So How does the Real Relationship Begin?
In my last post, I promised to do part two of “Are you in a fake relationship?” This has taken longer than it should have. I must apologize for that. I guess I just got caught up, got a bit unwell also but that is no excuse for not keeping my promise, please forgive me!
We did an analysis of what it means to be in a fake relationship. Here is part two of that. How then does the REAL relationship begin?
A real relationship begins with pure friendship. The best way to know someone is by observing them in the setting of a group. There they will be themselves and will most likely act in their natural disposition. This is the best way over isolation. When you isolate an individual, he/she strives to please you and they will therefore put their best foot forward. As Christians this would happen best as you serve the Lord together in the Christian Union, church or any other setting put up for the purposes of serving God. This is actually where spirit oneness happens. Spirit oneness is the goal of Jesus Christ for His church. If you recall the Lord’s Prayer in John 17, He keeps repeating over and over again, ‘That they may be one, just as I and You are one’.
Learning to build solid friendships is an important aspect of preparing for marriage. Before Johnnie and I entered into a relationship, we had shared a very deep but pure friendship. We had a lot in common and we spent time talking and serving God together. We never however had dates alone at all. We always met in a group setting, he was not a special friend to me, he was a good friend. We did not go out of our way to check on each other. We cared for each other, we prayed and shared prayer requests, went for missions together as a team. We shared a pure friendship. The only time we went out for coffee alone, is the day Johnnie proposed to me. To say that I was shocked and almost mad at him for “spoiling” our friendship would be an understatement. On the other hand if our friendship continued like that for another three or so months, it would not have been right because we were now getting close. This is because God has created us with emotions and hearts that feel and with a capacity for attraction. A pure friendship is possible and should be pursued. You should never let the enemy deny you the beauty of friendship by transforming every relationship you have to an emotional entanglement. Again you will need to be so careful not to close the line from friendship to more than friendship. Someone said that the truest test of pure friendship is when you are away from that person and you are not thinking about them, you will not call “just to say hi”, you will not go out of your way to find out how they are doing. Another said that when you take a girl out for coffee and set her apart from other girls, you have an agenda with that girl and you better make it clear!
Paul in his letter to Timothy gives us the direction of friendship. “..older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, in all purity” (1Timothy 5:2 ESV). This instruction is very clear and very helpful for us. We are to treat one another with ALL purity. Indeed Paul continues to encourage us to “…flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. (2Timothy 2:22 ESV). The purpose of pure friendship is to pursue the Lord together, not to pursue each other. We need to look for brothers and sisters who will keep us accountable in our Christian walk and who are pursuing Jesus as we are. We are encouraged to have biblical fellowship. In other words pure friendship has God’s agenda in mind, not to have a good time; but good fellowship for the glory of God. It is out of these fellowships that lasting and meaningful relationships that lead to marriage should begin. God does want us to run from each other, neither does he want us to take advantage of each other, He desire that we would enjoy pure friendship that draws us nearer to Him every day.
The caution however here is to check the motive. Just like in dating where the motive is selfish, it is also possible to have a fake or rather a selfish. What do I mean? You may be following a sister or brother because of what you want from them not for them. this means that your service and participation is tagged to your ambition of having that brother/sister as your future spouse. This is not pure friendship, this is fake! For you to enjoy the friendship, you must allow it to flow naturally, do not have a special friendship with any member of the group, that will be an emotional entanglement. Have good friendships with everyone in the group.
The distinctive feature is a real relationship is when your head goes before your emotions. It is when you do not allow your emotions to go before you have allowed them. it is when you make the verbal commitment to that girl or that gentleman your word. Real relationships begin when you do not send signals to the girl that you are interested in her, until you make the proposal. Real relationships begin with spiritual oneness when the two of you are seriously engaged in the Kingdom business and your hearts are bonded in the process! see below from top to bottom how a real relationship begins and progresses
Spiritual Oneness (Happens as you engage in works of service, not a goal but a natural blending)
Verbal Commitment to the relationship (After Prayer and consultation
Delayed Emotional Oneness (Gradual during courtship)
Physical Oneness (After the wedding)
So what is the place of the Emotions
Am I trying to say that you will not be attracted to the girl before you make the commitment? No, that would be untrue. I am saying though that you will not allow your emotions (both of you) to move before you engage your minds and the people around you. In my last post, I said that there is a problem when we enjoy the emotions without a commitment. There is a big difference here between an emotional oneness and attraction. An attraction can grow to an emotional oneness that is fake if caution is not taken. The trouble comes in when we allow the attraction to grow and in the process our emotions leak to the other partner without our permission. This is where integrity works. As a man you could be attracted to a sister without her knowledge. You can actually make the proposal and it would catch her by surprise. This is the ideal. What I am saying is, that we should avoid by all means implying and also enjoying an emotional relationship before we make the commitment. The emotions play a big part in a relationship, but they should not set the standards for us.
So is your relationship FAKE or REAL?