My dear friend, Steph, posted this on instagram and I thought it was a great thing to share.
Tough Love for Singles
By Dr. James Dobson
TIPS FOR LOVING TOUGH Let me be very specific with those of you who are single but wish not to be. (No insult is intended to those who are single by design and wish to remain unmarried. That is a legitimate choice that should be respected by friends and family alike.) I have listed 16 suggestions that will help you conform to the principles of loving toughness in matters of the heart.
1. DON’T LET THE RELATIONSHIP MOVE TOO FAST IN ITS INFANCY. The phrase “too hot not to cool down” has validity. Take it one step at a time.
2. DON’T DISCUSS YOUR PERSONAL INADEQUACIES AND FLAWS in great detail when the relationship is new. No matter how warm and accepting your friend may be, any great revelation of low self-esteem or embarrassing weaknesses can be fatal when interpersonal “valleys” occur. And they will occur.
3. REMEMBER THAT RESPECT PRECEDES LOVE. Build it stone upon stone.
4. DON’T CALL TOO OFTEN ON THE PHONE or give the other person an opportunity to get tired of you.
5. DON’T BE TOO QUICK TO REVEAL YOUR DESIRE TO GET MARRIED [or desire for a long term affair for you High Schoolers] — or that you think you’ve just found Mr. Wonderful or Miss Marvelous. If your partner has not arrived at the same conclusion, you’ll throw him or her into panic.
6. MOST IMPORTANT: RELATIONSHIPS ARE CONSTANTLY BEING “TESTED” by cautious lovers who like to nibble at the bait before swallowing the hook. This testing usually involves pulling backward from the other person to see what will happen. Perhaps a foolish fight is initiated. Maybe two weeks will pass without a phone call. Or sometimes flirtation occurs with a rival. In each instance, the question being asked is, “How important am I to you and what would you do if you lost me?” An even more basic issue lies below that one. It wants to know, “How free am I to leave if I want to?” It is incredibly important in these instances to appear poised, secure and equally independent. Do not grasp the other person and beg for mercy. Some people remain single throughout life because they cannot resist the temptation to grovel when the test occurs.
7. EXTENDING THE SAME CONCEPT, keep in mind that virtually every dating relationship that continues for a year or more and seems to be moving toward marriage will be given the ultimate test. A breakup will occur, motivated by one of the lovers. The rejected individual should know that their future together depends on the skill with which he/she handles that crisis. If the hurting individual can remain calm, the next two steps may be reconciliation and marriage. If not, then no amount of pleading will change anything.
8. DO NOT EXPECT ANYONE TO MEET ALL YOUR EMOTIONAL NEEDS. Maintain interests and activities outside the romantic relationship, even after marriage.
9. GUARD AGAINST SELFISHNESS IN YOU LOVE AFFAIR. Neither the man nor the woman should do all the giving. I once broke up with a girl because she let me take her to nice places, bring her flowers, buy her lunch, etc. I wanted to do these things, but expected her to reciprocate in some way. She didn’t.
10. BEWARE OF BLINDNESS TO OBVIOUS WARNING SIGNS that tell you that your potential husband or wife is basically disloyal, hateful, spiritually uncommitted hooked on drugs or alcohol, given to selfishness, etc. BELIEVE ME, A BAD MARRIAGE IS FAR WORSE THAN THE MOST LONELY INSTANCE OF SINGLENESS.
11. DON’T MARRY THE PERSON YOU THINK YOU CAN LIVE WITH; marry only the individual you can’t live without.
12. BE CAREFUL TO DEFEND THE “LINE OF RESPECT” even during a dating relationship. A man should open doors for a woman on a formal evening. A woman should speak respectfully of her escort when in public, etc. If you don’t preserve this delicate line when the foundations of marriage are being laid, it will be virtually impossible to construct them later.
13. DO NOT EQUATE HUMAN WORTH WITH FLAWLESS BEAUTY OR HANDSOMENESS! If you require physical perfection in your mate, he or she may make the same demands of you. Don’t let love escape you because of the false values of your culture. In the same vein, be careful not to compare yourself with others — which is the root of all inferiority.
14. IF GENUINE LOVE HAS ESCAPED YOU THUS FAR, DON’T BEGIN BELIEVING “NO ONE WOULD EVER WANT ME.” That is a deadly trap that can destroy you emotionally! Millions of people are looking for someone to love. The problem is finding one another!
15. REGARDLESS OF HOW BRILLIANT THE LOVE AFFAIR HAS BEEN, TAKE TIME TO “CHECK YOUR ASSUMPTIONS” with your partner before committing yourself to marriage. It is surprising how often man and women plunge into matrimony without ever becoming aware of major differences in expectation between them.
a. Do you want to have children? How many?b. Where will you live? c. Will the wife work? How soon? How about after the children are born? d. Who will lead in the relationship? What does that really mean? e. How will you relate to your in-laws? f. How will the money be spent? g. Will you attend church? Which one? These and other “assumptions” should be discussed item by item, perhaps with the help of a premarital counselor. Many future struggles can be avoided by coming to terms with potential areas of disagreement. If the differences are great enough, it is even possible that the marriage should never occur.
16. FINALLY, SEXUAL FAMILIARITY CAN BE DEADLY TO A RELATIONSHIP. In addition to the many moral, spiritual, and physical reasons for abstaining from sexual relations until marriage, there are numerous psychological and interpersonal advantages to the exercise of self-control and discipline. Though it’s an old-fashioned notion, perhaps, it is still true that men do not respect “easy” women and often become bored with those who have held nothing in reserve. Likewise, women often disrespect men who have only one thing on their minds. Both sexes need to remember how to use a very ancient word. Its pronounced “No!”
I have been dying to sit and blog about the book I read last month that my sister sent to me in Hawaii, I made it my new years resolution to read one book a month, and getting a chance to blog about this book around Valentine’s day couldn’t be a better time;]
The book is called Passion & Purity by Elisabeth Elliot, about learning to bring your love life under Christ’s control. It’s an absolutely beautiful love story, Elisabeth writes about how things were before she married her first husband, Jim Elliot, and how they completely waited on the Lord. It’s honestly something I wish I had read back in high school but reading it where I am In life now really opened my eyes to a whole different way of life. I couldn’t help but laugh at a lot of the things she wrote about or be sad when she wrote about her worries or heart ache because It was something I could relate to, been there done that… I think we all could relate to this book and it’s not just for girls, men could learn so much from her relationship with Jim Elliot like how to be a gentleman or plainly the way women think.
Elisabeth and Jim knew shortly after they met that they were meant to get married someday but Jim knew it wasn’t the Lord’s timing. For five years they were apart the majority of the time and wrote letters back and forth and over time their love grew more and more for each other in purity. Elisabeth explains how impatient she was about their relationship and she often wondered if he even really did care if they were together or not because they weren’t necessarily “going steady”. I’ve worried about that plenty in past relationships and have felt very impatient.
Today, it seems everyone around me is in a rush to get married or be in a relationship regardless if its the Lord’s timing. Impatient not only in relationships but with life in general every one wants it now and if it’s possible to get it now, why not just go for it? I’m guilty of it as well. The whole book is an awesome illustration of reframing yourself from your own fleshly wants and desires and putting them before God so you could learn to be pure and holy. It’s kind of like fasting and well, ash Wednesday was this past Wednesday so I am currently fasting from a few things for fourty days.
There is so much more that I would love to write about in this blog but you really need to just read it for yourself. One thing I want to point out and end with that is one of the greatest pieces of advice I have ever heard in one of her ending chapters. Elizabeth talks about relationships and how a gentleman wrote her a letter talking about how easily he has fallen in and out of love which seems to be an issue with a lot of people today. Elisabeth responds with a letter that said…
About this business of falling out of love. Everybody does it, you know. Sometimes before they get married, but always afterward. Modern folks simply bug out of the marriage then, if they feel no obligation to keep vows— vows made foolishly, they believe.
There is something to be said for making an adult choice and sticking with it. “being in love,” wrote C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity,”is a good thing, but it is not the best thing. There are many things below it, but there are also things above it. You cannot make it the basis of a whole life. It is a noble feeling, but it is still a feeling. Now no feeling can be relied on to last in its full intensity, or even to last at all….. in fact, the state of being in love usually does not last…. But of course ceasing to be ‘in love’ need not mean ceasing to love. Love…. is a deep unity, maintained by the will and deliberately strengthened by habit; reinforced by the grace which both partners ask and receive from God…. They can retain this love even when each would easily, if they allowed themselves, to be ‘in love’ with someone else. ‘Being in love’ first moved them to promise fidelity: this quieter love enables them to keep their promise. It is on this love that the engine of marriage is run: being in love was the explosion that started it.”
So, Philpott, one of these days you need to take a cool, clear look at a good Christian woman. Assess her potentials as a good Christian wife. Is she the kind you’d want as a hostess at your table? Is she what you want for a mother for your children? Is she womanly? Godly? Sensible? Modest? Companionable? Do you think she’s “worth” your love? Are you worth hers? ( if you think you are, you’re probably wrong. Each is to esteem the other better than himself.) Is it God’s time for you to get married? Then make up your mind and ask God’s help to love her as she ought to be loved.
You said. “One never knows which way the Lord will lead,” and that’s true. He just might be telling you to “be not as the horse, or as the mule, which have no understanding..,” (Psalm 32:9) and get with it.
Don’t get me wrong. I have no idea that Cheryl is the Woman. Don’t know a thing about her except that you said she’s gorgeous. That isn’t enough. But if you’re looking for some kind of feeling that will be consistent day in and day out, forget it. The kind of love that sustains a marriage is God given, but it is also a daily choice. For the rest of your life. Never forget that.
You have to choose the woman, with all the brains and good sense you’ve got, plus all the other methods of knowing what God wants of you and then make your move.