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About the Book

Friendlationships: From Like, to Like Like, to Love in Your Twenties

By Jeff Taylor
Relevant Books
ISBN: 0976364212

On both sides of the passionate road of love is the less desirable stage of friendship. Anyone who’s ever been there knows the terrain is perilous. Friendlationships shares stories of those who are in your shoes and gives insight into how relationship issues can make or break your spiritual life. After all, relationship advice should be about more than sex or dating methods. Friendlationships covers all the stages between and during this thing called love.

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More articles for Singles on CBN.com

 
CONTENTMENT

The Satisfied Single

By Jeff Taylor

CBN.com Meet Ashley. Ashley is very active in her church and is always willing to lend a helping hand to others. She has a great heart and desires to change lives. Ashley has always had a boyfriend. I do not mean that she has been dating the same guy, but she has had boyfriends steadily since adolescence. After she breaks up with a guy, she immediately begins looking for another one. She was telling me one day how she was tired of being with horrible guys. I suggested that she take a break from dating so that she could clear her head and know exactly what she wants. My suggestion puzzled her as she replied, “You don’t understand. I can’t not have a boyfriend. I would be too lonely.”

Things like this happen when a person does not find satisfaction as a single person. If you are looking for absolute fulfillment in another person, you are setting yourself up for failure. I heard a man once say, “If you cannot find peace in yourself, it is futile to search for it elsewhere.” You have to be satisfied with your identity as a single person; you have to have a developing, growing relationship with Christ, or you will not be well suited for a relationship. In 1 Corinthians, Paul shares some insight about the benefits of finding Singles Satisfaction.

“Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I am” (1 Cor. 7:8). In chapter 7, Paul shares his opinion about the benefits of being single. Having never been married, Paul was able to find peace in God and satisfaction in being single. Throughout the chapter, Paul breaks down several benefits for being single and offers insight into finding the elusive Singles Satisfaction.

“Brothers, each man, as responsible to God, should remain in the situation God called him to.” (1 Cor. 7:24)

Translation: Accept the fact that you might never get married.

Does this mean you should never look for a spouse? Of course not. It means that, for some of you, God might be calling you to be single for your entire life. If you stray outside of God’s calling, then you are setting yourself up for heartache and misery. You will be trading true love for a fake, for a lust of the world that will leave you beaten and disenfranchised. If being in a dating relationship is your number one goal, you need to rethink your life’s direction. Your lot in life is not to be in a relationship-—it is to honor and glorify God. You need to view being single as a blessing and trust God’s plan for your life. Most of you will get married, but some of you will not. Is that fair? It is not for me to say. I am merely telling you that allowing yourself to feel these feelings and basing your whole life around hooking up with someone leads to nothing but emptiness.

“Are you married? Do not seek a divorce. Are you unmarried? Do not look for a wife.” (1 Cor. 7:27)

Translation: Do not date someone for the sake of dating.

By all means, keep your eyes open, but do not assume that because there is a mutual attraction with a person, you need to be in a relationship. You must assess the situation and circumstances realistically and, above all else, pray about it. As a believer, you are not above becoming attracted to a non-Christian or a married person (see chapter 5 of Friendlationships). Also, do not simply date out of boredom. Dating, in the sense that I have defined it, is an intentional decision utilized to determine romantic possibilities. Anything done out of boredom does not imply a desire to love someone else, but a desire to remove the boredom by using the other person. You may be bored and want to date someone because you have nothing better to do. The person you are on the date with may already be planning the wedding. Feelings have a tendency to spring up when two people spend a lot of time together. If you are with the person for your own comfort, then you are dating for the wrong reasons. You need to date somebody because you love them and they love you. Pity and boredom have no place in establishing a dating relationship.

“I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs—how he can please the Lord. But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world—how he can please his wife—and his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world—how she can please her husband. I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord.” (1 Cor. 7:32-35)

Translation: Instead of praying for God to bring you the right person, pray that God will make you the right person.

In marriage (and dating) the temptation is strong to have your interests divided. If you think it is difficult to spend time praying and reading God’s Word as a single person, wait until you have a physical person there with whom you want to spend every waking moment. If you think you have a strong resistance to premarital sex, be prepared to resist the strongest desires you have ever felt while looking in the eyes of the most beautiful person who has the exact same desires as you. Ideas about how to do well in relationships are overrun by actions in a hurry. Being in a relationship is a big responsibility that is not for the faint of heart. Every person in the world wants to marry someone who is awesome, sweet, and outstanding. Are you asking God each day to improve your character? Remember that a relationship is not just about how you benefit from the other person; it is about how you can invest in that person’s life for the better. On another note, pray that God will make you the right person for the sake of honoring Him and not to attract others to you. God will do very little for you if your concern is not for His glory.

“Now about virgins: I have no command from the Lord, but I give a judgment as one who by the Lord’s mercy is trustworthy. Because of the present crisis, I think that it is good for you to remain as you are. Are you married? Do not seek a divorce. Are you unmarried? Do not look for a wife. But if you do marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. But those who marry will face many troubles in this life, and I want to spare you this.” (1 Cor. 7:25-28)

Translation: Realize that not everything in a relationship is wine and roses.

Your problems do not go away when you get into a relationship. In fact, you still have the same problems you always had, and now you get to experience your SigOth’s problems as well (see chapter 6 of Friendlationships). Your problems are multiplied, but you have the benefit of working through them with someone you love. In real life, happily ever after is a pipe dream that is scoffed at by anyone who actually, you know, lives on this planet.

Look inside and see what feelings are there that you should so strongly desire a relationship. Is your relationship with God where it should be? Often, we misinterpret our faltering relationship for God as an act of loneliness and need for human companionship. Have you been spending time in prayer? Is there something that God has been speaking to you about and you have been ignoring? I feel one problem with our generation is that it is too easy to get in contact with other people. Sometimes we just need the moments of isolation where we get to wrestle with God and ourselves. We do not always need to talk to other people when things are going badly. If you find an overwhelming desire to be with someone, then you might want to consider spending time alone, just you and God, to sort out your relationship. We try to fill too many things in the holes of our relationship with God: boyfriends, girlfriends, television, money, sex, alcohol, emotional experiences. Until your relationship with God is where it needs to be, you will not be as effective in a relationship as you can be.

Do you come to church to worship God or to meet people of the opposite sex?

When I got home from work the other day, I was flipping through the channels and landed on Elimidate. As with a horrific car crash, I was compelled to watch. The guy was down to choosing between two girls. He asked them if they would stay home when he went to the clubs or if they were going to join him. That made me think: if this guy were to enter a serious relationship with one of these ladies, the bars or clubs would not be as exciting. He was using the club scene as a means to an end (to hook up with somebody). The clubs would lose their charm if he had already “hooked up.” I know, I know. What does this have to do with us?

Maybe more than you realize.

Replace “club” or “bar” with “church.” Are you merely going to church because you want to hook up with a good Christian person of the opposite sex? Is your joy in worship because God is awesome or because that cute guy/girl smiled and waved at you? You might find that once you get into a relationship, church does not feel like it did when you were single. Maybe it is because you used church as a means to an end. It was a “good” bar or a “moral” club, but it was still used the same way.

I have heard a lot of talk about people who do not come to church for the “right reasons.” Some think they should not come if their heart is not ready; others think that it does not matter because it makes the sanctuary look full; still others think that these are the exact people who need to hear the truth of God’s love. I am not presently concerned with “those people,” nor should you be. All we can do is make sure that our hearts are ready, that our motives are pure. Use church as a time to encounter God and be encouraged, and you might meet a dateable person. But if you go to church to meet a dateable person, you will neither establish a great relationship or encounter God.

The necessity of finding Singles Satisfaction cannot be stressed enough. If you are not careful with your spiritual life as a single person, you might fall into The Couples CULTure.

What? You mean you have never heard of The Couples CULTure?

Read part two of this article.


Excerpted from Friendlationships by Jeff Taylor, copyright © 2005. Used with permission from Relevant Media Group. All rights to this material are reserved. Materials are not to be distributed to other web locations for retrieval, published by other media, or mirrored at other sites without written permission. Visit the publisher's Web site at www.RelevantBooks.com.

 

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