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RUN, Don't Walk


Relationship red flags and the danger of ignoring them.


I realize the content of this page is primarily negative but in this day and age, love and relationships are a lot more screwed up then they were say, fifty years ago.  Screwed up relationships often produce screwed up children, who in turn can screw up someone else's, or many other's lives.  Sometimes it isn't even the parent's fault.  Some young people develop into angry, selfish, even sociopathic people. 


Behavior problems, like relationships with people with behavior problems can often be helped but only if it’s dealt with, not ignored at the first sign of trouble.  So many parents turn their backs on their kid's abnormal attitudes hoping they will grow out of it, that it's a phase and not that serious.  Even though no one can foresee the damage that this child, as he grows will do to others, there have been enough tragic real life examples that its time for parents, teachers and employers to take notice and help put a stop to it!


It is very hard to know for certain someone is bad news, but the warning signs are there.  Subtle, but there.  Even if I could take all my experiences, the experiences of others I know, and the ones of well-meaning people getting involved with very, very bad people that has resulted in injury and/or death and put it all onto this page, there would still be women that would read it, not identify with it, and continue in a disastrous relationship.  I pray that whatever situation you're in, that you keep an open mind, and if you ever catch yourself saying anything to the effect that "It's not that bad" or "Maybe it will change" that you will wake up and pay attention! Those tiny, seemingly insignificant problems can turn into big ones in the future.


If a man makes you feel like the only woman on earth, and he barely knows you, chances are he's saying the same things to other women.  Let's face it - the odd guy just "knows" you're the one for him.  Sometimes it works out, but usually its just infatuation.  And these days, more often than not, it tends to be a ploy...to get as many women on his string as possible.  If you know nothing about his character, his spiritual views, and his morals, get to know that before you allow him to get to know you any more!


He asks A LOT of questions about you, and is evasive about himself (one-word answers, etc.)  Your first impression may be that he is really interested in you, and is a good listener, but I know from experience that someone who wants to know everything about you and wants you to know nothing about him is trouble.  If you find you know the same people he may get uncomfortable, or come up with excuses as to why you shouldn't ask this person about him.  One of the smartest things you can do when you meet someone you're unsure about is to ask others about him.  If you get similar opinions, and they are not good don't fool yourself into believing this guy has just got the short end of the stick.  If what he tells you about himself contradicts what others tell you, watch out.  Co-workers are a good place to start, because they are around him an awful lot.  If there is a good reason to be concerned about you, they will open up.


He finds sneaky ways of prying.  He manipulates you into finding out information he wants to know.  As a person who isn't overly skilled at this, it's hard to describe an example of a question this person would ask.  Something to the effect of, "I bet you have lots of guys hitting on you." Can be as harmless a question as finding out if you're available, or as dark as finding out how you see yourself.  If you say, "No, no one is interested in me." it tells him that if he shows you enough attention he can get what he wants.  It may sound like speculating, but I have been there.  I know the tricks because I've fallen for them.  And kicked myself for it.


He criticizes other people's lifestyle.  To paraphrase an old saying, what people hate most times they are.  I don't know how many sexually promiscuous, adulterous, people have openly spoke out against such things.  How many lying, cheating men have talked about women who are "really wild" and have "been around".  It makes you wonder if they are a raving gossip, or simply know first hand? And why do they care so much? It takes the focus off his lifestyle, and if he speaks strongly against it, it will remove the suspicion that he may indeed be like that himself.  After all, he wouldn't be so against it if he was doing it would he? WRONG!


You never know exactly "where" he's going, or where he is at times.  He always seems to be taking off somewhere and won't volunteer where.  When you ask where he will stall, say "What?" quickly, or "Hmm?"  He will also buy time by changing subjects without answering hoping you aren't bold enough to bring him back to the main subject.  Another line of defense is offense.  "Don't you trust me?" and "Why do you ask me so many questions?" "What do you think?"


Or he will give you too much information; such as using first names of people he's going to see as if you know exactly who they are.  "I told you about that" or "I told you about him/her" are famous lines to get the heat off him and get your mind working against itself.


Every rumor has a bit of truth in it.  Sometimes a small bit, sometimes a very large bit.  But they have to come from somewhere.  If the relationship is important to you, it’s best to try to remove all doubt.  When I was younger, more insecure, and more naive in my early 20's I was good friends with a guy and cared for him a lot.  Over the months I heard terrible things about what he had done in his past, so bad I thought there was no way the person I knew him as could be capable of this.  I asked him about it under the presumption it was totally ridiculous and he got a little upset.  I didn't think much of it until the rumors just kept coming back over the years from different people.  I had no choice but to believe it, and that along with all the terrible things I had heard, he was a big liar.


Everyone has done him wrong.  A negative person is hard enough to be with, but you have to wonder when he has so many enemies, and why it always seems to be their fault? Is he that unlucky to have encountered so many people who dislike him? Does his reasons make any sense? If he has few friends, in fact, more enemies, chances are in time, whether you know it or not, you will be added to the list of people who wronged him - whether it was getting a better job and him resenting you, being more popular than him, more talented, etc. he will find a way.


There are lots of nice guys out there who constantly wonder why jerks get the best girls.  And by the time the jerks have used them up and jaded them, no nice guy really wants to be with them because of all the drama and mistrust.  If you are in or entering this cycle, break away.  Be true to yourself and what you really want.  No one wants a fix-it project unless they are so insecure they need someone to focus on to make them feel better about themselves.  Find someone who builds you up and, at the risk of sounding cliché, makes you want to be a better person.


A Little Goes A Long Way
"I never dreamed I would be in this situation..."
"I didn't think it would hurt if I just tried a little..."
"I don't know what I was thinking?"
Have you heard people say these things, or maybe you have wondered this for yourself? Have you sat back in astonishment that you could have done the thing(s) you did when not long ago you never imagined you could, maybe even judged others in a similar situation?
I'm talking about that three-letter word that people hate to hear, and the modern day church fears to preach about: sin.
I was having a conversation with a coworker several months back.  She was telling me about a place she worked where the girls had such an uncontrolable sex drive.  She wondered if there was something wrong with her, that she didn't feel as strong a need to have sex as they did.  She wondered how someone could crave it that much, enough to pick up some random guy.  How could you live with yourself?
I figured that no one starts off that way.  You don't enter your teens and decide you're going to have sex with every possible person.  You don't wake up one morning a decide you're going to experiment with other women, fetishes, etc.  If you have a good upbringing, and especially if you are a professing Christian, you probably plan to save yourself until marriage.
Like any addiction, with sex you need more and more to obtain a high.  And eventually, normal sex with a guy isn't enough.  Because you're having sex for sex and not love, there will always be a void that you'll attempt to fill with more and kinkier sex.
Circumstances, emotions, trauma, and pain can alter our choices for the future.  Although you intend to save sex for marriage, your boyfriend, Christian or not may not share that desire and you're torn between possibly losing him or going against your convictions.  Lonliness can make a guy we wouldn't normally look twice at much more appealing, and our morals much weaker.  Many women are aware of what happens when a sad lonely girl goes to a male friend "to talk" and it ends up much more.  I believe we have good intentions, but if we aren't in a solid frame of mind we make bad choices.
The reason the bible has such black and white rules is because God knows the more we play with fire the quicker we'll get burned.  If the bible said that sexual intercourse was wrong but passionate kissing, petting, oral sex, was okay how long do you think people would obey that? Some Christians do believe everything other than intercourse is okay or "not as bad" but I know plenty who have been able to stick to that and end up having sex anyway.
When it comes to alcohol, sex, drugs, it is very hard to put on the brakes after you've tried it, just once.  The best thing you can do is stay away! In the bible Joseph ran from temptation while David jumped in with both feet.  Joseph became a ruler in Egypt and blessed for honoring God despite unjust treatment prior, while David's sons died, and he lived a life mostly in distress and anguish.  Although he repented from his sin and had a close relationship with God, he lived with consequences all his life.
If you are a virgin, you are capable of giving a man one of the greatest gifts possible.  He will never worry about what you've done in the past, unrealistic expectations of him, disease, etc.  He will be honored to be the first man to be with you.
If you have had sex for whatever reason, you aren't alone and you always have a chance to start fresh.  If you've asked forgiveness don't dwell on your sin, rather learn from it.  What caused you to do this? Alcohol? The wrong kind of guy? Remember these things so it never happens again.  Turn to God for comfort and healing.
If you have been involved in things like bondage, S&M, pornography, homosexuality and/or bisexuality, you may have a sexual addiction and need counseling.  If you cannot enjoy a normal, healthy sexual relationship with your husband it may be time to seek help.
It is never too late.  I know as well as anyone the consequences of disobedience to God, and feel things would have been a lot different in my life had I stuck to my convictions.  But life goes on, and God forgives.  It's time to make a fresh start.

One of Those Nights


Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."


Tonight is one of those nights.  Only two days ago I anticipated taking two relaxing days off after a hard work week.  Today I found myself practically crawling out of my skin.  I spent most of my time off by myself, and can see that although a little alone time is nice, too much can be very sad.


The January air is cold and the sky is gray and gloomy. My stomach is in knots thinking that the only thing I have to look forward to is another work week, and then another weekend of this. 


These are the nights when temptation is strongest.  To call the wrong person just to have someone to talk to, to have a couple drinks to help pass the time...but our temporary "fixes" can actually cause brokenness.  A little is never enough and before we know it we would actually welcome a lonely night over  dealing with the consequences of our bad decisions.


Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 


Deuteronomy 6:5


When we seek happiness from things other than God, we set ourselves up for a life of discontentment and self-destruction.  We're always looking for something to make us happy.


Marilyn Monroe, Elvis, Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain and so many others had more money and fame then they knew what to do with, but they weren't happy.  They turned to drugs, which ultimately ended their lives.  You probably know people who were successful, had an attractive spouse, wonderful children and a big house who committed suicide and everyone was wondering, "Why?".


You may be wondering why this is on the 'Relationships' page.  I can't speak for men but I know for women, loneliness causes many women to turn to the wrong kinds of guys for comfort.  Our need to be loved, wanted and shown affection is so strong, and when we're lonely we are most susceptible.  And at times like this guys who don't necessarily have our best interests in mind seem to pop up like weeds.  You can blame it on the Devil lying traps, or the fact that a complimentary guy is more noticeable when we're at our lowest, but it happens.  When we're happy and confident we may not notice the unhappily married coworker who charms and flatters.  But when we're already feeling our lowest, no matter who he is can temporarily boost our ego and make us feel better.  Temporarily.


God wants the best for us, so when we give in to our human weaknesses and needs we cheat ourselves out of his best.  Supposedly, if suicide victims were to wait a day rather than acting on their feelings, they would probably still be living.  The same is for us when we're hurting and alone.  If we could make it through the night, turning to God for comfort and not men or substances, we would be that much stronger to face another day, and another night alone.


No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.

1 Corinthians 10:13


I know from personal experience God does provide a way out.  Unfortunately by that time, we have ignored all the signals and warnings, and gone full speed ahead and can't bring ourselves to walk away.  Anytime you've done the wrong thing you have the little, nagging thoughts in the back of your mind.  But you ignore them; you think you can handle it.  If it's repeated willful sin, you might tell yourself "just one more time" but that one more time crushes your spirit and rots your soul just that much more...


How victorious you feel when you are able to walk away! What a difference it makes compared to if you were to fall, and have to deal with the shame and guilt.


The lie you will be told about sex, if you haven't been told already, is that you are abnormal for abstaining, that it is a normal and healthy part of life.  It is only normal and healthy if the person you make love to is the person you will spend the rest of your life with.  How lightly people look at commitment these days, even married couples.  They have sex before marriage or move in together, then wonder how they are so lacking in commitment for each other after marriage?  How reluctant they are to work out their problems.  As the amount of common-law marriages increase it is little wonder divorce rates are on the increase as well.  If a couple is willing to do everything before marriage without the commitment, why should they stick together after when things get tough? Why even bother making that commitment?


If you are a Christian, you love Christ and you follow the bible, and happen to give yourself away before you're married, you will know that it is not abstaining from sex that makes you abnormal and unhealthy, it is having sex that does.  Sex creates an incredible bond, one that even if you didn't love or weren't committed to the person you slept with, you will still be bonded.  You will hurt, and you will suffer from the shame.  Even if you find yourself in a long-term physical relationship and manage to block the guilt, you will feel it eventually.  If you are a child of God it is a matter of time before he brings you back.  You will probably get to a point where you even crave the sex, so much that it's worth feeling bad about later, or you will worry about it later.  As soon as you stop feeling guilty for what you're doing, that's when you have to worry!


Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done. At every point you have proved yourselves to be innocent in this matter.


1 Corinthians 7:10 & 11


One of my relatives, although brought up in a good Christian home lived a life of rebellion, and got to a place where she believed that God had lifted his hand from her.  And she suffered big time for it.  God does not force us to follow his rules; he puts them there to protect us.  And if we continue to turn our backs on him he will grant us our free will and let us do as we please, without conviction.  Repeated sin and rebellion eventually dulls our conscience...


We live in an age where Christian beliefs are not only not considered the norm, but are ridiculed.  We're entertained by blasphemous TV shows like South Park and Family Guy, where Jesus Christ, the man who died for our sins is mocked.  The media tells us to dress provocatively, enhance our appearances physically whether it's bodybuilding or surgery, just to fit in.  Celebrities leave their spouses for another and are pursued relentlessly by the paparazzi, which wouldn't be doing it if it weren’t for us - eating up the gossip in the checkout line of the grocery store.


Where is the media when no matter what we do, we're just not good enough? Who is there when we're hurting, when we've reached the end of our rope? When lovers walk away and friends betray us?


God said, "NEVER will I leave you, NEVER will I forsake you."  Who in your life has been able to make such a promise and keep it? To most of the world, people consider God to be a figment of our imagination, something to cling to and hope for, that there is an Almighty being out there who loves us unconditionally when no one else does.  But you ask anyone who's hurting, who has nothing left...God is real, and he is all we can count on. 


You may find out for yourself in this life, or you may not - but either way, you will find out how real God really is.


Falling Short


After a lazy morning I decided to spend this surprisingly warm Labor Day by going downtown and browsing through a local strip mall.  I rarely take the time to shop and decided it would be a good way to kill some time and get out of my apartment.  I hoped to find some home décor to dress up my place a bit.


I was amazed how so often our shopping styles parallel our relationship styles and the people we are attracted to.  Unlike some of my friends, I am not gifted in the area of coordination, and practically have to have a full outfit put together for me to make it look good.  While some can browse through a store and select candleholders and flower arrangements to compliment their already beautiful furniture, I have to have it practically all drawn out for me.  I’m very much a jeans and t-shirt kind of girl and even while I enjoy dressing up and go out my style is very simple – a black dress, heels, and small, dainty earrings.  I feel like a fish out of water with heavy make-up and fake nails.


Much is the same with the relationships we choose.  Even though we dislike our habits and the types of people we find ourselves gravitating to, we continue in the same, frustrating and destructive habits.  The following shopping styles describe personalities and what we are drawn to.  You may be one or several:


  1. The Bargain Hunter: This type of person seeks out something they can get the quickest and easiest.  It may not even be particularly what they are looking for, but they cannot pass up the chance to get a quick, easy deal.


This type is more interested in quantity, not quality.  They have no patience to wait for just what they’re looking for, because they can’t find what they’re looking for fast enough.  Whatever comes their way is what they want.  This type is lonely, desperate, and will dive into any relationship that comes their way out of convenience.


  1. The Dumpster Diver: This type cannot stand to see anything thrown away, and sees value in other’s refuse.  They take pride in gathering junk, in hopes of fixing it up to be something of value rather than investing on something of definite value.  Although they invest too much energy into making it into something good, and realize in the end there was a very good reason it was thrown out in the first place, they resort to the same behavior over and over and over…


You may have heard this type of person referred to as the fix-it types in relationships.  They will take a dead beat, a criminal, an alcoholic, gambling addict etc. and try to make them over into a Prince Charming.  Either they don’t think they deserve any better, or take pride in “changing” someone.  The end result is usually the same – no one person can change another unless that person decides to change.


  1. The Princess: The complete opposite of the Bargain Hunter or Dumpster Diver, the Princess insists on only the best – the best names, the highest prices.  While money may be able to buy her material items, she may find herself waiting a long, long time for a good relationship.


The Princess is looking for someone, who likes the things she shops for makes her look good on the outside.  She wouldn’t think twice about dating a nice construction worker because her sites are set on someone she can brag to her friends about – a doctor, lawyer, etc.  She may even find what she’s looking for at least in terms of outside appearances.  But if she looks to a guy’s bank account, assets, and profession in expectancy that it will bring her happiness, she isn’t looking far enough.  The inside is what will determine her happiness and carry her through the hard times, and if she’s just looking at the outside she won’t get too far.  A man who loves you is priceless; something that all the money in the world cannot buy.


  1. The Shop-a-holic: This person loves quantity, whether they need it or not.  They will spend hours in the mall, trying on all kinds of clothes, picking up bargains, blowing money and time.  In the end they have wasted a lot of money and energy only to have several items of clothing, hanging unworn with tags hanging off them, in their closets.


This person spends 3-day weekends at the bars attracting attention and drinking the free drinks hopeful guys buy for her.  She gives no thought to the future, whether it’s when the credit card bill arrives or when one of these guys she flamboyantly leads on may want something serious with her.  She lives for the day and doesn’t worry about tomorrow.  She is only concerned about the temporary high that collecting men and objects brings her.


  1. The In-and-Out Shopper: This person hates the mall (in the same way, the dating scene).  They don’t care to browse for hours and waste time on what they may or may not want.  They know exactly what they want, go with a purpose, and if they don’t find it they move on.  They don’t grab something on sale because they are sick of looking.  They save their money and energy and keep waiting till the right thing pops up.


This person knows what they want and does not want.  They don’t make any exceptions.  It may take them a while to find the perfect fit, but you won’t see them in the customer service line making returns.  They have a criterion for the person they need in their life, and once they meet them they don’t have to compromise.  They really haven’t lost any time, as any one of us could go out and find a handful of dates.  But in the end, if it’s not right and isn’t what we really want, is it really worth it?


There are consequences when you are hasty in your purchases, and hasty in your decisions about a relationship.  Unlike a shirt you bought, took home and changed your mind about, you can’t just run to the store to return your boyfriend or husband.  That is why it is so important to be selective in the beginning so that your decisions aren’t based on laziness, loneliness, and other feelings that cloud your judgment.  Problems not only arise when you choose the wrong person, but when you make the wrong choices because of them.


I have tendencies towards being the Bargain Hunter, the Dumpster Diver, and the In-and-Out shopper.  All my life I have known what I wanted, yet when it doesn’t come along quick enough I find myself in easy dating relationships – the kind where the guy likes me a lot more than I like him, and although he’s not really my type I spend time with him.  And although I’ve never been with an alcoholic or drug addict, I seem to end up with guys who I think have potential but need some work first.  When all is said and done I want the same thing – a strong Christian, stability, and integrity.  I’ve hit many detours but still keep coming back to the same path.


Many Christian girls I know have set out looking for the right guy and vowed to save herself for the wedding night.  But as time went on and they didn’t find what they were looking for, they settled for less.  They may have even found someone who seemed ideal but for one reason or the other, did not share her desire to be with one person only.  Sometimes it is a nice Christian couple that had the best intentions ended up having sex because they had allowed themselves to go further and further physically until they couldn’t stop.


Abstaining from sex until you’re married may seem out dated, but what are the consequences you face if you do not? Unwanted pregnancy that may or may not leave you alone, raising the child.  Or if you decide to abort the child you face the possibility of infertility, and the truth, whether you accept it’s a baby or a piece of tissue, that you ended a child’s life because of a mistake you made. 


Sexually transmitted disease, which even with a condom it is possible to contract incurable STD’s like herpes, or the Human Papilloma Virus that if undetected can turn to cervical cancer.  Do you really think the person wasting away from AIDS is thinking, “Gosh I’m glad I had sex with that person who infected me!” No matter how good the sex, living with an STD and dying from them are never worth it.


Physical consequences aren’t the only ones that result from premarital sex.  There are emotional ones.  The mistakes you’ve made will always be in the back of your mind and you will face grief and remorse, depending if you actually care about what you’ve done. Someday you will be reciting your sexual history to a doctor for your file.  If you choose to settle down and get married, you may have to explain to your husband what you’ve done.  I’ve never seen sexual pressure like I do now, especially among teenagers.  They are encouraged by their peers to experiment with guys and girls.  How is it a teenager will take his future professional life far more serious than his personal one? You don’t skip class, bomb exams, do drugs, get arrested because you want to ensure you find a good career.  So why is a person’s sexuality treated so lightly? How come with all the education out there young people are having sex like never before?

There are some that will feel no remorse, in fact having sex before marriage and with multiple partners is viewed as perfectly normal, and if you’re not having sex you are unusual.  People’s attitudes and morals haven’t changed just for the modern day.  Although you see much more of it now, it has been going on since the beginning of time.  In Proverbs 30:20 Agur laments about one of the four things he cannot understand:


This is the way of an adulteress: She eats and wipes her mouth and says, 'I've done nothing wrong.'


Have you ever wondered what the world would be like had we stuck to the ten, simple commandments of the Bible? Would it be a better place or a worse place? The boundaries of sin have been blurred so badly and are justified so easily.  What if parents started really loving, caring and teaching their children and children respected their parents? What if teenagers decided to preserve their future and wait to have sex rather than having it with whomever they wanted?


How many STDs, unwanted pregnancies, unhappy marriages, and divorces have resulted from people just having sex with the wrong person? If it is okay to sleep with anyone and everything why are there so many consequences? And who is the one who is really deprived – the ones choosing to wait to have sex with the right person, or the ones who are infected with herpes, genital warts, HIV, AIDS, and have to explain to their next partner that they run the risk of contracting an incurable disease, even with the protection of a condom?


We will never have a perfect world, and yes there are some cases where a woman thought she was marrying a wonderful guy only to find out he was a complete nightmare.  There are women who pack up the children and walk away from an abusive marriage.  There are nice guys who fall in love only to find their girlfriend or wife has an insatiable appetite for sex and attention and runs to others to satisfy it.  People we love will hurt us, and they will let us down.  Sometimes life will be cruel and unfair.  We have no control over what others do, but we are required to do our best and not invite consequences into our lives by making mistakes, consequences that may affect our future spouse and children.


Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.


Philippians 4:8-9


Sin does not begin at the act itself.  It is a result of an idea that is dwelled upon, justified, and given the opportunity we give in.  Many of us, myself included are walking around with sin in our lives.  Whether it is still a thought or it is full blown sinful behavior, it is there, and it is unsafe.  It can be sexual sin, jealousy, bitterness, and more but whatever it is, we need to get rid of it before we are immersed in it, and it’s a lot harder to get out.


Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body.


1 Corinthians 6:18


Whenever I would go out, from the time I was about 15 or so my mom would stand at the door with a worried look and always say, “Make good choices.”  At the time I thought I was invincible, and would laugh at her.  But of all the advice she had ever given me, that is what I remember, and wish I had listened.  It would have saved a lot of grief in the end.


What kind of choices are you making?

I realize the following article is contradictory to the one I wrote not long ago, "Loving Someone Through the Storm"; however, the difference is this one is about loving someone who doesn't feel quite the same way, or have the same goals.  While "Loving Someone" was geared more to marriages, "A Rare Breed" deals more with dating and carries warnings about men's different kind of outlooks on relationships.


A Rare Breed


If you are a young adult, chances are when your parents first met they dated with the intention of getting married.  They probably married young, or young by today’s standards – late teens to early twenties. 


Half of those marriages have ended in divorce by now, and as years go by the traditional marriage is no longer the ideal.  Many couples live, and even have children together before they are married.  There are also many girls who had a baby outside of a committed relationship and are now left raising the child alone.  So, if you do not marry young chances are you will have, or will meet someone with, baggage – one or more failed common-law relationships or marriages, and/or one or more children. 


The odds begin to stack up against you, as you grow older, for finding someone compatible.  Younger Christians tend to marry off early and if you don’t find anyone during that time dating becomes a lot more difficult, as potential partners develop a lot more issues preventing you for having a normal relationship.


Physical baggage you can see, and you can decide whether or not you want this in your life.  But over the past few years I’ve noticed a different obstacle that poses perhaps more of a threat to a developing relationship – the emotional baggage.  It is more difficult perhaps, because you don’t realize how deep it really goes. 


Like an iceberg, the tip that emerges looks conquerable, but deep down in the water lays an enormous chunk that nothing short of intense global warming could melt it.


Most normal Christian women are in pursuit of a Godly husband.  Online dating has made it easier to meet more people and weed out what you do and do not want.  Some sites are so blunt that you can state what exactly you are looking for in a relationship – pen pals, friends, relationship, or marriage.  This enables people to rule out the wafflers and cut right to the chase of someone who is looking for the exact same thing they are.


I believe that many people want to get married, and long for the opportunity.  But when the opportunity presents itself I find so many taking steps back quickly.  Early in the relationship you may not pay a lot of attention to the warning signs, and if you do notice them you think that you will be able to work them out.  But please pay attention – I know from personal experience the cost of looking past the red flags and foolishly believing love will conquer all, especially when it involves a very emotionally troubled individual.


Below is a series of excuses and explanations that I will pray you will take into account when approaching your next relationship, or perhaps your current one.  The truth may hurt now, but nowhere near what it will hurt as you wait unsuccessfully for years for him to pop the question, or worse, as you approach your big day and find out he never wanted to marry you.


  1. It’s too soon to talk about marriage: This is a very normal concern, especially within the first few months of dating.  While some couples seem to know right away, there are many instances where one knows and the other truly does not.  As you read you will be able to decipher whether this is an excuse or the truth.
  2. I’m not ready to get married: Again, this is fine in the early stages, but if you have been waiting in excess of a year or more of dating and he still isn’t ready and seems content to carry on with no added responsibility to you, it might be time to make him choose.
  3. I want to take things slow; I’m not ready for a serious relationship; I have a hard time trusting people; etc. etc. etc.  The truth is, when you find someone you truly like and want to be with, none of this comes between you.  In fact, when you meet someone special you can’t be with him or her enough.  These are convenient things to say to people you want to let down easy.  If he says anything like this, yet still wants you to stick around, be friends, whatever – I cannot stress this enough…RUN AWAY.  He may wise up and realize he pushed away a good thing and come back, but chances are he was trying to get rid of you all along.  Wouldn’t you rather know now?
  4. I need a sign from God:  Although I am all for seeking God’s will, this excuse makes my stomach turn.  In my experience someone truly seeking God’s will has not said this, rather someone making excuses to prolong taking responsibility for his choices – dating, with the intention of getting married, has used it.  Nowhere in the bible does it say you need a sign from God to get married, in fact all throughout the New Testament many decisions are done based on what the individual thought was best.  No long, complicated process was required for marriage.  Men chose a wife they felt was suitable for them.  This statement tends to make Godly women melt believing that their boyfriend is truly putting God first, but frankly speaking it is a crock.  The same man who needs a sign from God to get married will make business decisions, will go camping with his friends, will buy a house, a car, with no need for consent from God.
  5. I am messed up.  This phrase may draw sympathy from you for a few months, being that women are naturally inclined to be nurturing, but in no time it will make you cringe.  If he insists he is messed up, but will not get professional help and continues to just move through life, you will not help him as much as you think your “unconditional love” will win in the end.  He can go months, even years just getting by and as long as you are by his side he will not feel the need to talk to someone about whatever it is causing him to feel that way.  Men have a hard enough time admitting they need help.  It is a very humbling thing, and usually takes something pretty dramatic happening to them to bring them to submission and seek help. There are many people who undergo traumatic things in their life – broken homes, troubled childhood, abuse, rape, and they will choose to get better.  They will choose to not allow their upbringing to rob them of a happy future.  For those who stubbornly refuse help, they will end up depressed and alone.  It’s your choice how soon they do, and by making them face this rather than standing by passively you may be giving them a push into doing something they will be grateful for in the future.


You may be wondering, “Why would this guy date me if he didn’t care?” Unfortunately there are a lot of reasons.  He’s lonely, he’s bored, he’s killing time until someone better comes along, he likes you but doesn’t think you’re “the one”, just to name a few.  Or, maybe he truly does care and just hopes the way he feels - his hesitation to marry, will change.


Silence, or simple comments can be deceiving too.  If you are talking about marriage and he says nothing, or gives you general one-word answers, it can be interpreted as agreement.  Depending on how bad you want it to happen you will hear or not hear what you want.


If you are always the one to bring up marriage, commitment, children, and are the only one who is planning a future for the two of you, chances are his heart is not with you. 


Van Halen’s Sammy Haggar said it best as he lamented in a ballad from the mid-nineties, “It’s not enough, it’s not enough, it’s not enough…”


Some guys get a clear window, a short burst where they feel comfortable bringing up marriage.  This is an opportune time to explore it with them.  If they instantly get uncomfortable or even upset that you want to pursue the conversation a little further than the odds are good that it was all just talk - telling you what you want to hear for whatever reason.  Although you don't have to drag them up to the alter, put it to the test and don't let it go.  An honest man will discuss his feelings with you openly, a confused one will squirm.  And do not cling to the few positive things he says and ignore the pile of negative ones.  He may ask you what kind of ring you like and you will get excited, interpreting that as an upcoming proposal.  It is a safe question for him to ask because it carries no promise but it gets your hopes up and you hang in there a little longer.


Be honest with yourself and write things down! Draw a line down the middle of a piece of paper and write a list of the positive on one side and the negative in the other column.  Your mind can play tricks on you and it's easy to rationalize and ignore.  However, once it's down on paper for you to read and read over you will be able to see things clearly for what they are.  Friends will not tell you what they see.  Generally, if they do you don't listen anyway, until you find out for yourself.  So they don't want to look like the culprit and want to hope the best for you.  Unless a guy is violent and poses a physical risk to you, most friends will keep quiet about what they see.


An old co-worker is still living with his girlfriend of over 8 years and is still unsure whether he wants to marry her.  Ladies, that alone is evidence that a man can and will carry on a relationship forever with no intention of commitment.  Do not think you can stand the test of time because as I understand it, time can range from a couple years to ten or fifteen and even then there is no guaranty, other than by then you’re too old to find someone else.


There are many, many other excuses – too many to list.  They are the statements that cause a flash to go through your body, the words that make your heart sink.  Once they are out you can choose to forget and the shock will go away, but the truth will always be there.  I used to try to fool myself into believing not every relationship was so easy, and that some people were harder to love and took a little time.  But I found the more energy I poured into a guy like this, the more he pushed me away.  And once apart from him I could see things clearly, and see how I lied to myself.  I tried to be the model girlfriend but all along denied myself my true feelings, and in the end they all came spilling out.  I plead with you – the more you deny yourself of the things you truly want, for yourself and in your mate, the deeper you will get into a relationship you do not want, and the more you will prolong him not getting help for himself.


A friend once described to me that being married to a man who suffered with depression was like being in a prison.  Basically the world revolved around him and she wasn’t allowed to do the things she liked.  Everything depended on his mood…if he was having a good day she was supposed to be happy for him.  If he was down she was supposed to be there.  But when a large percentage of his days are dark and stormy, who is there for her?


You teach people how to treat you.  If you are dependable and always there for them, unhealthy people will take it for granted.  Someone who loves you as much as you love him will try to outdo you in acts of kindness, just because he loves you.  If your relationship is seriously one-sided do not wait in hopes that love will win out.  While spoiling someone may be the easy thing to do, in the long run it is the most harmful.  People don’t face up to their troubles and take responsibility until they are faced with hard decisions.


I know all too well what it is like to love someone for years who doesn’t love me the same way.  Remember the iceberg? Well, global warming won’t solve the deeply rooted issues he has inside.  This is the point where you ask for a miracle from the Maker of heaven and earth.  Only God knows how much I care for this man, how much I want to be with him, and whether or not I should - he will show me that in time.


Have faith.  At this point, depending on the seriousness of your relationship you could be feeling sad and disappointed to actually feeling as if you’ve been gutted and filled with despair.  But trust God, and keep looking around at the women with emptiness in their eyes, having married the wrong man – someone who struggles with depression, addiction or is unfaithful to her.  As much as it hurts now, it will be incapacitating in the future.  And if you manage to seal the deal and get married you may be regretting not making him deal with his issues first.


Only God can see the big picture, you cannot.  Trust in him to show you what you need to know, and be faithful to do what you know you should do.  Five years ago my dad wrote me a letter as a last-ditch effort to get me to reconsider my engagement to the wrong guy.  He said that I had two options: to do what I knew was right (essentially, break off the engagement) or close my eyes to my convictions forever.  That statement stuck with me long after I ended the relationship and I am reminded of it each time I face a life-changing decision.


Years ago, a guy and girl from our bible study were sort-of dating.  She was marriage minded while I think he was killing time.  He insisted that he never wanted to get married again.  She thought she could change that.  She even passed up a chance to get married to an old long-term boyfriend because she thought there was hope with this new man. 


Incidentally, at a Christmas party at this guy's house we all brought food and snacks.  His "girlfriend" kept stressing to him about "How much food we have" and "how long it's going to last us".  She didn't live with him, but she was practically screaming for affirmation from him, and demonstrating to others that yes indeed we are a couple and spend every day together, and he said nothing.  It didn't click in until he fell into a whirlwind relationship with another woman months later and got married.


If you’re dating someone who claims they don’t want a relationship, or that they don’t want to get married, chances are they don’t want to date, or get married to you. 


I do want to add one amendment, as a born romantic who is dedicated to relationships, and does not give up easily.  Emotional pain is very real, and something only the person going through it understands.  If you are in love with someone who knows there is something wrong with them, and sincerely trying to get better don't throw them out like trash.  Everyone has very individual beliefs, but it may be that God is using you to push them to take the steps to healing and wholeness.   Once they realize they are throwing away happiness it may be enough to make them want to change.  Maybe no one has ever taken the time to love them, so while you shouldn't put your life on hold for years and deny yourself your desires, don't give up too quickly.  I write bluntly but the truth is, these things are matters of the heart and only you know when it is a lost cause.  Until then you cannot walk away.


I once overheard my Chemistry teacher telling a friend of mine (pertaining to her school work) "I can't help you if you won't help yourself."  This is so true in relationships.  Unless someone wants to change and is actively doing so, nothing you do will help. 


Do no settle for less than you deserve, and less than what God has for you.



Let's face it - dating and love have a lot to do with our lives.  We are choosing someone to be with forever, to raise our children and to love us for better or for worse.  We also want someone we will love and respect too.   It is also our choice how big a part we want God to play in choosing such an important person to share our lives with.  Our willingness to listen to our convictions (essentially, the Holy Spirit) and allow God to guide us in our pursuit of a husband can mean the difference between a happy, loving marriage and a mediocre to miserable one.


As we search for the right guy it's important not only to know what we want but also know what we don't want.  What we don't want can often be compromised by things like loneliness, desperation, low self-esteem. 


Traffic Lights


(Formerly “The Top 10 Calling Cards of "Mr. Wrong")


It is a rare occasion that you meet a person who has had a successful dating life.  There are the odd few who married their first love and never endured the pain of broken hearts, betrayal, and abuse.  In my opinion dating has got a lot harder.  Many years ago people married young and there were fewer divorces.  Now, any given person you run into has experienced one or many painful relationships, and/or is going through or has become divorced.  Friends and acquaintances are so turned off dating and have built up so many walls it takes a long time before they can trust again.


When we first begin dating we are excited and optimistic.  Time goes by and we face disappointments that leave us wondering, how could I have been so blind?


Most of us want to love someone and be loved.  Each time we meet someone new we have hopes that this time it will be different and this person may be the one.  Sometimes our desire for love and our determination to not fail clouds our vision to some of the obvious (and not so obvious) signs that this person is another disaster waiting to happen.  I think many of us could look back and see a pattern with the people we date...something they all may have in common that we kept seeing past.  Others have had the nasty variety: liars, cheaters, stalkers, and thieves!


God always wants the best for us and is always willing to lead; however, He doesn't force us to do something, especially when He puts the answers right in front of us.  It's foolish to wonder if it's God's will that you continue to date someone who has repeatedly lied or cheated on you.  When the danger sign appears once (or red flag as I like to call it) it could be divine intervention, God waking you up.  But when you look past that warning sign and more keep popping up that you ignore, and then it's not God's responsibility to close the door on your relationship.  He will lead us so far and then we are to put our free will to use.


This list used to be a detailed version of what you don’t want in a man – however; I realize that not everyone with these characteristics is necessarily a write-off (excluding the pathological liar, cheat, and abuser).  So here it is, in no particular order…things to be aware of before you make a move, whether it is to commit, proceed with caution, or run for your life!


Green light = Go for it!

Yellow light = Slow down, but keep moving.

Red light = STOP!


15. The Unequally yoked: a man who doesn’t share your faith.


Green/yellow light: If having a man who shares your faith is important to you, and he shows genuine interest in investigating it, give him a chance.  I strongly warn against getting romantically involved before he makes a commitment to Christ.  I also strongly warn against jumping into a relationship with a man who suddenly claims to be a Christian.  Don’t let his claim alone fool you.  You will be able to tell by the change (or lack of change) in him whether he is sincere.


Red light: If having a man who shares your faith is important to you, and he shows little to no interest in it, back off until he does, or back off completely.  Be wary of him using a profession of faith to get you back into his life.


14. The Commitment phobic: a man, for one reason or another cannot commit to a relationship or marriage with you.


Green/yellow light: If there are obvious reasons for his inability to commit, such as a history of being hurt, there is still a chance that he will lose his fear of commitment and move forward with you once he sees you are dedicated to him.  Stick with it a reasonable amount of time and watch for signs of movement – talking about the future, etc.  If he stays in the same, frustrating place you will have to make the decision.  Your heart will probably tell you when it’s time, and when you cannot go on anymore not knowing.  Do not give him an ultimatum, it may make him panic and make hasty decisions.  Rather, let go and let him think over what he really wants.  He may come back after he realizes how foolish he is to allow his fear to push you away OR you will never see him again because he can’t get past his fear.  Either way, you are better off knowing sooner than later.


Red light: If he comes out right and says he has no desire for monogamous relationships – dating or otherwise and you are NOT okay with this, drop him and look for someone who shares your desires.  Don’t hope you will change him because you won’t.  A man saying to a woman “I don’t want to get married” usually means “I don’t want to marry YOU.”


13. The Damaged Goods: a man who has been hurt repeatedly, either by women in relationships or by an abuser(s) – physically, sexually and/or emotionally and is unable to feel or express love.


Green light: He has come to terms with the abuse and is getting help.  He desires to proceed with a relationship with you once he has been counseled and is ready.  Stand by as an encouragement and support to him.


Yellow light: He acknowledges the abuse but is unsure how to deal with it.  He may try to suppress it and claim he is over it (when you know he is not), or consult you as his counselor.  Encourage him to seek help from a Christian counselor with a good reputation.


Red light: Although he walks around tortured and allows his past to come between you, he still refuses to face it.  State your cause and then move on, because it will do you no good to hang in there and hope for the best.  Unless there is a desire to heal, and a desire to preserve the relationship you have, you won’t help him.  He will have to decide that on his own.


12. The Complicator: He has every reason in the book why he can’t commit to you, usually reasons that play on your sympathies and encourage you to stay in his life – stuff like he is “seeking God’s will and wants to make sure you are the one for him before he dates you”, “I want to develop a strong friendship with you first”, and other lines.


This is a particularly sensitive one because I have fallen for it.  I even asked another Christian guy I knew about these excuses about God’s will and he said “It sounds like the guy just wants to keep his options open.”


In the end, he was right.


Green light: If you have known him a while and he has proven to be consistent and sincere, wait and see if you are the one for him.  But don’t get anymore attached than just friends.


Yellow light: If you don’t know him well, and want to give him the benefit of the doubt, grant him his wishes and back off.  But don’t allow him to draw you into a physical relationship with no commitment.  Watch him closely and see how pure his motives and desires are.


Red light: If his actions don’t line up with his supposed convictions (he expects a physical relationship with no commitment) steer clear and don’t get drawn in.  Sex will NOT draw him closer to you, it will leave you with a broken heart as he continues to throw out lines and sew wild oats.


11. The Baggage Handler: ex-common law, separated, divorced, widowed…with or without kids.


Green light: If you are okay with a relationship with him, his ex-wife/common-law possibly in the picture, and especially okay with his kid(s), go ahead!


Yellow light: If you are unsure about the whole “instant family” thing, proceed with caution – not just for your sake but the guy who is opening up his heart to you.  Separation and divorce is rarely a liberating and happy experience.  If you cannot love him for who he is and not hold his past against him, then he is better off without you. 


Red light: If you cannot handle his past, and/or accept his child(ren), don’t waste his time and yours, and let him go.


10. The Mama's Boy:  A man who respects his mother and would do anything for her may not sound like such a bad thing until he starts canceling plans with you because she needs him, or worse, bringing her along on your evenings together. 


Green light: If he is willing to “separate from his father and mother and become one flesh with his wife” there is hope for him.


Yellow light: If he wavers between what you think and what “Mommy” thinks (and usually goes with Mommy whether she’s right or not) you may have to put your foot down, or endure a life where you are second place to his mother.  .  This type of problem is livable, but very, very aggravating.  Tread carefully.


Red light: Her opinion will often come before yours your ideas will be undermined by the woman who in all probability believes you are the woman who tried to take away her little boy.  The first step could be taking over the wedding plans and your husband to be not standing up for what you want and telling his Mom to butt out.  He may justify his actions by saying that she is getting older, she won't be around long.  That only paves the way for her eventually moving in with you because he doesn't want to put her in a home and she doesn't want to take care of herself.  If it is unbearable while you’re dating, you will want to kill her (and maybe him) when you’re married.


9. The Bad Money Manager: Statistics show that financial problems are the cause of more divorces than infidelity.  That being said, if your date's credit cards are maxed out, or worse, credit card companies won't even give him cards, he still spends recklessly and/or has declared bankruptcy, watch out!


Green light: If your future mate knows he has a problem and is willing to get financial counseling, and/or allow you to be in charge of the family books at home there is hope. 


Yellow light: What you don't want is to be married to a guy like that who will come home with a spontaneous purchase, like a new car or new toy when you have a mortgage to pay and mouths to feed.  You also don't want to be dodging creditors and having your power cut off because he blew his paycheck on something silly that he didn't need and didn't discuss with you.  Be very leery!


Red light: If he makes foolish purchases or indulges in gambling, asks you for loans, etc. it’s time to cut him loose.  Every cent you give him or sign for only encourages the destructive behavior.  Get away and let him get his act together…if he ever will.  And although his puppy dog eyes are irresistible now you will want to blacken them the night he comes home after gambling away your life savings, or buying a new motorbike.


8. The Manipulator: The Manipulator knows how to use his words to push you around, and has gotten by in life by doing just that.

Red light, all the way: If you are a soft-spoken, relatively passive person like me who trusts people and takes them at their word, you are a target for The Manipulator.   The Manipulator stays away from strong people who will call him on his fallacies; rather, he preys on weaker, trusting people who don't know they're taken until they stand back and really think about it.  Even then they justify, that can't be true! So unless you want to be constantly pushed into things, stay away from this guy.  He uses his words to get what he wants.

7. The Man of No Integrity: This is the type of guy who will cheat on his taxes because "The Government always cheats me". 


Red light, no doubt about it: He will claim above and beyond what he lost in an insurance settlement.  He may complain about service and a restaurant meal to get a freebie.  To most of the world this is considered slimy, so we as Christians are supposed to be especially different, and have nothing to do with someone like this.  Someone who justifies lying and stealing because he feels the world owes him something isn't the type of man you want teaching your children.


#6, 5, and 4 are about equal in badness…


6. The Ogler/flirt: This guy looks at porn or men's magazines.  He may even hang up bikini calendars or posters.  He may attend strip clubs or rent X-rated videos with or without your knowledge. 


Green light: If that sort of thing doesn't bother you and you feel truly secure in your relationship, than that is your choice.  But the majority of us do not like behavior like that, especially from a professing Christian who claims to be committed to you.


Red light: If it bothers you he'll tell you he's a guy - he's supposed to look at stuff like that.  He makes tactless comments about other women and/or gawk at them as they go by.  He's a flirt, but explains it's okay because he's taken, not dead and it's only harmless flirting.  Men’s magazines and porn have opened the door to pornography addictions and literally destroyed marriages.  Once a man gets those images in his head it is very difficult to accept a pure, normal marriage and he will find himself going back to the Internet over and over.  And do not be fooled, no matter if he's gotten paunchy or bald over the years he will still think he's an Adonis and may try all the much harder to attract attention from other women.  When or if they respond it makes it that much harder for him to resist, especially if he feels you don't understand him.  That brings us to...


5. The Cheat:  If he has a history of cheating, either with anyone else or with you, you're crazy to stick with him. 


Yellow light: If he has a history of cheating on others, and/or has cheated on you it is up to you whether or not you want to give him another chance.  Chances are it will happen again.  Do you really want to live with the worry of where is he and who is he with, because you know what he’s capable of?


Red light: Most women don’t want a player.  What kind of a catch is a guy who needs to sleep with numerous women, even when he has a nice girl he’s supposed to be committed to? Is he really worth the sense of accomplishment you may get by taming him, and risk his possible (and likely) re-offending? Or is he a dog you are better off to steer clear of?


4. The Liar: It's debatable what is worse, the Cheat or the Liar.  Either way they go hand-in-hand, one compliments the other. 


Red light: I don't think I have to explain why a liar should be avoided.  All right, I will anyway.  Trust is part of the foundation of a relationship.  If you don't have that, you will have little or nothing to build on.  Your wondering where he's been, where he's going, what he's done will always get in the way of your ability to grow in your relationship


3. The Addict:


Yellow light: If someone you love is an alcoholic, gambler, etc. and are disgusted with their habit and willing to change, stick by and give some support.  If after time things aren’t changing and they resort to their old ways time and time again, walk away.


Red light: There is enough education out there to tell you why an alcoholic or a gambler is harmful to you and your family.  Not only will he spend a bunch or a lot of your money on it, it could also progress into worse things.  People are capable of bad things when they are angry, especially under the influence.  If your date is any of these things or anything similar and not interested (in fact, gets enraged at the thought) in getting help, do yourself a favor and cure yourself of your bad habit – him!


2. The Ex-Con.  Similar to the Manipulator, the Ex-Con is simply the one who's been caught. 


Green/yellow light: There are exceptions, such as a young guy doing something really stupid in his youth, getting caught, doing time, and eternally embarrassed about what happened.  He's learned his lesson.  We all do stupid things.


Red light: Generally, the Ex-Cons are never really Ex-Cons.  The ones who aren't remorseful for what they have done only learn how to do it better in jail, for the next time.  Christian conversions are common in jail and tend to hurry along parole. 

Who are the ones to watch out for? You can peg them because they talk about how bad they were, as if they were reminiscing about the good old days with the boys.  They are excellent with their words and can convince you of almost anything, including that they were innocent, and/or are going to start living for the Lord.  They are a bad risk altogether and you don't have to be a Christian to believe that.  When a crime earns you jail time (especially in Canada) you can be sure that it was either serious, or repeated.  If you're still not convinced look around and see all the stories of women who fell in love with cons, wrote letters to them in jail...the outcome is never pretty.


How can women fall for men in jail who have done terrible things? That's easy - women are stimulated by what they hear in the same way men are stimulated by what they see.  Not long ago on a documentary about women who love killers, a man who, had raped and killed several college girls and had done some time began corresponding with a woman.  In a clip he said, "This may sound strange coming from someone like me, but I really know how to treat a woman.  I open the door for her and push in her chair."  Sound sick? That is an extreme example but hopefully enough to help you cut Ex-Cons out of your list of eligible bachelors...no matter what they say!


1. The Abuser:  This one should be self-explanatory but unfortunately there are a lot of women who put up with this.  If a man, no matter if he is your boyfriend or husband physically assaults you (whether it be hitting, pushing, slapping, beating etc.) or forces you to do anything sexual you don't want to, GET AWAY and report him to the police. 


Big, fat glaring RED LIGHT! DO NOT blame yourself under any circumstances.  DO NOT tell yourself you deserved it, were asking for it.  No one deserves that! If you keep it to yourself you will feel alone and afraid, and vulnerable and you may even go back to him if he says the right things.  Even if he spouts off verbal abuse, it's still abuse in some form.  DO NOT excuse him by believing that's just the way he is, it's the way he expresses himself.  It is not acceptable.  GET COUNSELLING because there are so many women who suffer through it alone, because they are embarrassed and afraid.  Talk to a police officer in your area (female, if you are more comfortable) and have her explain your options.  Make someone aware of what's going on and don't protect him.  As long as you keep it to yourself it can and will happen to you…and maybe others. 



Paths of Destruction


“But each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed.  Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.”


James 1:15


Have you ever wondered why some nice Christian girls who at one time had good morals and strong convictions, make bad and devastating decisions that cause them to live with the consequences of their sin, sometimes for an entire lifetime?


Few of us wake up one morning and decide to plunge with both feet into sin.  It is usually a subtle process that requires us to bend our standards a bit in order to sustain a certain need.  The Enemy knows us very well and knows the things that can cause us to take the first step in the path towards sin.




Rejection is an ugly word that if not handled properly can cause a catabolism of something even more ugly.  No one wants to be rejected because it makes him or her feel unloved, unwanted, and worthless.  In many cases, the one being rejected is not the only one who knows – depending on the public knowledge of the relationship, they will find themselves having to explain to others how they failed and were not worth their partner or friend holding on to.  Relationships end, and sometimes it has nothing to do with the person being rejected.  Sometimes it was just not meant to be, or the Rejecter has issues to deal with.  Once your heart is broken you can allow time to heal, or you can rush out and prove to the world that you are not repulsive.  Sometimes it is the common rebound relationship, or as severe as a meaningless fling.  You can try to ease the pain of rejection with a quick fix, but unless you deal with it on your own with a clear head, you may end up regretting whatever you did to medicate.


The breakdown of relationships seems to be a time when people, religious or not, start giving their spiritual life more serious thought.  Hurt and confused they realize that they do not have it all together and that there is more to life.  Where they go from there depends on their desire for truth, or if it’s just another temporary fix.


Following a break-up, a lot of people don’t really care what happens to them.  As far as they are concerned, the worst has already happened so they don’t consider what a kind of an effect their bad decisions will make on them in the future.  You must know at least one person who is or was in this position – do you really want to end up like them? Ask yourself what would be better for you, dealing with your pain and getting on with your life, or medicating the problem NOW and living with the consequences (another broken heart, unwanted pregnancy with no spousal support, STD, etc.)




All your life you have tried to live right and obey God.  You are waiting and hoping for him to reward you with someone special in your life, yet no one seems to come.  Maybe you are looking around your church at the handsome, newly divorced man who already has a beautiful new woman in his life.  Or maybe it’s the young unmarried couples who are living together and planning to get married that make you wonder why you are bothering to play by the rules if everyone else seems to be getting away with it?


At this time in your life you are very vulnerable to the open arms of a man.  The arms of the right kind of guy aren’t bad, but often in this situation it’s the wrong ones who are there waiting.  Most guys love to help a woman in distress but some use it to their advantage.  Many a lonely woman has wound up in terrible relationships because the wrong guy happened to sense weak prey at the time and knew exactly what to do to lure her in.  Maybe they don’t do it intentionally; maybe they consider it normal to befriend a lonely young lady.  But unless you are secure with yourself and God it may not be a good time to jump into a relationship.  Why? Loneliness can cloud your logic and bend your standards.  While at one time you had no desire to date a twice-divorced man with three children, now that you have nothing else it may not look so bad.  It is so important to not allow your circumstances to change your standards.  If you haven’t already, make a list of the things you need in a husband, and a list of the things you do not want.  It will be there to remind you when someone comes along whether they are what you need in your life or not.  Everyone I have asked is in agreement that a person is better off alone than with the wrong person.  So to be fair to yourself and to the guy in question, don’t get involved simply because you need someone to talk to or there’s no one better around.  Even if your only intention is to be friends, chances are this guy’s intentions aren’t and more often than not you will find yourself drawn into an unwanted relationship.


Lacking respect/love/appreciation


Since this segment is directed at the attached women – married or in a committed relationship I have included commentary for the guys.  If there were men reading, I would encourage you to consider these things for the woman in your life.


Just because someone is in a committed relationship does not guaranty they are happy.  What started out blissful can grow drab and even resentful the longer people go without communicating clearly.  When we have a need or needs that aren’t being met we want our man to find out how he can meet them and make us happy.  If they are completely oblivious to the fact that our needs are going unmet, or have little intention of doing anything to fix it, it makes us increasingly susceptible to having our needs met somewhere else.


I’m sure a lot of men thought they would not cheat on their wives when they looked at them on their wedding day, enjoyed a beautiful honeymoon and started a new life together.  But once she started criticizing her husband to her friends and even in public, nagging him, and withholding sex, that girl at the office who respected and appeared willing to do anything for this guy looked that much more inviting.  It is same for women.


Like all people we have a desire to be wanted and needed – notice I said “be” needed and wanted rather than “feel”.  To be wanted and needed means this is being communicated to us, then the feelings will follow.  Women are stimulated more by what they hear.  A woman can’t depend on the time six months ago her man told her he loved her, or took her out to dinner without her asking, to carry her through.  If a man desired to be respected and desired by his wife, he would want her to show it on a regular basis, not be “expected” to know how she felt because she had told him or showed him, say a month or so ago.


Both men and women tend to take their relationships for granted; after all they assume that person will always be there.  However, it should be the other way around, where everything else takes second place to the relationship. 


There are guys who are just waiting to pounce as soon as a woman indicates she is having problems in her relationship.  Few men will hit on a healthy, happily married woman.  But a woman with a troubled relationship is a woman who is unfulfilled, vulnerable, and craving love and affection.


The worst thing a girl can do in this situation is to confide in another man about her relationship problems.  Even if he isn’t specifically setting out to destroy a marriage, the emotional bond that is formed by crying on some guy’s shoulder is hard to break.  The best one to talk to in this case is God.  God is seldom the first we talk to and often the last in many situations.  We exhaust all our other resources first then come running to him.  Ask God to examine your heart and show you things that are not right with you.  Every story has two sides so it is important that all the while you are lamenting about your needs being unmet, it may be likely his needs are being unmet too.  Next, talk to your husband or boyfriend.  It would be nice if guys could immediately pick up on the fact we are unhappy, but if they don’t we have to say something.  It is unfair to expect them to read our minds.  After this, two things can happen: you can begin to work on your relationship together, OR nothing will change, he will put no effort into making you happy.  If this is the case you might want to consider counseling.  Sometimes it takes something big to make a guy realize there is a problem and he better start cooperating.


Guys, the best thing you can do for us is as simple as listening and doing the things we ask for (within reason – I’m not saying to go out and buy her a new car if she insists this is the only way she will feel loved).  You know how you feel when your wife cooks your favorite meal for you, brags about you to her friends, or just tells you how attracted she is to you? That is how we feel when you do things as simple as calling us during the day just to say hi, arranging a night to go out for dinner and talk, or just holding our hand or stealing a kiss in public to show others you love us and want everyone to know.  That is it takes!


Feeling unattractive 


Women care a lot about their appearance – the media is geared towards that! Have you ever gone out one day feeling confident and attractive, then saw the tall, fit blonde buying fruits and vegetables in the grocery store and instantly felt inadequate?


These feelings can pave the way for destructive behavior.  Credit cards get maxed out trying to keep up with the newest styles.  Some women skip meals and work out until they pass out just to lose some weight.  Others develop eating disorders, and their views about themselves are so distorted that even at 90 lbs they still see an overweight girl.  Then there is plastic surgery, which can be anything from a minor improvement to sticking big chunks of foreign material in your body.  And no matter what, there will always be someone else prettier, with a better body, nicer clothes and more money.  Check out  http://www.thejennylee.com/transcript_from_larry_king_live.htm for an extreme example of how no amount of plastic surgery is ever enough.


God also doesn’t make mistakes – you are fearfully and wonderfully made.  While you may not like your short legs and wide hips, someone else may not like their tall, skinny boyish figure.  You would trade your stick-straight hair for your friend’s naturally wavy hair, while she is fussing with a hot iron every morning just to tame it down.  The best thing you can do for yourself is improving your health, physically and emotionally. 


In conclusion, the more we focus on God’s best for us, rather than our wants and the world’s demands on us, the more happier, healthier and on the path of God’s will, we will be – a much better place than living with the consequences of our bad choices.

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.   Proverbs 31:30


Wolf in Sheep's Clothing

When bad guys happen to nice women.


I realize this situation can be and often is reciprocal with bad women happening to nice men, however, since I am a women I can only speak from my point of view, based on my own experiences and experiences of others.


Firstly, what is a "bad guy"? A bad guy is someone that you're with whose characteristics you really do not like.  And that does not include him not picking up his dirty socks, not buying you flowers, etc.  These characteristics include much of what my "10 Calling Cards of Mr. Wrong" covers: dishonest, disloyal, bad temperament, abusive, etc.


So if a woman doesn’t like the man she’s with, why does she stay? Further to the subtitle, bad guys don’t just “happen” to nice women.  A woman who not only allows a man like this into her life but also allows him to stay has issues inside that made her vulnerable to the situation she got herself into.  If a man you didn’t know walked up to you in the street and started yelling at you, cutting you down, and maybe even hit you, what would you do? Probably run away and call the police.  But for some women this man is actively involved in their lives and they are allowing the abuse to continue.


I am not going to dive too far into the psychology behind abusive relationships as I have been fortunate not to experience this, and therefore do not have knowledge on this topic to share.  I will stick to the basics for now, things many women can relate to.


A woman with a bad self esteem or a history of rejection is a prime target for these bad guys.  The lower she feels about herself, the more vulnerable she is going to be to a man.  For maybe the first time, a guy pays attention to her and is interested in her.  He wants to spend time with her.  And instantly she is drawn in because finally she has found what she’s looking for.  These men tend to be pretty manipulative when it comes to finding their “prey”.  They know exactly what buttons to push and are not afraid to push them.  They tell a woman what she wants to hear; unlike a decent honest guy who will not tell a woman he loves her unless he means it.


As a child I often felt lonely and “different”.  From a young age I was a dreamer and a romantic.  I longed to find someone who loved me and wanted to be with me.  Rejection from what I thought were nice, Christian guys created wounds that took a while to heal.  So desperate for love and attention I would put so much into a relationship, hoping only to be loved and promised that we would be together forever.  That was all I wanted.  But being met with rejection a few times and having my hopes shot down I grew numb and skeptical, and therefore opened myself up to others who didn’t have my best intentions in mind. 


I thank God that he not only removed the “bad guys” (by intense conviction of the Holy Spirit and causing me to see things so bad I could not ignore…) but he also removed what I believed were “good guys”.  Just because they were professing Christians and had a stable job did not make them good.  But when you are a Christian woman wanting a good husband and are surrounded with mostly non-Christians, a guy who simply goes to church is perceived as a “catch”.  Knowing what I know now about two particular fellows, who over 6 years ago I felt were perfect and could not understand why God would take them out of my life – I understand that even though we may be blind, and especially when we are blind, God sees the whole picture and he works ALL things for the good of those who love him, even though it might not make sense at the time.


Instead of looking to outside sources to heal my wounds, I should have first looked inside.  God has promised that he will fulfill our every need; still we find he doesn’t fill us quite as fast as we’d like and therefore take matters into our own hands.


And don’t be deceived – the enemy loves to damage others.  He can and will use people to accomplish that for him.  He sees the way we fuss over our make-up and hair in the morning, or the way we look sadly at another happy couple.  He is the father of lies and is a master of deceit.  From the beginning of time he’s specialized in making us want something that is harmful to us, simply by playing on our weaknesses.


Despite what women go through in destructive relationships, a lot of them stay because of the strong emotional bond that has formed.  The man or even themselves may have convinced them that they will never do any better.  They may be afraid of being alone.  They may downplay how they feel or what they are going through in order to justify and accept it.  They will allow their man to mistreat them or hurt them repeatedly until something snaps, usually not from what anyone else says, but that they realize how wrong it is and they cannot take it anymore.


To most women, a good partner is their essential goal.  We feel like we can conquer the world with a man at our side.  We will do almost anything to make it work and that is why it is so hard to walk away – in our eyes it is the admittance of the utmost failure especially if family and friends have warned us.  Pride, and the fact that the words, “I know what I’m doing”, “You don’t understand” and “It’s my life” or some like it have crossed our lips will be one more thread in the web of destruction, holding us securely in place.


Depending on the severity of your bad self-esteem, if it is hurting you not only inside but now is affecting you on the outside by attracting wrong relationships, it is time to get help.  It may be as simple as finding a female accountability partner who you can go to when you’re feeling tempted to be with one of these “wolves”.  You need someone to remind you of the harmful consequences that lie ahead of you if you don’t run away.  Or, it could be as major as to having to talk to a pastor or a counselor if you are unable to beat it on your own.  In many ways the desire for love and attention can be like any other addiction such as alcohol, drugs and gambling, that you are rendered helpless with.


A great resource is Shannon Ethridge’s Every Woman’s Battle.  A review can be found in the Books section of this site.  It explains clearly how the emotional bond involved in these relationships makes them the most destructive and hardest to get away from.


Playing with Fire

Now Joseph was well built and handsome, and after a while his master's wife took notice of Joseph and said, "Come to bed with me!" But he refused. "With me in charge," he told her, "my master does not concern himself with anything in the house; everything he owns he has entrusted to my care. No one is greater in this house than I am. My master has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?" 10 And though she spoke to Joseph day after day, he refused to go to bed with her or even be with her.

One day he went into the house to attend to his duties, and none of the household servants was inside. She caught him by his cloak and said, "Come to bed with me!" But he left his cloak in her hand and ran out of the house. Genesis 39: 6-11

The story of Joseph and Potiphar’s wife is one of the greatest examples of how we are to handle temptation.  Joseph explained himself once.  As she persisted day after day he told her no.  Finally, she grabbed him and left him no other option but to run.

Too many times, we, as women wonder how we managed to get ourselves involved in such messes.  Too many times, if we had just ran when the heat turned up, things would have been okay.

Instead, we picked up the phone when we were lonely.  We responded to that flirtatious email.  We got drawn into the compliments because it had been so long since we felt attractive.  Like any sin, it starts off as “just a little” until we have got ourselves in so deep we cannot get out.  You have heard the old saying – “If you play with fire, you’re going to get burned.” And that is exactly what happens.  Few people are able to toy with sin and come out unscathed.

Here is another story, but with a less happy outcome:

One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful, and David sent someone to find out about her. The man said, "Isn't this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite?" Then David sent messengers to get her. She came to him, and he slept with her. (She had purified herself from her uncleanness.) Then she went back home. The woman conceived and sent word to David, saying, "I am pregnant."

So David sent this word to Joab: "Send me Uriah the Hittite." And Joab sent him to David. When Uriah came to him, David asked him how Joab was, how the soldiers were and how the war was going. 8 Then David said to Uriah, "Go down to your house and wash your feet." So Uriah left the palace, and a gift from the king was sent after him. But Uriah slept at the entrance to the palace with all his master's servants and did not go down to his house.

 When David was told, "Uriah did not go home," he asked him, "Haven't you just come from a distance? Why didn't you go home?"

Uriah said to David, "The ark and Israel and Judah are staying in tents, and my master Joab and my lord's men are camped in the open fields. How could I go to my house to eat and drink and lie with my wife? As surely as you live, I will not do such a thing!"

Then David said to him, "Stay here one more day, and tomorrow I will send you back." So Uriah remained in Jerusalem that day and the next. At David's invitation, he ate and drank with him, and David made him drunk. But in the evening Uriah went out to sleep on his mat among his master's servants; he did not go home.

In the morning David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it with Uriah. In it he wrote, "Put Uriah in the front line where the fighting is fiercest. Then withdraw from him so he will be struck down and die."

 So while Joab had the city under siege, he put Uriah at a place where he knew the strongest defenders were.  When the men of the city came out and fought against Joab, some of the men in David's army fell; moreover, Uriah the Hittite died.  1 Samuel 11:2-16

Did David, a “man after God’s own heart” ever think he would get a married woman pregnant, much less commit murder? Probably not.  But it was that one time he didn’t walk away that opened the door for much worse to happen.

I realize I am addressing the ladies and the only biblical examples I have are about men.  Nowadays, sexual temptation is still thought of as a man thing, when sexual temptation is a very real thing for women.  Sometimes it is even more destructive, because with most women sex has an emotional foundation that is hard to break.  A man doesn’t lead a married woman to cheat simply because of passion alone, it is usually a process.  Anyone who has been unfaithful to their partner or even tempted to be unfaithful probably recognizes the pattern: Woman needs comfort because of ongoing problems with spouse, or her needs aren’t being met.  Man comes along offering to be a friend and support.  Woman confides in man (not her husband) and feels more emotionally attached and open to him.  Man #2 is meeting needs better than her husband and so, an affair is born.

This can happen with unmarried gals, too, especially when we are lonely.  Our intentions usually are good – we just want a friend.  But if it’s the wrong kind of friend, someone who doesn’t have our best interests in mind, it can become so destructive to our emotional health we’ll be wishing our life were lonely and boring again!

I know it is hard to feel lonely, or when your boyfriend or husband isn’t there for you.  I know how easy it would be to reach out to that handsome coworker for some comfort.  But you’re only masking a problem with a bigger problem.  Talk to your husband or boyfriend and tell him how you’re feeling.  You don’t need to tell him that you are attracted to someone else that can be saved for a female accountability partner.  But most of all, talk to God.  He was tempted many ways at his weakest point and he understands.  Also, only he can give you the comfort that no one else can give – you just have to believe and give him a chance.  Living a holy life does not mean you have to memorize the bible and pray ten hours a day.  It means doing the simple things to keep you on track.

Love must be sincere.  Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.  Romans 12:9

I love how it doesn’t say, “do” what is good; rather, “cling to” what is good, the way you would hang onto a dear friends hand to keep them from being swept away in a current.  In many ways, peace and guilt free living can be the dearest friend of all.

 My Deliverer


For the first few years of my adult life I had a very bad run with relationships.  I used to lie in bed at night and envision myself in a deep, dark well, waiting for the right man to come along and pull me out.  Eventually he did come, and it was Jesus.


Although I have been a Christian most of my life, Jesus wasn't a huge part of it, which would explain why I looked to relationships to fill that gap inside and make me happy.  After facing one failure after another I finally realized that I was putting my hope in the wrong things and started putting my hope in God.


But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:33


Anything we pursue on our own strength, from relationships to ministry will be met with failure, burn out or unfulfillment.  If God isn't in it, we can only get so far.  And this does not only apply to Christians.  Many non-Christians feel a similar emptiness no matter how much money or prestige they have.  You have probably heard of celebrities who give it all up to follow Christ because nothing else made them happy.


Our human nature is so opposite to what God would have us be.  Everything inside us fights against good and becoming Christ like.  Even the Apostle Paul, one of the greatest missionaries in history who was persecuted, tortured, and eventually killed for his faith wrote about how what he wants to do, he cannot do it, and testified to the sin living in him.  For most, living the way God wants us to and allowing him to align our will with his takes a lifetime.  It is no mystery why a lot of strong Christians who learn early in life to do this are taken from the earth at a fairly young age - they have already won the race and are getting their reward.


Falling in love makes us very vulnerable, depending on how long we have been single and how lonely we are.  While we are to be seeking God's comfort we look for the quick fix...men who will love and be there for us.  Sometimes the desire for that is so strong it causes us to ignore the one who we should really be looking to for love and essentially we miss what God really has set out for us.


The longer you go between prayer time and reading the bible, the more susceptible you are to make the wrong choices either in choosing a partner or with what you do with him.  For most of us, a 15-minute devotion in the morning doesn't cut it for spiritual growth.  Depending on how far away from God you are, you may have to check in hourly...whenever you feel tempted to stray.  All it takes is a thought, and if we don't look to God and ask for strength to block it we have already started downhill.  Don't be deceived, on bad thought will lead to an action if you let it, and will cause a chain reaction depending on how far you let it go.


The more you make an effort to make Jesus the biggest part of your life the easier it will become.  Praying will be like second nature, and when things go wrong instead of feeling sorry for ourselves and confiding in friends, we will run straight to him to help ease our pain. 


He is waiting for you.  He loves you unconditionally and is the lover that doesn't have to be pursued.  You never have to doubt his love and devotion for you and never have to be afraid of being betrayed by him. 


All you have to do is take that first step, and keep up with it.  He will always help you along the way!


The Dating Game


Although this has gone on forever, I really only came to notice it a few weeks ago.  It seems nowadays that relationships are like the typical romance novel, without the happy ending.  Two people meet and appear to really like each other.  They spend a lot of time together until their relationship escalates into something more serious.  At that point some sort of problem or problems arise and they go their separate ways.  Now in the books, once they part they realize how much they miss each other and get back together for good.  But in real life that doesn't seem to happen as much.  That could be why there are so many people in their late 20's, 30's and early 40's still unmarried.


Dating used to be a preliminary to marriage.  Now it has taken on a whole slew of different objectives: just friends (i.e. I want to spend time with you with no commitment until someone better comes along), casual dating (where you are romantically involved but there is and will not be a commitment) to name a few.  This becomes incredibly confusing to the other party who is hoping that the relationship will amount to a lot more.  If not, what really is the point?


Dating can be misleading.  Now when you call a member of the opposite sex, go out for coffee, dinner, a movie, etc. and your intentions have to be defined.  Whereas once, asking someone out usually meant you were interested in getting to know them better, now it is a little blurred.  I have made the mistake of playing dumb and remaining friends with someone who I knew wanted more, and in the end caused a lot of hurt.


Another frustrating characteristic of love and dating derives from the old cliché of playing hard to get.  This is a lot more common than people think, and often it is not intentional, it is just human nature.  As children we always wanted most what we could not have.  Things haven't changed a lot since then.


Few people are willing to put their heart on their sleeve anymore and lay on the line how they feel and what they want.  Almost always it sets them up for rejection because it seems too easy.  However, once that person quits calling and starts pursuing someone else, then watch the first person's interest turn back on! It is a frustrating thing for someone who is open and upfront to be led on by someone who is standoffish and evasive.


A parallel to this is our relationship with God.  Few of us are wholly devoted to him, spending as much time trying to love him as he does us.  He is always there for us, and therefore we take it for granted. Unlike a potential date, he will never walk away from us.  Only we grow distant from him.  And once we do we sense that emptiness and the feeling we are losing something we come running back to him.


If you find someone you like who is true, hold onto them and don't play games.  And never hold back how you feel.  You don't have to spill your entire guts but you should always remind them how special they are to you, and why.  Even though you might have told them before, it warms the heart like nothing else to be told again, and to keep telling.


Life is way too short to play games.  Don't waste your time on someone who won't return your affections and don't waste other's time pretending to like them when you do not.  It is far easier to be upfront in the beginning than letting someone get attached to you and have to let him or her go.


Do not be deceived, marriage is completely different from dating.  It is a friendship, a partnership, and a romance.  If you love someone but can't get along with him or her, or can't work together then the love part probably won't last.  If there is a strong friendship and partnership from the beginning then even if some days you are furious at each other you still have that foundation to hold you up.


Nothin' But Feelings


Feelings are deceiving, plain and simple.  We have all had strong feelings about something with little or no basis and then found out we were wrong.


Relationships play a big part in this.  Many have been in bad relationships but felt they were unable to leave because they feel so strongly for the person.  This prolongs the inevitable.  Or a person in a good relationship may not want to take it to the next level because the feeling they think they are supposed to have isn't there.


I remember a couple that were friends with my parents.  They seemed head over heels in love and were always hanging on each other and using pet names.  It made my folks, who are a more conservative pair a little sick.  A few years later, the husband met someone else who blew his mind and they divorced.  My parents, who never display public affection or talk sweet to each other are still going strong after almost 35 years.


There is no formula for success.  The best we can do is use our common sense and chose a mate who is a good match.


Recently my brother and his girlfriend got engaged.  When I asked how he knew it was time to get married he responded that he felt she was as good as it gets.  No over evaluating and complicating matters.


In the bible, a man taking a wife was also not a complicated process.  He would simply choose a woman he felt was suitable for him.  As an aside, Paul and his followers would often make a decision because they felt it was the right thing to do.  No thunderbolts, no sparks, and no miraculous revelations.


Emotional people tend to feel strongly and fall hard because they don't think logically.  They base their conclusions on their feelings and very little fact.  They disregard common sense and go based on how they feel.  Throw Christianity and spirituality into the mix and you have a dangerous combination.  You have a person making choices because they feel it is from God.  Despite popular belief, a strong, peaceful feeling does not necessarily follow making a decision to follow God’s leading.  Many times it takes a whole lot of faith and we go walking into battle, shaking in our boots.  It isn't until after we see that God was behind it all along, and all we had to do was keep walking forward.


Our apprehension about big decisions, specifically marriage is often fueled by fear, whether it is of commitment, change, things not working out, etc.  We may expect everything to fall in place first before we make a move, but, the truth is often God doesn't move until we take a step first.


Not to say you plunge headfirst into decisions whether you feel right about it or not.  You use your common sense to determine am I afraid for a logical reason, or is it a phobia that I have to get through?


Do you think someone who is afraid of heights will ever overcome their fear by staying on solid ground?


I am a bit of a loner and enjoy my free time.  Often I feel I have to push myself to get out there and socialize otherwise I am going to be a very lonely person.  Yes, some nights I would rather sit home where it's comfortable and quiet, but being alone and in my comfort zone is a high price to pay for missing opportunities to develop lasting friendships.  Eventually people quit calling and the opportunities become very few and far between.


Next time you think you need to feel the sparks before you make a commitment, remember a disaster relationship you had where you had those sparks.  Obviously they didn't mean anything, and if anything were more of a hindrance than a help.


A good mate is hard to find, harder if you are waiting for everything to be how you want it.  God gives us blessings and we miss out when we don't take them.  Don't be misled into thinking he will force his will on you.  His will is that we love him, serve him, and put him first. 


For the rest of life, we are faced with decisions that we have the ability to make, based on the brain God gave us.  The bible calls for us to chose a mate who is a believer.  We can figure out what we do and don't want.  A Christian who is backslidden, liberal minded, has no integrity, lukewarm etc. probably wouldn't be a good match for someone desiring to grow in Christ.  At the same time, a person who loves God, is sincere in their faith, and loves you unconditionally is a rare and valuable find.


Maybe you are comparing yourself to others out there who found someone who was the perfect fit for them and are hoping for the same.  But we are all different and have different feelings, and not everyone feels exactly the same about everything.  Making a decision based on logic is a lot smarter than one based on feelings.  Feelings can lie, but logic doesn't.


I didn't feel at peace about going back to school, in fact, I dreaded it.  Not because I didn't like what I would be studying but because I did not want to invest two years of time and money for something that was new and foreign to me.  However, when I looked at the bigger scheme of things I knew I did not want to be at the same job the rest of my life, and I knew deep down that taking this course was something I wanted to do.  So even though I still have my apprehensions, I know they are based solely on fear.  I keep plugging along.  If I had waited for God to push me through I would still be waiting.  I believe he opened the doors for schooling but I had to walk through.


In the same way, are you apprehensive about marriage? Are you afraid to leave your comfort zone until everything is perfect? Have you been waiting and maybe passed up opportunities? Are you willing to keep waiting and possibly give up the opportunity to spend your life with someone who loves you, and have children and eventually grandchildren? If you are holding off out of no other reason than fear, that irrational fear will govern you and cheat you out of a happy life.  Don't think it cannot happen to you - I have seen it happen in my extended family and my church.  Just like eventually the phone will quit ringing if I don't take the plunge and get out there to be with people, your opportunities will stop!


Some have chosen not to get married, and this is a personal choice.  They are fine with that and feel they are more effective for Christ as a single.  However there are some who haven't settled down yet and use the excuse that maybe God wants them single.  Still, they still long to be married! God knows the desires of your heart, and I don't believe they are there only to go unfulfilled.


We don't have a lot of time on the earth, too little to let it waste away on a mindset.  God gives us marriage as a gift to make this bleak life a little more exciting and less lonely.  Don't let your feelings decide your fate.


Beauty Secrets the World Won't Sell You


I got inspired to write about this after wasting hours online shopping, only to decide I really didn't need the stuff I was looking at and not buying anything.  Or I have been motivated to go to the mall to update my look according to the fashion changes, and end up leaving discouraged because I didn't necessarily like the new styles and trends, they didn't suit me, etc.


I have bought several colors of eye shadow at any given time only to conclude I look a lot better without it, that shadowed eyes makes me look cheap and fake.  I have polished my nails only to scrub it off moments after it dried.  And forget about lipstick, unless it flaking off and getting on my teeth is a nice look.


After all this trouble I come to the same conclusion over and over again - the importance and freedom of being myself. 


Beauty Secret #1 - You don't need clothes and make-up to make you more beautiful.


Looking like a trophy girlfriend or wife may earn you popularity and attention,  but is it from the people that you really want to be with? Now there is nothing wrong with dressing nice and applying make-up if you feel comfortable with it and enjoy it.  But there is something wrong with it if you're only doing it to impress others and become something you're not.


Despite popular belief, men aren't necessarily attracted to the beautiful, high maintenance girl - in fact, she intimidates a lot of guys.  I have heard more men than not say they prefer a woman who doesn't wear make-up to one who does.  Have you ever seen attractive guys with plain looking girls or vice versa and wondered, "What is he doing with her?" Obviously, he sees an inner beauty in her that shallowness will keep us all blinded. 


Several of my girlfriends have commented that they aren't attracted to a guy until he opens his mouth - vulgarity, negativity, even popping a cigarette in instantly turns the most attractive guy ugly.  Now men in general are a little different, as they tend to be more stimulated by what they see; however, I also know several guys who love the Lord that are not interested in a beautiful girl with a filthy mouth or a bad attitude.


My father always tried to enforce the importance of dressing modestly.  Although I admit I haven't always done it, I can see how critical it is when dating.  As a teenager you never believe what your parents say, you believe your friends.  He told me that the way I dressed determined who would and wouldn't be attracted.  The wrong guys would be attracted to the more suggestive clothing - the nice guys would actually be a little turned off of it. 


Beauty Secret #2 - Your body is a temple, take care of yourself.


Eating healthy, exercising, not smoking, having clean skin, shiny hair and good hygiene are all essential parts of natural beauty.  Not only do these lifestyle habits keep you looking healthy and at your best, exercise and healthy eating also prevents sickness and disease.


Beauty Secret #3 - SMILE!


The next best thing you can do for your looks is simply smile, and be kind. 


In a world where people walk around with frowns and hard looks on their face, and care about nothing but themselves, a smile or act of kindness will stand out.  You may even catch someone off guard.  Patiently waiting in a long line up, and being polite to the cashier when it's your turn, allowing a car to squeeze in front of you when he's trying to change lanes, waiting a few moments to hold the door open for someone who is coming in the store behind you are all simple acts of common courtesy that will not only make others feel good, but also yourself.


Material things are empty.  If they weren't, there wouldn't be so many new things coming out.  Until you can be satisfied with what you have, you will never be satisfied with anything. 


#4 Be yourself!


The greatest compliment I have ever gotten is that I am real.  Now I know me better than this person knows me, and I know I have my times of being a real fake, but being told this by another very real person motivates me to forget about impressing others and just be myself.  Even if you are no expert on human nature, you can probably see through certain people.  We used to call it the chameleon personality - adapts to their surroundings.


Not only will others see through it, you will feel uncomfortable in almost any situation, trying to be something you're not to be liked and fit in.  This unrest will follow you until you are content with yourself and not worried about what others think of you.  I know from experience it is a very liberating feeling to no longer try to live up to someone's standards.


Know yourself.  Know what you like and don't like.  Change things that will make you a better person, not things that you think will make others like you more.  A small part of why Christianity is so unpopular with the rest of the world is because it teaches you to put yourself last, and God first.  It takes even long time Christians a while to make this decision because human nature tells us to look out for number one.  But once we mature in our faith and see the importance of giving God control, he will take care of us and the rest will follow, without us fruitlessly worrying about having to take care of ourselves.


Unequally Yoked


Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? 2 Corinthians 6:14


As young girls we all had our ideals of what we wanted our future husband to be.  Some things included a Christian, a virgin, a good upbringing.


While there is nothing wrong with those standards, and if we can find that, that's great...but as we grow older we find most people have made mistakes, and people who have grown up in broken homes at no fault of their own.  Sometimes they can be the most humble and hungry Christians, because they have experienced brokenness and need God.  We can't write a guy off for his past (within reason, of course...if he's done hard time for murder I would think twice!) We wouldn't like our guy holding things we had done and mistakes we had made against us.


The qualities in a guy that I'm looking for have changed since I was in high school.  I never dreamed I would be unmarried in my late twenties, and never dreamed that my list would grow to include that I didn't want a man who had been divorced and/or has children.  This is a personal decision.  Some ladies have no problem with a guy's kids, or the fact he has an ex-wife.  But you yourself have to choose what you really want and not settle for anything less. 


However, wanting to marry a Christian is one standard that shouldn't be relaxed.  To most Christians I know, it's a given.  They won't even bother to date a non-Christian.  And that's where the weeding out should start.  It may seem harmless to go for a coffee with a non-Christian once, but it doesn't usually stop there, and before long you will find feelings developing and it is harder to let go.


"I'm spending time with a guy who says he wants to go back to church and wants me to help him come back to God."


This is a line.  He's throwing it out, hoping it will sound good enough for you to take the bait, and then he's going to hook you.  If someone truly wants to get their relationship back with God, they will seek it on their own whole-heartedly.  If they need someone for support I suggest finding him a strong Christian man, or pastor from the church to disciple him.


Often a guy will profess to be a Christian but his "fruits" (the things he does to show whether he's a Christian or not) will speak volumes.  If he pressures you to have sex or even sexual activity you may question where he stands with God.  If he insists on using bad language, especially God's name in vain, or loves to party he may not be the type of Christian you are looking for.


Now I know you all know someone who dated a non-Christian and as a result they came to know God.  This can and has happened.  All I can say is that you're treading on dangerous ground when you have a relationship with a non-Christian, especially one that shows no interest in becoming a Christian.


What are the dangers, you might ask?


A non-Christian will expect you to compromise your standards.

A non-Christian may prefer to sleep in on Sundays rather than to go to church with you, but if he compromises and goes he will expect you to compromise something you prefer not to do.  He doesn't understand the difference between preference and conviction, the fact you cannot do something because it's wrong.  While he may say he respects your decision to wait until you're married to have sex, he may still try to pressure you to do sexual things with him, as long as there isn't intercourse.  Don't be fooled.  You cannot play with fire without getting burned and it won't take long before you're having sex.  Almost every sin starts off small and subtle.  If it didn't, we would be able to recognize it quickly! Other things he may want you to do include: partying with him and his friends, skipping church or bible study to spend time with him (very common!), and as it gets more serious he may want you to move in with him.  Even the decision whether or not to have alcohol and a dance at the wedding is a battle.  It may offend your family, but that's not enough to stop him from wanting to show his family and friends a good time!


He may pretend to be a Christian so you will give him what he wants, or so you will marry him.

A lot of guys can do this and pull it off because women tend to be stimulated by what they hear and as long as you tell them what they want to hear, they will probably believe you (like a man telling a woman he loves her to get her into bed).  He may even justify it to himself by thinking "if I just do this", or see it as no different than converting to Catholicism in order to marry a Catholic girl.  They may see Christianity as a religion.  Hopefully he knows you well enough to know that it isn't a matter of joining a church or faith that makes him a Christian.


If you get married you will have no spiritual support.

A marriage relationship is one of the most intimate ones next to your personal relationship with Jesus.  I can't imagine what it would be like being married to someone


who I could not open and passionately talk about Jesus with, and him do the same.  Once you are married to him you don't have a lot of say in his buddies coming over to drink a case of beer, or if the kids want to stay home and watch football with Daddy instead of going to church.  Those are just a few of the many battles you can expect.


If you don't feel passionate about Jesus than being able to talk freely with someone about Him may not be a priority.  Again, it's what YOU want and need in someone, and not everyone is looking for the same thing.


His choices may not have a biblical foundation.

Some people, whether Christian or not, are good people with good integrity, and values are much like the values in the bible.  However, if someone makes their decisions based on what they want and what's good for them, chances are it isn't what God wants and what Jesus taught.  For instance, if cheating on his taxes meant a big tax refund, he may be tempted to do it, and may even justify that income tax is too high and that the government owes it to him.  Or on a small scale, he may keep the extra money that the cashier at Wal-Mart over changes him, or give a waitress a hard time for slow service when it's busy and demand a discount.  Unfortunately, the golden rule we learned in kindergarten, treat others how you would like to be treated, gets overridden by, if it feels good, do it.


"There are no Christian guys where I live.  I might as well date a non-Christian."


Searching for the right one is often like shopping for that perfect dress: you can spend a long time scouring the malls, trying on dresses that are close to what you want but find out they don't fit exactly how you pictured, only to leave empty handed and discouraged because of all the time you wasted.  Some may just get fed up at the end of the day and hurry up and buy the dress that was almost-right-but-not-quite and settle for that. 


OR you can take your repeated disappointments as a hint and quit trying so hard.  Have you even been sock shopping and then stumbled across a dress that just jumped out at you? This is often how love works.  When you aren't looking for it, it comes, or you discover that it's been under your nose all along and you were too busy looking from side to side to see what you already had in front of you.


Online Christian dating sites are packed with Christians from huge cities to small towns who are looking for the right one.  In a city of about eight million you would expect to find someone compatible, right? God isn't geographically limited, that's why a girl in Canada can hit it off better with a guy in Ireland than any other she's met in her hometown.  If God wants you to find that special person, He will bring them into your life at the right time.  Nothing you can do will change that, in fact, it often hinders it.  We get in a rush and settle for someone who isn't God's best, then miss out on the one He wanted to bring.


"If God wants me to be with someone, He will bring them into my life regardless of who I'm dating at the time."


Maybe.  But if you're distracted by what you think you want you often won't see what God wants.  And He gives us that thing called free will.  If we insist on settling for Mr. Mediocre, He may allow us to do just that without interfering.

And despite popular belief there isn't just one man and one woman for each other.  Essentially, God knows who will end up together, but we still have to make a choice based on what we need in a husband and the kind of person we want.  There may be many eligible bachelors, and just because we pick one and not the other doesn't mean eternal doom.

If we make a bad choice and are stepping into dangerous territory, I firmly believe that God will intervene convict us that this is not the person we are to be with.  Then it is our choice whether or not to listen.


"But I love him."

And that is the problem you get when you settle for less than what you really want.  You get strong feelings and it makes it harder to break away, despite what he's like or what he's done.  Why do you think women stick it out with men who hurt them, or forgive men who cheat on them? You need love to carry you through struggles but not when those struggles include hurtful and damaging things he is doing to you.  And love is not meant to make you see past what your heart really desires.  After the wedding is over and the fireworks fizzle out, you may grow to resent the man you settled for and wish you had never met him at all.


Finding the right one is tough, that is why we need God's help.  He knows who is right for us, and as long as we are prudent with whoever comes into our life (because not every person that comes into our life is from God, in fact, there are very few...the devil loves to throw a handful of monkey wrenches into the mix to throw us off track) and honest with ourselves than we can be confident to give up our search and leave it up to God.


If you stick around hoping things will change or trying to overlook it you are in a sense thumbing your nose at God.  He puts those signs there for you to get your attention and sticking around is like saying, "Thanks for the warning, God.  But I'll take it from here."  How many divorced people do you know have said, "There were signs before we got married", or, "I knew it was wrong, I just hoped it would change"?


There will be no room for adjusting the bible to what you would like it to read or ignoring your convictions.  If you don't like it, then walk away.  That's all there is to it.  But don't try to say "I'm a Christian, BUT..." and "I think this is okay and that's okay..." What you're saying is that God's laws are not important, and can be fitted to suit you.  Take it or leave it.