How Involved Should Your Church be in Your Relationship?

Kris Swiatocho, Cliff Young

EDITOR'S NOTE: He Said-She Said is a biweekly advice column for singles featuring a question from a Crosswalk.com reader with responses from a male and female point of view. If you've got a question about anything related to singleness or living the single life, please submit it to hesaid-shesaid@crosswalk.com (selected questions will be posted anonymously).

QUESTION:

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Me and a good Christian guy have been in a relationship for one month. Before that we were in a close brother/sister relationship, serving in many ministries together and building our friendship upon the ministry. But ever since we realized we both have feeling for one another, we gave an account to our church leader. Saying we want to pursue this relationship and want to commit to each other for marriage, but not that soon because we're both still studying. So our church leaders asked both of us to lay down the relationship. As in taking thing slow and to see if we can stand the test of time. We both agreed and in the process of laying it down. Our concern is, in the so called "test of time" what should both of us do, practically? Apart from no personal communication and dates outside the church. What are practical examples that we can do to stand through the test of time?

HE SAID:

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I have never heard of any couple express remorse for not getting married earlier in life.  It just doesn’t happen, or at least that I have found.  More often than not we hear, “If we love each other, why not just get married?” 

It is wise for your church leaders to suggest you taking it slow and for both of you to heed their recommendation.

SEE ALSO: Will God Tell You Who to Marry?

As young people, it is important for each of you to discover who YOU are and who God made you to be.  This may sound like a monumental task, but it just means finding out what you like to do, what makes you “tick,” how you want to lead your life and how you can best use the gifts God gave you (and learning what those are) to impact the world.

While we are still in the early stages of figuring those things out, and involved in a relationship, our focus is usually on the other person, trying to please them and shaping ourselves for them rather than discovering whom God created us to be.  Take this “test of time” period to do grow closer to the person He crafted you to become.

Find some books to read and discuss them with each other.  You can work through spiritual growth, relational, financial or whatever topics keep you both interested and growing individually and together.  This will not only help to determine the “who you are,” but also the “how you will live” in the future.

Spend time with mature couples who can impart wisdom and lessons they have discovered on their journey.  Continue serving in ministries you both have a heart for.  Get out and experience life together and apart.

Too often when young couples get together, they spend most of their waking hours exclusively together and it can stymie the growth and opportunities each of them have later down the road.  The more experiences you have apart, the more you can bring into the relationship and share together.

SHE SAID:

Relationships can be very difficult. Depending on your age, your background, if you were married before and how many times, if you have had multiple relationships are all factors that will affect your future relationships. 

Today we see so many single adults dating without any accountability. I can’t even count how many singles come to my singles ministry just to find a date. Once they find someone they leave, even if they are a leader. The problem with this is you end up doing exactly what the enemy wants...to isolate yourself.

Singles ministries are not just a place to find that special person—because where else are we supposed to look for that person—but they are also a place for personal growth, whether you are single or a couple. What better place to have accountability and support. It’s also important for singles who want to date to see what a solid  Christian couple looks like. 

Another issue I see with couples is the level of accountability they have to their pastors and leaders. When you are young, the accountability level is higher. However, as you age—getting into your 30’s and older—you often live alone. And if you have been a Christian a while, you might believe you know enough about dating and think that you need little input or accountability from anyone. But this is a deception from the enemy. 

Ecclesiastes 4:12 says, Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

So how much accountability do you need and from who?

Well if the person you are dating is special enough to the point you would like to marry them, then as much accountability as possible is good. But, it’s accountability that you have chosen versus random people giving you direction. So stay in your singles group, allowing others to see your relationship, how you act, how much contact you have and so forth. You should ask your friends for prayer. Ask your close friends to be accountability partners, to ask you the hard questions about your relationship. And when you believe this is the person you are going to marry, contact your church and get into a dating or courtship class, counseling or be paired up with a married couple. Remember, you are investing in your future marriage. Having wise counsel will only help you protect what God has brought together.

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Hebrews 4:12

HE is … Cliff Young, a Crosswalk.com contributing writer and a veteran single of many decades. He has traveled the world in search of fresh experiences, serving opportunities, and the perfect woman (for him) and has found that his investments in God, career and youth ministry have paid off in priceless dividends.

SHE is ... Kris Swiatocho, the President and Director of TheSinglesNetwork.org Ministries and FromHisHands.com Ministries. Kris has served in ministry in various capacities for the last 25 years. An accomplished trainer and mentor, Kris has a heart to reach and grow leaders so they will in turn reach and grow others. She is also the author of four books.

DISCLAIMER: We are not trained psychologists or licensed professionals. We're just average folk who understand what it's like to live the solo life in the twenty-first century. We believe that the Bible is our go-to guide for answers to all of life's questions, and it's where we'll go for guidance when responding to your questions. Also, it's important to note that we write our answers separately.

GOT A QUESTION? If you've got a question about anything related to singleness or living the single life, please submit it to hesaid-shesaid@crosswalk.com (selected questions will be posted anonymously). While we are unable to answer every inquiry, we do hope that this column will be an encouragement to you. Click here to visit the He Said-She Said archives.

Image courtesy: Thinkstockphotos.com

Publication date: March 16, 2017

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