Friday, May 8, 2015

Relationships, Dating and Marriage

Relationships are a very important part of life.  Most of us have the desire to get married, to have friends, and be close to other people.  Very few people in the world do not have anyone who they can call a friend.  Even in prison, people form groups and crave the companionship of others.

However, today, there are many relationship problems.  For example, research has shown that, in the United States, half of all marriages end in divorce.  Relationships take a lot of work and care to maintain.

Think of some of your best relationships.  How are they different?  What makes them strong?

Relationships that are built on love are the strongest relationships.  We have all types of relationships. We have relationships with family, children, friends, husbands/wives, boyfriends/girlfriends, and business relationships.  These are all different in many ways.  However, when people talk about relationships, they often are talking about "love" relationships, that is, dating and marriage.

The Bible has a lot to say about many topics.  Relationships with others is a topic that the Bible has a lot to say about.

The Perfect Relationship

When I think about the perfect relationship, I think of the relationship that Jesus had with others. When we read the Bible we see that:
  • Jesus never swore (said bad words)
  • Jesus never hit anyone
  • Jesus never threw a temper tantrum
  • Jesus never made a person upset for no reason
  • Jesus was never jealous
  • Jesus gave everything he had without the expectation of getting anything in return.
We may feel that we can not live up to Jesus' example.  We can learn from him, however.  How we treat others influences how good our relationships become.  A relationship that is built on the self, jealousy, and pride will fall, but a relationship that is built on love and respect for the other person will thrive.

Searching for a Partner

When looking for a partner, consider the words in Proverbs:

"A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value." (Proverbs 10-11)

This can be said of a husband as well.  When searching for someone, search for someone who you would want to spend the rest of your life with.  Looks and beauty have some importance, but far more important is the love that you can share.  You will want to be with someone who shares your life goals and beliefs.  You will have a better relationship with someone who you enjoy spending time with.  If you marry just for looks you may find that you are disappointed when beauty fades and you have nothing in common with your partner.

Another similar quote in Proverbs is:

"A wife of noble character is her husband's crown, but a disgraceful wife is like decay in his bones." Proverbs 12:4.

When thinking about the perfect mate, ask yourself:

  • What goals do you want to share?
  • Do you both want children?  How many?
  • Where do you both want to live?
  • Do you both like the same things?
  • Do you want someone who spends a lot of time at home or likes being outside?
  • What beliefs do you have?  
Recently we celebrated our 14th year wedding anniversary.  While our relationship has had many challenges, it has worked because we put God first in our lives.  We also waited until being married to begin living together.  There is much to say on this subject, and we may talk about it in another class.

The beginning of marriage is an important time to build your relationship.  Marriage is a lot different than dating.  Many people begin to realize more about the person they are with after they are married.  In the Bible, the rules set for the Jewish people stated:

"If a man has recently married, he must not be sent to war or have any other duty laid on him. For one year he is to be free to stay at home and bring happiness to the wife he has married." Deuteronomy 24:5

Why do you suppose this rule was put in place?  

The early part of the marriage is a time to create the foundation of your relationship.  Much love is shared after a marriage and it is very hard for a couple to leave each other right after marriage.  In modern times many people are forced to part due to circumstances in life, sometimes right after getting married.

English Journal Questions:
  1. Think of some people who seem to have good relationships and those who have relationships that are not as good.  What are some of the reasons why people have good relationships?
  2. What do you think you could improve in your relationships with your partner?
  3. Are there things that you look for in a partner?  
  4. Do you feel in a hurry to get married?
A preview of Next Week's Friday Night English Club - Relationships, Dating and Marriage II

Next week we will talk again about Dating, Marriage and Relationships.  Some of the topics we will cover will be: feeling in a hurry to get married, the subject of divorce and breaking up and life after marriage.

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