While it would be easy to maintain my professional objectivity, what remains with me that is fodder for this post is how deeply and profoundly the concepts presented touch on my own journey.Married at 28, with a history of multiple relationships prior, widowed at 40, following a 12 year “paradoxical marriage,” I have been ostensibly single for nearly 16 years, with the exception of a few short term relationships and friends with benefits interactions.
As Joe Jackson sagely says “You can’t get what you want, til you know what you want.” There are questions I didn’t ask myself in earlier years, both pre and post-marriage and conversations that I wish I had back then. My vivid imagination conjures up images of a dynamic, ever-growing “third entity” that combines the sum of the parts of the two of us.If lies creep into the relationship, it's time to get truthful, or call it quits. If this happens, both of you need some space, and maybe you even need to back away from the relationship. If you can't answer yes to these questions, please talk with your youth pastor or someone else who can give you guidance in this critical area. The Bible calls these changes "repentance" (Acts , NIV), and it means that you will, with God's help, stop doing the behavior that got you into trouble in the first place. But now and then you need to have a conversation that goes a bit deeper—that lets you know each other's likes and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses, hopes and dreams. To avoid pushing the limits beyond the point of no control, you need to set agreed-upon limits early on. More questions worth asking: Do both of you understand why God wants people to save sex for marriage? With "nothing to do," it's easy to fill up your time by becoming more physically involved than you should. That's why it's important to forgive each other.Let's say you've asked the right questions and you've been careful about the people you date. Words and phrases like "smothered" and "jealous" come to mind. Do both of you clearly understand why sex outside of marriage is so destructive? If your friends or family complain that they don't see you anymore, your relationship has gotten way too exclusive. Do your best to begin each date knowing how you're going to spend your time together. Do we have a good understanding of what forgiveness means? Holding grudges because you've been wronged kills a relationship.In time, you'll probably find yourself liking one person a lot. If you find yourself moving in this direction, or if you are already in a serious relationship, here are other questions to think through and to talk about together: 1. A relationship can't survive without honesty and openness. If you have to be somebody you're not, or if either of you feels you must put up a front, then you're in the wrong relationship. If one of you can't move without the other one knowing it, then possessiveness is a big problem. If you break up tomorrow, would you end the relationship with no regrets about your physical involvement? On the other hand, no one should say "forgive me" when they really mean "accept my faults and don't expect me to change." If you want to regain trust, if you want to keep the relationship healthy, then changes must be made.