“Discerning the Right Life Partner”
How do I know she or he are the right one for me. (Dating and marriage part one).
“Young people in every segment of our society, and especially in the Church, need to learn to practice what I call “righteous dating.” The word righteous in its original concept refers to right positioning, correct alignment, or proper location in relationships. Therefore, righteousness means to be in right alignment with authority, which in the case of a believer, would be God himself. Righteous dating therefore describes a relationship that is in proper alignment with God and His Holy standard, nature, and principles. Righteous relationships are relationships that are in right positioning with God. One of the biggest problems we face in building strong and positive relationships is that the Word “of God says one thing, while the example of the world says another. The world trumpets its philosophy everywhere we turn and through every imaginable media; we cannot escape it. God’s Word, on the other hand, generally speaks with a much quieter voice. Compounding the problem is the fact that many young believers today are more familiar with the ways of the world than they are with the Word of God. It is no surprise, then, that they are so often confused about how to have a positive dating life that lays the groundwork for a successful marriage. “The primary purpose of dating is to build friendships that help us discern the right life partner. One of the most important principles for successful dating is to get to know the other person by following the proper progression of spirit, soul, and body. Young men and women in the Body of Christ should become acquainted in that order. The first step in any relationship should focus on the spiritual dimension, “which is the most important. A couple should take all the time they need to learn where each other stands in matters of faith, worship, and commitment to holy and righteous living as believers. If they cannot agree at the spiritual level, they will have problems at every other level. “After the spiritual comes the “soulical,” the level where a couple begins to learn about each other’s interests, life purpose, personal and professional goals, education and intellect, and emotional makeup and stability. What do they want out of life? What are their plans for the next year or the next five or ten years? How well do they perform under pressure? They should talk about family, not only the families in which they grew up, but also the family they hope to have someday.
Finally, after a couple have become friends at the spiritual and “soulical” levels, and on the basis of that friendship have decided that they want to spend the rest of their lives together as husband and wife, “they move into the physical dimension of their relationship, which is reserved almost exclusively for marriage. At this level, holding hands or sharing a goodnight kiss are acceptable expressions of affection, but anything beyond that is inappropriate until after the wedding.
This progression of spirit, soul, and body is the ticket to a fruitful, satisfying, and successful relationship, but the world flips the whole process upside down. Our modern society recognizes and desires the value of truly fulfilling relationships, but goes after them the wrong way. The model we generally see in the media—movies, television, music, and literature—focuses on the physical aspects of relationship, often to the almost complete exclusion of the “soulical” and the spiritual. Physical union through sex is routinely held up in our culture as the ultimate or standard expression of what it means to be “in love” or “intimate” with another person. Often, it is only after a man and woman have gone to “bed together that they attempt to get acquainted in other areas. This is completely contrary to the biblical standard, and helps explain why our modern society is in relational crisis today.
vision, purpose, destiny,