How Not To Get Married

Here is my quick and dirty list of things you should NOT do if you ever want to get married. Hopefully, you’ll find it entertaining, as I list the most common mistakes most single men or women make in their pursuit to find ‘the one.’ Feel free to comment and add to this list with your own items!

1. Be overly anxious

Stop always being so nervous and afraid that you’ll miss the good one ‘right under your nose’ and stop thinking that life just seems to be passing you by.  No one likes desperation, particularly that nice brother or sister who just joined the church. Sit still, keep to yourself, hold your head up and know that you know that God will reveal your husband or wife to you in time!

2. Keep saying things like, ‘God sent you to me.’

If God truly ‘sent’ that person to you, he or she will be just as aware of it as you are. You did not need to provoke, remind or beat that person over the head with that information. You may be a holy prophet or prophetess of God, but believe me, my brother or sister, God will leave that bit of prophecy for someone else to reveal to your intended. Know your role and stick with it. Repeat after me: “I am a holy woman (or man) of God. I need not be anxious for anything! If this man (or woman) is meant to be my spouse, God will reveal it to them in His own time!” Repeat as often as necessary.

3. Go out with everyone who asks you.

You are NOT desperate! (For reference, go back to point #1). You do not need to go out with everyone who asks you. All you are doing is creating an (unpleasant) reputation for yourself. You do NOT need the headache. Instead, choose to be picky and wait until it is clearly your time. Date a bit and have some fun, but don’t get emotionally invested unless you can see the relationship going somewhere. And if you are desperate (and Lord knows we’ve all been there), at least have the dignity to pretend you are not. Walk around as if you don’t have a care in the world, do your crying in private during your prayer time with and wait on God to openly reward you with a wonderful spouse for your ‘secret’ diligence (Mat 6:4)!

4. Talk about marriage on the first date.

Please, please, please don’t talk about marriage on the first date. And if your date brings it up, be very suspicious of him or her as well. Sure, most of us will end up married at some point in our lives, but you probably won’t get married that first date night. Talk about marriage when it is appropriate. Like if you’ve been friends for years and are ready for that next step. Or when you’ve diligently prayed and fasted over the matter. Or, heck, at least wait until the second or third date!  Don’t embarrass yourself – you’re better than that and don’t need the heartache!

5. Spend all your time at church

Though you should regularly pray and fast, meditate and study, for goodness sake, don’t spend every single free minute you have at church! The Bible study can and will go on if you don’t show up one week. All three services don’t need to see your face (unless you’re serving) and the anniversary committee doesn’t need to see you every single year for this event to go off without a hitch.  Think about it for a minute – how will a brother or sister ever get to spend time with you if you don’t have any to spare? Yes, the Bible says you should meditate on the word ‘day and night’ (Ps 1), but Lord, it would be nice to have something other than scriptures, your prayer life and what the Pastor had on to talk about on your first date. Read the newspaper. Hang out with friends on occasion. Be up on current events. Make sure you’re not one-dimensional and that every minute of your day is taken up with church or church-related activities.

Be Blessed:)

Praying For a Spouse

Most of us can reasonably expect to get married.  God ordained marriage from the very beginning when he made Adam and Eve with the explanation that a man should leave his parents and ‘cleave’ (i.e., join together with) his wife (Gen 2).

Christ used marriage to illustrate his relationship with the church, advising husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself to it and for wives to respect their husbands (Eph 5). What beautiful thoughts – men loving their wives as Christ loves us – giving of himself for the relationship, while wives showed the proper respect and deference to their sacrificing husbands.

The Apostle Paul some interesting things to say himself about being married. He says,

I wish that all of you were like me, but God has given different gifts to each of us.

Here is my advice for people who have never been married and for widows. You should stay single, just as I am.

But if you don’t have enough self-control, then go ahead and get married. After all, it is better to marry than to burn with desire. (1Co 7:7-9) (CEV)

Paul is saying that while he would prefer single people to remain single, he realizes most people aren’t capable of staying single without committing a sexual sin, so it’s better for them to be married.  Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible puts it more explicitly by saying, “It is better to marry, even with all the inconveniences attending the marriage life in a time of distress and persecution in the church( 1Co_7:26), than to be the prey of raging, consuming, and exciting passions.

That makes it pretty clear – it’s good to remain single if you can, but better (and more the norm) to be married to control your sexual sin, among a myriad of other reasons (to procreate, because it is Divinely-inspired, etc.). It is also very possible that the Apostle Paul’s reference to the fact that he is able to remain celibate is in fact a spiritual gift. There are those among us who are asexual or have been given the power by God to remain single and celibate, but this is rare. Again, most of us can reasonably expect to be married at some point in our lives.

Which makes it reasonable to assume that, if you are still single, you can pray for your future husband or wife.  You can pray things for things like asking God to make you a better husband or wife for when the time comes, or that He watch over your future spouse. You can pray for your future marriage – that He help you two to overcome the obstacles you will face and that He will strengthen the relationship the two of you have. Or even that you two will always put God first in your marriage.

This is all reasonable and Godly. The trouble with us (Christians) usually begins when we spot someone we think would make a fine husband or wife. And we begin to pray specifically for that person to marry us. We ask God to open that person’s eyes so that he or she could see true love staring them in the face. You list to God (and your friends) why the two of you would be perfect, make certain to ‘run into’ this man or woman at odd places and find yourself serving on similar committees at church.  You wait patiently for this man or woman to notice you, ask you out and for the blinders to fall from their eyes as they realize you are ‘the one.’

We get confused sometimes because we know that certain people in the Bible prayed for God to reveal to their husbands or wives to them.  In Genesis 24, Abraham sent his servant out to find a wife for his most precious son, Isaac. When the servant reaches his destination, he prays, “You, LORD, are the God my master Abraham worships. Please keep your promise to him and let me find a wife for Isaac today. (Gen 24:14 (CEV))” The story then goes on to reveal Rebekah is the one chosen for Isaac and they eventually marry.

We seem to think we can engage in the same type of behavior when asking for a spouse, but instead of asking God to reveal our husbands or wives, we ask Him to force that person to marry us. This is not Biblical and this is definitely not the way God works.

God always gives us a choice. If He allows us to choose whether to serve Him or not, whether we choose to live or die, don’t you think He would also give us the choice of who to marry? You cannot (and God will not) compel someone to do something against his or her will.  By praying for a person to act a certain way, you are getting very close to engaging in voodoo or some other type of dark art instead of allowing God to reveal who your husband or wife is in His own good time.

It’s important to remember this point: prayer is to help you change, help others in your life as they go through adversity and, generally, to effectuate God’s purpose here on this earth. Instead, we pray for things selfishly, so that we can use them for our own selfish purposes (James 4:3). This is exactly what we are doing when we pray for God to force another person to marry us.

Instead of engaging in these dangerous practices, instead ask God to reveal to you His purpose and will for your life. Ask Him, first, if you are to be married. Then ask Him what you can do to prepare to be married. This might even be the perfect time to ask if the man or woman you currently have in your life is meant to be your spouse. He is willing to tell you, but are you willing to listen?

As a final warning – don’t try to misuse prayer. Don’t try to get God to force someone to do something he or she is unwilling (and not meant) to do. Instead, pray that God will use your life as He pleases. That He will reveal the man or woman of your dreams in His own time and that you will have the strength to acknowledge His will.

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you (Mat 6:33).

About the Sexual Revolution

The sexual revolution happened before I was born. All I know of it was what I saw on TV – women marching, burning their bras and equality being demanded for all women. Equal pay, equal rights and the equal ability to sleep around.

Or, at least, that’s how it was portrayed.

I think the sexual revolution and the women’s equality movement were beneficial to me in many ways. I appreciate the fact that I am paid as much as my male counterparts. I appreciate the fact that my future daughters can play any sport they want. And I appreciate all the minority government contracts that were set aside for minorities and women. (Not to mention my previously obtained rights to vote and to own property.)
But I also think the sexual revolution brought great losses to women.

One of the issues I have with this ‘revolution’ is the idea that women are now ‘equal’ in their ability to sleep around. Women of my generation and of the generation preceding me were told we were free to sleep with whom we wanted. Birth control became widely available and sex was no longer tied to the idea of procreation. Now, we could just have sex for fun. We could be just as sexually adventurous as man, we were told. Live a little. Date. Sleep around. Enjoy yourself. It’s your Right.

But they never told us the other side of the coin. That with sexual promiscuity comes a higher level of responsibility. That getting pregnant no longer meant a man would ask you to marry him. Or even stick around. As a matter of fact, abortions were as widely available as birth control, so that was now one of the choices we had to make for ourselves.

They never told us that since sex was no longer tied to procreation, not only would the man not necessarily stick around, but may never even acknowledge his child. Nor would there be anyone to pressure this young (or old) man into being responsible. Women were now solely responsible for themselves and, in many cases, responsible for the welfare and development of their children.

And they never told us that men and women process sex so very differently. That the hormonal and biological interactions that occur during sex cause men to become distant and women to become clingy. The Bible even says that sex is the only sin you do to your own body – and that you are ‘joined’ with every person you have sex with. The Bible meant that you are joined ‘spiritually’ – so you connect with every single person you have sex with. And, unless you go through a long period of cleansing and renewal, you will always carry those people around with you in your spirit. For the rest of our lives.

They never told us that.

The other problem I have with the sexual revolution is that I don’t think it prepared women to deal with the reality of being ‘equal’ to men. Yes, we could join the work force, and no longer had to stay home to raise the kids, but we also lost quite a bit. Because we said that a woman has no set place, we now don’t seem to know who we are or where we belong. Most women (myself included) love going to work every day and making a living, but when it comes to the idea of marriage and the ‘equal’ roles that I am told I should want – I am left at a loss. So now I don’t have to cook, clean or be a full-time mom. But, what if I want to do those things? Does that make me any less ‘liberated’? I am often struck not by how many women work these days, but how many women still choose to stay home and be full-time moms. College-educated, smart, work-oriented women. And studies show that women still do the majority of the household and child-raising duties. So, what did we really gain? A new expectation that not only would we work full-time, but that we would do the majority of the household chores and still do most of the child-rearing. That doesn’t sound promising.

The Bible admonishes me to be submissive and humble as a wife. To respect my husband and to serve him as I serve the Lord. Society tells me to be equal to my husband (or even to be dominant in the relationship) and to demand my ‘rights’. Who’s right?

I can tell you this for sure – I do want my rights in my marriage. I want my ‘right’ to have a husband who loves me as much as he loves himself. I want my ‘right’ to have my husband minister to me spiritually and emotionally. And I want my ‘right’ to have a husband who will do what he needs to do to support our combined household (spiritually, financially, etc.). And I want my ‘right’ to a husband who feels just as responsible for our children, our spiritual life and our marriage.

I’m just not sure where all that fits in with the ‘sexual revolution.’

—————————————————————————————————

Excerpt from The Single Black Woman’s Guide to Christian Dating, http://www.christiansinglewoman.com.

Get The Single Black Woman’s Guide to Christian Dating Book

$9.99 Print

$3.99 E-Book Download

This book will help you navigate the sometimes troubled waters of the Christian dating scene, give you hope and increase your spiritual connection to God. Learn how to weed out the losers and users and identify traits of a good Christian mate.

Get the best posts about dating from the Christian Singlez and Urban Christianz blogs, re-written and updated. No more searching through back archives or trying to remember your favorite post. For the first time, they are all in one place! Get your copy today:)

Thank you for your support.

Buy Now!

The Dynamics of Cheating

For the man or woman whose signifcant other has or is cheating on him on her:  it’s not about you.

 For the man or woman who is or has cheated on his or her loved one:  You are the problem.  But there is hope.

There’s hope because – in many ways – why you cheat is not about your character, your faith or your willpower.  I would even go so far to say that cheating is not a reflection of how ‘spiritual’ you are. Some of the best people in the world I know have cheated or struggle with being faithful.  Some people that I don’t think much of have been consistently monogamous.

So what am I saying?  That engaging in unfaithful behavior is a reflection of what’s going on inside of you.  Your struggles, your perceptions, and your past experiences.  The events that have gone into shaping you.  How you deal with stress.  Where you find your self-esteem.  What comforts, soothes or calms you down. You do not cheat because you are a ‘bad’ person.  Cheating, simply put, is something you (your flesh) desire to make you feel better.  It is a ‘work of the flesh’ as reflected in Galatians 5:19-21:

     “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these: fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousies, wraths, factions, divisions, parties,  envyings, drunkenness, revellings, and such like; of which I forewarn you, even as I did forewarn you, that they who practise such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

For those who struggle with sexual purity, cheating is a particularly challenging foe.  It says in the Bible that the enemy can only ‘tempt’ us with what is already inside of us (James 1:13-14).  If you already have an inclination towards illicit sex (sex outside of the boundaries of a Godly marriage), this is something that you will probably struggle with before, during and after marriage.  As a good friend of mine once remarked, ‘being married doesn’t change the fact that you find other people attractive.’  Amen to that.

In its least harmful form (to you at least), cheating is a reflection of a lack of self-control.  At its very worst, cheating is a way of attaining satisfaction.  It’s worst when you cheat to gain satisfaction – be it enhanced self-esteem, ego-stroking, comfort, solace or validation – because sex can never satisfy those desires.  So if you are looking outside of your relationship to find those things, you will never find what you seek.  Which usually leads to you continuing to engage in illicit sex to get the ‘temporary’ fix this type of sex provides.

If you are having sex because you lack self-control (and can’t figure out how to say no), this is the least harmful (to you, of course, not to your partner) because gaining self-control is a lot easier than learning how to find validation, self-esteem or comfort.  Like food and drugs, we use sex to provide many things it was not designed to give.  And like food and drugs, you will have to re-educate yourself to end this vicious cycle.

And how do you train yourself to not cheat?  As I said in the beginning, it starts with acknowledging you are the problem.  You don’t cheat because because your wife gained 20 pounds or because your husband doesn’t treat you very well.  It’s never because of another person – it’s all about you.  You cheat because of who you are, what you struggle with, your motivations and your experiences.  All these things decide how you will respond to outside temptation.  So first you have to figure out why you are doing it.

In order to ascertain this, think about the last time you had sex with someone other than your significant other.  How did that encounter make you feel as you were carrying it out?  What did you walk away feeling?  Did you feel better about yourself?  Did you feel like you were the ‘man’ or that you were the ‘woman’?  Did you pat yourself on the back for how ‘smart’ you were by being able to fool your man, your woman or your friends?  Or did you finally feel a sense of satisfaction – your stress was gone or your mind had cleared?  Did you feel relaxed and ready to face the world? Did you leave this other man or woman feeling on top of the world?  Was it exciting to plan it out, choose a meeting spot and do something you had no business doing?  Or, did you finally feel loved?  Did you think, ‘well my husband (or wife) didn’t want me but this person did?  Or did you do it because you feel conflict about the person you are with?  That your relationship isn’t the right one for you?  Is your cheating a reflection of the doubt and ambiguity you feel towards your spouse?

Spend time thinking about this and then pray.  Go to God openly and ask Him to reveal to you why you are doing what you’re doing.  Ask Him to help you as you make the journey towards wholeness and wellness and stop cheating on your mate.  He may reveal things to you from your childhood that you never quite got over.  He may point out things that are flawed within your marriage that you need to address.  He will probably show you how you misuse this gift for your own selfish desires.  He may even show you that that person was not the one He had intended for you at all.  But, most likely, He will point out you to yourself. 

Ask Him then to help you resolve or change those behaviors that cause you to act the way you do.  Ask Him to help you find new friends, a new city or new hobbies to take you away from that person or the situation that triggers you.  Ask Him to give you strength and harden your willpower as you struggle to walk away.

Here’s the truth:  you won’t be able to do it alone.  As a child of God, you will find your strength and your ability are contingent upon your relationship with the Father.  If you are weak in that relationship, your other relatonships will suffer as well. 

Finally, do what He asks you to do.  Accept that He knows what is best and promise yourself (and Him) that you will follow His directions.  It will probably involve further praying and maybe even some fasting.  It may involve cutting some people out of your life.  It may involve sacrificing something you are simply not prepared to give up.  It will most likely involve cultivating regular communion with God and enhanced Bible study and meditation.  It may be something difficult.  But it will be worth it as you put God’s values, and your family, above your own selfish, self-centered desires.  There is nothing in this world more important than following God.  And that’s what you want to do….

It will be hard.  But, with God’s help (and your desire to change) you can do it.  Here are some scriptures to reflect on as you go through your journey:

Jam 1:12-15

Blessed is the man that endureth temptation; for when he hath been approved, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord promised to them that love him.

Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God; for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempteth no man: but each man is tempted, when he is drawn away by his own lust, and enticed.

Then the lust, when it hath conceived, beareth sin: and the sin, when it is fullgrown, bringeth forth death.
Gal 5:16-17

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. 

For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are contrary the one to the other; that ye may not do the things that ye would.

Phi 4:6-7, 13

In nothing be anxious; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus…

I CAN DO ALL THINGS IN HIM THAT STRENGTHENETH ME.

(Emphasis mine) 

Would You Date a Man Who Makes Less Than You?

This is just a quick post to ask the following question: 

 Ladies: 

Would you date a man who makes less than you?

 Men:

Do you think it’s okay to date a woman who makes more than you?

 Feel free to quote the Bible, share personal experiences or tell us what your pastor/spiritual mentor or friends think.

After I get a few responses, I will let you all know what I think.

Can’t wait to hear from you!

———————————————————————————

Update:

Thank you all for your responses.  The reason I asked this question is because I’ve been noticing a trend where women are becoming the higher wage earners in their relationships.  This seems to have led to a variety of good and bad changes in the marital relationship, as well as in the dating relationship.  Role changes, respect, etc., etc. (I’ll probably address this in more detail in another post.)  Even though this is the case, I still hear a lot of women say they want a man who makes a certain amount of money, has a certain type of degree or has certain type of assets, when the reality is that many men simply don’t have it like that. 

That made me wonder what we really value about our men – is it their income or their level of spirituality?  We all choose mates for a variety of reason, but in today’s changing economy (with downsizing, layoffs and businesses closing down and merging), it seems like income is the last thing you can depend on.  Much more important seems to be the content of your prospective mate’s character – is he or she a hard worker, does he or she love God and is he or she a loving person?  Not to say a good-hearted person who refuses to work is a good choice, but a materialistic workaholic is probably not a very good choice either. 

There is no security to be found in a paycheck.  Ask the Silicon Valley IT workers.  Ask the dot-com entrepreneuers. Ask the people who used to work for Ford and Chrysler.  Ask yourself if you’ve recently experienced a ‘downsize’ in your paycheck.

Doug – I’m really sorry for the experience you had with a Christian woman.  And, to answer your question, I do not think that most of us realize what a ‘covenant’ really means.  To many of us, a marriage covenant only lasts until we no longer ‘feel like it.’  Now, I’m not saying there are not valid reasons to get divorced (the Bible covers that), but I know of many partners who go into it lightheartedly and head out at the first sign of trouble.  God’s idea of covenant involved personal sacrifice, dedication, continuity and faithfulness.  His covenant to us was so powerful that He carried it out even when we thought nothing about Him (while we were yet sinners).  He personally sacrificed His own beloved son in agreement with His covenant to be our God and to save us from this world and from sin.

How many of us are willing to sacrifice our very lives to honor our commitments?  Not very many.

This has truly been an interesting debate.  Please feel free to let me know of any further thoughts you all might have.

Players in the Church

I wrote this article a while ago, but I think it is still pretty relevant.  I would love to know what you think, so please comment!

———————————————

Are there ‘Players’ in the Christian church? We all know some guy or girl whose life was utterly changed after meeting someone who ‘blew their mind’ and now their nose is ‘wide open’. And, as hard as they try, they can’t seem to let this person go, even though it costs them money, sleep and wasted time. In this article, we expose these ‘players’ for what they are, identifying the three levels of ‘playerism’, tactics and techniques of the player and ways to avoid falling into their traps!

     First, who are these ‘players?. I define players as those who are doing just that – playing. They play at relationships, they play at commitment and they play with your time. They are not serious, they are not likely to get serious any time soon and simply enjoy the game too much to ever fully give it up. There are three levels of players in the dating game:

     1. ‘Dog’ – Yes, I know this term is offensive to many, but more offensive than that is how the ‘dog’ treats his or her conquests. A ‘dog’ is a player who will date anybody, at any time, under any circumstances. Morals? Values? Forget it. The ‘dog’ will take advantage or your feelings, your best friend’s feelings and then hit on your mom or dad. Most ‘dogs’ are always broke and always looking for a ‘come up’. A ‘dog’ is to be avoided at all costs. Signs that an individual is a ‘dog’:

a. They ask you to dance and if you say no, they ask your friend; 
b. Their pager or phone rings off the hook;
c. They are always checking other people out when you are together;
d. They have several ‘baby mamas’ or ‘baby daddies’;
e. They have no particular ‘type’ – they think short or tall, big or small and everything in between is fine.

     2. ‘Player‘ – The ‘Player’ has gone beyond the level of ‘dog’. They have developed a little more discretion in their dating choices and can afford to be a little more choosy. As a result, the ‘Player’ often dates nice-looking men or women or someone with money.  The ‘Player’ has acquired a few toys, has a nice car or a nice body, which he or she will use to part you from your time, your money, or sexual abstinence.  They are not ready to settle down and will only give vague responses when asked when their last long-term relationship was. ‘Players’, though nice company, are a waste of time and should be avoided. Signs that an individual is a player:

a. Their phone or pager vibrates constantly (they’ve learned how to be quiet about their other men or women); 
b. They say things like ‘I want to settle down when the time is right’ (translation – no time soon and not with you!);
c. They will take you out to nice places or make you a nice dinner, but they always expect something in return; 
d. They are very casual about when they can see you again (because their schedule is filled with other people and other events); and 
e. They respond to your declaration of love with ‘I care about you as well. But I told you I wasn’t ready to settle down’ and then hope that you never bring it up again!
 
     3. ‘Mack‘ – The ‘Mack’ has mastered the dating game. He or she is ‘sharp’ and well-dressed at all times. They have a nice houses, nice cars, and they usually have outstanding personalities. They have an inflated sense of their own self-worth and will remind you of it every chance they get. They are charming, sincere, but non-committal. ‘Macks’ are the most problematic of all the players, because they fool you into thinking you are ‘special’.  And you feel ‘special’ until you realize they treat everyone else the same way, too!  Have fun, go out on a couple of dates, but forget about long-term commitment with the ‘Mack’. Signs that an individual is a ‘Mack: ‘
 

a. You are never sure where their cell phone or pager is (they have discreetly turned it off or placed it in another room to avoid detection);
b. They have always been left heartbroken by some other relationship, which is why they can’t commit to you;
c. You can rarely catch up with them (after all, when they are with someone else, their cell phone or pager is turned off to you as well!);
d. They always behave as if going out with them is an honor; and 
e. They say things like ‘I really care about you’, but their real philosophy is ‘out of sight, out of mind.’

     How can you avoid these players and beat them at their own game? Easy – spend a lot of time when you first meet someone carefully evaluating their statements. Ask yourself these questions – When was the last time they were in a serious relationship? How many children do they have (and by how many different people)? How do they feel about marriage? How often do they call or spend time with you? And definitely don’t rely just on what comes out their mouths – look at their behavior as well. Do these individuals call when they say they will? Do they schedule ‘prime time’ with you (6:00 p.m. on weekdays or afternoon/early evening hours on the weekend)? Or do they call you only during the ‘booty call’ hours (9:00 p.m. on weekdays and even later on the weekends)? I know it’s hard to realize that someone you care about may not care as much about you, but it’s better to face the truth now than pay the consequences later.

     If your main squeeze is failing to show signs of being a commitment-minded, Christian-led individual, then let him or her go. Right now! And learn from your mistakes. Know that your true love is out there, somewhere, and this person will not play games to win your heart. Keep praying, keep going to church and keep talking to God and you can avoid all the traps of the Christian ‘Player’!