It feels like yesterday we started this year. I have a couple of things I planned to do this year, and the way things are going, I don’t think I will be able to squeeze them on these ten weeks that have left. So I have to carry them over to the following year, and by God’s grace, I hope to get them done next year.
So time can fly like that….mmh. Oh well, let’s get to our topic of today.
Okay, so maybe dating couch and expert is the last thing I should attach my name with and talking about at the moment, but I’m going to try anyway. Because I have got guts…hahaha. But seriously, most of us know even our failures can teach us some great lessons and make us experts to talk about the lessons we have learned. And that’s why I feel qualified to discuss and write about dating and relationships, and give my perspective on it.
I’m also going to be honest with you. The last time I dated, or have been in a dating relationship was in 2010. Its 2017, so you do the calculations. Prior to that I have been in few dating relationships, and I have learned a lot from them. I had only one relationship that I can say that I really liked the guy, and you can tell because it lasted for more than a year. And to me that is the longest time I have dated someone. I’m that kind of person that if I sensed it’s not going to go anywhere, I cut my losses, and move on. So you see, I have got some experiences, not only through my own life, but also through my observations and what I have learned from the people in my life and their relationship experiences.
First of all, I want to emphasize the power of prayer and the importance of involving God in your life, your relationships, and all your endeavors. Before you get into any relationship, whether it will happen to be short or long-term, you need to pray. Pray in advance for your relationships for guidance, protection, peace, so that it can last. In the book of Psalm chapter 127 verse 1, it says, “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.” What does it mean? God is the author of help. If God doesn’t put in the heart of people to help you, you cannot be helped. So let God build your relationships, businesses, and so on, and be in the middle of them so that you may receive His help and the grace you need in time of need.
Basically you don’t want to get into a relationship and leave God out of it. If you ask me its best to put God first in all your relationships you are involved in. God sees ahead, knows our future. He also knows which relationship or person is right for you. Some of the relationships may have temporary purposes; God may give a way for us to date them, perhaps to teach us some lessons so that we can use them in future in our long-term relationships. But what I can also tell you is that start praying today for your future; your unborn children, future spouses, and in laws…hahaha. Remember, it’s for your own good. You will be investing in your future.
So what are the four tips you need to know before you get into a long-term relationship?
- Communicate clearly your intentions about the relationship
You need to know what your intentions on this relationship are. What is the man intentions on the relationship and what are your intentions on this relationship. Learn from our parents. During the dating process if you get to meet the parents early on, they will usually ask you, mostly the man ‘what is your intention on their daughter?’ You also have to know your intentions. Make it open to one another before you start wasting more of each other time, energy, emotions, and so on. I mean, if you are grownups, you have got to know the intentions of the relationship, don’t just assume.
What do you both want and where do you see yourselves heading in the near future. It’s possible to be in a relationship with someone who doesn’t believe in marriage, or having children. Maybe he or she does, but not with you. You need to communicate your intentions and tell your significant other that your intentions on this relationship is to get married down the line and have children and become a family so that he or she knows where you stand. This will help both of you just in case one of you had other intentions apart from that to opt-out.
Some people could be in relationship with you because they just enjoy your company, or they just want someone to enjoy life with. Some other people may have goals in mind with that relationship, and maybe would like to take it further. In order to avoid more disappointments, before you get very serious into each other, you have to discuss if you both have the same intentions in the near future. So that even if it may not work out, at least you know it’s not because you didn’t communicate clearly your intentions from early on. It’s possible you could be expecting him to put the ring on it, when he just wants to get your goodies and go. While you are dating and you find that someone you really like let them know your future intentions ahead of time, so they may know if they want the same things. So communicate clearly your intentions on your relationship.
- Let go of control
You know what they say, “If you love something, let it go. If it returns, it’s yours; if it doesn’t, it wasn’t. If you love someone, set them free. If they come back they are yours; if they don’t they never were.” Your goal in relationship is to bring the best out from your partner and work things out for the best of all of you. So do not control them or control the relationship to the maximum. Don’t push the buttons trying to take control; you may push the wrong buttons…hahaha.
Love is a free will thing. Don’t be fooled; true love can’t be bought. Haven’t you heard of the stories of couples who are wealthy and still miserable? That’s why I am puzzled when I see people trying to build relationships, especially that will lead to marriage merely based on money, sex, appearance, and et cetera. Don’t build your house on the sand, build it on the rock; things that are long lasting. Commit your relationship to God, and let God and love lead the way.
Do your best to show the example yourself of the change you want to see in your life and your significant other. They may get the influence and want to change on their own. There is a way you can influence and express your heart needs and desires without them feeling you are invading their entire space. Sometimes its not what you say, its the way you said it.
Usually we become what we behold. Even though we have the free will on what we choose to influence us, but most of the time the people in our lives can greatly influence us on our decision making and outlook in life.
So the best thing you can do for your relationship is to bring the best out from your partner, and from each other. Instead of focusing on the negatives, focus on the positives. Instead of focusing on his or her weaknesses, focus on his or her strengths. Let their strengths outshine the weaknesses. That will bring the good vibes for them to even want to do something concerning their weaknesses, or potential threats.
Communication is very essential to your relationship. You may mean well, but maybe how you said it and convey the message to your significant other maybe resentful that’s why they reacted back not according to your expectations. Learn what works well with them; for instance, figuring out how and when its best to approach them to give your concerns according to what you have noticed so far, and use that to your advantage.
- Be equally yorked
Don’t bite the messenger. The Bible says in the book of 2Corinthians 14 chapter 6, verses 14 to 16, in New International Bible version, “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be My people.”
This is where the importance of having values is emphasized. When your values are clashed, your relationship can clash if there is no harmony. Many relationships are broken because of conflicts in values; value differences on how to raise and discipline their children, value when it comes to money management, lifestyle values, belief, and so on.
I know this colleague, who is a born-again Christian, and his father is a born-again Christian and his mom is a Muslim, and he turned out to a great young man. To this day his parents are still together, happily married. He once shared that there were times when he was young and backsliding. And one day his mom got tired and told him, ‘okay, you have only two choices, and you have got to choose one or the other. If you are not going to Church, then you are going to Mosque, you pick.’ Next Sunday he started going to Church again. Where we come from, here in Tanzania, traditionally we are supposed to follow the father religion. We can change when we grow older, but usually when we are young, we are supposed to follow our fathers’ religions. So this colleague said the way himself and his siblings all turned out to be born-again Christians to this day, is that their father used to take them since they were young to Church with him. And their mom respected that, and was willing to cooperate very well on how to raising them, and workout the marriage.
But in most cases, it’s not always easy; many couples struggle when it comes to value differences. I am going to be honest with you, if God tells me to marry unbeliever so that He can use me to bring him closer to God, then I will do so. Its possible God could tell you to marry unbeliever. God does strange things at times. In the book of Hosea chapter 1 verse 2, God told prophet Hosea to marry a prostitute. It records, “When the Lord first began speaking to Israel through Hosea, He said to him, “Go and marry a prostitute, so that some of her children will be conceived in prostitution. This will illustrate how Israel has acted like a prostitute by turning against the Lord and worshiping other gods.”
If you ask me stick with the equally yorked, unless God says otherwise. And you need to make sure it’s really God who is telling you to team up with an unequally yorked, and not your own mind, and desires. Seek God in prayer, read the Word of God for more guidance, and wait on Him to direct your steps and for His guidance. The Holy Spirit of God has a way to speak to us in a way to understand it’s Him guiding us.
- Test your significant other
How many of us know you have got to be careful when it comes to testing some of the advices? Well, this is one of those advices that you have got to be really careful about how you do it, because it could backfire on you.
Do you remember when I shared that I was in a relationship that lasted more than a year, and that to me it’s really a long time, for real. I really liked the guy. He was older than me, mature, and I really liked that. When I met him, he was already accomplished a lot, an attorney general, and while I was in a stage where I didn’t even have a clue what I really wanted in life.
I was the one who picked fights on him, to test him. Looking back, I sometimes laugh, and say to myself, ‘I was tripping. How can I test an experienced attorney on picking fights?’ He never abused me, neither verbally nor physically. Oh well, maybe emotionally, because there were times I was so into him, and I wanted to spend more time with him, and he had to work more. It made feel like I was standing in his way, because his career was flourishing. I didn’t have no career like he did, or successful like he was. In fact it was him who made me start thinking about my life. And I thank God for his good influence on my life.
Dating coaches and experts say, you should test your significant other before you get to the stage into saying ‘I do.’ You need to know how he or she reacts through conflicts. Test his or her character. What does he or she do when loses control, or while is really stressed out? Does he or she look forward to grow together, or growing herself or himself, alone? You need to know because if he or she will mistreat you while you are only dating, don’t expect to treat you better when you are married. The earlier you know the better because people can hide their true colors for a really long time. We all deserve better, therefore it’s okay to find someone who will treat you like a queen or king. So don’t settle for less than you deserve.
That’s it; four tips you need to know to help you with your dating life.
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