Getting Honest With Myself

I had to get honest with myself and for the first time in my life, give my total desire of a relationship over to God. I had to find real contentment. I had to be willing to build friendships with the opposite sex no matter where that friendship might lead. I had to learn to love from the inside out versus the outside in. Even though I had learned that he must be a strong Christian, a follower of Jesus, this wasn't enough. He needed to also be my friend first. My best friend.

Our Past Influences Our Present

We are so influenced by our environment and the way we are raised. Today's society sends too many wrong messages on everything from how we dress, to music, to dating. If you don't have a boyfriend or girlfriend by the time you are eight years old, or had your first French kiss by the time you were 11, something must be wrong with you. In high school, wasn't the big question always, "Who are you going to the prom with?" Worse yet, in college, didn't people look down upon virgins, wondering what was wrong with them? Oh, and heaven forbid you make it to 40 and not be married. You might as well disappear off the face of the earth. Surely you are of no value to anyone, right?

God First

We should first start with examining our relationship with God. Are you spending time with God each day? Are you reading your Bible, praying, going to church, and attending a small group? If God isn't first, then everything in your life is headed for disaster – everything. You will never know what His best is if you don't know Him. We must seek Christ first in all things. Christ gives us our direction, our purpose, and our focus. Christ will tell you who you should be friends with and ultimately date and marry (if that is His purpose for you).

Every relationship (romantic or platonic) must first start with a relationship with God. Exodus 34:14 says, "You must worship no other gods, but only the LORD, for he is a God who is passionate about his relationship with you."

Friends

The Bible speaks about friendship over 200 times, not to mention the hundreds and hundreds of examples of how to treat others. It is through our friendship with God that we learn how to be friends with others. His example gives us the guidance we need. I don't think you can ever have enough friends. Don't you want the person you may fall in love with to be your best friend? You know, I have never heard a married person say to me "Oh, I just hated that six months I spent developing my friendship with my spouse." It is through friendship that we find out about each others' dreams, our walk with God, how we spend our money and how we treat our friends and family. It is through friendship that we learn to encourage, hold each other accountable, support, help, and ultimately love.

DATING 101

I believe when you "date," you shouldn't be romantic until you believe God has led you to someone you could marry. So many times we go to fast too soon because we are lonely and desperate. We jump into the middle of a relationship. Then when things don't work out, we can't even go back to friends because we have gone too far. If while you are dating you make a commitment to not kiss or hold hands, taking this time to really get to know each other, I promise you will have less heartache and be able to keep them as a friend if things don't work out.

"And Jonathan made David reaffirm his vow of friendship again, for Jonathan loved David as much as he loved himself" (1 Samuel 20:17).

Romance

Allow friendships to turn to romantic friendships only in God's own timing. Enjoy the journey God has you on. Once you are married, you will never be able to go back to this very special time. Spend time praying about your relationship but be careful when you pray alone. Make sure you don't leave your single adult group or your church as a lot of couples do. You need accountability. Get some counseling, read some books, find a couple who can mentor you and seek Godly advice.

"It is better to be patient than powerful; it is better to have self-control than to conquer a city" (Proverbs 16:32).