• You shouldn’t go out with him/ her if…..

    1. He/she doesn’t love Jesus. Why shouldn’t you go out with this person? Because the two of you aren’t on the same page no matter how much you love each other.
    2. He/she is impairing your walk with Jesus. Why shouldn’t you go out with this person? Because the point of your life is to follow Jesus and if someone is impairing this then they are not helping you have your best life!
    3. He/she leads you into sin. Why shouldn’t you go out with this person? Because this person should love you and help you to be more like Jesus
    4. He/she doesn’t love Jesus passionately. Why shouldn’t you go out with this person? Because they will be a drain on your faith.
    5. He/she isn’t striving to make you more godly, just striving to get in your pants. Why shouldn’t you go out with this person?  Because they will make you compromise morally.
    6. He/she justifies the sin in his/her life. Why shouldn’t you go out with this person?  Because you should be with someone who loves Jesus and hates sin.
    7. He/she is arrogant and proud and yet can’t see it. Why shouldn’t you go out with this person?  Because they won’t be open to loving correction from you, no matter how truthful or needed it is.
    8. He/she hardly ever goes to church, reads the Bible or prays. Why shouldn’t you go out with this person? Because he/she will hinder your faith from growing into what it could be.
    9. He/she makes you doubt the bible. Why shouldn’t you go out with this person? Because you need encouragement, not reasons to doubt from the one you love.
    10. He/she repeatedly hurts you physically or emotionally. Why shouldn’t you go out with this person? Because you are created in the image of God and are worthy of love and respect and they aren’t giving you love or respect.

     

  • What I wished I knew before getting married: all the hard work is worth it

    As the last few days have shown marriage is hard work. The thought of two sinners committing their lives to each other and then coasting along is a recipe for disaster. Just like anything good in life we need to plan and work hard for our marriages to succeed.

    That being said it is all worth it. For all the tears, work and repentance that I have caused and had to go through because of my marriage to Kate I wouldn’t change a thing. I have thoroughly enjoyed marriage and have been changed into a better man as both Kate and God have worked on me in Kate and my marriage.

    I tell myself that it is all worth it when it is hard. Especially when my sin apparent for all to see and I need to deal with it. I never want to deal with my sin but when I start I keep telling myself that it will be all worth it and it always is!

    If you are married or you are single remember marriage is one of Gods greatest gifts that he has given us and all the hard work you put in is worth it!

     

  • What I wished I knew before I got married: We have to get into good routines early and fight to keep them

    The word routine can be a very ho-hum type word. It smacks of predictability and sameness. But all of us have routines and we can either fall into good routines that bring life or bad routines that suck our will to live and destroy us. This is the same for marriage.

    What routines do you have with your spouse?

    Kate and I have tried to put a few routines together. These routines are keeping our marriage strong now and we think we will reap huge dividends in the future. Here are a few of those routines:

    Date night: We have a weekly date night. Date night for us means no friends, no family, no one except us. It is time for us to chat and reconnect and have some time where it is just about us. As of recently we have a baby girl named Emma and so we have a few people who have offered to mind Emma. This gracious act has been an amazing way of serving us as it allows us to have a date night. With date night, it is not about the money that is spent, it is the time that is spent. We have a budget of $50 a week which we set aside because we think that fifty dollars is money very well spent because it allows us to get out of the house and spend time together on our marriage. Do you plan each week to have a date night with your spouse?

    We go to bed at the same time: this gives us time to pray and to chat at the end of the day. We share three things that we are thankful for and we commit the next day to God. This helps us connect at the end of a busy day.

    We take a day off: rest is important and so we take days off where it is just us regularly. Some of those days off we don’t go and see friends, we don’t go out to a party or a wedding, we just stay at home and rest. This also gives us more time to connect.

    We try to have one night at home together a week: Our weeks are very busy and so it is easy to put on something every night and meet up with people every night but we rail against this by scheduling in our diaries one night each week where we are just at home by ourselves. This is our time to relax and reconnect.

    Everyone has routines. Are your routines helping or hurting your marriage?

     

     

     

  • What I wish I knew before I got married part 2: Your job is to fall in love with who they become

    People change. This is just a fact. A person enters a new job and the pressures of that job may change them; a person enters into a new relationship and that changes them. We, as people, are in a constant state of flux. This is the way God has made us.

    So we should expect that if we get married, the person we marry will change because they are human. Your spouse will be changed by the fact that they marry you, your spouse will change if they change jobs, your spouse will change if and when you have children.

    But here is the issue. So many people tell us that the secret to a happy marriage is to keep falling in love with the person we married. But the person we married might be a very different person to the person we are married to five years after our wedding.

    So what are we to do?

    Our job is not to keep falling in love with the person we married but to keep falling in love with who they become. That is, if they put on a heap of weight and don’t look like the thin person you married, you are called to love them. If they develop a mental illness and their personality changes, you are called to love them. If they lose their job and don’t have the drive they once had, you are called to love them. If they lose their faith and walk away from Jesus, you are called to love them.

    The model for this is God and his dealings with Israel. God loved Israel no matter who she was, no matter what she did. We are called to love in the same way.

    How do you do this? Kate and I have only been married for two years but there are a few things we do to make sure we keep falling in love with the person the other becomes.

    1. We have a weekly date night. Sometimes it is just a movie or a cheap dinner but we always have a weekly date night. This helps us unwind, catch up, reconnect and keep falling more and more in love with each other.
    2. We share about our day and pray at the end of each night. Kate seems to remember all the things she wanted to tell me right when we go to bed. This can be annoying when I just want to sleep but it has actually done wonders for our marriage. At the end of every night we make time to share about what God did today in our lives and share three great things about the day. These three great things can be little things like “I had an encouraging conversation with Fred today” or big like “Jemima who is a non-Christian agreed to read through a gospel with me today”. After sharing three things that were good about today we then pray. This ends the day on a high note.
    3. We work hard at saying positive things to each other about each other. This helps us remind ourselves about what we love in the other person but it also encourages the other person.

    My prayer is that I would be more in love with Kate in five, ten, twenty years time than I am now, no matter the person she becomes.

    Because my job is to keep falling in love with who she becomes.

     

  • What I wish I knew before I got married: You will always marry the wrong person!

    “You will always marry the wrong person” – Stanley Hauerwas

    When it comes to marriage, one of the most destructive myths that many people believe is the idea of “the one”. I have written about it before but it bears repeating that the idea of finding “the one” who is perfect for me in every way and will always make me feel special is a myth that is extremely destructive. What do we need to counter this myth with?

    We need to remember that we are sinful and so is the person we marry.

    I was asked in the first few months of marriage how married life was. I sarcastically quipped, “It is going great! Kate likes to cry and I seem to be able to make that happen!” The first few months of marriage were hard for me as I kept coming up against how sinful I was and how much my sin hurt my beautiful wife. I am sure if Kate had any notions of her marrying “the one” they were dashed in the first few weeks of marriage!

    Kate and I have a great marriage but we both do things that bug each other, we both communicate in ways where the other one doesn’t get what we mean, we have different likes and dislikes and different personalities. All these things can, and sometimes do, bring tension into the relationship and it is easy to think, ‘If I was with that other person I wouldn’t have these issues.’ That could be true but if I was with that other person we would have a bunch of other issues.

    Kate is the “wrong person” for me and I am the “wrong person” for her because neither of us are perfect for each other. But no one else is perfect for us either!  Realising that we are “wrong” for each other helps us not look to the other for contentment and identity but find our contentment and identity in Jesus. It also means that we work doubly hard on our marriage because we both realise that we need to, and that Satan wants to take our differences that are small and make them insurmountable. So we work hard. The result is that we are in love and that we talk openly about our issues and we ask for forgiveness a lot and we forgive readily. I think that because Kate and I realised very early on about our sinfulness and what that brings to our marriage it has helped us craft a stronger marriage than if we held onto the notion of the other having to be “the one”.

    The great thing about marrying the “wrong person” is that God will use that person to sanctify you and mould you so that you will be more like Jesus. It will also cause you to work on being a more loving person because sometimes you have to love when you don’t feel like it.

    I love that I have married the “wrong person”. If I knew on my wedding day what I know now, I would have still said ‘I do’ and I would have still said that I will be with Kate ‘for better, for worser!’[1]

    I love you Kate and am so thankful that you are my wife! I am the most blessed man in the world!

     


    [1] This is not a typo. We memorized our vows and I stuffed them up. I literally said “For better, For worser; For richer, for poorer!”

     

  • How to find “The One”

    So many of us who are single are trying to find “The One”. You know the one who I should marry, the one who will complete me, the one who God wants me to marry.

    It goes without saying that if I find “The One” I will have a great life that will be always full of love and joy and will have no tears or heartbreak. But, if I don’t find “The One” my life will be a disappointment and I will not live the happy life I deserve!

    Well let me tell you where you will find “The One”.

    You will find “The One” in Wonderland next to the pot of Gold at the end of the rainbow riding a unicorn!

    You know why you will find them there? Because just like pots of Gold at the end of the rainbow and unicorns “The One” is a myth.

    Because there is no one person who will make you feel great all the time. With whom you will never fight or get frustrated with.

    There is no perfect mate

    No soul mate

    No “The One”

    “The One” is a very dangerous concept. It is not found in the Bible and it frustrates me no end that Christians talk about “The One” without realising that they have got this concept from Hollywood and the media. It is dangerous because it gives people an over inflated sense of what a relationship or marriage is going to do for them.

    “The One” is also an impossible bar that no one will be able to clear. Imagine the pressure of being someone’s “The One”. You are there to make them happy, to fill them with joy all the time and to know what they are thinking and feeling without them or you saying anything. This not only impossible but a dangerous fantasy. I have been married to my beautiful wife for two and a bit years. I still need her to tell me what she is thinking. Sometimes she pulls a face and I am left thinking “Does she want me to get something?” or “Have I missed an important day?” or “Does she have gas?”  Holding onto the concept of “The One” will only end in tears.

    How do we get rid of the concept of “The One”? We do it by hearing what the Bible says about us all. The Bible says that we are all made in the image of God and therefore we are all to be loved and respected. But it also says that we are sinful and selfish and therefore when two sinful people come together in marriage or a dating relationship we will expect that there will be tension, there will be periods of frustration, it won’t always be the romantic comedy fantasy that we hoped for. The concept of “The One” doesn’t give us a realistic view of ourselves, the opposite sex, relationships and ultimately marriage.

    Marriage is a great thing and my life has been enriched by my marriage to my amazing wife in so many ways. It is truly a great gift of God. But let’s get rid of the unbiblical fantasy known as “The One” and lets have our relationships defined by God and not by Hollywood.

     

  • Who should I date?

    When you look at the media and what it thinks are desirable qualities in a mate it seems like the qualities are very shallow.

    If you are looking for a girl you want her to be thin and yet stacked, flawless skin and yet look like that in the morning etc. She must always ready for sex, always funny, never angry or moody and be dressed like she is trying to be the next Paris Hilton and yet be sweet enough to be taken home and charm your mother!

    If it is a guy you are after, he is meant to have the right kind of facial hair, a six pack, he must wear no shirt like McConaughey and be manly enough to go bear hunting with a twig and come back with seven carcasses and sensitive enough to write a poem about his feelings about killing the bears!

    The issue is that looks fade. The bag and sag hits everyone’s body and so in 10 or 20 years we will not look as good as we did now let alone when we were 18.  The only option is to become a gym junkie or have so much plastic surgery that we end up not looking our age or our species. And the people we will be with will not look as good as they did when we met them.

    So if you are single you must train yourself to be attracted to and date people who have qualities that are more than skin deep.

    When  you look at the ideal wife in the bible (Proverbs 31) there is nothing to do with her looks, her body or the fact that she is a fun chick to be around. No what God says men should go for is a woman of wisdom and character.

    There is not a similar list for the ideal husband in the bible but there is a list of characteristics that a leader of a church should have (1 Tim 3). It is a list which I think should be the list of things single woman train themselves to be attracted to.

    So who should you date if you are single?

    Someone of character who loves Jesus.

  • Lies the church tells about sex: When you are content in being single he/she will come along.

    “Oh darling, when you are content in being single that is when he/she will come along”

    How many of have heard this statement? How many of us believe this? I think Christian girls are especially susceptible to this believing this statement. It seems like so many of my single sisters are working so hard at being content and at the same time they are waiting for God to drop Mr Right out of the sky. A lot of my sisters would settle for someone to asking them out on a date.

    See the old chestnut “When you are content in being single He/she will come along” is

    Just

    A

    Lie!

    Yes a lie!

    God has wired us to be relational creatures and so there will always be some kind of angst if we are single.  So when we tell the lie “When you are content he/she will come” we are actually denying what the Bible says about us as creatures. We are denying the way God has made us.

    Also, this lie gives the picture that God is up in heaven looking down on the single person waiting and watching their “content gauge” and when they are finally content enough God flips the switch and the next time that single person gets onto a train and sits next to someone, spills a drink on someone, talks to the owner of the cute dog they pat at the park, (insert your favourite romantic comedy cliché here), that person will be “the one”.

    But God doesn’t work like that. The most important thing for God is that we would desire to know him and we love him. So God is orchestrating our lives for that end. Also, God doesn’t say anywhere in the Bible that he gives us good gifts when we are content or deserve them or whatever. No, God is the God who gives generously to those who don’t deserve anything.

    So for now if we are single we have to trust God that he has out best interests at heart.

    These truths are tough to swallow for many of us.

    But tough truths are better than stupid lies which make us feel good.

     

  • Guest Post: Fifteen Ways To Get A Single Woman’s Attention by Ally Spotts

    For those of you who don’t know me my name is Ally Spotts and I’m a writer and blogger from Portland, Oregon. I’m single, a committed Christian, and I also happen to write a lot about dating and relationships. If you’ve never been to my site, you can visit me here!

    Last week I wrote a post titled, “Why Christian Women Date Non-Christian Men,” and Hans found it when one of my more dedicated fans [thanks dad] posted a link in the comments of his blog. Before I knew it he was asking me to write a post about what I, as a single woman, am looking for in a man.

    The problem is (I realized, after I agreed) I don’t have a list of things that I’m looking for in a man. I mean, I am looking for some things, I guess – mostly that he is also a committed Christian – but somewhere along the line I realized that the actual or mental lists I was keeping were making me really prone to selfish, unrealistic expectations for what I wanted in a husband. So I ditched it.

    So I’ll give you a different list, instead. It isn’t a checklist, and it isn’t a list of ideas I’ve picked up from romance novels or fantasies from Hollywood. It’s just a list of things I’ve noticed the men I know sometimes do, things that tend to catch my attention.

    Again, it isn’t a checklist. I don’t expect any man to be all of these things all the time. But it is a list of real things that real men have done. I’ve witnessed them. In real life. Not a novel or a romantic movie.

    These are the things that, as a single woman, really get me thinking…

    1. When a man treats all women well, not just the ones he wants to date. The men in my life who are most protective of (and kind toward) me are often men who have no intention of asking me on a date. My brother, for example. My dad. My friends’ husbands. My brother-in-law. And when I see an available man treat his mom or his sister or a close friend with tenderness and care, it is a huge head-turner for me.

    2. When a man’s actions match his words: Some men have really good intentions but not much follow-through; and while this can seem impressive at first, I’m ultimately distrustful of a man like this. I am much more prone to notice a man who is faithful in the little things. He says he’ll call and he does. He shows up on time. He doesn’t commit to things unless he knows he can finish them. If a man is consistent, the littlest things can make the biggest impression.

    3. When a man has a strong work ethic. There is something unbelievably sexy (am I allowed to say that here?) about a man who works hard. It can be physical, mental or emotional labor. It doesn’t matter. A man who has drive and stamina and perseverance toward a particular task is bound to catch my eye (in fact, he might even catch me staring…)

    4. When a man is committed to open and honest communication. I am so impressed when a man is willing to initiate difficult (but necessary) conversations with me and with others around him. Hard conversations are (wait for it…) hard to have but I’m always impressed with a man who is up to the challenge.

    5. When a man asks good questions. A man who asks good questions demonstrates selflessness, compassion and generosity, not to mention a wiliness to connect with those around him. Those qualities are really, really attractive to me.

    6. When a man is good with a grill. Hey – a girl has to eat… right?

    7. When a man is generous with his money. Several months ago I was at a restaurant with a large group of people and a friend of mine excused himself to the restroom, gave his credit card to the waitress, and paid for the meal before any of us even realized what happened. For the rest of the week I couldn’t stop thinking about how much I admired that simple act of kindness.

    8. When a man is generous with his time. Some men don’t have the means to be as financially generous as the man I described above, but that’s okay. I find it equally attractive when I see a man offer his time, sacrificially, for the good of the community. Men I know volunteer their time to lead and inspire youth, help their parents with yard work or other chores, or give up their Saturday to help a friend move. These are all things that make me stop and go, hmmm…

    9. When a man doesn’t flirt with every girl woman who flirts with him. One of the most impressive things in the world to me is watching a man who is selective with his flirtation. This doesn’t mean he never flirts, or that he only flirts with one girl his whole life (flirtation can be a necessary and important part of determining romantic connection) it just means that he doesn’t respond to every beautiful girl who happens to blink her eyes at him. I think that single-mindedness can demonstrate a man’s strength of character, self-confidence and conviction.

    10. When a man has a positive attitude. This is especially true of a man who is faced with difficult circumstances, and still chooses to speak positive words about life, about himself, and about other people. When I see a man who approaches life with grace and gratitude, I definitely stop and take notice.

    11. When a man has a plan: I went on a first date awhile back with a man who planned the whole evening ahead of time (a flexible plan, but solid enough that there weren’t a bunch of decisions for me to make) and I was really surprised by how comforting that was for me. On a broader scale, I’m really impressed by a man who has a 5-year or 10-year plan for his life. Even if his plan never comes to fruition, I’ll do pretty much anything for a man who knows what he is called to do with his life, and knows that he wants to do it with me.

    12. When a man is competitive. I hesitate to include this because not every woman would find this quality attractive, but it is my list, so… what the heck. I love watching men play sports or games, or watching their competitive nature come out in business. I find it attractive when I see a man who doesn’t feel the need to apologize for his masculinity.

    13. When a man carries his Bible: Recently I received some bad news while I was writing in a coffee shop and a friend who was sitting nearby saw my reaction and immediately went to the scripture to offer me some encouragement. I’m not saying a man always has to carry his Bible (that would be weird) I’m just saying that I find it impressive when a situation calls for it, and he has it on hand.

    14. When a man takes responsibility, even if he’s not sure it’s his. I was with a man recently who took the blame for something that may or may not have been his fault, and I felt oddly impacted by that. It was such a small act in retrospect, but the truth was that no one really knew whose fault it was; and I felt oddly comforted knowing that he was willing to take the blame – and the consequences – to protect the rest of the group.

    15. When a man can admit his weaknesses and is willing to work on them. Guys. If you don’t remember any other item from this list, remember this one. In fact, if I had to reduce the list to one item, it would most definitely be this.  None of us are perfect. We all have areas where we need to grow. And there is something profoundly attractive about a man who recognizes this reality, is a little introspective, and is humble enough to admit when he is wrong and keep working toward the man he wants to be.

    Okay, I’m just one woman, and not the authority on the subject. I need some other ladies to jump in. What do you think about my list? Any changes or additions?

    And MEN. Call me selfish but I’m dying to hear from you. How can a girl catch your attention?

     

  • Help I am a single guy and I like a girl!

    Disclaimer: I don’t consider myself Dr. Love in any sense and the fact that I am married to an amazing woman is more to do with God’s grace than my own ability. But there have been things that I have wanted to say to young Christian men about dating and girls. Over the last week I have had three guys ask me about dating and how to get a girl to like you (I don’t know why they ask me) so I have written this blog.

    Love and the questions of courtship vs. dating and to kiss or not to kiss etc are perennial questions that have been around ever since Josh Harris penned the book that every 16 year old guys hates but every Dad with a sixteen year old daughter loves and wants to give to every hormonal teenage guy on the face of the planet. The book I am talking about is I Kissed Dating Goodbye. And there are many other books like it.

    But even though there are books out on dating and love and relationships many questions still remain. As I have said, over the past few weeks, a few guys have asked me about dating and being a Christian guy who likes a girl and so here are questions that I have asked them to think about:

    1. 1. Are you the kind of guy that you would want your future daughter to marry? This is the question that is going to shape the whole conversation. Take a hard look at yourself would you want your daughter marrying someone like you? If for any reason you would say no. It is time to get to work
    2. 2. Do you have a plan? I am not just talking about a plan for asking her out and where your first date will be I am asking do you have a plan for the rest of your life? Do you have a plan for the next five years? Do you have a plan for, if you start going out, how you are going to help her love Jesus more? If you don’t know where you are going why should she look to you for leadership? If you don’t know what you are doing in the next five years why would she want to join you on this journey? If you have no plan for how you will help her love Jesus more you will be a dead weight to her spiritually. Guys get a plan.
    3. 3. Do you have character? I didn’t ask “Are you a character?” I asked “Do you have Character?” Character is about being solid and dependable. A man with character does what he says he will do, on time every time. Are you that? Or do you rock up late, don’t work hard, sleep in till noon, look up porn and generally annoy everyone around you because of your lack of character?
    4. 4. How are you doing spiritually? I am not asking if you feel great and connected with God (though that is a good thing). I am asking how are you doing with reading the Bible and praying? How are you doing with serving at church? How are you doing with going to Bible study or community group? How are you doing morally? If you need to work on these areas take yourself out of the dating/courting game so you can work on your relationship with Jesus so you won’t be a dead weight to a girl spiritually.
    5. 5. Are you an interesting person? Are you a person who has a life? Or do you sit at home playing world of warcraft or xbox or whatever? If you have an interesting life where you are doing things that bring value and meaning to people she will be more likely to be attracted to you. Also if you are interested in her more than being interesting she will find you more interesting.

    Guys these are the questions I wish someone had asked me when I was 18-20. Have you got men around you who love you enough to keep you accountable?

    Be the man that God wants you to be and girls will be attracted to you.