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Fit to be Tied

Alan Parker
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Dating can be fun and perilous! How do you know if this is “the one?” How can you keep your relationship healthy? Learn how to balance the thrill of a relationship with practical steps that will protect it and keep it in God’s will.


Alan Parker

Professor of missions and evangelism and director of Pierson Institute of Evangelism at Southern Adventist University




  • October 21, 2017
    5:15 PM


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Father God I pray that you will bless us this afternoon as we look at the second session and Lord we are asking for your Holy Spirit to be present to give us wisdom as we as we consider our futures the many single people here and there are people who are dedicated to finding your will and Lord we pray that as they dedicate themselves to that that you in turn will lead this process for we ask it in Jesus' name amen. So my name is Alan Parker I'm a professor here at Southern in the School of Religion and we are talking about this afternoon fit to be tied Are you fit to be tied with someone for the rest of your life so we're going to take a look at a couple of aspects how do you know this person is the one that God intends for you to marry well you know I'm a person who does not generally get impressions I'm a very logical cognitive person but I was at Emory University promoting my program and I was attending a conference that was called Seeds and I happened to see this woman walk past and I felt the strong impression I need to go up to her and encourage it wasn't necessarily romantic it was just this feeling I have to go up and courage as of I was waiting to get the courage I thought how I even got to find her there were lots of people there and then we went to a seminar in the afternoon and in that seminar in the afternoon who should be there but the same woman and so I waited it was a really boring seminar it was on youth ministry by somebody who was like a hundred fifty years old. And I found the courage by the end of the seminar to just walk up to her and all I said was Hi and she looked at me and she said hi and walked off. And as she told me later she thought I was some here from Texas. Looking for wife and kids. Well I said was high and I don't even have a Texan accent. It's a good South African accent Yes And so I thought well that's that that's why you don't follow impressions I thought but that evening one of my South African friends called me over and said Hey come have a picnic supper with us and who should us be but this woman here turned out to be Nicole. And she fortunately did not remember meeting me earlier in the day. It was only months later I said you remember a guy who came up and said hi and she went as that was that. It was me and so we started getting to know each other more I found how to begin to say if you might have something going on here and she she didn't know anything she was clueless because I knew how to hide these things I had twenty eight years of practice and so I just played it cool and she had no idea that I was going Lord I wonder and so that began the process so what I want to share with you I want to pick up from that question that Nicole kind of left us with so how were you going to go through the she gave us five steps and I want to give you my perspective on this especially looking at ministry and I love this quote from Edwin a stone and it says I would want the young who are of marriageable age. She's not talking about young teenagers those who are marriageable age to make haste slowly in the choice of a companion the path of merry life may appear beautiful and full of happiness but why may not you be disappointed as thousands of others have been. So you know just because like this is great I can't wait now it's a little different for guys you know my wife talked about how woman had been dreaming of their waiting since you know they were about five years old and. Guys we kind of figure out after we ask you to marry us that this involves a wedding and. Really we're ready to jump straight to other exciting things but but there is a wedding in between and we were and then it's like oh my you know how much work a wedding is and how much you know they expect you know I thought my job was to stand there and just make it official. But it turns out there's a little bit more that men have to do so make a slowly this was the phrase that went through my mind and as I was thinking about this I realized this little bit like a fire in of you had a fire that was difficult to start you had that trick so I know what you do you go inside the house and you find some newspapers and you grab those newspapers and you throw it on the fire and for about three minutes it looks like you have an amazing fire any of you done this and it's just like. If you get a little excited and you put gas on the newspaper before you throw it on the fire and then you get a big word. But it only lasts for about three to five minutes and then it dies down and unfortunately when we're looking for a pot now many of us are making decisions in the middle of the big war. And and a good fire burned slowly. So when Ellen White says make a slowly I recognized the power of building that fire up slowly. So unfortunately it took some learning along the way I remember really liking ago I was in South Africa and there was a goal in Zimbabwe and I had like to for a couple of years just at a distance and then you know unfortunately she kept having boyfriends but finally she was free and so I found out and I got a ride up to Zimbabwe a friend of mine was going there and he dropped me off in this little. Town and I got on a bus that looked a little bit like this bus here and it was a bus just towering high with people's leg age they just crammed us in and the lady sitting next to me actually had a chicken in a basket. And we were traveling a line and I thought what sacrifices I'm making for this woman the bus broke down along the way. And then another bus came and somehow this full bus managed to cram all of us into the other bus so and now not only did I have the lady with the chicken but I actually had somebody who felt like they were sitting on my lap and then there were various people standing and we were crammed in and I finally made it to her city and who the good dad was so excited to greet me pick me up he took me back to the house and I told my journey she was very impressed the sacrifices I had made and then the next day the dad said Hey why did you guys go and do something and I think he was trying to marry a sofa ready so he sent us out he gave me his pickup truck and he sent us with it had a canopy on the back and he sent us off to the movies and I was so desperate to go I went off to the movies it was something called a drive and you know what a drive in is so there we parked the back of the pickup truck towards the drive in and this incredible he had actually put a mattress in the back of his pickup truck and sent his daughter off with me but it was OK because I was a theology student so. So there we were watching and it was it was one of those free the whale movies and Michael Jackson was plain careening in the background I remember looking across at this woman and it was like there was a halo over a head and and there was the soft faded light all around to and I did that typical male move and. I somehow stretch my hand. And then I I just touched the pinky you guys know what I'm talking about right and you know and then and in the pinky slid over the pinky and she was still like in raptured in me and in the movie and then my hand slid over her hand and and I'm still in the moment you know Michael Jackson still singing and I look across at her and I say Will you go out with me. And somehow in that moment there's like reality came crashing in it's like the music stopped the picture frame broke I was staring at her and I suddenly I was looking at her and going wait a minute I don't know you and you're not as attractive as I remember. This is terrible I was like you know her and their mom she's still looking back at me and the picture is still going the music still playing she's looking back across at me and she says yes. I'm looking at her and I'm going that's. That she said Did you hear what I said I said yes and I went that's that's wonderful. And then she holds my hand tightly and I'm thinking What have I done and I hate to say it but with in one day twenty four hours I had broken up. It's amazing I ever got married. What had happened. In that short period of time I had worked up feelings and those feelings had disappeared in the same period type nowi ad in the movies and the music and you added alone at night and you've got all the factors in play but what I have neither allowed my emotions to short circuit my brain and that's what they found my wife was talking about earlier when people fall in love they've actually done brain scans like they took people in love and people not in love and you know your brain is different when you. In love they they were able to trace different brain patterns it was short circuit in the frontal lobe and so I had no frontal lobe No wonder I was acting like an idiot now I'm not saying it's an excuse I'm just saying I had no frontal lobe and this frontal lobe change is like an hourglass you've got certain chemicals in your brain and you start the hourglass and it may take a day like it did for me have a few minutes it may take a month it may take a couple of years but I can guarantee that hourglass of infatuated emotions is not going to last for several decades it's eventually going to run out it's a ticking time bomb and so as that is changing you have to recognize that there are various phases or stages in love the first stage is what I just mentioned the infatuation stage this is what we call emotional love the Greeks called it Eros and then the second stage is bonding where you're building trust and then some people go ahead and just get married at this point. But the third stage is awareness and so that's good i hope that you will not just get married after you've got infatuated and you've bonded because the third stage is where you become aware of just what a sinner you are because you get into relationships I was great as a single person I was really nice and then I got into some relationships I remember my girlfriend her dead and given her a brand new car this was not Nicole given her a brand new car and we had some discussion and I got really upset and we're washing her car and I said OK look I'm going to pull the car out but I was kind of angry and so I accelerated very fast and there was a wall next to where we were washing the cars and I interrupt the wall and leaving this nice long scrape. Some reason that relationship never worked out. I designed by accident. And so. If you don't get to the awareness stage why my acting this way was a question I had to ask myself where did this anger come from and if you don't have self-awareness you are not going to do well in relationships so there is an awareness all these disillusionment like this other person is not who I thought they were and then you reach the next stage which is collaborating or conflicting you're either learning to work together or you're becoming more and more conflicted and that will either lead to a sense of fairness all bitterness and resentment and then there is the final stage which I call the true love stage that sacrificial commitment a god love or you will end up with selfishness where you are just determined I am going to manipulate the other person to get whatever it is that I want and then you end up with either wild T. to the marriage or a sense of abandonment and abandonment can be divorce but abandonment can also be I'm just going to shut down any make myself emotionally and physically unavailable in this relationship if you get married right after number two. Boy you don't know which direction it's going to go now sometimes you're lucky but it would be really good to make haste slowly now I was doing cultural studies and in cultural studies we were learning how people went across as missionaries how many have been student missionaries here anyone OK That's was a girl remember student missionaries yet you go in and there's a stage where you are getting ready to go into the into the mission field and when you get the and you meet people you start bonding with them I'm going to call this the W model because it kind of describes what happens culturally there's a bonding face where you get excited about your destination and you're learning about and then you meet the people and it's exciting when you first gay. That you are just on a high we going to call this the honeymoon this is just wonderful and you build up to the honeymoon this is great now you thinking of relationships but remember our missionary analogy but you spend a little bit of time in this new territory and after a while you begin discovering that other people are a little strange they laugh at jokes that you don't find funny. They talk about things in a different way they have just a different set of value systems and why happens here is you have an awareness of difference over time and this can lead to something culturally that we call culture shock and if you do this and you get then you discover Woah I'm WAY different from these people and you start feeling homesick for the way things were and I'm going to use this in relationships you start feeling heartsick like I don't think this other Goossens for me I just go because I thought they loved the music I love and then they listen to that guy how can that be so you're get hot sick and then you work through that you know OK it's not so bad you get through and you discover they were just temporarily listening to it and they really don't love country music after all. And then you become hopeful like yes this can work and then something else comes up and then it you just lose it and you start realizing this is not going to work and sometimes the way it works is that two people fall in love and initially when you fall in love you're willing to do anything IMO My brother falling in love once and I said How do you know you're really in love he said because of it was a train coming and she was on the tracks I'd push her out the way and I'd lie down on those tracks and I would I'd let the train roll over me said wow that must be love three weeks later they were broken up and I said What happened to that whole like train track and he just told me to shut up. So there is a period of time. When you're like totally committed and then you realize the differences and the relationship ends so so we move from heartsick sometimes to feeling hopeless I can't fix the relationship sometimes to feeling hostile I feel manipulated in this relationship now when we discovered in cultural studies that if you keep going you can learn to adapt to your new environment how many of you after you were able to be six months in the mission field you felt more adapted Yeah so what happens even in a relationship as you spend some years with each other you begin to adapt to them and at last you can feel at home now of course most relationships struggle at which two points where they have awareness and where they have greater awareness and at these two points most people decide to get out of the relationship and sometimes that's a good thing when you're in a relationship and will talk about that in a moment but we've also learned that sometimes in relationships and this is something we're not very good at in our society you just have to hang in there and particularly when you're married you can learn to adapt and so I encourage you not to think of relationships as a short to thing date you well I like you but a longer term think of learning loyalty Now again it is dangerous signs you may have to break up in fact I wish I'd done a seminar this weekend of how to break up nicely but maybe will do that in the future. By Don't call me I'll call you. When you're married. So how are you going to go through this process and my wife mentioned a to that I really like it's intentional friendship and intentional friendship what you're doing is you're figuring out when to be clear your intentions and you're starting to intentionally find out about this person so when a call and I got interested in each other the way it happened was I mean I hadn't said anything at first but I've invited her out to a South African potluck on Sabbath and she agreed to come because as she told me later it was free exotic food versus eight to ten bucks in the address cafeteria so it made sense so she came out to this and then everybody is being introduced and she suddenly realizes she has no good reason for being there other than the fact that I invited her so she goes and hides behind me and I'm like What is she doing so I've turned my shoulder just slightly to to kind of speak to her and she leans forward to whisper in my ear and I'm like What are you doing and. Her chin touches my shoulder in that moment there is electricity. And I was like What was that I never said a word I just kept a straight face what I didn't know until months later was she felt the same thing except what was going through her head was has it been that long since I touched the guy and he went it was there was this moment and I was like what is going on Lord so I could have made a decision right then I could have declared intentions but I had to be careful and unfortunately I was of the careful what she was the one who was more cautious Anyway I kept her silent and then we start meeting people different people are coming up to us and and saying hi and as we wondering around and saying hi to them and so they greet Oh I'm good to see you I haven't met your wife yet the. I haven't either but I have. Some of. She she ends up getting caught up into the crowd we have a bit of a laugh about it she gets caught up into the crowd later on and I get caught up and then they come looking for me when she they find me. With she comes without the friend the South African friend and she and they come up and she decides to tell a little joke and she says you know if I were looking for you I should've just stood up on a chair and said Has anyone seen my husband and I would have all pointed you out. And I ran fascinating with I. So I started getting really interested and she started to pick that up and she put the brakes on she basically said no and I was like you know I'm going back to Africa. Just sign and do this deal right now and as she was she was like What is wrong with this guy I mean he must be imbalanced and I don't know what it got another me because I'm not like this I'm the kind of person when I buy a car I take like three years to decide on that. And so she was she was shocked and I was shocked at myself and so she recognized look something's going on here and she said go back to Africa and we spent like another week or two together at the General Conference she said go back to Africa wouldn't even let me How could Goodbye she said go and basically call them. You know throw some ice water over yourself calm down and and then let's see what happens when you're back there in your are a little more rational and you know what that was great that I'm not at the time of course she was really mean and wicked at the time but it was great later on because because it helps me to think things through and that's what you need to do you've got to be careful about declaring your intention so I would say don't do it in the moment I give yourself some time to cool off and evaluate your free feelings do more observation make sure that this is God's will remember you can never go back to regular friendship after you've declared your intentions isn't that true once you know a person likes you it's just not the same after that. And remember you're not good dating when you when you when a person know that you're considering this you're not dating you're simply exploring with a God is leading the two of you toward marriage so it's just exploration because if you say you're dating you mediately jump in feet first and you don't have time to observe so a few questions that I want to answer what if you have more if you like more than one person at the same time. Well my advice to you is keep it casual Nobody likes a player all right is that right no one likes a player if you don't know yet. Don't declare your intentions Oh this is on board and don't date while you're waiting for someone else well I really like that person buddy you're here so let's this. That's not fair figure out your heart before confusing someone else's. Now my wife dealt with this earlier but what about if you think What if I don't choose the right one is there only one person that God has obtained for me to marry and I'm going to give a nuanced answer here I certainly believe that God can lead you to the one but I think that the the problem is when you say there's just one person out there there's some problems with that kind of theology not that God can't have one person in mind for you or you understanding the difference so problems with this theology is it can lead to dissatisfaction when the feelings fate I thought you were the one but I'd like you back then and you know sometimes you can love a person and not like them. That happens when you're a parent you don't like what your kids are doing sometimes but you love them any less NO be you want them to you want them to grow and to learn you want to change so you can sometimes not like what a person is doing and dislike them in the moment but that doesn't mean you don't love them. It tends to rely on signs and Providence rather than on character discernment if we have time I'll touch on that later so it's just tends to look for signs like how I'm going to know the one only if this science and characters listen Portland and it's dangerous to think that a person is a perfect match when they're actually a sinner just like you look if there's one person out there then you're feeling as a cat found the person it's this relationship is going to be great but you know what you still have the power of choice and so today you can mess up the relationship that God has led you into Isn't that true so you know God sometimes has to say this could have been the person but they're not anymore can you give God the. Freedom to do that you know and that's what you have to think through so there are a few things that I would suggest that you be careful off ways in which we misinterpret God's will in the first way and with which we misinterpret God's will is the fleece method and what we do with this is we say my wife referred to it the red dress if she's wearing a red dress I'll know she's the one I was a kid I kid because I was thirteen years old but I was already I was really thinking who am I going to marry and it was a go at church so I thought I had found her. And so I prayed to God I said God I need a sign I Tomorrow I'm going to be on the way to motorcycle racing with my friend we going to be in the back of the car and if he brings up this girl's name I'll know that she's the one and so we going along in the car and as we're driving along I'm I'm waiting for him to reveal God's will but he seems a little slow. So I start talking about church you know is no harm in helping got out. But he doesn't get it then I talk about the girls at church and then he goes oh by the way how's that girl that you told me about I said to hate you Jesus you have revealed your own will. So the problem with the police method is that we can manipulate them when Gideon used to fleece it when one way than the other way in other words it was supernatural not circumstantial. As my wife said when Rebecca was chosen it was a sign of character not a sign of circumstance so be careful of the fleece method because the devil can use fleeces too. Then is the friend method and this is great I'll just ask my friends and see what they say but you know the problem with friends is friends tell you what you want to know you know the guy's a loser but you don't want to offend your friend. What do you think about him you know he's he's interesting. You've got to read that's code word for loser. So be careful because friends will tell you what you want to know there's a better place to go and that's to go to a godly person who will tell you what you need to hear not what you want to hear. Other people say yes and then your gut feeling say no sorry there are more of them and there's sign is bigger Be careful of relying on friends. Then there is the feeling method and the feeling method is how can something that feels so good be wrong now let me ask you a question how many of you have had feelings for another person that would have been totally wrong for you just give me a show of hands how many you had feelings will for people someone who would have been totally wrong for you Yep feelings are not a good way of testing this out I remember the one go she had beautiful red hair and she was a bridesmaid at a weighty and I was doing the wedding as a single young pastor and and at after we had done the wedding practice who were going for a walk along the beach and she was chatting with me we were having a great time and again you've got to watch that strain hand but it was after the graduation and so somehow I was just in a relaxed mode and my hand someone straight into her hand very dangerous and so we walk in I feel these warm wonderful feelings of like this person is great and bonding with them it's wonderful we get back to the house and everybody is talking you know the past is holding somebody's head and so I give and like what am I doing so I let go of a hand I start chatting to her I discovered she had completely different values she was like full on panic hostile Hello your prey's a lot and I was not and I was like What if we and the more we talked the greater differences we had and I was like How did I have such strong feelings for somebody so different from me how low it happens so you can trust your feelings. And even when I fell in love with Nicole I got to admit I was I was so romantic I've got to I'm going to I'm going to go back to this isn't this great I want to walk with you talk with you and hold you in my arms that night. I want to listen to music with you and watch a candle flicker together and read and pray and watch the stars I want to call myself in front of a roaring. Fire in the middle of winter snuggled up to you and reading from a favorite book oh yeah hearts there was nothing in there that had I want to change diapers with you. And I want to hold your hand while you're giving birth there was nothing in there I want to be there with you when you're feeling moody there was nothing in there about I want to stay up at night while our kids are teething somehow there was an in this romantic picture because it was colored by rose colored glasses about my emotions and so we have to be careful what the feelings will do. It's an actual e-mail that I sent to her for a romantic and realistic but so romantic. Then there is the faith the method and then the faith method you just go I know God has led us the spark and and I know he's going to keep leading us like like a guy who had a dream about a girl on a beach giving a bible studies and she had a dream about being on the beach when he came by and then they both realized that their dream the same dream and so it must have been of God God was leading them and so even when things were falling apart in the relationship there was just this conviction God is leading me. But you know what faith can easily turn into presumption particularly when it's leading you over a cliff blindly. Be careful and then my last method that I want to be careful of here is what I call the fortune cookie myth you know fortune cookies are you break them up in a tells you about your future Well what people do is that they have the same idea they open their Bibles and they they look at it like you know one person was was trying to figure out what to do with their future and they open the Bible and talked about Egypt so I said God must be sending me to Egypt and then other times. People are had one couple where they happened to hear a sermon on and you think I'm going to do and they're just read that in their devotions and then the same text was preached from the front and they said God must be leading us and again it only lasted two or three weeks and then it was dissolved because this is not how God works I mean he can use this but God wants you to use your head and he wants you to use your surrendered heart rather than a circumstantial sign everybody for all of us all right so how are we going to do this. Right and what we're going to do is we are going to have surrendered prayer if you look at what my wife shared earlier almost every one of the steps had surrendered prayer if you used to pray twice a day before you're contemplating marriage how often should you pray when you're contemplating it four times in fact that's probably not enough for some of us. Get Godly advice seek people who know you well who know the other person well so after the call and I admit I said all right I need to calm down tell me people who know you well that I can speak to and she gave me a mentor she gave me a best friend she gave me her mother and so I wrote to them I called them out said Who is this woman tell me the good the bad and the Glee and I got a very interesting response. And then she approached people that I knew but what we started to find out with things values that we held in common so we found out about each other and we got Godly advice from people I took the Colts with me to some of my mentors when she came over to visit me in Africa I took across to some good mentors of mine and they kind of interviewed her and hung out with her and then I told him what do you think they said will give you the answer the C Evening someone tender hooks the whole afternoon they come back they have this wrapped gift for me and I open the gift and inside is a pair of wool and socks they said this is for your cold feet. Hurry up and get married. So we did. And the calls list as you heard earlier was is he like Jesus that was character is he like me that was personality my worst was a little longer but it covered some similar things it was is she in love with Jesus some other one is she cry centered Is she a good communicator and she definitely is there can we talk about anything which we could the she resolve conflict well so even when we were starting to date I was asking this question How is she with conflict resolution does she love people and ministry is she calls and that was one of the characteristics I wanted to know is she called to the same kind of ministry I'm called to and then I'm a guy so I did ask is there chemistry and I can you know I will say some people have felt obligated to get married and I know you can make a marriage work that way but I will say I had to counsel some people who got married because well I think God led me into it and I just have to get married but they did love that other person there was zero chemistry if you cannot possibly imagine going on honeymoon with that person probably not a good idea to get married to that person. Definitely not a good idea or. So when I've gone through this process I realized Look this is the one for me and I said Nicole the big question I even had the email was entitled The big question will you go out with me I was ready to take the next step and Nicole wrote back and said there's not been enough time Sorry no I was like are. Cut to the heart what am I going to do so I thought. And I'm an intelligent man. And I came back and I said he has the not so big question are you willing to not pursue any other relays. Chip until we are sure of God's leading for us in this relationship and I said Look you're an American I'm in the United States if we don't spend time with each other we'll never know. So we began intentionally getting to know each other on a deeper level asking some more difficult questions which I didn't feel like I could have done before I asked the not so big question. And then a few weeks later because we were all there and this might take you months or years. Then I asked the big question and I said Are you willing to pursue a relationship and to be committed to each other and this time she said yes. Now the goal of dating courting is to begin the process of growing in love while you prepare for marriage your observe each other in closer proximity and under greater stress you can even do what one of my one of our friends did where she deliberately had a flat tire just to see what her boyfriend would do if he would get mad or if he would become them married today. You love more and therefore you risk more physical intimacy however needs to be appropriate to the level of commitment and your probably feel tension between your desire for each other and your quest for purity. How many of you have experienced that you've been in a relationship right there is this tension that goes on now I I like what Edwin is home says wait what every sentiment sentiment and watching every development of what's the key word character in the one with whom you think to link your life destiny Well you may love to not love blindly so I said how am I going to do this and so here are some strategies I'm going to suggest for dating and the first strategy is have fun some people are so serious in their dating they forget to have fun it's OK to have some fun Christians were not meant to. In your face that's a quote from steps to Christ so have fun but don't go too quickly is special emotionally Now this was not Nicole myself but I did take her on a canoeing trip with our church camp out and we went canoeing and camping for three days and I thought I'm going to see how she does in Africa it was beautiful and so we were able to have fun we laugh but there were people around us and we were able to therefore keep boundaries because there were other people that we were going on this on the strip with and I could see how does she do under diversity and how do I do under adversity made one little mistake there but we know the little what and for she she's never held that against me but she was cooking she had taken some potatoes these little potatoes along so that we could have supper one night I was so hungry so she took the potatoes and she put them into the campfire and because she wanted them to cook quickly she shoved them all the way into the fire wrapped in turn for oil and so we're waiting and other people waiting for the nice large potatoes on the outside of the campfire to get ready and when they open the as we realize these were ready so we better get out there out so we pulled out our little potatoes from the middle of the fire and they were completely black on the outside and so I was pulling off the black she went across to get something I forget the utensils and then everyone else who I knew because they were part of my church they were all joking with me oh yeah so we see she's brought you burnt offerings. And we're all laughing and then suddenly Nicole appears out of the shadows we dissed all go quiet ever had that experience and so she asked me later and I try to make a joke out of it I was just digging my grave you know and she that did not go down well I am barrister in front of everybody else but praise the Lord we can work through anything Amen. But go ahead have fun learn about each other now something that's really important in order to to control the emotion the emotional and the physical side of this is what Nicole mentioned earlier and I wanted to put in kind of graph fashion now. This is the way most people do relationships they do intimacy followed by commitment followed by knowledge first I hold the hand and this is how I was trained by whoever train me first you hold the hand and Hollywood yes then you hold the hand then you make a commitment where you go out with me and then you find out about the other person do you think that's a really good strategy knowledge so there's a much better way to do it and it's much better because what happens when you put intimacy first it's like two pieces of wood that you glued together have you ever done this you grew to be so what and then you try and pull them apart what happens when you pull them apart. It's messy because part of the previous piece of wood is left on this piece of wood. And when you bond with another person when you become emotionally and physically intimate it's very hard to pull those two pieces of wood apart and I can tell you this I've had relationships where they broke up and they have been very little emotional or physical intimacy and we did well in the breakup and I've had relationships with we were emotionally and physically intimate and we did terribly in the breakup So this is something that you want to be careful in the basic idea is first you find out about the other person Obs observation then in due time you make a commitment and intimacy follows commitment so how much intimacy should you have it depends on the level of your commitment. And the greatest intimacy should be kept for the greatest commitment. Just makes sense and this process is what leads to less heartbreak. So how do you deal. With physical boundaries if you principles don't stay over don't stay up late said boundaries back from the cliff edge keep a strong devotional life and make sure you keep some strong same sex friendships because these things when you're involved with other people you're not just exclusively involved with each other when you keep the boundaries way back and and this will be a radical one for you but Nicole and I decided that we wouldn't kiss until our wedding day. Because when we had kissed before that was a slippery slope and I'm not saying you have to do that. We had kissed with other people and then that was a slippery slope and so we said when we get in this relationship we don't want to kiss because we know what could happen now I'm not saying you have to do that I will say it was a whole lot easier to keep that living six thousand miles apart from each other. What can you dear. It's something that you want to pull it back from wherever that slippery slope is for you keep those boundaries way back now after you have fun but you control. Yourself emotionally be willing to ask the hard questions find out each other's values this is what evidence Tom says examine carefully to see if your married life would be happy or happy or in a harmonious and Richard let the questions be raised will this union help me heavenward well and increase my love for God Number two and will enlarge my sphere of influence in this life if these reflexions present no draw back then not as in the fear of God You can move forward. So this idea is look examined find out where you headed where is this relationship headed is this going to be a God honoring relationship or a relationship that's going to lead to heartache and Ruin Are you in the relationship just because it feels good or because God is leading it and some of the. Things Nicole mentioned earlier are things I want to bring up again what's their lifestyle and belief system are they a committed Christian where do they have doubts because all of us have doubts just where are their doubts. Where do they have convictions and where are they flexible are they convicted that there's going to be no cheese in the house and are you a pizza holic you're going to have to figure that what out you know where the convictions with a flexible are they convicted on on something you're convicted on like the Sabbath or are they flexible on that you can keep the Sabbath however you want how do they relate to diet music standards how do they relate to your family and friends is their mutual respect or not and altimetry you looking for this what is their character like. If you don't have good answers to these and you're rushing ahead you're in trouble she has some indications for madness home you should think of when a young woman except as a life companion only one who possesses What's that first word pure manly traits of character one who is diligent aspiring an honest one who loves and fears God That's what you should be looking for and for a young man in your choice of a wife study who what character will she be one who is patient and painstaking so you should be looking what is the character work now again I want to come back to something I said earlier about how we go through this process are you taking God into consideration or doing the Gerard Way This is from letters to young lovers page thirty nine marriage is something that will influence and affect your life both in this world and in the world to come a sincere Christian will not advance his plans in this direction without the knowledge that God approves his course he will not want to choose for himself but will feel that God must choose for him we are not tip. Please ourselves for Christ please not himself you know everyone else we say Seek ye first the Kingdom of God. Except when it comes to dating. It doesn't work that way right Christ please not himself now she clarifies I would not be understood to mean that anyone is to marry one whom he does not love this would be. So you don't have to marry someone just because they have a conviction that she should I have a girl who came up to me she was convinced that God had told her that I was to be a husband and said How did you reach this understanding she said because a B. flew in the window right when I was praying and in her culture a be flying in was a sign of good fortune and so this was a symbol that I was to be the one who was to marry her dad in the fact that some evil person had taken out of the email address and was emailing her as if he was me and was telling her wonderful things that she wanted to hear so really nasty guy when I get to heaven Well I guess he won't be there all right so. Maybe God forgave him I'll have to be the same in heaven all right. I look at their personality and perspectives are they introverted or extraverted my wife refer to that do they love the poddy or do they love the books way or the energy levels are they go go go let's go every day is a new day was by the way I did discover a difference between my wife and myself when I wake up in the morning nine had to be good morning well I got a full day that was not so popular for my wife. But a night she would wake up and I would be like a zombie go into the now and so we had to get used to some of these differences they're not necessarily bad but you have to ask can I live with them or not what are the habits and hobbies do you share anything in common. What is it that you like to do together. You know and some habits just live with it which way the toilet paper roll goes not a big deal whether you squeeze the toothpaste from the middle or the end it's not a big deal just buy different toothpaste tubes you know you can figure some things out but some are really important habits and you need to know about them. Ideals for marriage what do they think marriage is what's their life calling. We had a couple who broke up because he was committed to going into the mission field and she was not one of their organizational skills how are you going to live with those differences are they risk takers or not what are they Caltrain differences including things like when what time do you go to church we never even discussed that when we were dating but when we got married I discovered her family was never at church on time that's just something they never did and if I try to get to church on time and her family if you were rushing to get to church it was always stressful so if I started rushing to get to church what happened it triggered the past and was like oh no we're going to have a really stressful day so you got to figure that out because Sunny especially when we had one car we had to negotiate and sometimes I could be really sympathetic and I would be in the car waiting like where is everybody and then one day she said to me you know would actually get out of the door faster if you have to the kids instead of sitting in the car where you're right. Some people are pessimists and some are optimists How do you see things some are really neat and some people it looks like a bomb blew up in their room with everything I think it's end of the third pile under the left sock and. Some people are always talking and some people are really silent and initially it's so great you know what I just love being with you because you know I am not a big talker but you talk all the time and it's great and she's thinking he's such a great listener I just keep talking to us listening and then after a while when they marry it's like which he ever get quiet and she's saying why does me in a shared his thoughts. So how are you going to work through that some people are more passive just kind of relax other people more aggressive let's get out there there's a job to do let's get a. Some people intellectual professors like let's think about that that's a very interesting thought I've got to process that and other people are like life is a dad good beautiful Let's go out and dance in the rain it will be wet we'll come back in our clothes will be aware that we will have to dry off this is not a good idea. Some are all denies this and again this kind of fits in with that very organized and others are free spirits so I want to end off our session by talking about some tools that you can use that will help you through this process and if I get a few minutes here I'll tell you the end of our story so this book we use getting to really know your life need to be it has great questions it would questions like if you were to buy a gift for your father what would it be if you were to spend money on my dad how much would you spend and that had things like our children one day what do we want to make sure that we don't pass along to those kids what is. What are some ways in which we would want our home to be different from our parents on really great questions Fortunately it's out of print and we're planning on doing a new set of questions on it you can buy them for like thirty dollars they were originally three dollars so don't buy that book anymore next one one hundred one questions to ask before you get engaged. It's a good one reflective questions if you really want to go for a big one one thousand and one questions to ask before you get married that one's not a Christian book however it's just has a it's from the Ladies' Home Journal or something and it has those questions. Your goal is not to get someone who is exactly like you but to find someone who shares your core values and who compliments you so. I'm going to see if I can wrap this up in a few minutes one thing I have to warn you about is over analyzing people who go to seminars like you get into relationships and then you ruin them because all you do is ask questions and think about it I love this quote I even over analyze the fact that I over analyze. Stop spending so much time in the future instead of the prisms you know this relationship will blossom in it's time of year to try pulling rose leaves rose petals open to see the what the full Rose would look like your Mrs up you just destroy the rose you got to give it time to develop live in the prison and not just the future and then I will end on this one don't ignore the danger signs don't ignore the danger signs and here are some that I really want you to be aware of where they only have a casual interest in God That's not a good sign when they blame others and don't take responsibility really bad sign where they don't have a good work ethic. If they don't work it won't work for you. Where they are resentful or jealous The Bible has a lot about the danger of resentment and. Jealousy where they push sexual boundaries if they want to have their if they want to have all of you now but only give you a part of themselves in terms of commitment they're giving you a bad deal. Where they're angry and or manipulative you think it's bad now wait till you're married. And where they lie because trust is built on truth and love is built on trust so if you can't if you can't trust them then that's a real problem any you think it'll get better in marriage it does not so I'm going to I'm going to recommend that you follow God's way and there's some great books which you know these are two ones that I would recommend I'll let you continue this the sacred search by Gary Thomas and the love of you'll find in the love of your life by Neil Clark Warren are two good books but I want to tell you the end of the story. Sorry leave that up I want to tell you the end of the story and the end of the story as Nicole came over to Africa my mentor said go ahead and so I plant a candle and walk now this is not actually her we couldn't get the dress. But we did plan I planned out a special surprise she didn't know it was coming I'd asked her parents but as she knew something was coming she didn't know when and as so we were going to a friend's house and she was totally surprised. And I had had them lay everything else we had a candle that walk into into a heart shaped set of candles and when we go went there I had a Bible that I'd bought where I had first Corinthians thirteen outlined and and I'd written out my proposal. And I I put in their proposal the ways in which I was going to love her. And the music was playing all of our friends left by my wife's is where they go in and then she saw all these candles and she realized and I took her in and I knelt down and I asked her to marry me and there were tears in our eyes and she said yes and then after she had said yes I took out a coin and said No you're supposed to flip this calling had yes on the one side and no on the other side and she flipped the coin but I think I had it waited just right because it fell on yes. And we sat down and we recognized as we go on through this process that God had put this together. And what I want for each one of you it's not perfect marriage is not perfect because marriage is part of the crucible of character development but what I want for each one of you is the opportunity to let God lead in your life when you do that for me. Let's pray together Father God. I'm asking that you give us courage to follow your. Courage to do it your way haste makes waste. Help us to slow down. Help us to get the council. Help us to surrender this relationship to you. And what some today are wondering when when my time comes. And what I know is. You have a plan. A We trust your plan. We asked Jesus. This media was brought to you by audio verse a website dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermon audio and much more if you would like to know more about audio verse or if you would like to listen to more sermons leave a Visit W W W audio verse or.


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