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Dating – Then and Now –Part IV

by on July 3, 2015

 

What if it your dating experience was/is less than desirable?

If you are married and have not always lived appropriately, there is still time. Do not beat yourself up about the past. You can be forgiven. If there are things to confess, confess them. Confess to your spouse if you had behaviors and expectations that were less than Godly with him/her. If you participated in activities that were harmful, make them right.

God has plans for those who struggled to maintain purity. God is the God of second chances (opportunities)! From King David to the Apostle Peter, God forgives and gives power to live right.

It is important that husbands and wives confess wrongs committed with each other before marriage. If you ask your spouse for forgiveness and he/she grants forgiveness, you will both be blessed and feel loved because of the truth and honesty. You be the one to confess. Do not expect or demand that your spouse confess. Allow the Holy Spirit to do that. You are not the Holy Spirit and you are not his/her conscience.

If there were indiscretions with other persons, those issues should not be addressed with your spouse. They should be addressed with a trusted same-gender friend or counselor. In most cases they should not be addressed with the person with whom they occurred. That would bring more hurt and pain and disruption than healing. This is not to say that it can never work well but most times it is wrong to do that.

In all cases, confess to God and share with a trusted friend who can support you in these difficult situations. Do not allow Satan to continue to blame and accuse if you have truly repented. “Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” God is merciful and will forgive. Forgive yourself because God has forgiven you. Forgive your spouse because God has forgiven you. Forgive those who have hurt you because God has forgiven you.

Share appropriately with your family. Tell your children in general statements about your early life and mistakes – no names or specifics. Tell them that you are sharing so they will not make the same mistakes and that you want them to hear about it from you and not from someone else. If anyone ever tells them something about you, have them openly bring the discussion to you.

As Song of Solomon is the story of faithfulness, so Hosea and Gomer is the story of faithfulness in unfaithfulness. The pain of unfaithfulness is excruciating. It is the pain of the cross that Jesus experienced. It is the pain of rejection. You may be called to share that pain. You may be called to bear that pain. God is love and so must we be. God has boundaries and so must we. As Hosea did, so we can do.

Focus on your marriage. I tell young couples to ‘Never lose the wonder of that person’ who promised to share life with you.” We can learn to love the person to whom we are married even if there are struggles. Life can get pretty mundane, but never lose the wonder of the love in your heart for your spouse and his/hers for you. That will make every day new and fresh and alive. God’s mercies are new every morning and so must our’s be.

Cultivate your marriage like a garden. Make the love of God visible to the world around you by living a loving marriage. Invest time and energy to make things as they should be. Marriage can be wonderful, like Christ and His Church. Marriage can be horrible, worse than a bad dream. Selfishness is the primary culprit.

Do not be selfish. Think and live for the other person. Join them in their pursuits. Build them up with words and actions. Feel their hurts and disappointments. Get to know them. Find out about their joys and fears. Bring healing into their life. Care and love and listen. Listen to their voice and listen to their heart. Invest time in them. Dividends will come to you.

Watch your wondering eyes and thoughts. They will get you into trouble. You will have many friends but you may only have intimate thoughts about one person – your spouse. Do not allow thoughts to develop into plans – not even in your mind even if they never are lived out.

Do not allow harmful or destructive influences into your life – no matter how attractive they may be. Say no when no is called for. Develop the best in yourself and others. Say yes to God and His Kingdom. Keep sin outside the door.

Celebrate your marriage. God wants your spouse to be loved and He has chosen you
to be the one to love him/her. Never lose the wonder of the romance you experienced. Never lose the wonder that this person has chosen you. Be grateful. Be thankful. Thank your spouse for little details that can so easily be taken for granted. Bring little bits of joy into your lives. Enjoy things that are not expensive.

Never give up. God loves you. There is joy in life and in eternity,
And the best is yet to come.

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