Scripture highlights the essential nature of faith in several places. Likewise, hope, as an extension of faith, serves as a foundational component of life by reminding us of our future. A future that is guaranteed by our faith in the Lord Jesus and His death and resurrection from the dead.
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We live with perspective and a confidence that places the events of this life in proper order. Finally, there is love, agape love. Jesus said loving God and loving our neighbor are the two great commandments in all of Scripture. He does not have two sets of guidelines, one for adults and one for youths. Many assume that when people are dating, sexual intercourse is appropriate to determine if they are compatible. Another honorable principle, according to current standards, is that partners should disclose any sexually transmissible diseases before intercourse so appropriate protection can be employed.
What many do not understand is that such faulty logic is precisely the cause of so many unhappy relationships and failed marriages. Historical records, like those of the ancient city of Corinth, reveal that in the heart of the Roman Empire , the most technologically advanced civilization of its day, the sexual values of the first century were similar to the modern concepts of dating today. Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit.
Every sin that a man does is without the body; but he that commits fornication sins against his own body. He could be so bold because he understood that God sanctions sexual relations only within the marriage relationship Genesis Genesis Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall join to his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
Later Paul addressed relationships between members of the opposite sex even more directly. Urging the brethren to live their lives in a way pleasing to God 1 Thessalonians 1 Thessalonians Furthermore then we beseech you, brothers, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as you have received of us how you ought to walk and to please God, so you would abound more and more. For God called us to holiness, not to impurity.
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The custom and practice of dating—which leads to marriage—should be conducted with honor. It should not be devalued into an excuse for sexual gratification. God expects us to enter marriage as virgins. The first step, as noted earlier, is to teach them godly principles of dating and friendship.
Since teenagers are generally not ready for marriage—because of immaturity and the need for educational and occupational training —some of the pressures and temptations of one-on-one dating can be avoided through group dates. When two mature people begin dating each other with an eye toward marriage, they must consider many things. What values does the other person hold? Does he believe in God?
The 7 Qualities of a Good Friend
Does she obey God? What are his preferences, dislikes, character and personality? Will this person be a complementary match? Often in modern dating little thought is given to a potential partner for life—other than whether the two enjoy their sexual activity.
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Finding a mate with similar religious values is an especially important consideration. The ancient nation of Israel repeatedly lost its spiritual moorings when its citizens intermarried with people with different religious convictions and practices Numbers Numbers 1 And Israel stayed in Shittim, and the people began to commit prostitution with the daughters of Moab.
When Do We Have Sex?
Ideally children should have two parents who believe, practice and teach the same religious principles. When children have parents with different values, they are confused. Even if children are not involved, clashes between two competing value systems can be painful. As two people consider getting engaged to be married, if they are wise they will seek premarital counseling. Such counsel can help couples consider their strengths and weaknesses before marriage.
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Although the decision to marry is a personal one, this kind of information can help couples make wiser choices about whom they marry. Within marriage God gives husbands and wives specific instructions that will produce peace and happiness. If you would like to know more about the purpose of human life and how to commit your life to God, read our booklets What Is Your Destiny? Even when only one mate commits his or her life to God and His standards, this opens the door to God blessing both partners 1 Corinthians 1 Corinthians 13 And the woman which has an husband that believes not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him.
A positive, loving example of obedience to God by a husband or wife may influence the other to want to please God 1 Peter 1 Peter 1 Likewise, you wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; 2 While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.
When a husband and wife obey the biblical command to cleave to each other, they will literally join together. Commitment includes fidelity, trust and the character to act properly when under pressure or temptation. When two people exchange wedding vows, they make a lifelong commitment. Biblically speaking, this is a covenant Malachi Malachi Yet you say, Why? Because the LORD has been witness between you and the wife of your youth, against whom you have dealt treacherously: yet is she your companion, and the wife of your covenant.
This commitment should not be taken lightly or maintained only when we feel like it. We need to understand that our feelings can mislead us.
God does not advocate only occasional bursts of loyalty and obedience to Him whenever it is convenient for us. Good relationships stand on long-term, trustworthy commitments—even under trying circumstances.
To love and be loved is one of the most exhilarating experiences people can enjoy. Writers and poets ancient and modern speak of the power and emotion of romantic love. Yet the Bible reveals that love, in its broadest sense, is a choice. God tells husbands to love their wives Ephesians Ephesians 25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
Lacking a foundational understanding, many couples have tragically assumed they have no control over their feelings.
Three Essential Building Blocks
These ideal attributes include:. Maturity This statement is not meant to echo the ever-advised mantra that maturity is important. These qualities are nice, but to truly grow up means making an active effort to recognize and resolve negative influences from our past. An ideal partner is thus willing to reflect on his or her history and is interested in understanding how old events inform current behaviors.
When people mature emotionally, they are less likely to re-enact or project past experiences onto their current relationships.
Building Blocks To A Strong Marriage
They develop a strong sense of independence and autonomy, having differentiated from destructive influences from early in life. As they evolve within themselves, they are less likely to look for someone to compensate for shortcomings and weaknesses or to complete their incompleteness. Having broken ties to old identities and patterns, this person is much more available to a romantic partner and the new family that they create together. Naturally, becoming emotionally mature ourselves helps with this process and dramatically improves our chances of achieving a solid and rewarding relationship.
Openness The ideal partner is open, undefended and willing to be vulnerable. No human being is perfect, so finding someone who is approachable and receptive to feedback can be a huge asset to a lasting union. When someone is free-thinking and open-minded, it enables them to be forthright in expressing feelings, thoughts, dreams and desires, which allows you to truly know them. Their openness is also an indication of their interest in personal development and often contributes to the development of the relationship. Like perfect people, perfect unions do not exist, so finding someone with whom you can talk about an area that you feel is lacking in your relationship and who is open to evolving is more than half the battle.
Conversely, being willing to accept feedback from our partners and looking for that kernel of truth in what they say allows us to develop ourselves in a similar manner. Honesty builds trust between people. Dishonesty confuses the other person, betraying their vulnerability and shattering their sense of reality. Nothing has a more destructive impact on a close relationship between two people than dishonesty and deception.