arguably be the most miraculous here's where God just definitely shows you who through a miraculous sign it still wasn't just a miraculous she's really beautiful the servant asked for a character sign this is a woman who is going to volunteer to do hours of work hauling water for camels of a perfect stranger just because he was there and she believed in hospital. Why because hospitality was a critical trait to Abraham's family so when you're looking for somebody in your mind you need to have a list of these are the things that matter the most to me and I'm going to spend my life in intentional ministry and this way then you find somebody else who loves doing the same kind of intentional ministry maybe because you're involved at your church and you're doing that ministry you're reaching out to homeless people we're helping elderly people or you know whatever it is you're passionate about starting a youth group then do that with all your heart and somebody else may come along and join you and that could be a person who could be a great teammate for life in ministry my husband and I chose a ministry of discipleship before we ever met each other and when we met one another we just connected so well on so many levels on the things that we could see that God He called both of us to do with our whole lives and so it just fit very naturally felt kind of like a hand and a glove that we just fit together so well and I felt like wow I've been looking for this guy all my life and you know it's so worth it when you find that person who really matches you well I'm so glad that I didn't settle for the other guys that I dated or that I was interested in because now I look back and I just think oh lord that could have blown my whole life. Let God guide you in your search for a laptop don't just rummage through blindly don't grab for whatever sclerosis don't judge on the wrapping paper choose wisely ask for daily guidance from the guide let God be the basis of your sense of identity of your sense of love and worth if you're waking up every morning you're going to bed every night feeling lonely and empty Don't look for a partner because that person is going to easily become your idol you're going to be like a vine round a fence post to wrap your life around that person instead of around Christ. Let's let's pray for the good we want to thank you for the fact that you care about our lives and you care about our happiness and you know what we're designed to be and so a lot I pray for every person here I pray that you will take charge of their lives take charge of the loneliness the love and the hope and Lord I pray that you will give them the desires of their hearts because you desire for them to be. In a fulfilling relationship to have you work that out for you that you make that. Jesus in. This media was brought to you by audio force a website dedicated to spreading God's word through sermon audio and much more if you would like to know more about how do you first if you would like to listen to more sermons lead to visit W W W dot. Org.


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