Tag Archives: friendship

Don’t Just Rush Into Marriage

Chemisty_and_Commonalities_Trap_Blog_Photo_2_1024x1024Bear with me for a second and imagine that you are about to buy a used car. Before signing on the dotted line, you would request the diagnostics on the car. You’d take the car for ride to see how it drives — paying attention to its feel, listening for any weird sounds, and checking all the features to ensure that everything works right. You might even get an experienced mechanic to examine the car and give you their professional opinion.

You go through all this trouble because you don’t want to buy an unreliable car that becomes a money pit! You know it is a substantial investment and you want to know exactly what you are getting. You want to make sure you are getting your money’s worth.

While buying a used car can be a risky investment, the investment risk is small compared to the risk we take when choosing which relationships we should invest in.

If you invest in a bad car, outside of your pride, the only thing that takes a hit is your financial standing. If you invest in a bad relationship, especially if it turns out to be a marriage relationship, your entire future may be in jeopardy. Yet, too many of us treat the decision of whom to enter into a relationship with as something that is trivial, compared to the due diligence we give to deciding whether to buy a car.

Our lack of due diligence is NOT due to a lack of concern. Rather, any concern we have is often overwhelmed by the emotional tidal wave that accompanies the prospect of getting what we desire — the desire to be in a committed relationship. While this emotional wave produces butterflies and feelings of happiness, it can blind us to glaring red flags. It can cause us to overlook and excuse away foundational problems that require fixing.

Choosing to ignore foundational problems when choosing whether to commit to a relationship is like choosing to ignore a used car’s check engine light and instead choosing to focus on how pretty the paint job looks on the car.

If you are going to give yourself the best chance of making the best decision relationship decision, there are 3 things you must do while dating.

Talk About the Ugly Stuff

No one is perfect! Everyone has issues! If you are not talking about the ugly stuff, the ugly stuff will talk to you when it shows up later in your marriage.

Analogous to diagnosing a car to see what is wrong before you buy it, you need to look at what is wrong and understand what you have to deal with in your relationship.

You want to go into your marriage with your eyes wide open

If you do not know for sure what you are dealing with, then it is likely that many things will surprise and disappoint you. You will feel as if your partner was dishonest with you and sold you on a lie. And you are more likely to want to bail out when in the truth comes out in those early days.

But if you know what you are facing, you can make a quality decision. You can place boundaries on your relationship to prevent the ugly from coming out. You will be better prepared for the ugly when it does come out.

Example: When Jack told Lori that he struggles with porn from time to time, they spoke about it and decided that he needed to install covenant eyes while they seek out help for him.

When you know what is not right before hand, you can make a plan to deal with it.

Be Honest About What You Can Handle

When buying a used car, there comes a point when you have to make a decision about whether you can handle the maintenance cost! The same is true of relationships. There is maintenance work required for any relationship not to break down. You have to decide whether you can handle it.

If you know that you cannot afford the maintenance on your relationship, it is better not to commit to the relationship.

There are two key questions to consider when thinking of relationship maintenance: (1) Is the problem causing the maintenance a chronic issue? (2) Do you have the spiritual strength, mental energy, and emotional capital to deal with the problem?

If you know you do not want to continue spending emotional capital to fix an unending issue, then be honest with yourself and end the relationship before it gets really serious. You don’t want to put yourself in a situation where you get bitter because things don’t get better.

Example: When Samantha realized she could not handle Blake’s addiction, she decided to call it quits though she cared for him deeply.

Allow Someone You Trust to Evaluate Your Relationship

When in the throes of emotional energy in a relationship, we tend to magnify the positives and minimize the negatives. I can’t illustrate this point any better than my friend did a few weeks ago. He said to me “When I first got married, I wondered why I did not marry her sooner. Now I wonder why I married her at all.”

Before you commit to marriage, do yourself a favor and invite a wise objective person to speak into your life. Be sure to tell them the good, the bad, and the ugly. Also, be honest with yourself and let them know what you can handle and what you can’t handle. Then open your heart to receive what this person has to say and truly consider it.

This is like inviting an expert mechanic to see if this car you want to buy is a right for you.

Example: Kim and Tyler went to a counsellor with an open mind to get his take on their relationship. After four sessions, they realized they still had a lot of work today. So, they decided to put their engagement on hold and work through the resources the counsellor gave them. Because they put in the work, they now have a successful marriage.

It is better to wait and get it right, than rush in and get it wrong

Do not awaken love until the time is right — King Solomon

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4 Things We Keep Doing That Keeps Getting Us In Trouble

IGNORING WEAKNESSES

We all have weaknesses. To say we do not is to lie to ourselves. But what do we do with our weaknesses? Do we simply ignore them and focus on our strengths? No, that would be a mistake for we are only as good as our weakest link. Is the answer to focus on strengthening our weakness at all cost? No, that is also a mistake because our weaknesses will never match our strengths no matter how hard we work at them.

So its darn if you do and darn if you don’t right? No again! God gives us a way to handle our weaknesses without expending energy and without compromising our strengths. Instead of moping about our weakness and wishing it goes away, what we have to do is submit our weaknesses to God and allow His power and favor to wash over us. What? Is that all there is to it, you must be wondering. Yes, that’s it. It is so easy that it is difficult.

Practically, the way we do this is by: (1) realizing those things that trigger our weaknesses  and (2) praying to God when those triggers are pressed. How do we know this works? We know by these two things: First, when the prospect of dying on the cross triggered weakness in Jesus, He responded by praying to the Father who in turn sent an angel to strengthen Him (Luke 22:43). Second, God told apostle Paul when he was tired of his weakness to simply really on His strength (2 Corinthians 12:9).

Personally I have found out that it is impossible to beat myself because (1) it hurts when I punch myself and (2) no matter who wins, I lose. I find that it is much easier to submit to God and have Him handle me. He is gentle and oh so effective!!!

KEEPING  THE WRONG COMPANY 

Just as keeping bad company will keep you from achieving anything in life, keeping the wrong company will keep you from achieving all that you can achieve in life. If you keep the wrong company, you will not feel fulfilled AND it will cause a lot of trouble in your relationships. Just think of the eagle and the dove. While both the eagle and dove are wonderful in their own right, they are not meant to flock together. If the eagle flocked with the dove, the dove would feel like it is holding the eagle back and the eagle would feel unfulfilled because it is not reaching its fullest heights. If they loved each other, they would let each other go to be the best that each can be.

If you are a dove, should you try to be an eagle? No way!!! There is absolutely nothing wrong with being a dove. If you feel as a dove that you are inferior to an eagle, then you have drunk the Kool-aid of comparison and self-imposed inferiority complex. The dove cannot help being a dove just as much as an eagle cannot help being an eagle. God made them the way they were supposed to be. Our job is simply to reach our fullest potential (not someone else’s). Anything else will bring dis-contentment!

There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus – Galatians 3:28

REJECTING HONEST AND TRUTHFUL INPUT

We all need four sets of eyes. We need a set of eyes in front of us to see where we are going and we need another set of eyes in the back of our head to see what is coming behind us. Now perhaps the reason we are made with only one set of eyes is so that we are reminded of our need to be in relationship with other people.

All of us need someone to watch our backs to make sure we are not blind-sided by unseen forces. Failure to do this means that we are always learning by experience instead of by correction. If you are like me, you do not want to learn everything by experience – experiences are just too painful.

If you are the ‘I don’t need anybody’ kind of person, I implore you to reconsider your stance. The truth is that we all need somebody. If you have someone who is encouraging you to change (like your family), do not despise them. Take your pride out of it. It is much better to learn a lesson from home than to learn it from the world. The world will not be as forgiving and only wants to capitalize on your flaws.

Remember, the people who love you most will give you the most honest and truthful input. Also remember that just because an input is honest does not mean it is truthful. You do not want someone to just tell you what they honestly feel – for the feelings may be erroneous. You want people to tell you what they have honestly seen based on their close observation of your behavior.

Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses – Proverbs 27:6

BEING INSENSITIVE

If you wrap a diamond ring in dung, do not be surprised if no one opens up the package. If you think that it is silly to forego a diamond ring just because of its package, you are right! But the point is not that you are right, the point is that the gift has not been received.

The point of the diamond ring example is this: People act more on emotions than they do on facts. If you do not cater to people’s emotions, people will immediately take it to mean that you do not care about them – even if that could not be farther from the truth. Since nothing has the ability to damage emotions faster than words, you must be careful of not just what you say but how you say it. Most people will remember how you said something versus what you said. If fact, how you say something will often change the meaning people associate with what you said. Thus you must continue to be sensitive to people in the way you communicate at all times to ensure that the love you so want to give is received. Do this and you will save yourself a lot of grief.

To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some – 1 Corinthians 9:22

 

 

 

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