Waiting and Dating by Myles Munroe
Waiting and dating – Offers view for every believer who wants a fulfilling marriage relationship. This work offers advice on the subject of finding the one with whom you will spend the rest of your life. It helps you learn: the importance of sharing your faith in God; the need for personal wholeness; the importance of true friendship in a relationship; and more
This book offers a balanced, biblical view for every believer who wants a prosperous and fulfilling marriage relationship. In this book, Dr. Myles offers some of the best advice on the subject of finding the one with whom you will spend the rest of your life. The principles in this book will guide you through a period that, for some, is the most confusing time of life.
For anyone looking for that special someone with whom to share life with, this book is essential, fun, and full of hope!
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1. PREPARING TO DATE
The word “dating” comes from the idea of “setting a date,” where two people agree to get together at a certain time and place for recreation and fellowship. Although dating as we know it today is not a Scriptural concept, it nevertheless has become thoroughly imbedded as a social norm. Here, we’re discussing courtship (which is broken into two stages: dating and engagement. This will be explained in later chapters).
But what, exactly is dating? What is its purpose? When is a person “READY” to date? What guidelines are appropriate for a good relationship?
These are important questions that deserve solid answers! Understanding this is both important for teenagers as well as parents.
One of the common question teenagers (and parents) ask is, “How old should a person be before starting a relationship?” The answer is not as simple as some try to make it. There is more involved than simply assigning a chronological age. In reality, the answer depends on…
- Parents’ attitudes and
- The developmental level of the child.
In summary, a person’s readiness to start a relationship is largely a matter of MATURITY and ENVIRONMENT.
The Four Principles of Dating Readiness
1. You Must Have Acquired Enough KNOWLEDGE About the Benefits and Dangers of Dating/Courtship:
There is nothing in life that can so much “short-change” a person’s destiny like making the wrong decision about a life partner. The principle to apply here is…
“You don’t prepare DURING courtship, you prepare yourself FOR Courtship!”
Courtship should never catch you unawares. “The Key to a successful marriage relationship is not love; it is not even “choosing the right partner” (though these are very important). The key to a super marriage relationship is KNOWLEDGE—the correct knowledge—and the correct application of the knowledge. It’s been said that “If any topic interest you and you REALLY want to become successful in it, you must have read books equal to your age.” At least, you should have read 15 books on how to build a marriage relationship, listened to several messages, learn from MENTOR(S), etc. And if you realize how much preparation is required on this level, you will find out that those 15 books are not even enough at all! In the final analysis, we say that “Healthy relationships should always begin at the spiritual and intellectual levels—the levels of purpose, motivation, interests, dreams, and personality. So, ask yourself:
*Do I fully understand the benefits and dangers of Dating?
*How many books on “building a marriage relationship” have I read?
*How many messages have I listened to? Write down the answers to these questions, and then take actions on them! Until you can answer these questions to a certain satisfactory level, you are not read to start a marriage relationship.
2. You Must Have Understood God’s Own GUIDELINES and STANDARDS for Courtship:
This requires a certain degree of SPIRITUAL MATURITY. If you don’t deliberately seek to understand God’s guidelines and standards for marriage relationship, you are bound to follow the world’s way by default. This means there are only 2 choices:
Either you deliberately choose to follow God’s guidelines and standards or you will be doomed to follow the world’s way by default.
It is completely unreasonable to ignore God’s standards and still expect a godly outcome.
Some of God’s guidelines and standards include:
i. The Relationship must be submitted to Godly Mentoring—“By yourself, you are unprotected, with your partner, you can face the worst. But a three-fold cord is NOT easily broken” [King Solomon, Ecclesiastes 4:12]. ii. Both parties must be committed to LIFE-LONG LEARNING—“Every house is built by wise planning, it becomes established through the use of common sense, and profits wonderfully by KEEPING ABREAST OF THE FACTS!” (King Solomon, Proverbs 24:3—4)
iii. Before you start, you must have marriage in view—Courtship is no place for trial and error. True definition of courtship is the building of a life together by two people [of opposite sex] with marriage in view. You should begin with the end in mind! “…Mary was espoused (pledged to be married) to Joseph” (Matthew 1:18)
iv. And many others.
So ask yourself:
*Am I spiritually and emotionally matured enough to enter into this path?
*Have I understood the whole concept God’s Word from Genesis to Revelation?
*Do I have a mentor (a third-fold cord) that is guiding me in this path?
*How many messages have I listened to? Again, write down the answers to these questions, and then take actions on them! If you cannot answer these questions well, you are not ready.
3. You Must Be RESOLVED in Your Spirit That You Will Not Lower or Compromise God’s Standards:
Anytime you lower God’s standards, you prove you’re not mature spiritually or emotionally. Standing firm on what you believe in is a sign of both spiritual and emotional maturity.
Ask yourself, “Have I resolved in my heart to follow God’s standards without any compromise?” If you are not resolved in your heart to do it God’s way only, you are still not ready.
4. You are Ready to Date When You Don’t NEED to:
Need implies that there is something lacking in your life. The opposite of need is “CHOICE”, which allows for a decision. This means you must develop yourself to the point that you feel complete (and not incomplete needing to be completed). If you are entering into a relationship looking for what to get out (from the other person) and the other person is also looking for what to get (out of you), by the time both of you are done, you will be left with zero remaining! You should come with the mind to give and to add values. When you regard a marriage relationship as a matter of CHOICE rather than NECESSITY, then you are ready. You should get to a point where you are comfortable being single. At this point, relationship becomes an ADDED BLESSING!
Learn to be an ASSET first!
You should be preoccupied with preparing yourself for whomever God has prepared for you. Most people are so busy looking for the one God has prepared for them that they fail to prepare themselves for that person; I rebuke such people in Jesus’ Name! If you don’t prepare yourself and add values to yourself so that you can be an asset to the other person, two things will happen…
i.) You will end up in the hands of someone like you who is also unprepared.
ii.) You are like a potential bomb that is just waiting to be detonated and cause problems for the relationship.
Don’t let this happen to you.
Few thoughts (other principles):
- A truly single person is one who is complete physically, emotionally, spiritually, and intellectually without dependence upon anyone else. A truly single person has (i.) A healthy self-concept (ii.) clear and solid faith (iii.) roots in God.
- Seek God’s Kingdom first—the best place to find a godly person is on the road to God’s Kingdom.
- One of the ultimate purposes of starting a marriage relationship is to become INTIMATE FRIENDS. In addition to the stated readiness test, we can say this:
“If you desire someone that will ultimately be a friend rather than a lover—and that you will be a friend rather than a lover—then you are ready to start a marriage relationship”
2. FRIENDSHIP BUILDING—the Purpose of Dating
Building friendship is the greatest value and indeed, the primary purpose of a courtship period.
- FOCUS on getting the other person to talk about himself/herself instead of yourself:
The way to do that is: Ask questions that bother on the other person’s interests. Be selfless! Ask questions about the four basic categories of a person’s life—family, education, interests, and spiritual things.
- SHARE in sorrow and joy with them:
Be ready, willing, and available to give your friends comfort and support during times of trial and times of Joy. Remember, “Shared sorrow is HALVED while shared joy is DOUBLED!”
- ASSUME PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY for our friend’s reputation:
- ALWAYS SEEK TO IMPROVE your friends—always!
- SHARE FREELY as you grow in inner strength, become better and learn new things! Let an improvement in your life create a corresponding improvement in your friends’ lives. In other words, “become better for the sake of your friends”.
- SHARE SCRIPTURAL PRINCIPLES and VALUES freely with your friends.
- Be faithful, loyal and available.
Final thoughts (Other Principles):
- Friendship is not a gift, but it is THE RESULT of conscious hard work!
- The best way to MAKE a friend is by BEING a friend.
- Intimate friends are friends that are close enough and that have enough freedom to correct each other. Intimate friends share the same vision and life goals and are walking in the same directions.
3. MYTHS OF MATE-FINDING
Fact #1: KNOLEDGE IS THE FOUNDATION. “The major cause of problems in marriage relationships is lack of KNOWLEDGE (or inaccurate knowledge) before starting. Your level of correct information determines the level of your relationship. However, the TWO BEST SOURCES of information and wisdom are:
- From God Himself and
- Wise counsels from trusted mentors!
Fact #2: No one can ever experience a successful marriage without a SOLID PLAN—“The plans of the righteous surely lead to plenty” (King Solomon, Proverbs 21:5).
Thus, we have established two key principles that are necessary for success in marriage relationship: (i.) A Solid Plan (ii.) KNOWLEDGE (or Godly Wisdom) for executing those plans.
But even careful, well-laid plans will fail if they are based on faulty information. That is why it is important to have accurate information before we start. It is much easier (and far better) to avoid mistakes at the beginning than to try to correct them in mid-stream. Now it’s time for some myth-smashing! Myths are ideas generally held to be true but has only be founded on faulty information (or false notions).
Myths that need to be corrected:
1. God Has Only One Special Person for Me:
There are no Scriptural grounds for this idea. There are godly options—that’s why the Bible provides options for remarriage. Smashing this myth leads to two important conclusions:
First, if there are many godly options, then marrying one out of those options becomes a CHOICE that we make. Second, the choice that we make to marry a particular person calls for a firm commitment on our part to be FAITHFUL to the one we choose. In a nut shell, CHOICE and COMMITMENT go hand-in-hand!
2. God chooses the Person He Wants Me to Marry:
This also is not true. I’ve heard someone say something like, “When I was praying, I had a vision where the Lord told me I’m going to marry ‘John’”. Wherever that vision came from, it did not come from the Lord, and here’s why. If God told this woman in a vision that she is supposed to marry John, then God has violated both her will and John’s. By telling her she is to marry John, God has even violated her will to choose John as well as John’s will to refuse. But we understand that God created all of us with the freedom to choose and never violates that freedom. Moreover, if God chooses for you, you will make God responsible for the success or failure of that relationship.
Few thoughts (other principles):
- God may bring a potential mate across your path, but he does not choose that person for you. You make that choice yourself, based on what you LEARNED about that person and on the nature of the friendship that develops.
- The key to finding the right mate is first to identify the qualities and character that we will hold as our standards without compromise, and then evaluate the potential candidates we meet according to those standards.
- Choosing a life partner is not a matter of getting a magical sense or a supernatural revelation that, ‘this is the one!” It is a matter of getting to know people who cross your path and evaluating them by the UNCOMPROMISING STANDARDS you have established beforehand, recognizing always that you will find more than one person who meets those standards. This is exactly what makes finding a life partner a CHOICE in the truest sense of the word.
- Out of all the people we know, out of all the friendships we develop, out of all the legitimate “possibles” before us, we CHOOSE one person with whom we wish to spend the rest of our life. This kind of choice is not a flighty, haphazard, head-in-the-clouds choice, but a DELIBERATE, SOBER, FEET-FIRMLY-PLANTED-ON-THE-GROUND DECISION. It is reaching the place where you approach another and say with deliberate confidence, “I choose you.”
4. DISCERNING THE RIGHT LIFE PARTNER
Things to Check:
1. Is He a Christian?
The principle is this: “Anyone we are considering to marry should display CONTINUING EVIDENCE OF SPIRITUAL GROWTH, and so should we”. You must clearly see the life of Christ in him. What words does he use? How does he place and handle spiritual things? What is his commitment level in a local assembly? A believer and an unbeliever have no basis for spiritual intimacy.
“Anyone we are considering to marry should display CONTINUING EVIDENCE OF SPIRITUAL GROWTH, and so should we”
2. What is My Life Goal?
Dating and Marriage are directly related to God’s purpose in (and for) our lives. Find out what your life goals are and then find out also what the other person’s life goals are and see if they are compartible. It becomes easy for you to know the kind of woman that should come into your life when you have clarity about where you’re going in life. For example, if my vision is towards the nation (or towards changing the world), then the woman that should come into you life must have the capacity to see big, be committed to life long learning, must always be ready to change, grow, improve, and handle giant things. Couples who do not share similar goals are not right for each other.
3. Does He Have Self-Control?
You must be emotionally intelligent. The most important area where a person must exercise self control is in the area of sex. The principle is this: “Someone who exercises self-control in the area of sex will also practice self-control in other, less difficult areas.”
4. Is there Harmony in His Home?
Anyone we are considering to marry should be on generally good terms with his own family. This is because “Unresolved Conflict Transfers!”
5. Is This The Proper Time?
The question is “Individually, are you both ready to commit to this new life (with more cooperation, less freedom, and unreserved faithfulness). There are three questions we should consider to help determine proper timing: (I.) Parental Consent (II.) Financial Readiness (III.) Educational Goals.
*The purpose of seeking Parental Consent is to ensure that neither set of parents become enemies of the marriage (or of the “intruder” who took their child away from them).
*Unless you enter into marriage with a sold financial plan, you are setting yourself up for a lot of heartache and regret down the line.
*Don’t short-change your education–and your dreams–by getting married too soon.
6. What Is My Gift (or How Do I contribute) to this Person?
Ultimately your marriage relationship is only a RESULT of what you are putting in on a regular basis. Marriage is a reward not a gift. Marriage is a result of the work that both parties have put in. Bible says “Two are better than one because THEY WILL HAVE THE REWARD OF THEIR LABOUR (or investment)” (Ecclesiastes 4:9)
There are three stages that are involved in building a marriage relationship:
1. Dating—this is the time couples get to meet from time to time and basically talk about their spiritual fellowship. This is where you establish if you’re both on the same spiritual frequency. The next is the “soulical level” where you begin to check if you can relate and reach yourselves intellectually.
2. Engagement—this is the level of dreaming and planning. You both engage in sitting down to discuss about your financial plans together, and begin to create the mental picture of the kind of home, family and life you seek to build together. Your goals are written down and they are high enough to stretch you both. You write the goals down on paper and you both have copies with you so you can work individually but towards the same direction. In a nut shell, engagement should be a serious but joyous time of PLANNING and ANTICIPATION.
3. Marriage—Here you enter full commitment and you can consumate the relationship through physical union. Here, couples begin to implement and execute all the plans they’ve made during engagement!
5. ENGAGEMENT: Preparing to Marry
Engagement is different from dating (the period of checking out and confirming your convictions and aligning your values and compartibility). In engagement, you are already planning to marry. It’s as though he or she was already your spouse.
The dating period is a period of confirmation. But the engagement period is when the marriage covenant is established between the man and the woman. It’s a time for deepening the friendship and spiritual oneness that they should have developed during the dating period.
Engagement is hard-core PLANNING
Engagement is hard-core planning in which the couple gets down to the brass tacks of preparing for life after the wedding.
Marriage is too important a matter, too sacred an institution to enter into lightly or flippantly or withought adequate preparation.
Couple must understand and AGREE that both of them are responsible for everything that goes into making their marriage work. Engagement is not a time of idleness and “pie-in-the-sky-by-and-by” dreaming, but a period of HARDWORK and PREPARATION. A wedding is an even, but the marriage is a life.
6. ENGAGEMENT: Redeeming the Time
For some folks, engagement means going out for rice and chicken, ice cream, going to movies, holding hands, kissing, and such. That’s not engagement, that’s dating. Of course, engaged couples do those kinds of things because they should continue dating, but engagement involves much more. Engagement literally means to “interlock with”, “to be in gear with”. At engagement, couple’s goals, objectives, dreams, desires, and values should interlock with each other, and they should be “in gear” with each other as they move forward with their practical preparations to bring those things to pass.
Engagement is HARD-CORE PLANNING where a couple gets down to the brass tacks of preparing for life after the wedding.
This is not about whether or not each partner is a believer. That must have been established during discerning your partner. During engagement, couples must lay a strong spiritual foundation. No single area is more important for future marital success than for a couple to make sure they are “in gear” spiritually, that they see eye-to-eye on spiritual matters! For instance:
1. Recognizing the God-given role of the man as the Spiritual Leader (not dictator!) of the home under the overall Lordship of Jesus Christ. The man must be willing to accept this RESPONSIBILITY. So the woman must study to understand her role as a woman and respond accordingly.
2. Agreeing of the same church both will attend is important for spiritual harmony. Oneness is the glue that holds a relationship together.
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