In building a genuine God centered relationship, you must be genuine, and focused. If you truly desire to follow God’s precepts, and not those of society, you must be willing and able to cast off “games” that people play in relationships. There must be no hiding behind made up masks, and false identities. Get rid of fixation on pleasure, and viewpoints from glamour magazines and TV shows. You must seek Biblical precepts; rather than how you feel or are told by friends. This means a Christian relationship will be built on and with honesty, and communication, in order to be real and authentic. These translate into genuine relationships that are flowing from a life that has been transformed by grace, and renewed by Christ, as Lord of your life.
In order to accomplish this task, you must seek to know yourself and other person. If you are not honest about yourself, how can you expect to have a good relationship? The same applies to seeking honestly from person you are courting. You have to be honest about who you are, that is, knowing your personality, aspirations, and desires, and working on your relationship with Christ. You also have to be honest about what you plan to do and be in life. Then, you can seek that in others, and honestly assess how you feel about them and about what they do and say. The way to do this is to have open, honest communication, be willing and able to ask tough question of yourself and your date. The hiding is then eliminated, and a real relationship is built! Open communication is a vital foundation for every marriage, necessary in order to understand and help each other. Without it, you cannot see what is truly motivating other or what their ideas and intentions are. When you have differing points of view--and you will--be willing to talk and listen. Simply by listening, 99.9% of problems will be resolved. When you have this settled before marriage, you will be light-years ahead of game. If you are already married, then you can use these principles to figure out what you need to work on in yourself, as well as in your relationship with God and others.
We can be honest even in our Western dating culture. Yes, most people-- Christians included--tend to stick to shallow end of communication pool. We spend time asking about favorite movies, hobbies, whether and such, so most important questions, such as our struggles, vulnerabilities, and insecurities, are not addressed.
Once you are honest, then you can explore love. If you do not take care of honesty, your love will not be honest. You will be in love with an idea and not a person. You will be building a false relationship, not a real one!
We will not be perfect, as we will make mistakes, but we have grace of God who makes up for our shortfalls. So, let God work in you. Be honest with Christ as your Lord, and be willing to learn, giving Him your fears and insecurities. Be willing to improve yourself before seeking a relationship. You cannot expect others to change and grow if you do not. If you are not willing to improve ‘you’ before trying to get who is right for you or to improve your spouse, you will just cause upheaval and disorder in your self and person you are with! You are not to seek someone to fill a hole that they cannot fill. Be accountable to and ask questions of someone who will always listen to you. By doing these precepts from Word, you will better prepare yourself for God’s best, which is in your best interest, too!
Oh, by way, do not even think, consider, or attempt to do missionary dating (date someone who does not share same faith and theology as you). After over 20 years of being a pastor to singles, I have never seen this work. I have never heard of this working! It only leads to distress and strife, especially when children come in to picture!
Here are two essential attitudes to have if you are serious about following God’s precepts in relationships:
1. An attitude of Fellowship: Fellowship, (koinonia) is Christian catchphrase for getting together. Perhaps it is overused and underused. We overuse it to describe anything from hanging out to having communion, then we under use it by not taking reality and depth of its meaning to heart! Biblical fellowship is a partnership of relationships and resources that contains good communication, cooperation, and mutual beneficiation. The powerful Holy Spirit is our true partner in Church. This is true because of what Christ has done for us.
2. An attitude of real Intimacy: The Church has taught for centuries that sex was for procreation only and there are still Christian groups proclaiming this. However, this is not what Bible teaches. Sex was created by God to populate (Genesis 1:28), to expresses unity (Genesis 2:24), to know your mate (Genesis 4:1), to express love (Genesis 24:67), to meet each other’s needs (Genesis 24:67; Deuteronomy 24:5; 1 Peter 3:7), to play (Proverbs 5:19; Song of S. 2:8-17; 4:1-16; Ecclesiastes 9:9), and to prevent sin (1 Corinthians 7:2-5). Intimacy also includes our being available to our spouse (1 Corinthians 7:3-5), and showing him or her our undivided interest as an expression of love (Song 4:16; 5:2).
How do you know if you are “In Love?”
According to world’s standards, and that of many Christians, being attracted to another is our first consideration in dating or courting. However, is this right or Biblical? No! Yet, we often judge another person by our attraction to them or their attraction to us before we venture into a relationship. However, remember Prov 31: 30. Good looks, magnetism, beauty, being pretty, even charm, are vain, ineffective in building a relationship, and are not lasting. Love finds its roots in deeper end of pool where maturity in our relationship with Christ dwells, where He is Lord and from where our trust and model of all of our relations originate.
Now, Keep in mind that there may be someone you may not have thought of, who may be right for you! I am always amazed in single groups in church how so many of them do not even look at each other as their ideal mate because desire is blinding their search. Thus, only thing fueling their search is vanity, and perfect one may be sitting right next to them! So, look up, and look around beyond your limited set of parameters!
Love begins, real love, that is, when you have a firm grasp on what we have talked about so far. It happens when presumptions and games are out of way, when open communication is happening, and when both of you are growing in faith. If you are meant for one another, then love will come. Love cannot be forced, manipulated, conjured up, or pretended to be real. You can try to force love for a while, but it would be like teaching a dog to walk on its two hind legs. It will be able to do it for a little while, but not very long, and not very well! You have to let Love happen as stipulated in 1 Corinthians 13.
What does it mean to love someone? How do I know if I am “in love?” How do I really know if my potential mate loves me? It has often been said in Christian circles that "love is a choice," but what kind of choice is it? When do we make that choice, and what if it is wrong choice?