Of Love & Order Part 4: What Dating With Purpose Means To Me

 

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“Your love is as stable as you are: It’s not about how good a person makes you feel, but rather what good you can do for them.” Criss Jami, Killosophy

“God will bring the right person into your life at the right time. Always believe that! If they are not there, God isn’t finished yet!” Shannon L Alder

Courtship is an activity whereby one looses oneself … whilst trying to win someone’s love.
Mokokoma Mokhonoana

What is dating with purpose?
I love the very thought of this. When you have a purpose, an actual purpose for dating. It implies planning before and during the process. Few people plan how their relationships will turn out. Some plan as soon as their relationships begin, which is realistic, others procrastinate with it. Flipplancy and passivity do not play a part in this portion of an individual’s life at all. It is a precious transition, a valuable progression and treasurable advancement. Not everyone has the chance to be with the one they believe is right for them, let alone get into a relationship in the first place. What baffles me therefore, is how lightly esteemed a unique relationship (those who do have this privilege) is regarded when one considers the overall impact it has in his or her life!

Dating with purpose for me embodies three things:
1) having a strong relationship with God
2) possessing a deep understanding of love
3) establishing necessary barriers for protection

NB: It has to happen in exactly this order

There is no setting up boundaries on the foundation of a worldly influence of love, which occurs as a result of not having a firm grasp on what true love is. Where else or best can you get it other than from the Existence, Epitome and Expression of love itself? At other times, despite having a good relationship with God, your view of love can still be thwarted by the world which can mix the conditions you set for your relationship (through partially sticking to the Word or using it to justify your views) or if you are firm and sure, then there can be a possible failure to be faithful in upholding those conditions. Well, I am certain you know what I am getting at and leave you to consider the consequences of having number 2 in check at the expense of the others.
The main reason for those three things to be in place is because it sets the stage for a life lived with these checkpoints being crossed time and again. Take note that while I will be primarily speaking to those who are either beginning or are currently in the courtship stage, the counsel of the following spans across into other arenas, including marriage.

God is the core center by which your relationship exists (Mark 10:9)
If God is love, why would love be sought for in any other place?  Of course, ignorance has a role in this but apart from that, recognizing the Source of love is  paramount in the journey of a couple’s discovery if you will. The very fact you are together is a direct result of His plans coming together, in the same way you did. Being aware of this is the starting point of a fruitful relationship.

Jesus is the foundation in which your relationship is built (1 Corinthians 3:11)
When you have a strong relationship with God as an individual that naturally transitions into the relationship with your special one. There is that threefold cord that cannot be broken (Ecc 4:12). You essentially form the Triangle of Relationships. It was a term coined by Mike Breen the author of Life Shapes, where at the top stands our relationship with God, the left is our relationship with each other as the Body of Christ and on the right is our role in going on outreach to bring others into the kingdom and thus restore them into a relationship with God. It will look like this.

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From my stand point, however, the threefold cord is about the individual relationship with God; the understanding of oneself with the establishment of a strong identity; with boldness seek the person that God has for him or her, and finally bringing everything together through the foundation laid upon the Word of God. This way the couple gets to enjoy the fruitfulness of their own relationship as it is directed in faith by God, as long as complete confidence and reliance on Him is maintained.

Jesus is the chief cornerstone by which your relationship is sustained.
No doubt times can and will be tough. We are talking about two completely different people joining together in the prospect of sharing a life with each other. With this comes many different things. You have culture, background, beliefs, perceptions of life, opinions on current affairs, religion, education, politics,  finances, sex, drinking (some belive in drinking but not to the point of being drunk while others are against this notion), and world view. There are other elements as well but these are the main ones. It is very easy to be lovey dovey the one minute and the mortal rivals the next. The key thing is to remain in the Word, prayed up and keeping a positive attitude about each other, especially when you argue. Being sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leading through good and bad times is what will sustain you. It may not always be easy but it is always worth it. I cannot stress the value of having a firm relationship with God as individuals  first before building one as a couple, becuase trying times will put your words of devotion to the test.

What different people’s interpretation of dating with purpose is.
This brief list of opinions on this term all connect to what I have pointed out in a unique way.

Sean and Brgitte call it a Christ Centered Relationship
Heather Lindsay notes that it’s about putting God first and being lead by Him
Yore and Mekeyas say it’s about having a solid identity then serving the Lord with your partner.
Mercedes and Nonso believe it’s about having a relationship that has a goal and clear expectations.

Conclusion
When you look at it dating with purpose comes down to rooting yourself in Christ and maintaining that relationship (for yourself first) throughout the rest of your life, no matter what happens. When you are certain that you have reached that stage or are close to it, you then pursue a future with the significant other. It is vital to give both yourself and your partner at chance at love that will last. Fleeting pleasures immediately robs you of that opportunity, especially when you prioritize that. Draw a line and determine how far too far is. At what point are the activities you engage in, particularly physical ones, about to reach worldly standards? Keeping these boundaries in check will ensure a long-lasting relationship equipping you well enough to weather any storm.

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Of Love & Order part 3: Right/Wrong Reasons To Be In A Relationship

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Courtesy of brides.com

What’s Your Motive?

There are all sorts of reasons why people get into relationships. To some degree the rush for marriage is as epidemic as the rate of divorce. One can say that people would love to be married just as badly and quickly as others want to end the marriage! It then just becomes a cycle. The sad reality is that the world has diminished the true value and purpose of love so much so that the covenant and bond that ties two heterosexual people together is flippantly regarded and acknowledged. Being married turns into a high school and college relationship where you are essentially “testing the waters,” you’re not sure if you really want to be with the person or if you are right for each other. Imagine? By marriage, you are still uncertain of your compatibility and your purpose for being together? It’s like, “Are you serious?” The main factor that contributes to this experience is what I mentioned in part 1, the theme of which is “What Happened To Love?”

There is way too much worldly influence on the subject. One would be led to believe that love is a perverted thing; seeks its own interests above everyone else’s; is nothing but a pleasure-seeking emotion, that there is nothing more to it than just physical satisfaction! It gets even worse when people embrace this so much so that it becomes a part of them, one that repels any and every indication and example of true genuine love as it was always meant to be expressed.

Why Do You Want to Be With Me?

That question must be visited after much thought has been given to it. The most interesting thing is that it is very often the most difficult question to answer! I imagine that a lot women would find their men tongue tied as soon as this question comes up. Though it is not to say women are exempt from it, it is only that from my experience (through studying friends’ relationships) and research women are usually more certain of their purpose for being in a relationship than men are. There is often a more intimate and deeper long-lasting  future in mind from the women’s point of view but for the men, that process can take time. This is primarily because men and women are wired differently. Women desire closeness and men enjoy independence, this therefore means that the growth to closeness takes much longer for men to get to. This is why patience is of utmost importance on the part of the women, as the helper, supporter and encourager, they are to express their intentions while communicating the value of the growth process and how important it is for him to get to the stage of intimacy you would love to reach, and letting patience play her part, celebrating small victories along the way. Men are to vocalise any challenges they may have in a tactful and non-critical and condescending manner, and most of all listen wholeheartedly when spoken to. The process is simply: talk and listen, listen and talk, honourably and respectfully.

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Cody was onto something there! There is more truth in that than most would realize. It is to be taken very seriously. It may not be a bad idea to even assess whether or not you are on the right track right now, even if you’ve been together a very long time. We will be looking at what I believe are the wrong reasons for getting into a relationship. Think long and hard about these, see where you may need improvement. Part “B” of this segment of this series will be coming soon. Some of the points have been mentioned in the statements above, but here they are, short and simple:

Wrong Reasons

-You’re not sure why you’re in a relationship

-The love is conditional, the “IF” love

-You see your partner as a self-gratifying object, not just sexually

-Being in a relationship for the fun of it

-Boosting social status (not social media alone)

-Giving partially and not wholeheartedly

-Constantly lying and being defensive about it (indifference)

-Being critical, condemning, complaining and judgemental

-Having unrealistic expectations

-Desiring more of the shopping list and failing to appreciate what you have

-Seeking validation in your partner (a huge one)

-Simply not wanting to be alone

-Peer pressure (especially through Facebook)

-Social conformity (everyone is in one, you must be too)

-Rushing for marriage

-Being inconsiderate of your partner’s feelings

Right Reasons

With all this you may be wondering, “Is it really possible for me to be in a relationship?” Short answer: Yes! Here is why:

-You put God first in your individual lives then in your relationship

-You have high biblical standards for your relationship

-You set boundaries and discipline yourselves to follow them

-You care for your partner more than yourself

-You seek mutually beneficial interests

-You are open-minded, consider perspective and are willing to compromise

-Your love is unconditional

-You know EXACTLY why you are in the relationship

-You have a community you are a part of together OR

-You have a couples mentor

-You take your future seriously (individually and as a couple)

-You discuss how to overcome challenges

-You are trusting in general & understanding when it hurts

-You laugh at the most ridiculous things

-You share responsibility (e.g you take turns with the bill/check when you eat out)