For many Christian singles, dating is something that comes and goes. There are times when you may be attracting all types of attention from members of the opposite sex. There are other times when you have to endure a dating drought where it seems like you couldn't even pay someone to go out with you. Given this fluid nature of dating in our lives, it makes sense that when dating opportunities do arise, we make the most of these increasingly rare events.
In our excitement of finally having a date or encountering the prospect of a new romantic relationship, we may be tempted to throw the whole Godly love concept out the window. But before you kick the timeless wisdom of God to the side, please consider how Godly love can help you in your dating and romantic endeavors. Below are some of the traits of Godly love previously discussed and how they can help to enrich your dating experiences:
- Self-sacrificial - It is a fact that the more you love someone, the more willing you are to self-sacrifice for them Have you ever promised yourself that the next time you fall in love that you were not going to do this or that? But then love found its way into your heart and you ended up doing things for your partner that you vowed you would never do. Flowing from this sense of self-sacrifice is the notion of service. Because of your love for this person, you don't mind serving them, not in a master-slave way, but in beneficiary way.
- Outward looking - Often, we love others because of how they make us feel or for what they can do for us. But true love is based on how you can help the other person, not the other way around. The pleasure you derive is in making him or her happy. Relative to the self-sacrificial and outward looking aspects of Godly love, think about how this will influence your everyday interactions with your love interest including arguments, making major decisions, overcoming struggles, moments of grief and other events.
- Uplifting - Depending on your level of spiritual maturity, your love for your romantic partner should help to make him or her a better person. Is your boyfriend or girlfriend more or less spiritual, more or less forgiving, more or less thoughtful, more or less considerate, more or less reactionary and so on? If the answers to questions is mostly no, then something is out of whack. Incidentally, our love should be free of ego which means we love without exerting pressure on the person to change in ways we want. Rather, we love with the understanding that God will use our love to change them in ways that coincide with His will, not ours.
- Fearless - Fear is one of the basic emotions along with love. The prime motivations behind most of our actions and thoughts can be traced back to either fear or love. Unfortunately, many of us love others because we fear the alternative (feeling lonely, being unmarried, growing old alone, etc. ) When we fear, we also settle or put up with things we normally would avoid. But Godly love holds us to a higher standard and leads us to hold our romantic to a higher standard.
- Does not hold one hostage to their past - Contrary to popular culture, love is not blind. In fact, love sees all. But love also has the capacity to see beyond one's past mistakes and bad choices because it also sees one's potential. Since no one is perfect, all people in romantic relationships will have to release their partners from some aspect of their past if the relationship is to move forward. The hard part of this trait of Godly love is this means to forgive (and forget) a romantic partner's infidelity or period of insensitivity or momentary insanity. The key here is to use Godly discretion along with Godly love. It is also important to note that forgiveness does not mean that the relationship has to continue in its current context. For example, if you were physically abused, you can forgive the person but also decide to end the relationship. Godly discretion can also give guidance on whether or not to continue the romance or change its context.
If you are dating or involved in a romantic relationship, commit yourself to employing these and other traits of Godly love. Who knows the next time romance will come knocking on your door, so don't blow this opportunity. At times you will be tempted to resort to non-spiritual behavior, but most of us can attest that these worldly ways always result in broken relationships. Just as God is the author of our healthy relationships with Him, He can help us create and sustain healthy romantic relationships with others.
Kevin Morgan is an author, entrepreneur and publisher. His publishing company, Sowjourn Publishers, markets books that uplift and inspire. To learn more about living a fulfilled life as a Christian single, visit http://www.sowjourn.com or his blog on singleness: http://mooskm.blogspot.com