Tuesday, April 10, 2012

What should I look for in a Christian boyfriend?

Question: "What should I look for in a Christian boyfriend?"

Anybody can say they love Jesus, or that they’re a Christian. But how do you know, when you’re falling in love with someone, whether they are the real deal? The Bible doesn’t mention the kind of dating relationships we see today; in fact, the only romantic relationships portrayed are either marriage relationships or adulterous relationships. What this means is that a Christian boyfriend should be, first and foremost, a man you plan to marry or at least someone who would make a good Christian husband. A Christian woman should be looking for someone who is serious about God and serious about his relationship with her. A Christian boyfriend isn’t dating just for fun; he has marriage in mind.

The Bible is full of verses that describe what a Christian man should be like, verses that are helpful and trustworthy for a woman who is evaluating a potential husband. The following are some guidelines based on those verses. A Christian boyfriend should be:

Humble and teachable: The Bible tells us that a righteous man, or a wise man, will take instruction gladly, even when it hurts him (Psalm 141:5Proverbs 9:9;12:15). A righteous man evidences a willingness to be corrected by Scripture and a tendency to love and listen to those who can teach him from the Scripture.

Honest: Do his actions agree with his words? The Bible says that a righteous man is characterized by honesty in his personal and business dealings (Ephesians 4:28). In addition, when he makes a promise, a Christian man keeps his promise, even when it hurts (Psalm 15:2-5). In short, his character should be one of integrity.

Selfless: The Bible speaks specifically to husbands when it tells them to love their wives as they love their own bodies, just like Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her (Ephesians 5:25-28). A Christian boyfriend should begin to exhibit this kind of care and love for his girlfriend long before marriage. Love is easy in the romantic beginning stages, but a Christian boyfriend should be the kind of man whose behavior and intentions will be loving in all kinds of circumstances (1 John 3:18).

Able and willing to provide: The Bible says that a man who doesn’t provide for his family is worse than an unbeliever (1 Timothy 5:8). Provision doesn’t necessarily mean “bringing in a lot of money.” The issue is whether he takes responsibility for the welfare of his wife and children. It is important for women to grasp the seriousness of this verse. A man that doesn’t want to provide is very hard for a woman to respect, and if a wife struggles to respect her husband, marital troubles will go beyond the material. A woman’s respect for her husband and a man’s love for his wife are interdependent and life-giving to a marriage (Ephesians 5:25-32).

Willing to proactively protect: Both physically and emotionally, women tend to be weaker and more easily hurt than men. They need to be understood and protected and cared for in a proactive way. A good Christian boyfriend is a man who will look out for and care for his girlfriend and carry this passion for protecting her on into marriage (1 Peter 3:7).

Also, here are some negative things to watch out for: materialism (1 John 2:15-161 Timothy 6:10), lying (Proverbs 12:2219:22), sexual unfaithfulness (Ecclesiastes 7:26Proverbs 7) and poor treatment of family members, especially his mother (Proverbs 15:2019:2620:2023:22). Usually a man’s treatment of his mother is a good indication of how he will treat his wife. Also, watch out for irrationally, controlling or jealous tendencies, as these often lead to violence (Proverbs 6:3427:4).

Finally, a Christian boyfriend is one with whom a woman is evenly matched. First, in the spiritual sense – a couple’s relationship with God should be the primary factor in any relationship, and they should be matched in that regard. Believers are commanded to marry other believers (2 Corinthians 6:14), so there is no reason to be dating an unbeliever. But a couple should also be evenly matched in the more practical aspects, having compatible temperaments, similar energy levels, and shared life-goals and interests. These things add tremendously to happiness in a relationship.

In addition to all this, if a man has a good sense of humor and a steady, cheerful disposition, this is wonderfully encouraging for his wife. Nobody can be “up” all the time, but a man who is characterized by the peace and joy of the Spirit is a real catch. Life is hard, and marriage is hard too. There will be times of sadness and there will be conflict. Because of this, a cheerful, encouraging spouse is a real blessing (Proverbs 16:2417:2215:30).

Recommended Resource: The Ten Commandments of Dating by Young & Adams.


Sunday, April 8, 2012

My 2nd Divorcary

I can proudly say I’ve made it through 2 years divorced!  I’m so thankful for what the Lord has taught me through all this.  I am an independent, strong and MUCH wiser woman now!  I am content in my singleness.  I am whole in the Lord and “need” no man!  I put that in quotes, because it would be nice to share my life with someone.  But having a man doesn’t complete me.  It is a desire, not a “need”.  I still believe that God has someone special for me.  I believe that he is out there somewhere, also waiting for me.  I continue to pray for am and patiently await the moment God brings us together.  
I simply live my life for today and am not sitting around waiting for something.  I don’t know if we will meet soon or years from now.  So, life goes on.  I continue to focus on my education and my little girl.  I try to accomplish a lot in little time as a single mom in grad school trying to keep house.  Now that I’m figuring it all out, I’ll throw in my internship this summer, where I’ll work on top of my normal load.  Hannah will go to summer camp for the first time, which I HATE!  I will miss doing all the fun things we do every summer.  I still hope to take some vacations here and there.  But it’ll be hard to get to the beach much.  We may be able to hit the pool after work some days.  As usual, we’ll work it out.  Life just seems to get more and more complicated.  See, who has time to date, anyway?  I’m a very busy lady most days.  However, life is good!  I am happy!  

Monday, March 12, 2012

It's Better to Have Loved....

  Yes, it hurts, but I’ve been hurt so much deeper.  This is just part of the risk of dating.  An end comes to every relationship until you find “the one”.  I’m thankful that I was able to feel that burning inside once again, when you’re so attracted to someone.  I remember when I was married I feared I would never feel that “loving” feeling again.  Well, I had that.  I was able to remember the feeling of real chemistry.  But at the same time, I continued to pray for discernment, to know when to end it.  Well, that time has come.  I will start over in the world of dating (or not dating).  

I can be thankful, though, even though it didn’t work out.  I enjoyed my time being in a relationship.  I enjoyed “having someone”.  It’s probably better that it was short-lived.  I was at risk of falling hard.  But I kept myself guarded for this very reason.  I can’t give my heart fully to someone I just met.  I can’t trust again so easily, knowing what can happen.  
I am wiser now.  I put that na├»ve young girl to bed.  I’m a woman now, and I must protect myself.  I was given a reason to not trust.  That’s all it takes, in my book.  I’m trying to learn to trust again.  I’m not going to sit around and wonder about the possibilities.  I’m not willing to accept excuses.  It is what it is.  It’s OVER!  I’m not in this to play games.  I have a very full life.  I respect myself too much to put up with a defense.  There are no second chances, not when trust is broken.  
I’m happy.  I’m happy that I am wiser now.  I’m happy that I “saw” what was under the surface.  I’m happy that I had a glimpse of what can be, with the right person.  I have learned from this experience.  I have learned that I am RIGHT ON with not trusting too soon.  How do you really “know” someone you just met?  No matter how good it feels, I will take my time.  Only time will reveal the true inner person.  Anyone can put on an early front, a mask.  I will not be taken for a fool again.  Thank you God for revealing the truth!!!  Thank you for discernment...  He is faithful!!!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Is This Chemistry?

It seems I have stumbled into an unexpected, forgotten feeling.  Is this chemistry?  I’m seeing someone I met online.  I didn’t have high expectations when we first met for dinner.  But as soon as he walked up, my heart leapt.  What is that?  We had only been chatting online for a week or two before we met.  The date went so well, that we made lunch plans for the following day.  
I couldn’t believe myself!  I was like a giddy little school girl!  Is that possible?  He’s tall, dark and handsome.  He had hazel eyes that I tend to get lost in, if I’m not careful.  Something has come over me.  I can’t get him out of my mind!  All I can think about is that “HUG”.  It’s like electrical impulses race through my body when he holds me in his arms…just for a moment.  We seem to fit like a glove and it feels really good and leaves me wanting MORE.  
My mind and my heart battle back and forth, as my mind tries to point out possible negatives.  It’s like my mind is trying to destroy this beautiful thing I’ve found.  As exciting as it is, it’s scary, too.  I haven’t felt the touch of a man in so long.  I don’t want this relationship to be based on my desire for physical touch.  I’m afraid of these moments clouding my better judgment.  I’m afraid to “fall” all over again.  Where will that take me?  Been there, done that.  
I guess it boils down to,” I don’t want to be hurt again.  I don’t want to make any mistakes.  “But at the same time, I am only human and WILL make mistakes.  There is no guarantee that this is the one, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t enjoy the moment.  That’s what it’s all about.  See, this is the other side of my conscience talking.  
I have to give myself constant self-talk.  I’m dating, and I don’t have to make a decision on marriage right now.  I just need to relax and enjoy this time of simply getting to know each other.  The only other 2 guys I “dated” in the past 2 yrs never went anywhere.  We met, and there was no chemistry.  This is a whole other experience, and I feel unprepared.  The fact is, I’m not a young girl anymore.  I have so much more responsibility, like my little girl.  I wouldn’t only mess up my life, but hers, too.  I have become comfortable in my current like, just me and her.  This has put a huge wrench in the mix. 
 I know it’s a good thing, and I’m happy to have the blessing of feeling this way again.  For a long time in my marriage I was sad that I would never feel this way again.  My marriage was so broken, that we didn’t even like each other, let alone have chemistry.  Love was a choice, and nothing more.  But I’ve been given a 2nd chance to experience falling in love all over again.  I’m not saying that is happening.  But the potential is there.  Hey, I’ve gotten this far with only 2 dates.  
It’s amazing that I miss him already.  I can’t wait till the next time we meet.  I long for his embrace.  I find it difficult to express these feelings to him.  I’m afraid for him to know how much I like him, because I don’t want him to think too far ahead toward the future.  I want this to develop slowly.  It’s nice, though, that he is really good at telling me how he feels.  I know he’s already WAY ahead of me, which scares me to death!  He really likes me a lot, maybe loves, but hasn’t said that yet.  Is it possible to fall in love so quickly?  From the way he talked before we ever met in person, he was already in love just from our messages.  He doesn’t use those words, but you can tell.  That also scares me.  
I’ve made it very clear to him that I must take this slow.  I’ve expressed to him my fears.  He knows I’ve been hurt and still have some healing to do.  He says he’ll be patient with me and help me through.  He’s so sweet!  I told him before our first date, “Nothing physical!”  But the funny thing is, I wanted the hug, and it was great!  
He says the sweetest things to me!  Some things that he says, “You are so beautiful in every way possible.”  He calls me sweetheart, babe, love, gorgeous, etc.  He said, “I will love you, protect you and give you lots of affection.”  He told me to tell my mom, “If your daughter give me a chance, I’ll make her the happiest woman in the world.”  When mom asked, “How?”  He said, “I’ll make her heart mine, loving her like she was the only girl in the world.”  He asked me to thank her for having such a beautiful daughter.  He said, “When I’m with you, I feel like a little kid with butterflies in my stomach.”  He’s very charming and good with words.  
Change is in the air.  I’m trying to focus on simply living in the moment and enjoying the feeling, not getting caught up in the thought of future.  We’re not there yet!  Relax, Jessica!!!  

Friday, February 24, 2012

The year 2012 is well underway as we enter into March next week.  Thankfully, I can say that this has been a good year.  It seems over the last 2 years I was so often living in survival mode, one crisis after another.  This year has been so different.  First, I haven’t been in constant pain as I have in the past.  I am giving credit to the much needed 3 week break from school over Christmas, allowing my muscles to relax.  
I’ve also been trying to get class work done in advance knowing that everything will be due at the same time…never fails.  I guess by the time I graduate in a year, I’ll have this grad school thing down pat.  LOL!  I took 2, supposedly, difficult theology-based classes together this semester thinking it would super tough.  But in all actuality, I’m enjoying these classes.  They make me think.  One of them I have every week, which I really like.  I feel like I get more out of the class in smaller bites.  The other is a 2 weekend intensive course.  That all day Saturday seems to last forever!  I get overwhelmed with so much information packed into such a short time.  But I’m learning.  

Because I feel so much more relaxed, I’ve ventured back into the online dating scene.  I have decided to take a different approach to dating.  I have been so picky that I won’t even date a guy who does not meet all of my criteria for marriage.  Well, what is dating anyway?  Does it really HAVE to only be used to find your future spouse, or maybe it can be a learning experience as you test out different personalities, maybe even making friends alone the way.  I’ve been taking this dating thing way too seriously.  So, I’ve met someone, who does NOT meet my criteria, but seems nice and likes me a lot.  He claims to be a Christian, but certainly doesn’t have an evenly yolked faith.  He’s also divorced TWICE, which is another big red flag.  On the other hand, we have a lot of common interests.  So, why not go out as friends?  He wants companionship and we like similar things.  We’ve chatted and spoken on the phone.  Maybe we’ll meet next week for dinner or something.  If I wait for Jesus himself, I’ll  never go out.  I want to always be in a state of learning, and I believe I can learn from every guy I get to know.  Just because I agree on going out with someone, it doesn’t mean I have to be married to them.  This is something I learned from my earlier years dating before marriage.  I tended to “marry” every boyfriend.  I want to do things differently this time.  I just make it very clear up front where I stand and that I am not ready for a committed relationship right away.  I’m going to have a good time with no strings attached.  

I am also prepared to do this because I have felt that I have had a little more time lately due to the lack of crisis in my life.  I am able to take on dating, at least for now.  We’ll see how this goes.  This is a test, and it may fail.  But you only live once!   

Thursday, February 9, 2012

My New Calling in Dating

This may sound strange, but I have found a new spiritual gift.  In my singleness I have a unique opportunity to touch the lives of single men.  Now, don’t get the wrong idea.  It seems that as they get to know me, they also get to know God.  I’ve always heard in church that if you simply live your life as a believer, people will notice the difference in you and want what you have.  Well, it has seemed to be true!  First, I’ve noticed that guys really enjoy a good listener, believe it or not.  Who knew that men liked to talk?  Well, I’m a counselor, so this is just part of who I am, comes naturally.  I’m also good at offering encouragement and spiritual guidance, without being pushy.  Little by little, God’s grace slips into our conversations and into their lives.  Before they know it, they are starting to notice God show up.  
I have not been much a dater over the last 2 years of my singleness, because I’m so concerned about only “seeing” someone who is marriageable (for me).  I am looking for someone who is already where they need to be spiritually.  It is very important for them to be evenly yolked with me.  So, I’ve ignored many interested men.  But maybe God’s will is for me to get to know these men and minister to them.  I don’t know.  It’s something that I’ve been thinking about.  Obviously, this would not work for any man, but maybe for some.  Often, people are looking for companionship, anyway.  I believe in being friends first.  Hey, if they want to get to know me, they’ve got to get to know the God in me.  Who knows what might happen?  

Friday, January 13, 2012

Securing an Internship Site

It’s a new year!  I’ve been living alone for over 2 years.  I’ve been in grad school for nearly 2 years.  This year, I will start my internship in the summer.  I will be working 20-25 hrs per week and taking my last classes.  At first, this made me feel very nervous and sad.  This will be my first summer not spent with Hannah in “Mommy Camp”.  She will have to go to summer camp, probably at her school.  I was scared to see how Hannah would take the news.  She’s so attached to me and looks forward to our time together in the summer.  
Well, at first it was a shock, but the more I explained how fun it will be, the more she relaxed.  I wouldn’t say she’s excited about this idea, but she didn’t fight it.  It may turn out to be good for her.  Three or so days per week they’ll get on the bus and go somewhere fun like Chuck E. Cheese’s.  The other days they’ll stay at the school doing fun things like water day.  It’ll be like a normal school schedule for her, as I’ll be picking her up in the afternoon earlier rather than later, most of the time.  But she can stay until 6pm.  
I will plan to get enough hours in daily, so that I can take a 2 week break to go on a vacation with Hannah to Colorado.  I will be in my internship until May 2013, when I graduate from my Master’s program.  Then I can register as an intern and get PAID to work!    
My internship site is at Bayview Mental Health Center in Pembroke Pines.  I’ll be counseling dually diagnosed adults.  They all have an addiction and a mental disorder.  They are court ordered to be there and live on site.  I’ve heard that this is one of the most difficult populations to work with.  But it will look amazing on my resume!  If I can handle Bayview, I can handle working anywhere.  I just hope I don’t get too burnt out.  I will only work 4 days per week, so I have one day to do all of my housework…mowing, laundry, groceries, cleaning, etc.  I want to be able to enjoy my weekends with Hannah as much as possible.  I know I will come home tired during the week and may not have the energy that I do now to play every afternoon.  
This new chapter will be a difficult transition, I expect, but we’ll get into the routine of it and will be fine.  As long as Hannah is understanding and OK with this, I will be.  I know I will miss being able to spend the time with her that I’m used to.  But I’m afraid those days are over starting this summer.  It’s already been hard being in grad school and juggling my coursework and time with Hannah, but I do manage.  This will be much harder, because there is very little time to get stuff done in the home.  My house may not be as put together.  It is what it is, and I will just do my best.  
I do look forward to starting some real professional counseling.  I will have my own clients!  I will really get to start helping people, or at least trying to.  HEHE!