Excerpts from the book by Joshua Harris
Seven habits of highly defective dating
1) Dating leads to intimacy, but not necessarily to commitment.
2) Dating tends to skip the 'friendship' stage of a relationship.
3) Dating often mistakes a physical relationship for love.
4) Dating often isolates a couple from other vital relationships.
5) Dating distracts young adults from their primary responsibility of preparing for the future.
6) Dating can cause discontentment with God's gift of singleness.
7) Dating creates an artificial environment for evaluating someone's character.
Unless a man is prepared to ask a woman to be his wife, what right has he to claim her exclusive attention? Unless she has been asked to marry him, why would a sensible woman promise any man her exclusive attention?
1) Friendship is about something other than the two people, something other than the two friends being together. The key to friendship is a common goal or object on which both companions focus. As soon as the two people involved focus on the relationship (intimacy), it has moved beyond friendship.
2) Include others (i.e. friends, family, or strangers) instead of isolating yourselves with just one person.
3) Seek opportunities to serve, not to be entertained.
Early stages of Attraction
In the early stages of attraction, when you have a difficult time remaining clearheaded, , think of an imaginary dialogue; something like this:
Q: What's you relationship to this woman?
A: She's a sister in Christ whom I'm instructed to treat with absolute purity.
Q: Exactly! She's not just a pretty face or a potential wife!
A: No, she's a child of God. God has a plan for her. He's shaping her and molding her into something special.
Q: So, what is your responsibility to her?
A: My responsibility is to make sure I don't get in the way of what God is doing. I should encourage her to keep her focus and dependence on God.
Q: Okay, good. Now to whom is your second responsibility?
A: My second responsibility is to the people around me.
Q: Why do you have to care what they think?
A: Because I have a responsibility to keep the unity of the group, to model the love of Jesus to outsiders, and to set an example for other believers.
Q: And your primary responsibility is to God. Correct?
A: Exactly. I am responsible to keep my way pure, serve others as Christ did, and love my neighbor as myself.
"Lord, help me to appreciate this woman/man without elevating her/him above you in my heart. Help me to remember that nobody can ever take your place in my life. You are my strength, my hope, my joy, and my ultimate reward. Bring me back to reality, God. Give me an undivided heart."
What to do when people ask you why you don't play the dating game
1) We should communicate our convictions about dating with humility and from a desire to please God, not to put others down.
2) You don't have to prove someone wrong to do what you know is right. Pray that God will show them the same mercy he has shown you. Don't continue to hound them, God will work in their lives when they're ready. We need to respect people's prerogative to disagree with us and hope that our own example will draw them closer to obedience to God.
3) Our primary purpose for communicating with others should be their encouragement and growth. Be humble and honest about how you're trying to be obedient.
Think on these things
Look for, and work on becoming, a man or woman who, as a single, seeks God wholeheartedly, putting Jesus before anything else. Don't worry about impressing the opposite sex. Instead, strive to please and glorify God. Along the way you'll catch the attention of people with the same priorities.
In Genesis 24, Rebekah was able to meet God's divine appointment for her life (marriage) because she was faithfully carrying out her current obligations. She had a ready willingness to serve others. These qualities put her in the right place at the right time with the right attitude when God intended to match her with Isaac.
Holy Matrimony, like other holy orders, was never intended as a comfort station for lazy people. On the contrary, it is a systematic program of deliberate self-sacrifice. Marriage is really a drastic course of action. It is a radical step and is not intended for anyone who is not prepared, indeed eager, to surrender his own will and to be wholeheartedly submissive to the will of another.
God's perfect love isn't only for our benefit. A model wears clothing to attract attention to the designer's creativity. The model displays the designer's work, but the designer's reputation is on the line, not the model's. In the same way, as servants of Christ, we model God's love, whether or not we realize it. People watch us, and what they see affects God's reputation for loving his creation.
Before his wedding, a groom reached out his hand to his father-in-law to be and said, "Thank you for trusting me with your daughter." The man replied, "I don't trust you." Then, after a long pause, he said, "I trust God." This father had his trust in the right place.
Before a couple marries, they should believe that it is the Will of God that they should marry. If God has not revealed His will in your heart, you have no business getting married. If you marry without God revealing this as His perfect will to you, when storms come, and they will come, you will have questions: "What if I had married another Christian? Would I have had these problems? I should have made sure it was God's Will. I feel trapped." Then your heart will grow weary, and you will not be able to fight against the adversity that blows against your marriage. You will be a double-minded Christian and unstable in all your ways.
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