Dating and marriage lesson plans

We all know that the bottom line is that Christians must only marry Christians. What should be your motives if you’re seeking a mate?

But beyond that, how do you know whom God wants you to marry? How can you know God’s will on this important decision?

In other words, I began pursuing a person instead of a concept. Our personalities didn't gel, and we wanted different things from life. If a girl didn't seem to measure up in one area or another, I noted it — but unlike before, I didn't freak out. Yet I found her both attractive and interesting, so I decided to dismiss my concerns and ask her out. Over time, we reached a point where we couldn't imagine life apart. There were issues we had to work through and lessons we both needed to learn. Because when we finally decided to get married, it wasn't to fulfill some ambition (although it's something we both wanted).

To be clear, I didn't discard every standard for who I'd date. Much to my surprise, our first date was not only enjoyable, but comfortable — something I rarely experienced while dating. But we knew where we were heading — toward marriage. Marriage was the natural progression of our relationship.

For most of us, though, all we see while dating is one failure after another. They continued circling my mind, driven by an unrelenting fear that I hadn't covered every contingency; I hadn't considered this quality or that characteristic, this angle or that lighting.

He breaks up with you, or you end things with him; she crushes your heart, or you devastate her dreams. Perhaps more relevant, how are you as a Christian to act if you believe God has called you to marriage? As you might imagine, no girl measured up — the truth is, no one ever could. Fortunately, God had other plans for me — and I believe He has other plans for you, too.

But this zero-sum mentality leaves us in a precarious position, since, according to this definition, dating is always unsuccessful — until the one time it's not.

In exchange for the seemingly endless list of qualities, though, I evaluated the relationship itself as we got to know one another. until after a month of dating, we decided to date exclusively. Not because marriage is the fulfillment of some personal goal or life plan, but because God is calling you to love another person as Christ loves us — sacrificially and unconditionally.

I’d like to offer some practical advice to those who are single, based on Paul’s advice in 1 Corinthians 7.

He was writing to a church in a pagan, sex-saturated society.

Every suitor is a potential husband, and every woman is a possible wife — not to mention father or mother of your future children. It's no exaggeration to say that outside of following Christ, who you choose to marry is the of your life.

More than anything else, it will dictate your future happiness and success.

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Late one afternoon she went into the woods to pray for a husband.

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