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Finding the Right Person and Healthy Relationships

Alan Parker

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Alan Parker

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

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  • October 23, 2021
    2:30 PM
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All right, so this is going to be 2 parts to this. So the 1st part is kind of the process of finding the right one. And the 2nd part has to do with how to have a healthy relationship. What are the dynamics that are needed? So I've tried to go across the Spectrum of way different people's needs are. And so that's, that's how I decided to organize it. Well, I don't know if we should begin, but let's go ahead. I did some introductions, but let's, let's just do it one more time for the sake of those are here. Lauren and alon. Are you from southern or somewhere else? southern alright. And blake again. And darian bradley, bradley kelly kelly. Yes. Davids just josiah. So hopefully you guys you, you are the remnant who have decided not to go into the great outdoors for which we had my head stamped it. All right, so I'm going to go ahead and begin. And why don't we bow hits, we're would have prayer as the stocks father, god, thank you for being with us. We pray for your holy spirit to guys and lead. We know that we cannot succeed without your help. And so when we bring to you our relationships, we fully expect you to be able to help us to navigate those relationships in your strength. And we pray, lord, that this time this afternoon will be productive and useful. Bring those who still need to come, who are still getting away from lunch, help them to arrive here on time and help us to be able to navigate relationships in a way that brings the glory for we ask this jesus name, amen. All right, so I teach in the school of religion. My wife and I do relationship things on the side. And we also do a graduate program in biblical counseling at the school of religion. So it's the only biblical counseling program that I'm aware of in the ad venus denomination. So what we're taking a look at as I say 2 components this afternoon. The 1st one is fit to be tied, how you find the right person and navigate all the way through to marriage. And in the 2nd one, how you have a healthy relationship. So dating is fun. I'm sure a number of you have done dating. There's nothing like the experience of getting to know someone. There's nothing like the experience of falling in love for dating. It's definitely fun. Welcome. Hey guys. All right, so it's fun, but it's also dangerous. And why is it dangerous? The average teenage relationship last 14 months. So if you've been dating a year, you have about 4 months after it re challenging, right? So it only last 40 months, which means summer really short. The younger you are, the shorter the dating period tends to be. As you get older, you're able to, to hang in there a little bit more. So just for those of you coming and now our 1st one is how you find the right person and what that processes and our 2nd seminar is going to be, how to have a healthy relationship. When you're in a relationship, only 2 percent of new marriages off from high school sweethearts. So that means that 98 percent of high School sweethearts do not get married. They break up more than 50 percent of all marriages started between the ages of $20.00 to $25.00 in the divorce. That's a little scary. I mean, that'll be like a welcome ladies and gentlemen to the matrimonial airlines. We're so glad you've decided to join us on this trip and we want you to buckle up. Now we do need to warn you in advance before we take off that 50 percent of our flights and like this. How many of you are still keen on flying matrimonial airlines is like, you know, that's a little scary. So what we have to do is recognize as we go into relationships that they don't have to end in disaster. But there is a chance, particularly before you get married when you're just stating there's a significant chance that you're going to end up in a break up. And so is there a problem with today's dating strategy? I was going to put up tinder, but in the end I went with friendly because it sounded friendlier. And what is attendance at swipe brides? I you like all like we don't know. I don't know either, but anyway, whichever swiping way you go. The idea with the, with the dating apps is you see somebody who's attractive and you respond, you let them know that you like them. And so I see a bunch of potholes here. One is that you are choosing a partner who could end up becoming your life partner based on simply attraction or circumstances rather than character and personality. So a lot has to do with your feelings. Like you, you, you get a feeling and it's, it's not really choice and conviction, but it's how you felt towards that person. And then you end up becoming intimate and even bonding with someone you don't really know. And I know because I've tried the strategy. I remember when I it was a friend of mine was getting married and I was like the mc come on in guys, if we need extra chairs, could we check in that little room over there? And I think there may be cheers there. Thank you, dawson. And that's good to see the room growing. So what happens is you become intimate with a pushy or really not. So I was there on a wedding weekend. I was the M. C for like the reception. And we were hanging out saturday afternoon and one of the girls who was a caught my eye. She was the red head. And we ended up walking next to each other. And our hands accidentally kind of brushed, you know, as you're walking. And I like that felt good. And then we, we ended up sitting down on the beach and he, as she's chatting to me and I'm chatting with her, and I could just feel the electricity and have you felt that electricity before me. And I was like, wow, this is amazing. And then I don't know exactly what happened. But somehow everyone left us alone. And I ended up putting my hand on hers. And I, I just felt with connection like soul to soul, you know, hot to hot and there I am holding her hand and, and she's chatting to me and I'm feeling this warm fuzzy glove. And then as she's talking more, ah, she starts saying things that are totally unlike me. I discover she is a pentecostal. And I'm a very intellectual guy. And she believes completely differently from me. And she has completely different politics from me. Everything was just different. And as long as I'm there, suddenly i feel it grow cold And I'm moving my hand away and I'm like, oh my, who are you? Well, what did I done? I had allowed intimacy to get ahead of my knowledge of that person. So painful breakups that could have been avoided, happened when we follow the regular dating methods that we see out there. They've done studies on people and love a lady by the name of Dr. Fisher studied people's brains. So they took people who had been in love less than 2 months, and they took people who had been in love for 24 months. The brains looked different. People who had been in love for 24 months fall in activity. People who have been in love for 2 months, it was like they were taking a drug. It stimulated the same areas of the brain. And this is what people are saying. When you get people who are in love, it's like they're working on drugs, natural chemicals such as dope amine endorphins, serotonin. Oxytocin can cause the same reaction as an he was a drug, the same parts of the brain light up as when you take ok when you're in love, right? shows why, why have you had friends who fall in love and a little crazy? Yeah, yeah, this explains that right. Dating and engaged couples often find themselves in a chemically induced condition. They had the uncanny ability to focus on their partners, positive strength and trace while really noticing the reality of their partners weaknesses. So, you know, I, if I could, i'd be a rich person if I could get a dollar off every time I've heard. He has so much potential as like, yeah, do you realize he is a joke and a loser. But he has so much potential and you know what, we both love the color blue. That's great, that's great, but you know, you're, you're in a chemically induced state. So what you need to do is almost like sober up. If you're going to do this effectively. Now in the bible, we have an example of a person in the state. Guess who this is, samson. When he returned, he said to his father and mother, I have seen a philistine woman in tanda. Now get out for me as my wife and his father mother replied, isn't there an acceptable woman among the relatives that are among all our people? Must you go to the uncircumcised phyllis lines to get a wife? But samson said to his father, get her for me, she's the right one. Always the king gang say she pleases me well. So was she the right one? No, no. So when you go based on feelings, when you go based on, on having the tingles, then what you'll discover is that you are going based on a traction based on hormones. Rather than based on conviction. Have you had friends who've had this problem? You know, and they like my brother, my brother told me after he had was in this relationship. He said, I am so in love i said, how do you know, how do you know? And he said, she's the right one. I said, how do you know? He said, if there was a train coming and she was on the train tracks, i would push her up the way and I'd let the train run me down. Like, wow, that's love. 3 weeks later they were broken up like, hey, what was that about like the train and pushing out that he said just shut up. That he told me his feelings had changed. And so the problem is, if you're going to follow this feeling based approach, you know, Disney follow your heart. It's not going to turn out pretty. I mean, even frozen knew that. All right, so god has a better plan. Now you're not going to find it spelled out in the bible, it's not a set of strategies here. But what you're going to find is that in the bible, rather than this feeling based approached, you find an intentionality when it goes right. And when there's no intentionality, like samson, it ends up going wrong. So we are saying that instead of falling in love, crawl into love. Now what do I mean by that? When my daughter was little, she was just you know, probably 3 years old and I had another son by then, and he was just a baby. And he had had a pretty diaper. So my wife was changing my son's diaper. And my daughter was cavorting on the couch, while my wife was changing my son right next to the couch. And suddenly she lost her balance, my daughter, and she fell face worth into that poopy diapers. Now I actually found it kind of funny, my daughter did it, but I learned something. I learned something I learned that you don't when you fall, you're not being very intentional unless you like bungee jumping. When you fall, it's because you did it by accident. And if I was dr. Bower i would make upon, you know, have a nice trip, see you next fall, but when you fall, it is unintentional. You may experience feelings that are really powerful, but I'm suggesting to you, you shouldn't just fall. Instead, you should crawl, crawl into la, be intentional. Take your time and list you want to have a plane, rick. If you decide to have a plane, rick, then by all means go ahead and fall and then live with the full out. So there are 5 steps for crawling into love, and I'm just going to break this down in this 1st session about what I see that is work successfully. And you, you may do this a little differently from me. We're all different. Everyone's love story is different. I'm glad for that, but these 5 steps approve really helpful. The 1st step is become whole in christ 1st, before you attempt a relationship. Make sense, right? That if you're going to go into a relationship, you should have a sense of being yourself 1st. In fact, when I finally found the one, and when I say the one god led me to a person that I don't believe there's only one person out there for you. But the one person that was the right person for me, let's just put it that way. So I, I was at a stage where I was like, I don't think I'm ever going to get married. When I felt comfortable with god was when he's like, ok, now you're ready. How would it be like if you dated a very needy person? Have you had friends you've done that? notice I always put it as friends because I know your moment chosen that new data, the needy person who's just like your, my world. You are everything to me. I need you. And then after a while, you have no space and they want to, they want to control your every move and they're trying to always have you there for them. And it gets closer phobic or you know what I'm talking about. But you don't want that. So the 1st thing you should do is focus on your relationship with god and on quality, same 6 friendships and non exclusive, opposite sex friendships. Because you are forming, particularly when you are here in a university kind of setting. Or, you know, if you, if you're finishing high School, you are forming friendships for life. And if your entire world is wrapped up in one person, you are missing the opportunity to form other friendships. If I had a friend who, as soon as I got an A relationship, you say good bye to them because they were sucked in like into another universe. By I guess I'll see you sometime because that was the only friend and then 3 years later they break up and guess what's happened. They've lost those 3 magical years when they could have developed other friends. This is also a time when you can prepare for your life calling. I ended up meeting my wife a little later in life, and it meant that I could spend some time focusing on my life calling. This is all of your time to overcome major weaknesses and to develop strength. So if you don't spend time doing this, you are going to turn into what we call a magnetized person. And a magnet is something, have you ever held 2 magnets with a polar opposite? You've held us. And then you, you like bring them close together. What happens? They, if they've got the opposite poles, what will happen? They will just come together. Right. So your magnet. Yeah. I'm not sure what picture you're going to get there. He was mad. So when you get a magnetized person and you bring them, you bring these 2 magnets together. What will happen is they will get totally absorbed in each other. Now if you've got a needy person, they will actually find another needy person in the room the and the to will connect. It's likely you don't even have to tell them who they are. They will just find each other and then they'll go. This is amazing. I am with somebody who makes me feel whole. I'm with somebody who gives me this incredible sense of, of being valued and love that you seem to understand me and they get sucked into each other's life. But that person cannot ever satisfy them. And so what happens after time is that they begin to go, this person isn't always here when I need them, and the other person is going, this person isn't always here when I need them. So they start fighting. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Why don't you hear when I knew your I guy can't be with you anymore? bang. But I can't live without you. Why? My God. But I live about you. And if you watch relationships like this, Yeah. And so what happens with This is because they are not whole and cries, they have a whole for another person. They are controlled by an impulsive force that they don't understand, they're driven by their imbalances. And as a result, what they really need to do is to develop a dependence on christ that will bring them to balance and wholeness, or they will develop a dependence on what someone else. So I had a girl who came to me a number of years ago. She said please, can you and your wife pray for me? I said, sure. What are we praying for? She said, please pray that I'll get a date cuz everyone else is going out and set it a night by not. So pray did a date and I says, I can't pray that precious is why not. I'm going to pray that god will fill your heart. So you don't need a date, she didn't like that prayer. A girl who is driven by comforts by a longing to be comforted, will find a guy who will do that. But the guy who, who connects with her sometimes he is just engaging with that relationship because it makes him feel good. And as soon as it doesn't make him feel good any longer, he's just going to move on and find another person who he can be the savior for that person. Don't get involved with that. If you are a magnet break, the magnetic spell, find your identity and God. Before you find a partner, build your relationship with him on quality, time and communication, and find your sense of love in worth in what god thinks of you. Instead of what another person thinks, you sound fair enough. All right, so that step one, becoming hauling cry. Step 2 is yes. It's ok to begin observing, looking around you know, we, we call this an alas, the trip look, see, decide Isn't what you're expecting by that. So, yeah, build, build some quality friendships. You don't have to be clear anything. You're spending some time in groups. You. You are getting to know people. This is the age. There are some people who want to be pure so much that they never look well. I've met people. They like, I missed it. I was, I was in my twenties, i was right there at a university and I, I ended up not looking around me. And as a result, everybody got taken and suddenly i found myself in the 2nd and 3rd round, if you know what I mean. So it's ok to look and observe. Now some keys to success in the stage. Well, you're looking don't make mental or emotional commitments. I don't keep day dreaming about a particular person. I remember there was one girl that I really liked in college. She was a brand new girl who came to the campus. I'd already looked around at the other options. And now there was new meet. I mean, you person who had arrived and I was like, yeah, you know, let me check. And she was pretty and she was intelligent and I started hanging out with her. And next thing I found, i was just thinking about it all the time. I remember getting on a treadmill and the treadmill was saying her name with every step. Your name is shaun shaun a sean and Sean a shot a shot and it was just going through all I did. I was like, this is driving me crazy. And so I like, I just have to get rid of this. I've got to tell her how I feel bad mistake, that that led to the, to a relationship that was not healthy for either one of us. So don't make mental or emotional commitments. Don't build intense opposite sex friendships at this stage. Come on and All right. Instead, evaluate character. You don't have to do what one of my friends did. She deliberately had a flat pyre to see how the other guy would react. You know, like, let's see how he does. Is he going to get mad, whatever it is, but you just see how people relate and what their character is and the whole time you are prayerfully surrendering to God. This is what the book admin at home says. While pure love will take god into all its plans and will be in perfect harmony with the spirit of god that's. That's what we're talking about here. Passion will be what? Read those words with me. Heads wrong will be what rash will be unreasonable, will be defiant of all restraint and will make the object of its choice. Then I told you know what an idol is its way you go to, to get your satisfaction. Instead of going to God. Where do you turn? If you find yourself automatically turning to your phone in order to check your messages from that person, you are more than just friends. You have already in your mind taking it to the next level. You have turn that person into an idol. You are depending on them for those feel good feelings that you should be getting from god as that too strong. Alright, next page in admin at home says true. Love is not a strong, fiery, impetuous passion. Now it may have those moments. I'm not saying you won't have moments of passion, it may have those moments, but true love goes deeper than that. On the contrary, it is calm and deep in its nature. It looks beyond mere externals. How person looks at, you know, I do a lot of pre marital counseling as I was saying the other night i've prepared hundreds of couples to get married. And in preparing those couples, when they tell me, I say, why are you interested in this person? They say, she's just the prettiest girl in the room, and I'm like, and you know, that's great. But 50 years from now, maybe a little different. So what's going to keep you together 50 years from now looks beyond mere externals and is attracted by what qualities, qualities alone it is wise and discriminating, and his devotion is real and abiding. When you marry for the right reason, you can be absolutely certain you'll be married for life. Is that powerful? Don't you want to have somebody who will love you when you're, when you're 80? That's the kind of love we're talking about. So it says it's attracted by qualities alone. So what kind of qualities should you look for? Well, I asked nicole, my wife for her list. And as she just came up with 2 things, I thought that was pretty short. So he has her shortlist. All right. The short list is this, is he like jesus? And is he like me? Like wow, that's it. You can set the bar very high, did you? But why did she mean? Did I have the character of jesus? And could I have enough commonalities with her that we could get along and in places where we would different could she live with it? So I actually have right here. I have the journal, she wrote the year we got married before we got engaged, there it is. She gave it to me, and She, she wrote some incredible things because she was infatuated. Why do I believe you created ellen and me for each other? I'm still like a monkey with a rock turning it over and over in my mind, viewing from his many angles as possible. Broadly, i guess I would say that emotionally socially, physically, intellectually and spiritually. I feel in tune with alan. Like all the I read you later what she says. Right. But she was looking at us, is he like jesus? And as he like me now my list was a little longer and I'm sorry, I come from a pastoral background so everything has a liberation. So mine were a bunch of sees, you know, so one day I could preach on it. So here we go. He has, he has my 1st one christ. Is she he, in this case there was her, is she in love with jesus? All right, that was my 1st one, second one. Communication is she a good communicator? Because in my prior relationship i had a relationship for 3 and a half years. That girl had told me, I'm like an open book has like she says, your problem is you don't which page i'm on. That was true. I never knew which page he was on. So I pray, dear god, please give me a communicated, if you know my wife, that's exactly what I got was the communicator. So she, she a good communicator, conflict resolution. Can he will she navigate disagreements? And so when, when a, when a couple tells me we don't have any disagreements, i'm not too comfortable with that. Because as we'll find out in our 2nd session disagreements actually helpful for relationship number 4, called does he will. She have a sense of purpose that will blend with my I was giving pre marital counseling to a couple. And the one the guy was interested in doing missions. That's what he wanted to do with his life. She did not want to do missions. Eventually they were engaged, they broke up, they could not mesh their to calling together. And finally, sorry, I had to put this in the chemistry. Well, I appreciate those who say stoically. He has good characteristics and I love him. I cannot imagine the honeymoon, but I will marry him. Ah, well that sounds noble. I do believe that god created us to be attracted to each other and that there should be chemistry. So if you don't have chemistry, then then either you need to rekindle that flame or something needs to happen because a couple requires some chemistry. Now the good news is, if you've had chemistry, you can re, kendall it. Alright, so that was step to kind of observe, find out what they're like. Step 3 is that you are not just friends. Now he struggled with what to call this stage because we didn't feel like you were dating. But everybody in the room clearly knows that you are not just friends. You know, you light up when the other person walks in the room. You text each other. You deliberately tell jokes, so the other person can see can hear it. You know this, I, you're finding them in the crowd. You know what I'm talking about. You, you tend to turn to that person. When you have a need, anyone else could drive you to town, but you've got to have that person drive you. So it gets to the next stage. Now, my suggestion with this and I struggled with it exactly how to term it is that you should really indicate your interest slowly. Once you have indicated an interest, it's very hard to get back to friendship and have you experienced that? So once you've gotten to that stage where you kind of said, hey, you know, what do you think about our friendship? And they're like, yeah, that's fine. Then you know, like okay, yeah, yeah, me too. I would. Yeah, I would never think of anything other than that be friends. You know, the me thinks now does protest too much, is shakespeare would say so you indicate your interest slowly because once you have it changes, things make verbal commitments cautiously, if at all, and definitely seek wise counsel nicely confidential. Because it is possible to tell a friend and that friend to go bloated out before the time is ripe. So yes, be careful. By wise counsel, a parent, an uncle of an elder, or a pastor, somebody you trust a dorm lead to someone like that that you can trust. As I said, once you indicate to interest, you are deliberately moving your friendship out of the just friends zone. So when I met nicole, we were actually had andrews. It was a CD conference is not appropriately named and, and I was just, I hadn't gone to andrews before, but I was just coming for the weekend. It was a conference Just like we're having to day and And see as she walked past me and I felt a strong impression to go and speak to wasn't a love thing. Was just a strong impression, go speak to her and encourage it. Was like that's weird so that eve that afternoon there was a seminar just like this except it was some boring old guy who was like 99 years old talking about how to do you have angela's on. And so I was about to leave and she walked and I thought i'll just stay so that I can speak to and get this over and done with. And then she left just before the end of the seminar, she was on the phone. I was like, ah, I just wasted this time in the 7. And so I just set the pace sheet to the end and then she came back in kind of folding phone together. I didn't realize until later on she had actually been bored in the seminar too and had used the phone as an excuse. So she wouldn't look rude when she walked out. So if you walk out on your phone, I know what you do. So she comes back in and so I get the courage as I'm leaving. And I just woke up to an all I says high and she goes high and she walks off. She didn't know 2 months later that that was me. And we were actually talking and I said, you remember the 1st time we met and she would know it was, I mean I, I do, and I'll tell you that in a moment. And I said no, it wasn't. Then it was that, that seminar, she said that was you. I thought with some hick from Texas looking for a wife and kid a heck from Texas. I'm from africa. So yes, so she woke up so that, that very evening, a friend of mine has a crick, calls me over and says, hey, come in supper with us. And is Nicole, we get chatting. And the more I chat on like, hey god, when you said speak to her, what exactly did you mean? And as she had no idea that that was going on in my head to later, so we had to, we had to navigate this friendship. And we, we ended up getting, we were traveling, we ended up traveling together up to the general conference that was happening that year in Toronto. And so we got talking with each other, and by the end of that conversation, I was hooked. And so I wanted to, I asked her, do you mind if we stay in touch and she goes, yeah, that's fine. And then she told me later she was kicking herself like, why am I saying Yes, the guy from africa, this is not going anyway. But we had to figure out what to do. And so at the general conference we spent a little bit of time with each other. And by then I was really hooked. So as I was leaving, i wanted to give her a hug at the airport. She came out to the airport to, to say good bye to me. So I wanted to give her a hug and she says no back off. Go home, cool down. And they will talk. That's literally what she told me. Cold down, we'll talk and she's like, he's gonna fly back to african. Forget all about me. But I didn't. So then I hear i'm in africa. I started writing every day to fortunately, i know I sound like a dinosaur, but they had invented m S N messenger. And we were like, oh, we can communicate in real time room. Except that she could type faster than I could. And I was on dial up that you know, way you dial in and it would like make funny beeps and noises. Yeah, that's, that was my sister. So she's typing away. Thank you. What a great listener. The sky is. I couldn't respond because my computer was crazy. So like I tried to type but you're typing too much, you have a great list now that's why she said such wonderful things so. So at some point as like, ok, i've given her a little bit of time. You know, it was like all of 4 weeks or 6 weeks. So I was like, hey, why do we date because that's what I was used to. Let's just say. So I write her and I have the big question. Will you be my girlfriend? And I waited for it to come back, you know, like what? Yeah, no, you are not ready to date yet. You have not called down enough. This woman is nuts. So I thought about it. And then I was like, I got it. I type back a question than not so big question. And the not so big question is Will you discover god's will for our relationship and not said anyone else while we are in this process? Yes. So what I realized was that she was trying to get me to the stage. An intentional friendship is when you have declared your intentions and you're being intentional about your friendship. Look, I was on a different continent. And when you're on a different continent, i had no casual way to be involved with her. So I was going to have to be intentional about this friendship to discover where it was going. But she would not let me make a boyfriend, girlfriend commitment, and tell you more about each other's that wise. See, I married a wise woman. So this is when you declare your intentions and you've come intentional, but you don't suddenly go as it's typical and dating to the next base like, oh now we can hold hands that we can declare a love for each other. Because to be frank, we didn't know each other. We needed that time to figure each other out. So when should you declare your intentions? I would like to suggest don't do it on impulse. Give yourself some time to call off as my wife recommended to me and evaluate your feelings to do more observation and make sure this is god's. Well, I'm going to be vulnerable again and share my experience. So I was, I went to from South africa, his and bob, we, this is quite a few years before I met nicole. And when I went on this trip, i had a goal in mind that I was going to get to know. So I wrote to her and she responded back, and I said, hey, I'm going to come out to meet you. So I did, I had to get on a chicken bus. And literally this bus had chickens on it. And it was only supposed to take 60 people it had like 90 people, and then it broke down and we had to wait for another bus and that bus was 90. People managed to get like a 120 people on it. I don't know how to work. So finally I arrived there with chicken feathers on me. I and I get a taxi out to her house, so yeah, this guy is arriving with like suitcase at hand. Like, yeah, I am. And I need a dad and his dad's like impressive he let me come in, I get to meet his daughter. I get to meet the family. I'm like, this is amazing. This is wonderful. So what I've been looking forward to that says, hey, why didn't the 2 of you got and have some fun? That's a great. Where do we have fun in this town? Says there's a drive in movie. I'm like, ok. He says you can take my pickup truck, he puts a mattress in the back of his pickup truck. And he lets me take and it had like a cab over the back. And let me take the pickup truck to the drive and movie with his daughter with a mattress in the back. Now, I guess he thought I was a theology students. I was safe. Do not trust the ology students. But there I was, will like watching the, the movie and I'm looking across at her and I forget what the movie was, but there was michael jackson plane in the background. And, and there I, I thought I saw looking cross there and it's the same thing. You know, the wandering hand, and then suddenly i look at her and I go, will you go out with me? And I reach across and I hold her hand and she looks back at me now. I don't know what happened in that moment. But it was like the music stopped playing the beautiful picture cracked. I'm holding your head on like, I have no idea who this woman is. And, and her hands kind of rough, which was probably a good side. I mean, she's a hard worker, but in that moment it just like turned everything off. And I'm looking at her and I'm like, what have I done? And she is still in the moment for her, the music is playing. It's beautiful and she's looking across me and she goes, yes. And I'm like and she's like, you hear what I said? I said Yes. And I would. That's wonderful. And within 24 hours, i'd broken up with her. I know I'm a bad man. Because I did things on impels and on the basis of feelings, are you getting the idea? Be careful of your feelings. I should have checked things out. So it's very hard to go back to regular friendship after that. And in that friendship, we never went back to it. You are not yet dating. At this stage you are simply exploring where the god is leading the 2 of you to order committed relationships. So we have created a predating face. What do you guys think? It's just to prove it to help you to cool down and to figure things out. All right, so don't go if the sign says slow, what I mean. What if you like more than one person at the same time, but they're here and the other person is not here. So I'll just go with them. That is not fair on that person, right? So I keep it casual. No one likes to play. If you don't know yet, don't declare your intentions. You're not that desperate for a boyfriend or girlfriend. Don't date while you wait for someone else. Figure at your heart before you go on and declare your intentions. You, it's not fair. On the other person, one couple, the girl was sending these elaborate like $200.00 gift to, to her ex boyfriend. And then having her boyfriend help her to get the gifts ready. Crazy. Right? Yes. Please don't do that. I remember, as I've said, the hallway, 3 hot is fake, old, so don't allow intimacy to cloud your judgment. So the way we like to think of it is this knowledge comes 1st, then appropriate commitments based on that knowledge. Inappropriate intimacy, the greater the knowledge, the greater the kind of commitment you can make, and the greater commitment you make, the great a intimacy allows, which means that the greatest intimacy is reserved for the greatest commitment make sense. Now, of course, you're going to be discovering who this person is for the rest of your life, but at least know enough to know whether you can trust that person with your heart. Last christmas, i gave you my heart. The very next day you gave it away, all right. Step for dating. Now you are ready to commence dating. To commence a committed relationship. You should still continue to focus on getting to know one another's personality and character. Just because you're dating doesn't mean you have to get married. The point of dating is to help you see in a more intimate situation where you are more committed to each other. Is this going to work? I even l A wide says even at the point of engagement, she says it is better to break off and engagement than to enter upon a goal in yoke. Progress slowly in emotional intimacy and regulate physical intimacy by counsel and conviction. Check in with others have have your convictions clearly established. We'll talk a little bit more about that in our next session. Evaluate which phase of a love relationship you're at this the infatuation phase where you have a lot of emotional love. Let me just read one more page, sir. In everything we compare ideas and learn from each other. It seems like we can expand each other's minds and at the same time, find comfort in our sameness of values, ideals, goals, dreams, and even ways to relax. Find fun and show love are similar. I guess it's kind of hard to describe how we like and different in just the right amounts 3 months later She says, ah, Why is he so difficult I definitely never, ever want to have children. Rehab for Allen is so driven to accomplish. I fear his craving for success. What if it becomes more important than his love for me? She's when we were married, she called me up one day and I'm in my zone. I mom I work sod punching things out, getting things done. And she says, hey, I just called to find out if you were thinking of me, I was like, no, I was and I was working the wrong. And So what, what happens, what happened infatuation stage we, are we all alike and different and just the right amount 3 months after that. Oh my goodness, why is he so difficult? Why didn't he listen better? So we were getting to know each other, so that's what happens is that you have an infatuation stage than a bonding stage where you begin to go like, wow, we just getting along so well. And this is amazing. Then you have an awareness, so disillusionment stage. That's when I read to you why the been so difficult? That's kind of your reality check. So if a couple has not hit the reality stage, it's not like a cad work, but it's just taking a risk because you don't know which way it's going to go. So are they really aware of each other? And then it starts going into different directions. They're either learn how to collaborate and how to be fair with each other, or they end up conflicting and one of them, or both of them end up becoming resentful. They're either learn how to practice sacrificial commitment, or they end up becoming selfish. The one will lead to loyalty and the other will lead to abandoned, you know, in marriage the to become one. And that one isn't view. It's the other person. You want the window up, they want to down. You wanted hot, they wanted cold, your life where we lived in sacrificial commitments, particular when you have kids, then it adds to the sacrificial commitment to all different level and looking at some of us they were married. We know what we know what this is like. So you're either going to learn how to be loyal, or are you going to end up becoming selfish and eventually abandoned at this relation? It's not for me. I just don't feel the love anymore and what you would as to feel the love you were asked to commit to the love, but I'm preaching. So how do you know if you're infatuated? If you're day dreaming? If you can't get the other person out of your mind, if your, if you have suddenly awakened feelings, if you have constant communication, i did a waiting for one couple that had had between them. I'm not joking. 90000 techs 90000 techs which all the time and I'll tell you that was not an easy marriage. Distraction, you struggled to get anything done. Any of you have friends like this, you can recognize them. Again, it's just friends, right? Where the relationship is about passion and not principal. So you can see that infatuation when you get through that stage in before we can really move to the significant stage. Now what we decided to do to help us because we knew we were really in love with each other, was to make a covenant. And we actually had, I forget what it was like 8 or 9 points. Now covenant. One of them was these, 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. So we said we're going to be very clear. We want to know gods, well, even though we're dating, we want to know is godliness together. Then we had physical boundaries and we had how much time and how we were going to make sure that our time with god was squeezed out by time with each other. So we, if you want that covenant, let me know and I'll send it to you. So when you're dating, you're looking at ways that will make you fit to be tied. Are you building your relationship with god? Are you continuing to get to know each other in a wide variety of settings? So when a call came out to africa, i took her on a camping trip with the church and we had to do things. I did find out, she found out stuff about me. I paddled stuff about her like she brought these little potatoes and she had these potatoes like wrapped in tin foil, and I was really hungry and we had the fire going. And so she took these little potatoes, she threw them into the, into the hot fire. But then she thought they'll cook as long as the big potatoes. And so eventually somebody came along and said, hey, those potatoes have been a long time, you would take them out. So I took them out and I opened them up and the outside of the potato was completely black. I mean, it was black. So nicole went off to go and get something everyone else's kind of laughing and I pull it up and I said why, she must think I'm a god because she's offering me burnt offerings. She walks in as we are all laughing. And she was not impressed. And we had to work through it, we are still married, she is a good cook, and I have learned to be a much more tactful person. Alright, so I did gotten the council. I took her to meet up with my spiritual mentors. I didn't come from a christian background and so I took it to meet my spiritual mentors and they spend time with her and they loved her. And so I said, so what do you think? And they said, we'll tell you to night. So they kept me on in the whole afternoon that night they gave me 2 gifts. One was a magnet, and one was a pair of willie socks. They said the willy socks are for your cold feet. Go ahead and marry this girl. And the magnet said because they knew I liked puns. It to sheep next to each other and said, my place in life is next to you. So they were saying go ahead e, W E G. So there we go. There is the pun. So they, I had to still pray about it. God, are you leaving us together? Is this the right thing? And we kept praying when we work through some of those difficult things. We ask hard questions, but I've discovered some of us have the paralysis of analysis. You know what I mean? We over think everything. Some people are trying to figure out. Some people are trying to figure out things like. But what if I forget where she had it here? I don't know what the future holds. I'm worried about it. We want so much for it to work. Please do something soon. We're so tired. This is the reality we were struggling with. Should we really do this, even though some people said Yes. What is this like? And at some point, we had to say, we've asked the questions, we need to ask, we need to move on. We also got a self, a great little book called getting to really know your life may to be. It was just questions like how much money would you spend on your parents for a gift? How much money would you spend on my parents? If we had a disabled child, how would you react some deep questions. So we worked through some of those, but at some point we couldn't keep analyzing. We just had to let it be. Now there's some ways in which you should know you should get out. You put to be untied, i call that they only have a casual relationship in god. Yeah. You know kind of spiritual but not really. They blame others and they don't take responsibility that will come back to bite you. They don't have a good work ethic that will come back to bite you. They are resentful or jealous that will come back to bite you. They push sexual boundaries. If they do with you, why won't they do it with someone else that angry or manipulative that could turn into abuse? They lie. That could be really problematic if you want to develop trust. If you see these warning signs, they may be bleeping. This is not the relationship for you, is that, is that good enough? There are some danger point. I wish I had known this. And so my relationships, i would have saved myself a lot of heartache. And finally, you get to the point where you can get engaged, you're committing to marriage and a lifetime of ministry together. I Way I called up nicole's dad. She knew I was going to do the session. Yeah. Was coming. I asked for his permission to marry his daughter. He said yes, I sent him in good african tradition, 9 cows and a mule. They were plastic, 9 cows for my dowry one mule because she was a little stubborn. So. So she knew that something was coming. So we ended up hanging out, I think it was a sabbath. We hunger, the whole sabbath. We went for a walk on the beach. We went to go and eat pizza. She thought maybe it's going to happen. Yeah. Nothing. I said, I got a text i said, we have to go to our friends house. We going to do some fun activity with them because it said at night and you know what had been a so like, so let's go head over there. So she's like, she's disappointed i can tell because she was hoping that tonight was the night, but it was so when we arrive at the house, everyone else suddenly leaves and she's like, that's weird. And then she sees there are candles lit in the shape of a hot inside my friend's apartment and she's like home. Why it's happening. And I leave her inside. And I've got this massive bible. It literally is the big, you know, like the ellen white bible, that kind of bible and I've ordered open to 1st corinthians 13. I've written out a wedding proposal and it's declaring my love for her. And then the kuta top, I bring out a coin that has yes and no on it. And I kneel down, ask you to marry me. And then I ask you to flip the coin that I'd checked to see that I'd waited at Southern would only land on the And so we were excited. I mean I can see and hear dates. July january 14, a few hours ago I became ellen pockets. Fiance, i am still overwhelmed. It all seems like a dream. It doesn't seem possible. I'm engaged. I'm getting married. I've decided to get a husband to become a wife. It's beautiful. But what you want to do is make sure that you're asking the right question. So here a couple of good books, the sacred search by gary thomas about the process of finding someone. 101 questions to ask before you get not married but engaged. Have you worked through things? It's more journaling. You can only do like a question a week, but it's, it's good. And in the end it is worth waiting for. So the so waiting. We got married in New York State upstate New York just by union springs academy. If any of you know where that is, and it was magnificent, so god can bless. And I don't know what he's planned for you, but I can say his plan was so much better than when I tried to do it my way. Let's pray together. Father, god, thank you for, for leading in my life. Thank you for the gift i received in my wife. She is more precious than any jewel and ungrateful for her. And I pray the same for each person here that you will lead them to a beautiful, not simply romantic, but real relationship founded on true love that is abiding. And that will last for eternity. For I pray these things in jesus name. Amen. All right, so we will take a 10 minute break and then ah, we will commence again. So if you, if you want to stick, stay here for the next 7 or you're welcome to, if you want to go to the evangelism one, because you've not evangelism dady the evangelism seminar, then you're, you're welcome to do that. So 10 minutes and we'll start again at 340 And we should be done by 430 this afternoon, that's our goal. Get to meet people With the How you doing? It's been a while and have things going to right. What, what are your studies like now? chemistry. Yeah. But not as bad as last semester. Which was good to have. Yeah. Was physics was and that was the tough one. I there was one of them that was the 1st but it was the professor. Yeah. Hey man, I was going With that. I needed to take that with her. Yeah, this, this one is about how to manage the actual relationship. Thank you. I can look over you and I will always feel smile, which is what I appreciate. You're welcome. I said really just hand you the PowerPoint, a new teacher. Hey, how are you? Good. Why this is my daughter, rachel show. She actually cleans in the building with. Oh, that's right. I have seen you in passing that you commented on her fearless. Oh yes, yes. That's right, like I think that's kind of what else. What we promote in our family folder? Maybe. Yes. Recognize this is true from that area. Yeah, we were there 5. Yes. Yes. So there was good. So are you, are you in homeschooling or Or studying. Ok. I know it's always because the because so many of the students are actually academy students working in in cleaning. I know because my 2 boys are also doing cleaning and my daughter's in cetera. She's with housekeeping so, but we are grateful to have a moment choice. Students in high school. Thank you really now, but I don't want to make the most amount of money I can in the time. Yeah. And they they, if you are a college student, I think they'll pay a little bit more. Yeah. I know. Every year it will go. So where did you transfer from? I went to college for Yeah. Okay. Hearing code. Well, we're glad you're here. 50. Not as cheap as community college. No. I think it's good to figure that out because that's challenging for and did you say reach rachel? Yeah. For So I'm actually interested in your biblical account. What Are the covenant covenants? Yeah, I find that. So I tell you what, let me let me take this off so not everyone seeing you Did you need to see me like Oh, on the door I think you've is how that works. I'm not sure. Did you see on the attendance thing is on the door. So do that. I'm not sure what credits are offering, but I'll find out. Yeah, yeah. I don't know if they haven't ex, the code on this one. I think it's just not every i think it's just logging in. I know in this one I don't think they had an extra code. Yeah. Ok. I don't know. I think they must not have picked it up. OK, so let me. Okay, so what is your email address? D, as in David, the number for overcomer overcome is at icloud. I haven't you already have, I don't know why or maybe it's just because I completed the email that we write to each other before. Maybe I don't know, I'm not sure, but I have asked for I watch something online that you did. Oh, that could be that might be, I don't know or it could just be I completed the email. Okay. My my files so sorry. Right before the beginning. I'm sorry. Yeah. That's a lot to proximate So that's that's, that's going to take years to work through. And so I'm glad for both of us that you know, it's difficult To see if God open this door. We see both. I've lived with the nurse. Well, I'm actually living in Washington State. And so if God opens this or I'm just, I didn't make good decisions. Obviously there's something went wrong when I read the door like you're the one. Yeah, yeah, I well, and one of the things I discovered, even if you do everything right, people still have power trucks. So you know, I, I've known couple who followed. He's on god's plan god's way, but then they just made different choices as they got older. And God doesn't stop us from making a choices. He was the perfect parent with the perfect environment. And we still made all choices. Yeah, definitely laurie. Oh, yeah. So and you know, we, the important part is although it takes 2 to tango and you can definitely learn from your mistakes. Make yourself responsible for the other person's choices. Which is, it's hard because we always ask, you know, what could I have done differently? But in the end we can answer that question because they made a choice. Definitely telling me last I have a question. He does not know, but it doesn't mean it's the right choice. I don't like it. Yeah, exactly. And you have, you have a right to say, I don't think this is a good choice. I think this is a bad choice for us. So, all right, well I, I sent that to you. Hopefully it'll be there. Thank you. First or so benefit. Yeah, yeah, you can share it with her, but I'm glad to have her. What is she going? We both have like a program. OK, so she is doing pre the prerequisites now. Yeah. So I would have to go through the whole process of getting the permission to move out because I have a 14 year old child. So the challenge and because of custody, opening the door. Yeah. So and, and rachel staying at home with, you know, in the door. She's ok, so she's not dependent as much on whether that happens for you. No, not at all. And the Lord we all 3 of My pearson live under and we had the choice to go to apply for the community college. But I did because I I've been on the 121 and I've been at home born. And so The career that I had before wasn't working during the conference. I better never I hear you A lot of life change, but the Lord southern and you really want to go there, try and if the Lord opened the door financially, that's where I'm happy with that. So she did provided me and I was dollars to be able to go Something was going on and Yeah, Even it wouldn't get So anyway, well, there must be a reason why you're yeah. What the next step is. I don't know that there must be some reason. Alright, well, thank you. No problem. One other thing. I don't Know any of your wife, brenda, from when she was younger and like you to me we have Yeah. Like wash the hills is where she read. Okay. I remember my mom was a friend, her name or 2 in 2000, but she there. So maybe it was from your sister, or was somehow or they may have made up later on with my, my wife, what she went through seminary labor, through the masters and passed oral ministry. But I don't know, it could be some way. But some of my, my wife has a lot of friends like 5000 facebook friends Or if we can take our seats. So thank you. I know someone will be coming. And so what we're going to be doing in this seminar is 3 keys to a healthy relationship. So in all the couples that I've counselled, i've discovered that there are certain things that work for them and certain things that if they don't follow this, their relationships tend to fail. Now, there is no perfect way. There's no guarantee. Let me put it that way. You can follow all the steps in the world. You can read 50 books, you're still dealing with people and people will make the decisions. And God could lead you together with someone. I know people who say I'm absolutely convinced that god led me together with this person. But I also know that we should not get married and they have ended up breaking off their engagement. One of those, she broke it off the night before the wedding that already had the practice. And now it was, it was saturday night and it was supposed to get married on Sunday. She called it off. She called up friends, everyone's loan in. They bought the food, they bought the wedding dress, they bought the flowers. I don't know how many it is like $10000.00. You know what a wedding is like? And her family was supportive. They said if you don't feel comfortable with going ahead right now, then you shouldn't. And they called it off and she is so grateful. She never got married to that person. So yeah, even at the last minute like that, things can happen. So there is no guarantee as we go through the seminar. But these 3 keys to a healthy relationship, i think, will be very good for you to pay attention to because they will make your chances of success much stronger. Let's pray together. Father, god, thank you for guiding. Thank you for that my own journey. And I'm so grateful for how things worked with my wife. And I pray that you will help me to become the kind of husband I should be helping to become the wife. She should be and help each one of us to grow into the kinds of people we should be for. We ask this in jesus name, amen. So this is really designed for when you are in a relationship. So if you're not in a relationship yet, just take note. So the 1st question kind of builds of what we said last time is your relationship, god centered. And I just find that that makes all the difference in the world when a relationship is based on jesus, it just goes better. You heard the old saying, a family that prays together what stays together now again, there's no magic in it. We still make our decisions, but a relationship that is god centered is so much better. L Y said there are 3 questions we should ask. Have you read these before? 3 questions we should ask is this leading me where you want to heaven is this? Does this increase my love for god and does it increase my sphere of usefulness in this life? So does this relationship lead you to love god more and to serve other people or you so wrapped up in each other? You forgotten to pray you forgotten to have a devotional life? I asked couples how your devotional life and some of them go not so great as like, we need to work on that because that's your foundation. Because when you have someone outside of your relationship that you can turn to like god, he fills the love cups inside of your hearts and you can give to each other instead of demanding from each other. Now caution, most couples experience a temporary spiritual high when they start dating, because emotions and spirituality seem to be close together. I have seen absolutely bound for help pagans become suddenly very spiritual for about 3 weeks. And then they like they bringing their bibles to chair and they pray to God. And I'm like, well how, maybe this is a turnaround? No, it was whole months. So you need to be careful that that, that he, he's really totally. He is a completely different person than he was 3 months ago when he was a total jerk. And I told you, I would never look at him. These are actual quotes. So you need to recognize that you've got to give it time to see if that's actually true, but you want to make god the focus. And we, we like to talk about in our relationship seminars, a difference between a mean at happiness and a mean at holiness. It's kind of like a focus on the road. Are you aiming for a happy relationship or a holy relationship? Now what do I mean by holy relationship? Are you trying to be like jesus? Or are you trying to just have fun? Now if you're going into a dating relationship, just to have fun, you can do that for a while, but you will end up hurting each other. Because what's it like when to selfish people? Get into a relationship. So can I have 2 people up here will make you bad and they will make you Good. So. Ok. Yeah. You guys come on I. Yes, I saw that nudge nudge again. So. So what we've got is, is he has, he has a nice couple. They're going to be selfish. Now what I want you to pretend is that I am happiness. Ok? I don't, I look like happiness, right? I'm happiness. He wants to be happy, guess who's standing in between him and happiness. And so what is he going to have to do? Maybe maybe just maybe she is too busy and that standing in the way of his happiness and he wants her to be less busy to spend more time with him. What's he going to do? What are you going to do to express your frustration? If she does not respond, she is standing in the way between you and happiness. What else will you do? You will, you will manipulate her so that you can get to a goal. You are going to do what I want you to do. You're going to spend time with what good girlfriend wouldn't spend time with his boyfriend, you know, well whatever the situation, husband, why, friend? And then you manipulate that person when you come, what's fine? It's okay. I'll just go back to my room, cry. Now, I want you to imagine that I am jesus. All right, now let me ask your question. He wants to become like jesus, he wants to become like me. Is there anything that she can do that would stop him from reaching that goal? No, she's mean to him. Guess what? It's an opportunity to become more like jesus. She ends up being a little selfish. Guess what? That's an opportunity to become more like jesus. So what is happening? She can never stand between him and the goal when the goal is holiness. Now let me ask you a question. If both of them are trying to become more like jesus, do you think I'll have a happy relationship? Yeah. So, so really if you want a happy relationship, you have to aim at a holy one. Thank you. Because the great, yeah, give them a hand. All right. So it's like a tug of war if you are trying to manipulate each other and then it becomes marriage. Instead of becoming a covenant becomes a contract, you know what the difference between a covenant and a contractors in a contract. You basically, i'll do this for you if you do this for me. So I'll pick up my socks off the floor unbelievably. That was a problem that I had seen because I'm a professor and we think great thoughts and where are my soc saw doesn't really matter. So my wife comes at horon says, you know what, I found your socks today. I was like, no, they will on the dining room table. Like, yeah, they shouldn't be there. So what she could do, she, she could say, I want you to take your socks and put them away in the laundry. And I could go, yeah, yeah. But you're also going to have to pick up those clothes that you leave in the bathroom. Make sure they get put in the laundry to half and, and then, and then we could do a contract. All right, fine. I'll put my socks in the laundry. If you put your clothes in the laundry basket that are on the bathroom floor, what have we done? We've created a contract and inevitably somebody is going to break the contract because absent minded professor, guess what? He's going to do end up leaving a socks on the flaw gets what she's going to end up doing what she's listening to music, end up leaving some clothes on the wall and then we got hi, you see? You see, you didn't keep your end of the bargain so I could do whatever I want now. Huh. Now does that lead to a powerful marriage? No. So relationship is built, not on manipulation, not on contract thinking. But on ministry thinking, ministry thinking says, I am here to minister to you as a person. I am here because god has put me in your life so that I can be jesus to you. And I can help you to become more like jesus, which may even mean some confrontation. So I say this even sex should not be seen selfishly. Sex is a ministry Of pleasure to the other person. Now with most people being ministering to each other, I know the sounds so pest oral. Both people ministering to each other, sex is beautiful. But when 2 people are looking to fulfill their own personal fantasies, fix can become fundamentally selfish and hurtful. Are you following? Or are moving on so we don't embarrass anyone else. Alright, this is lead us to young lovers. This is a great little book. Ellen white wrote to several young people and wrote some letters to them. She says, 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 what god approves his course. He will not want to choose for himself, but will feel that god must choose for him. Now. When she's saying that she's not saying you're not involved, as we'll see in a moment. She's saying that you take god into your plans. We are not to please ourselves for christ, please, not himself. Now, she says I would not be understood to mean that any one is to marry one whom he does not love. This would be thin. So you don't have to marry someone. God, I just know you're calling me to marry the ugliest person out there and I'll find them and I'll marry them. No. But what god is calling you to do is to be unselfish and to take came into account. Fair enough. That's the 1st key. Second key, and I don't care, you know, they tell me that the number one reason why couples get divorced is because of money. It is not because of money. It is because they don't know how to communicate. So do you communicate effectively? So I've got to tell my favorite story and I'm sorry, but it is just, it's just my experience. So when we 1st got married, nicole went out shopping. And she didn't know what all of these prices were because they were in, ran, sees like we were in South africa living in South africa. She was american. And she's like, what are these things? So she looks and she sees bananas and the price kind of looks ok. So she buys a bunch of bananas. She brings him home, doesn't say anything, I see the bananas. I love bananas. So I go and I thought eating those bananas, they are yellow with just a hint of green. That's how I love them and I eat them through. And the next week, without saying anything, she goes out and she buys to bunches of bananas. And I'm like, man, that's really loves me because she hadn't eaten a single banana. And now she's bored me to bunches of bananas on like this is so great. I it through the, to bunch the bananas, the next week, 3 bunches, la city, me time like, man, I know she loves me but I like bananas, but this is a little too much potassium. You know what I mean? So I'm going and I'm eating my way through the bananas. And finally there's one left and it has those nasty little spots on it. You know, I'm like, she does like bananas. She's bought them for me. I'm a good husband. I should eat the final banana. So I pick up the banana and it's like that sugary sweet, really. And I am eating it. And I just finished when she walks in the room and she has a big eyes. She says, you a the last banana just when it was getting right? So apparently she thought, overwrite bananas were right. And how many of you like bananas spots? Yeah, the 7 year. Yeah, I'll pray for you so so we discovered we had not been communicating right. We could have easily solve this. She could have said, hey, by the way, I like bananas when they have spots on them. Do you already like them when they're green? She could have said something like that and we would have figured it out, but we hadn't. So we needed to communicate. Now unfortunately, most communication is a lot more difficult than bananas. So that's what we want to talk about. So one guy you may have heard of him, dr. Gartman, he had a love lab. People would come to this cabin and get videotaped only in the main area and he had videotaped them. He did this for over 6 years. And he compared this with another study of couple studied over 13 years. And he looked for patterns in couples that stayed married, that seemed happy. And he try to see now what are the patterns that I can figure out the big surprise part of this weekend. They would teach them skills like, have you heard of? I messages. You know, sort of saying, you always do this, you go, I feel that you always do know that you had teach them. I may suggest you know where you go, I am feeling this and then they would learn how to listen. But the strange thing was when a couple got into a fight, all of that went out the window. They didn't even use it, they knew it, but that didn't mean we're going to use it right. And have you been in that situation? I know what to say. Yeah, but I don't care. I'm going to tell you what I feel. So instead was going to shock you. Yes. What they found. They found 2 critical factors to success. If the person in this case it was often the wife who initiated the issue, was able to do it in a gentle compassionate and soothing way. And if the partner in this case, the husband responded by being open to the suggestions of his wife, the couple happily negotiated the conflict. In other words, what, what worked was not a strategy, but an attitude. I'm going to introduce this in a non aggressive way. And I'm going to respond in an open way. Are you following? So I said, how can I instead of just giving the strategies i messages he has, how to listen? How can I teach this in a way that helps people with an attitude? And so what I had to do was to win out certain negative attitudes, he called them got me call them the 4 horsemen of marital apocalypse. And what it is criticism, why do you always? What is that? What's wrong with you? All right, contempt. I just can't believe her. There's someone in my family who are in remain nameless, but you'll get the idea. Yeah. Because they call their husband robert. And anytime you can, robert, ha, that man can't believe that man. So this is contempt, right? So you have to be careful defensiveness, where you explain, excuse deny responsibility. So somebody says, hey, you know, would you mind picking up your socks off the floor? I dial my sucks on the floor as I must be something going on. Ah no, I don't be my socks on the floor. It's denying it. Or stonewalling. Walking away, not listening. La la la la, i'm not hearing you la la, la la. That is not helpful. So instead of these things, we need to teach an attitude and to teach that attitude requires, i believe, 2 things trust and vulnerability. Now a couple that says we don't fight Unlike so you never disagree about anything like, no, no, we just, everything's great. Well then I said maybe you're not being honest with each other because if you're honest with each other, you will disagree. I've never met any person that I agree with about everything. So trust says I trust you enough to share what I really feel. So in a relationship, you want to develop trust, you want to develop trust and vulnerability. Now, some of us do some communication tools and we, we call this love the love response. And so one of the attitudes that I teach is the attitude of listening and my good friend profess, augusta. There. She taught me that there's another way to spell listen. Can anyone come up with the other way to spell with them? Take those same letters and form it into another word. Silent. Alright, then means when you're listening, shut up. Be quiet, listening because as you listening, you begin to hear what the other person is really communicating. Then understand understanding is both reflecting back. You know, you can say, so what I heard you saying is you can use that strategy, but much more. So to understand your last question, can you give me an example helping you understand what you mean by that. So when you say that you're feeling hurt by what I just said, can you give me an example of what I said that was hurtful and in the person start unpacking their hood, because you really want to understand it's an attitude. And then the last attitude here is to validate to validate means to read a person's heart. So when a person says, we're not to take our example, we're not, you're not spending enough time with me. You too busy. Then I'm going, I'm the busy one, you know, last week when, when you are busy that I didn't hear any of this, Well, you're too busy business because you are busy now suddenly. Ok. What have I done? I become defensive to validate. Says I can tell you really want to spend time with me. I can tell that that's important to you and I want to thank you for that. I'm guessing i've hurt you by my business. See what validation does. It says it reads the heart of the other person and says, I'm open to what you have to say. In fact, I care about what you have to say. I appreciate your bringing it up because I know you care about our relationship. Now how it works, not only with the person who's listening, it works with the person who's talking. That's a good veggie burger. Maybe not. But what happens when you have a burger? You've got a lot of sauce and a lot of condiments on either side, right? So I, if you're going to bring something up, a good communication strategy is what I call the affirmation sandwich. Begin by saying something you like about the other person. You know, I really love how you like to have fun together. That's something I really love about our relationship. However, I've felt that in the last little while, whenever I brought up a suggestion about what I would like to do, you haven't really heard me. And instead we've ended up doing what you wanted to do. And the only reason why I'm bringing this up now is because I know you listen to me so well in other cases. And it's just this one area that I think we could deal with. And I know you want what's best for our relationship. And that's what I love about you. See what I did? affirmation savage. Yeah, yeah. Right. And so what happens is a lot of sauce on either side will help the tough meet to go down right now. In addition to that, there may be more difficult situations. What about when there is conflict going on in your relationship? So I've discovered that there are at least 3 routes. I know there are many more, but there's at least 3 significant routes that I've discovered to conflict. And this is the biggest one I put at the top unmet expectations. Let me give you a scenario. So a newly married and I walk in the house. I've been working all day. I walk in the house nicole's been at home, of course she was study right. But you have lots of time when you study. So I walk in and the dishes are not washed. What's my expectation? That the dishes should have been wash. What? By my good housewife, before I get home, that has all kinds of stereotypes in up a bear with me. So I get into the kitchen and I start washing the dishes, but I washed them this way. Bang, bang, what am I communicating? That I'm a 5th. What is Nicole here? She hears? bang, bang, bang! So at 1st she's like, wow, he's been really noisy in washing the dishes. But she's a woman. She tunes a bit of an idea. She figures out. He's mad and then she goes, he's washing the dishes. So she walks in and she says, why you washing the dishes? Because no one else has. Then I catch myself because I'm supposed to be a good husband and I go. So I, I just decided to do it out of love. I do lie up, you're doing it to prove a point. And I'll tell you what I'm doing. This is a real conversation. I'll tell you what it's doing. It's making me feel unloved. It's making me feel like you're trying to communicate that I'm a failure. Why didn't you just come speak to me and express your expectation and your desire? Because this, I don't know. It seemed like a good idea at the time bag. So you will discover that unmet expectations lead to a, a sense of disappointment, a sense of disappointment, can lead to a demand. If you truly loved me, you would have been watching these dishes. If you truly love me, you'd be picking up your socks. If you truly love me, you would be doing the so that and in that disappointment becomes the demand. Now you have to do it to show you left me. Are you following us? This leads to conflict. So if we can talk about our expectations and why we have them, we can often take them away like, I'll give you another one. So here I am a new dad and it's time to go to church. So I go and I jump in the car because it's time to go to church and my wife is late, so frustrated. Why are we late again When I which does nothing to improve the warm, fuzzy feelings in her relationship. And so she comes out carrying the baby and the diaper bag and something else. I don't remember what it was and she juggling all of these things, putting them into the car, going to go. She's like, maybe we could go faster if you would help me. Like, oh yeah, good fine. So, clarifying expectations. Second one is past hurts. Again, illustrations help you. So I am driving down the freeway. I 80 in Sacramento. They which I, it says $65.00 but it's his i 80. So everyone just goes 80. So there I am, I used to raise caught, so I enjoy 80. And suddenly as I'm driving nicole. Yep. She goes I what is that? Is it a, is it a bird? Is it a plane? Is it an animal? I don't know. You know? So there I and she and I look across and she has been quenching her 1st there on nail marks and hands on like what is it said, would you please just slow down? I'm like, whoa, slow down like what's going on there while we unpacked it? When she was younger, her dad would drive very fast, he used to terrify her. And when they complain, guess what the dad would do drive faster. So now she's in the same environment intellectually, she may know I won't do that, but emotionally, it feels the same. And so she's going, I can't say anything, can't say anything, and we're getting closer and closer to the truck in front of us. And she's just gripping tighter and tighter. I've seen come through because I'm driving and I'm a race car driver. You know? So I'm, I'm comfortable and I don't know what she's doing until at last the volcano explodes. So the conflict was actually caused by a past hurt. Are you following this like? Was a land mine? And if the reaction is it out of proportion to the situation, it's probably because it's threaded to hurt in the past. So then I said to her, look, honey, next time I'm driving where you're not comfortable, just tell me and I'll slow down and she's like really said yeah. And did not get defensive when your wife said something about your driving just slow down. So I make the mental note were driving along, she could you back from that truck a little? And I back off. She's like, wow, that is so liberating. Mental note, good job. 10 points. All right. So the, you need to look at why is the situation occurring and what could it be related to and how can you as a partner, help that person transition from those emotional feelings? Because those emotional feelings are triggered by the limbic system, which means they're not conscious. They're connected to the base part of the brain and they're happening automatically. So it's not like you're the other person is deliberately blowing up at you. It's often because it's been triggered now they need to figure out how to control that better and you need to help them. Are you following? 3rd, one selfishness. James chapter 4 says why there's so many fights among you. It's because you desire and you can't have what you desire. It's because of your selfishness. And so why do we have conflicts? Because honestly, I want things done my way. You know, when, when there's a problem going on, sometimes I just have to examine, do I really need it done this way or my just being a selfish joke. And the holy spirit brings in conviction. I don't need to have done that way. Her way is just as good. Why does it have to be done the way I want it? And if I can let go of that, we can have a good relationship. And a both of you are doing that, how much the better. So how do you process your conflict? So let's say you've determined there's a conflict. Stuff's going on. I've discovered there are 2 kinds of people. One is a cable, and one is a converter. And the differences a cave needs to think to process the feelings. So I'm the caveat, i want to go on my cave. I want to think it through. And then when I finish thinking it through, I can come out and I can give you an answer. All you need to do is bring food and leave it at the cave door. My wife is a converse or she can sleep if she hasn't talked it through. So she is going like, I just need to get talk it through. And I'm like, the more she talks, the less i can think. And I'm like please. So again, I'm being honest with you with what happens. So situation newly married, we have a discussion. It starts getting heated. I don't call them arguments just a heated discussion. And the end is going to, you know, and I am so frustrated, i can't think I can process. And I said I just have to go for a walk. So I turn, i close the door behind me. I go for a walk as I'm walking, the Lord is speaking to me. I'm repenting all my sins. I'm figuring it out. I was selfish. This is the past heard. This is an unmet expectation. I'm processing all of that. And then I saw a notice in the sky is Blue, the birds are singing. I come back in, I'm actually whistling as I open the door and there is my wife on the sofa crying and sobbing. I'm like, what's wrong? When I walked out the door that felt like abandonment, that felt like rejection. And she couldn't process because I wasn't there. She couldn't talk it through. So she's going to all of these feelings and, and then it's like, it's terrible. He just wants to leave me. You know, what have I done wrong? I'm such a bad wife and all of this, and I come back in whistling and she's like, what planet are you from? So we lunch, she learned to say, do you need some time to process and be like yes, thank you. I need to cave and I learned to tell her I am coming back. I do love you, I care about you. And we will talk this through, see how we figured that out. So whatever your styles and sometimes in some situations you can be a cave and other situations. You're a converse. That can work to just learn to work with your partner's needs because their needs may be different from yours. All right, last one. How do you balance your relationships? So we've talked about the 1st one. What's the 1st key? God 1st, 2nd key. Communicate effectively. 3rd key balance and its various ways that can work. I want to introduce you to some that are given in when you come to me for prepare enrich counseling for pre marital counseling. You'll get materials that cover some of us. And so in, in these materials we've discovered through several studies that there is a balance in connectedness and a balance you need and flexibility. What are those mean? connectedness is how connected you are the other person and you want to be connected and close, but not koester phobic. Right? So you want to be connected but not overly connected. So you come from highly connected families. So like you call each other 3 times a day, hey, I'm just going to the store. Now, I'm rounding the corner. I'll look, I just saw this. My. My mother in law likes to stay very connected. She tells me every meal. You know what she has and so, so she likes to be very connected. I come from a disconnected family's like, hey, see you in 3 months. So now we were coming from to very different families and we had to learn how to blend that. So some dangerous science here. If you are disconnected, where you have to motivate yourself to participate in the relationship, that's an issue. If you're not loyal to the relationship, you're not really connected and you talk negatively about it to other people. That's a danger. Fine. You need to say, hey, what's going on? Yeah, I'm not being as connected. Another danger sign when you're overly connected, you can't, you can't stand to be a pod or you fall apart. That's too close when loyalty is demanded and you have problems with jealousy when you're glued together. So what you want is a balance. You want to be connected, but you don't want to be so close that it's cluster phobic. The same with flexibility. Flexibility is how well things operate in the re ship. It's kind of the structure of a relationship. When it's overly flexible, you're always in crisis. Never know what's going on, things change constantly. You never know who's in charge. Hey, I thought you were planning this weekend. I thought you were. Oh, well, whatever. We'll just go with a look. My mom wants us to go here. We just going to go here. You just never know what's going on. That's too flexible. On the other hand, the inflexible, there's domineering, you have to do it this way. This is the only way. I don't like change. I want it done this way. It's all structured. Black and white thinking, this is right or this is wrong, and it can be so inflexible that the family kind of is living on edge or the couple is living on edge. So these are dangerous signs. You can work through them, you can bring more balance in your relationship, but you need to be aware that they can be dangerous. Another place for balance is what I call shoulder time versus face to face time. Now this is not always true. I'm but I'll say the general rule guys tend to like shoulder to shoulder time. You know what I mean by that activities? Like my wife says, hey, what do you want to do for date night? Let's go a miniature golfing. And she's like, actually I want to go to the restaurant and sit down and have a meal where we could talk ok What, what are we going to talk about this time? So that's face to face. Now what you want is a balance. You want to balance between activity and conversation, and that's really good for relationship that you're doing fun stuff. But you're also having hot hot, if it's all hard to hot, that's when you get back into the paralysis of analysis. And I remember we used to have once a month, we had a luna versus re talk and it was like what could we improve on in our relationship and after? Well, I said look, we got to change this because now I fear those conversations. Here is what you have done wrong in the last month. And so I said, you know, we need it. We need to have some fun dates and not only the hot to hot dates. On the other hand, if we never had those conversations, would that be a problem? So find that balance. Another area for balance, affection, affection needs to be appropriate to your commitment. And I'm just going to put it out they. Why do we want to keep sex for marriage? Is that are right in this kind of setting. I am and I'm just gonna suggest some things to you. This is not a judgment. This is just what I've noticed. 6 is sacred. It's sacred to marriage. That's the way god designed it. I feel that's the best way. Secondly, early sexual encounters generally have left people feeling empty and unfulfilled. They have, they expected so much of it. It didn't really for, for that and then it's exciting. But at the end, it's not fulfilling whereas marriage, sex is meant and designed to be fulfilling. Maybe not as exciting when you're 203040 years in. But it is designed to be fulfilling. As I said before, 6 as a ministry of pleasure. The devil likes to turn it into an enslavement to passion, so you gotta be with each other. But then afterwards you don't feel good and it's not what you wanted, but you're stuck with it. And then it happens again, you're slaved. And that's not what god designed it to be. And in the, in a can cheap in the other person to be an object of desire. And they start to feel like you're just using me to fulfill your desires and that's not good for relationship. And finally, your body is god's temple. That's how the bible describes that. It's wholly so, so you're going to have to sit some boundaries because when you have 6 outside of marriage 6 by it's very nature it by the hormones that releases it. Bonds to people together, that's why the colon, i've discovered when 2 people are in a sexual relationship and they break up. It is so much harder for them than a break up without sex. And hands why? You take 2 pieces of wood and you permanent glue them to each other. Then you pull those 2 pieces of what apart, what happens. They carry parts of the other piece of wood with them, right? Because they glue pulled some of that. Now if you just go and stick that on top of another piece of wood, what's, what's your problem? You've got other parts of that piece of wood in the way. So what you really need to do after sexual relationship is you need a kind of plane down, have god cleans you, and I, I'm going to use a term re virgin night. This such a was anyway, re virgin a because it says in Peter that we can be cleansed and this loans. We can be klan so, so god can cleanse. He can, he can revert to night and he can prepare you so that you can marry. But I believe god, you know, and, and not have that to be a problem in your future relationship. But you better go through a process because you have bonded yourself to another person. So how are you going to handle your passion? So I do have some hints here are number one. If you're struggling with passion, get advice, you know, go find somebody you can trust and say, hey, how do we deal with our passion? We love each other, but the passion is getting out of control. What do we do? You may have to get space like it's just too tight and every time you together, it goes too far. Well, you may just need to get space. If it's, if, if that's not working, you may need to get out. Is this been too honest when, when a relationship is got sexual like this and as leading you away from god, it's a problem. You may have to just get out of that. That may be your only choice. And instead of being so connected with the other person, get reconnected with god get reconnected with your church, get reconnected with family and friends, expand your circle so that you're not dependent on that sexual relationship. And then lastly, make a covenant again on happy to send you the covenant that the colon i made. And we, we said something's like, we're not going to have prolonged hugging. And we decided based on our past relationships, we weren't even gonna kiss. And I know that's a big step. It's sort of help that we were 6000 miles apart for most of our You know, by when she came to visit me, it was really tough not to kiss her. Why did we decide on that? Because for us kissing had been the entry to, to going further. And so we said we want to back had right off. We wanna, we want to put those boundary lines fall back. So that we don't end up in that situation. Is the bible says? So flea, youthful passions of tissue righteousness, faith, love, and peace along with those who call on the Lord from a what kind of a heart pure heart. So here are some of the boundaries that, that we have found to be helpful over the years with different couples. Don't step late along. What we know is that your frontal lobe starts shutting down at night have, have, I'm going to look at the goals here. Just sorry, this is stereotypical. Have you ever been with girlfriends late at night and you start laughing at stupid jugs. Yeah, yeah. So that's because the frontal lobe is shutting down. So what, what happens when you are alone together late at night? Your frontal logo is shutting down, which means you have less willpower. If you haven't noticed, it's hard to resist pete, pete said midnight. Yeah, maybe not for you, but, but it will ice cream or whatever it is because you have less willpower. So don't stay up late alone. Number to avoid entertainment with sexual themes. One of the couples that got married got married because I know this is dating me, but they watch titanic and they watch titanic, and that night a little baby was conceived. So yeah, I know you're like for me to panic. Sure. But you watch a movie, particularly these days, there's lots of movies with sexual themes. It's going to make your mind think that way it's going to make your, your, your body desire it because we have what we call mirror neurons. So when you watch something, it fires those same neurons inside of you and you desire those same things. Number 3, agree on boundaries. Keep them far from the edge. As I say, we agreed we were not going to kiss and that was easier for us because we were only like together, 6 weeks after we got engaged. That was easier. For some of you, it may be different. I'm not saying you have to be the same, but we kept it so far back from the edge because we knew what it would do once we cross that boundary. Now when we did get married and I kissed her for the 1st time, remember we had kissed other people before. It's not like we had no idea what we were doing. So we kissed for the 1st time, then groomsmen held up $9.00. Put 5 Yes. Don't use intimacy to avoid conflict because you, when you have conflict, you're feeling the tension we've, we've had this conflict and you naturally desired to get close. Some of the easiest way to get closer to make out. But in making out you haven't solved the conflict. You just made yourself feel better. And lastly, have accountability, who is accountable for your relationship that you can speak to? That can ask you, how is it going? So I want to conclude with this. You are writing. You'll love story. So everything you do the challenges you have, you're writing it for the future. One day, you're going to be standing up here where I am, to someone anyway and sharing your story. What kind of story do you want to share? I'm glad that because of what nicole bed and how she in spite inspired me, that I ended up having a good love story. And because of that, we can take what we've gone through and share it with you. It's so hard to wait. It seems like any turnitin, this is Nicole. Please keep me teach me patience and do it quick. I know there will be times when we are annoyed and angry with each other. I'm guessing agreed to get married means in part, agreed to love through these times when the feelings vanished. And we are left to tread john with new determination. I am sure that will be good for us. But I'm glad you created romance, and this longing in our hearts to be together. It is torture, but it is a sweet torture. I hope to feel ellen's arms around me. This was just before I was going to see her to morrow. And it will all be worthwhile. So welcome to the sweet torture of love let's frey father, thank you for the opportunity to talk about some of the things going on in our lives. We are so thrilled that you have worked in each of us to bring us to a point where we can surrender to you. And lord, i'm praying that you lead our relationships, whether they are existing relationships or whether they were relationships that we don't yet have, that you will help us to become the person you need to be. Because what we become while we wait is more important than the thing we're waiting for. So guide us help us to trust you through this. And to embrace sweet torture of relationship. 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