Ask Donnell: What is The Will of God Concerning Romantic Relationships?

Ask Donnell: What Is The Will Of God Concerning Romantic Relationships?

We received the following questions from Jamie;

"a) What is the Will of GOD concerning romantic relationships?
b) When do you know you are ready? (Do you prioritize academics, then career then relationship?)
c) When did you realize that Angel was a good person to get to know more and vice versa?

(There were one or two guys who seemed to be interested in me but I blanked them all. I do not even try to have good friendships, other than through casual church activities. I just say hi, hello and bye then I usually run away. What questions should I ask yourself and others?)"

What's the Will of God concerning relationships? That's a loaded question. 🙂 Hence, we have to address it in segments. I know when you first submitted your questions you asked about relationships in general but some of your questions do fall into the category of romantic relationships. Last Friday we addressed your question on friendships in "Ask Donnell: What Is The Will Of God Concerning Friendships?" We're moving on now.

Today's emphasis is on romantic relationships and believe me, there's much to say. Romantic relationships always make for good conversation. I recently attended a discussion forum on this topic with a bunch of other young adult Christians in Atlanta. My wife and I were the only married couple there so we had a great time adding our perspective to the mix. Anyway, enough of the pleasantries, let's get down to business.

We have to approach romantic relationships from the perspective of potential marriage relationships. Obviously, we can't expect every romantic relationship to grow into marriage but that should be the ultimate goal when the time is right. Why? If you enter a romantic relationship without any possibility of marriage it's most likely going to end at some point. When it does end, somebody is going to get hurt and it just might be you. Broken romantic relationships take a heavy toll on your heart so you don't want to set yourself up for serious emotional issues if you don't have to. Jesus had some interesting things to say about this topic so let's start there.

Matthew 19:10-12(MSG) - Jesus’ disciples objected, “If those are the terms of marriage, we’re stuck. Why get married?” But Jesus said, “Not everyone is mature enough to live a married life. It requires a certain aptitude and grace. Marriage isn’t for everyone. Some, from birth seemingly, never give marriage a thought. Others never get asked—or accepted. And some decide not to get married for kingdom reasons. But if you’re capable of growing into the largeness of marriage, do it.”

Marriage can be heaven on earth but it can also be hell on earth. Which one it is depends on the two people involved. According to Jesus, everyone is not mature enough to handle marriage. That's a harsh reality. Some don't want to believe that but let's not live in denial. There are both married and divorced people right now who wish they never got married because it turned out to be nothing like they dreamed. They thought they were ready because they were "in love" with Mr/ Mrs Right. Unfortunately, they realized quickly that emotional love doesn't keep two people together for the rest of their lives. It takes a little more than that.

The Biblical conditions of marriage are very strict and few people have wholeheartedly committed themselves to that high standard. If both people do what God says in their marriage God will take care of their marriage regardless of the challenges they face. However, like many other aspects of Christianity we expect God to give us everything but He often asks for more then we are willing to give Him. Therefore, as the standard of commitment to The Lord drops all around us so does the quality of marriage in our society. We choose to do what we want so we pay the price for our choices.

Let's now answer your specific questions.

a) What is the Will of GOD concerning romantic relationships?

Proverbs 4:23(AMP) - Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard, for out of it flow the springs of life.

Don't rush into romantic relationships. Protect your heart because it determines the course of your life. Do not be quick to let people in who have no business being there. It might be fun to date but getting your heart broken is no fun at all. As we clearly stated in, "Ask Donnell: What Is The Will Of God Concerning Friendships?" there are categories of friends so keep everyone in the right category and avoid potential trouble.

There are seasons in your life when you don't need any romantic relationships and that's fine. There's no need to make something happen out of it's season. Focus on building your relationship with God and establishing good friendships with people. If you don't need to give your heart to someone don't do it. In fact, before you give someone else your heart remember you're giving the person your life also. If you can trust someone with your life only then can you trust the person with your heart. Now let's look at some good advice from Apostle Paul.

1 Corinthians 7:1-9(NKJV) - Now concerning the things of which you wrote to me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband. Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. But I say this as a concession, not as a commandment. For I wish that all men were even as I myself. But each one has his own gift from God, one in this manner and another in that. But I say to the unmarried and to the widows: It is good for them if they remain even as I am; but if they cannot exercise self-control, let them marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.

In a nutshell, Apostle Paul addresses the reality of sexual tension. It's as real as the air we breathe. For single people, it's not the best reason to get married but if you meet someone God has for you and you both know you're ready to get married just get married. Don't make it hard for each other to stay right before The Lord by dragging the process along. For married people, part of the deal we make at the altar is to satisfy our spouse's needs. While single people have to discipline themselves to hold themselves back, married people have to discipline themselves not to hold themselves back. This is an area where many people fall in The Church. We try to be stronger than the grace God has given to us or place unrealistic expectations on someone else.

Apostle Paul makes it clear that these words are not meant as commandments but let's be honest, that doesn't matter. This is Godly advice from the man who wrote most of The Bible by the inspiration of The Holy Spirit. He basically taught The Church how to operate. He defined the word, "Apostle". If he speaks about anything we need to listen. Purity in the area of our sexuality is a huge challenge but as Christians we have to give it our best shot with the help of The Holy Spirit. Before marriage, it's important to engage in romantic relationships in a Godly fashion and remaining pure is at the top of the list.

Ask Donnell: What is The Will of God Concerning Romantic Relationships?

b) When do you know you are ready? (Do you prioritize academics, then career then relationship?)

This is very subjective. The Lord will guide you to the right order for your life. However, I'll share with you the pattern I modeled my life after and you can make your own choice. It is working out quite well for me so I have peace with my decision. The perfect example for my life in that area comes from God's original order for the first man He created. In theology this is called "The Law of First Mention". How God did something the first time should be considered as God's original plan.

It's true that God makes adjustments as time goes on but His adjustments usually coincide with our bad decisions. For instance, because Adam failed, God sent Jesus and that's why Jesus was called the last Adam in 1 Corinthians 15:15. When Israel demanded a king first they suffered under King Saul but God eventually gave them King David according to Acts 13:22. Adam and Eve were originally vegetarians but after they sinned God killed the first animal to give them something to wear in Genesis 3:21. God has a perfect plan but He adjusts because He is merciful and gracious. Here's how God did it with Adam. Like Apostle Paul said earlier, this is is not a commandment but sound advice.

Genesis 2:15-25(NKJV) - Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” And the Lord God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.” Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name. So Adam gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him. And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. And Adam said: “This is now bone of my bones And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.” Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.

Which did God give first to Adam? A job or a wife? A job! Before Eve came along in the flesh, God gave Adam more than just a job. God gave him an assignment. He was told to tend and keep the garden first then he was required to name all the animals. Only then did God decide to put him to sleep and give him a wife. Why wasn't the first thing on God's mind giving Adam a wife? We can only speculate but if God gave Adam a wife to help him, Adam needed to be doing something she could help him with. Adam needed to know his God-given purpose as a single man and also needed to prepare the garden before his wife "moved in".

Now let's break this down. At the very least a man needs to be able to provide for his family before he gets a family. Outside of an inheritance, winning the lottery or committing a crime the only way to do that is to work. Hence, a man should have some kind of career before he gets married. The type of career is his choice but it directly affects the type of "garden" his Eve will move into.

Your garden can be bare and full of thorns like a desert or it can be prosperous like the Amazon forest. Some careers that pay well require advanced education and that takes time. I believe in finishing school first. For some people that's high school, for others college but for me it meant graduate school. After graduating from school, a man needs to know what God put him on the earth to do so he could start pursuing it before his help arrives.

How long that takes is different for each person. Some men are ready at 18 when they graduate high school but it took me finishing graduate school to be even mature enough for marriage. Also, it's much more difficult to do certain things after you start a family like going back to school. It's possible to get married first then go back to school but that's if your spouse agrees especially if it's going to cost money and/or time away from working a full time job. Some people choose not to wait so they go for it but there's always a price for every decision.

I started this ministry, wrote several books and became an established professional before The Lord said it was my time for help. It took a while before God decided it was time for Adam to have a wife and that was also my case. Marriage changes everything so it's important to maximize your single life. Consider these things as you evaluate a man you're interested in marrying. Also, don't forget that Adam walked with God for some time before God gave him Eve. She was not responsible for his relationship with The Lord. Adam walked with God first then God decided it was time for Eve to join them. That's proper order.

Here's what Apostle Paul has to say about this.

1 Corinthians 7:32-35(NLT) - I want you to be free from the concerns of this life. An unmarried man can spend his time doing the Lord’s work and thinking how to please him. But a married man has to think about his earthly responsibilities and how to please his wife. His interests are divided. In the same way, a woman who is no longer married or has never been married can be devoted to the Lord and holy in body and in spirit. But a married woman has to think about her earthly responsibilities and how to please her husband. I am saying this for your benefit, not to place restrictions on you. I want you to do whatever will help you serve the Lord best, with as few distractions as possible.

Once you get married your order or priority flips immediately. After your personal relationship with God, your relationship with your spouse comes first then the work of the ministry followed by career and school. Therefore, if you had not done what you were supposed to do for The Lord as a single person there is no guarantee that you will ever have the time to do it on the same level again. When you are unmarried all you have to do is pursue God's plan for your life and that's what you need to do. You can serve The Lord and do the work of the ministry without a care in the world until the day you say, "I do". After that, you and your spouse will have to be in agreement.

Do you want to be a missionary in South America? Go now if you're single. Do you want to spend every day of the week volunteering at the homeless shelter? Go now if you're single. Do you want to give your whole paycheck in the offering on Sunday? Do it now if you're single. It's just you and God now. When He talks you move. All of that changes when you get married. Even if you have a Word from The Lord you have to run it by your spouse first and there's no guarantee you'll both be on the same page. Write your vision and make it plain now so when your spouse comes along you have something to share. God has a plan for your life and it starts now. He's not waiting for you to get married. He has you all to Himself now.

c) When did you realize that Angel was a good person to get to know more and vice versa?

We were platonic friends for two years and during that time learned about each other without any pressure. The last thing on our minds during those two years was getting married. We had no idea that God had something else on His mind. Friendship is the best way to get started in any relationship that could lead to marriage. It's much more authentic than getting to know each other purely out of romantic interests. There's no emotional pressure and you both can be open and honest. Take your time to develop a true friendship before seeking romance because marriage is for a lifetime and you want to get it right.

Single time is a great time to spend working on yourself so you can prepare for marriage. Make the most of it and become the best you that you could ever be. Won't it be great to be "The One" that "The One" you're looking for is looking for?

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