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veryone seems to "know" what Christianity is, but few can agree about how to live it. It's easy if you follow the original model, Jesus; it's easy to get off base if you take your focus off of Him. Much of what people think is Christianity is really religion. There is a difference. If you are not sure what the differences are, I suggest you read my article True Verses False Christianity, and then return to these pages to learn how to live a healthy and productive Christian Life.
an Gay Relationships last? Can Straight Relationships last, considering the divorce rate, single parents, and domestic violence? You cannot look at relationship types and conclude one type is superior; each individual relationship must be evaluated on its own merit, not in comparison to another. No relationship, whether gay or straight, can survive or be as successful as it could be if not grounded on God's Love. Matt. 7:20; Eph. 3:17; Col. 3:14; I John 3:11; 4:21.
First let's talk about the difference between sexuality and relationship. Sexual orientation is generally defined as the gender to which you are sexually attracted. I disagree with this definition. I believe the truer definition of sexual orientation is "the gender to which you are relationship attracted." Many people can experience sexual arousal or are perfectly capable of sexual relations with members of both sexes, male or female. However, the desire to live in life-long monogamous relationship lies more with one gender than the other. I, for example, was married for many years before I fully understood and accepted my truer sexual orientation. Though I was capable of normal sexual relations with a female, my deeper need and desire was to bond in relationship with a man, even more than my desire to be sexual with a man. Relationship is more than a physical attraction; it is an emotional and spiritual bonding.
Relationships which last are not those between two people who have a lot in common, opposites attracting, or "hopelessly in love;" no, lasting ones are founded on Love, built on commitment, devotion, dedication and friendship; Love is not an emotion, but a decision, an attitude of your heart.
So, you want to be in a relationship? How do you find someone? By not looking. I know too many people out searching for Love and find no one, despite being active in their community, church, single groups, etc. Instead of focusing their attention on people they place them on the search process, "can't see the forest for the trees;" many potential mates pass them by, they don't see them, too busy searching.
Remember, you are called not to do but to be. Cease from labors (the Law), searching for a lover, and be a people person (Love), focus on Loving yourself and others, serving and having fun. Go about your business each day, do what you need to do, work, take care of yourself, participate in activities not to find a lover but for the enjoyment of being with other people. Obviously, to find a mate you have to be visible, if you're shy that can prove difficult; no one is asking you to be someone you are not, be yourself, but don't be a recluse. In being yourself, you place yourself in opportunities to make acquaintances with other people, which may develop into friendships; with time, one of those friends may prove to be your future mate. Focus on people, not on searching for a lover, and you shall reap the reward of human companionship, and if God wills, a life partner. Gal. 5:13-14; I Thes. 3:12; I John 3:17-18.
Friendship. What a good foundation upon which to build relationship. I've heard it said a friend is "someone who knows who you are and still likes you anyway;" further, I've heard it said it's not the commonality which keeps relationships together, but the "ability to love what you love the least about your lover." Friendship founded on Christian Love endures, hopes and bears all things. Relationships without friendship at the heart are on shaky ground. Prov. 17:17; 18:24; Rom. 12:10; I Cor. 13:4-8; Heb. 13:1.
et's look at some common unhealthy relationships...
Falsehood. I used to think I had to wear a tie on every date. I know a guy who once lived in a high-rise building, and he wouldn't go down to the Laundry room unless flawlessly dressed, in case he happened to run into "Mr. Right." I've got news for him, unless Mr. Right sees his cowlicks, any relationship they have is founded on false. Don't try to be perfect, be someone you are not; false creates false, truth creates truth, real begets real. If people will not like or accept you as you are, as God made you, you are not the loser, such persons are not worthy of you, they are actually the losers in not desiring to know you. Eph. 4:14-15.
Need. Many men get their identity in their jobs; if they lose their jobs they lose their identity and purpose in life. Many men and women do similar in relationships. Coming together is "two people becoming one," but they should not lose their individuality. Needing someone to have purpose and meaning in life, wanting someone because you are lonely, horny, needy, etc. is selfish and not selfless, not Love. Lovers should compliment each other, supporting in weaknesses, rejoicing in strengths. Ec. 4:9, 10; Rom. 15:1; Phil. 2:4.
Control. You do not sacrifice your individuality when in relationship, but sadly too many people either relinquish control or exercise control over the other person. A healthy relationship is between two people who have their own individual work, hobbies, interests and friends, and mutual of the same. I know many relationships where one partner controls the other, doesn't let the other person out of their site or do anything unless approved of or together. This shows jealousy, insecurities and anger. Love is not jealous or insecure; Love must be freely given and received to be Love. Prov. 22:24; Gal. 5:26; Eph. 4:31-32; Heb. 13:5.
Fear. Let go, do I need to say anything else? Some hurts and fears are real, but not if they are held on to and allowed to control you and your relationships with others. Often built up hurts, resentments and unforgiveness have their roots in lack of communication, being open with your partner. Communication doesn't mean speaking your agenda or accusing others, but sharing your thoughts, feelings and issues in an attitude of Love, desiring the best for each other, too. If you've been hurt, if you don't want to go to the movies, if you don't want to be abused anymore, if you hate asparagus...say so. Too many times we cling to what we have for fear of what we do not know, we fear to be ourselves for fear we will be rejected, thinking what we have, though not the best, is better than nothing. Fear is the opposite of Love. Prov. 15:17; Eph. 4:25b, 29; 5:21; Heb. 13:6; James 5:16; I John 4:18.
Roles. I know a guy who only is attracted to "tall, dark" men. I asked him once if he had to choose between someone who matched his "type," but had no personality, or someone "bald, overweight," but with a personality of a saint, whom would he choose? He chose the "type." We like feeling comfortable, we try new things often with reservation. If you go by "types," whether it be looks, personality, etc., what are you going to do when the "type" some day is old, gray and wrinkled, or if his/her personality changes? This is not Love, treating people as objects. Don't fall into the trap of looking for "Mr. Right," or "Miss Right Now," and miss the real "someone with a beautiful heart." I Sam. 16:7; John 7:24.
Sex. Please, do I need to go here? A relationship based on looks, sexual equipment or performance is heading for a big surprise, someday you're going to wrinkle, your lover's hair grays, gravity takes over, and sexual equipment falters. As discussed, sex is not relationship.
So, in dating seek to be a friend, not a lover. If, with time, the two of you become lovers, how good and wise to have built it upon friendship; if the two of you do not become lovers or your lives take you down different paths, your Love and friendship remains. A relationship founded on Love shall endure life's storms, gray hairs, and limp...well, you get the idea. A relationship is not what you do together, but who you are to each other. In dating, remember the person is also your brother (sister) in the Lord; you are to treat him (her) as you would want to be treated, remembering God also resides within him (her). Songs 5:16; I Pet. 3:8; I John 2:10.
get a lot of questions about relationships: "Should I stay with an abusive girlfriend?" "Should I leave my lover because he has cheated on me?" "I am married, have just come out to myself, should I come out and/or divorce my spouse?" "I am married and gay, can I remain married and have sex with other men?" "How do I tell my children I am a lesbian?" "I've been dumped, I want someone in my life, but I'm afraid to love again, what do I do?," etc. There are no set answers to problems within relationships; you're dealing with people not things. You must remember the foundation of God's Love applies to all things. I cannot tell you what to do or not do, especially if you haven't ears to hear, but what I can do is guide, encourage and remind you to do all in Christ, let Love be the motivation of your heart in all things, especially regarding relationships, whether with your parents, employer, children, the stranger on the street, boyfriend, your enemies, wife, lover, or your dog. I Thes. 3:12-13.
Been dumped by a lover, or failed in relationships? Get up, dust yourself off and get back in the saddle. Yes, it hurts, life often does, but if you live your life safe, you won't live at all, miss a lot of potential good times and people. Life is risk; you may get hugs or hits. You can't abandon people or God because of past disappointments. Every person is different, life is full of uncertainties and comes without the promise everything will be fine, problem free. The past is past, go on, learn from it if there's anything to learn, grow, keep going forward in Love. Have you tried to date and haven't much success? giving up? Keep your motivation on people and not the search. Don't get discouraged, learn to be content where you are, and even though it can be very lonely, discouraging, and yes... horny, remember you are not alone, God will not permit you to miss out on anything you are supposed to be experiencing, will not permit you to be challenged beyond your ability to handle with the guidance, support and help of the Holy Spirit. Turn to God in your frustration, loneliness and complaints; God is all ears. You do not have a God who is unfamiliar with your life, your pains and weaknesses, hopes and despairs, joys and your sorrows; no, you have a God who became a Man, and as a Man, Jesus, experienced all you do; God knows and cares and Loves. Mk. 11:25; Rom. 12:17-20; I Cor. 10:13; Eph. 4:32; Col. 3:13; I Thes. 5:15; Heb. 13:5.
Are your motivations Self or Love? You want a mate who can cook? go out and learn to cook yourself; want someone who can massage your feet? then wash his or her feet; want someone to grow old with? then be young at heart; need someone? then be someone to somebody else, be someone else's need. Love God with all your heart, Love your neighbor as yourself, offer the hand of friendship asking nothing in return. Love is a choice, a decision, not a feeling. John 13:4-17; Rom. 13:9-10; I John 3:23.
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