Regardless of the emotional state of your partner, your emotional health begins with a personal relationship with Jesus.
“In the end, people appreciate honest criticism far more than flattery” (Proverbs 28:23 NLT, second edition).
If you’re dating and you’re prolonging a relationship that you know is going nowhere, don’t continue it. “But I won’t have anybody to take me out on Friday night,” you say. A bad marriage is a million times worse than not going out on Friday night! The longer you’re in an unhealthy dating relationship, the more difficult it’s going to be to get out of it.
Proverbs 28:23 says, “In the end, people appreciate honest criticism far more than flattery” (NLT, second edition).
If the relationship is healthy, you should be able to ask each other the tough questions about any anger, resentment, or bitterness in your lives. I’d encourage you to talk about any hurts, habits, or hang-ups you have in your lives. If you can’t have these conversations with each other, that’s a huge warning sign about the relationship.
Regardless of the emotional state of your partner, your emotional health begins with a personal relationship with Jesus. If you don’t have that, you need to start there. You need to get spiritually connected to God.
Next I want to challenge you to commit yourself to God’s standard and not let your emotions sway you into making an unwise decision. It’s possible to think you’ve fallen in love when all you’ve really done is fall in love with the idea of being in love. And that may lead to a decision you’ll regret!
God knows you can get lonely, frustrated, tempted, or feeling like there’s no hope. But in Jeremiah 29:11, God says he’s working in your life to give you a hopeful future.
Don’t date until your own emotional hurts are healed or at least until you’re in the healing process. We’ve got to get rid of any bitterness in our lives. Get rid of any anger in our lives. In other words, we’ve got to deal with our own baggage. How do I do that? Get with God. Learn from Jesus.
I remember marrying a couple many years ago at Saddleback. About five years later we had them over for dinner. The woman told me, “When I walked down the aisle in that white dress, I had no idea that I was carrying an entire bag of emotional garbage on my back. And I took all that garbage into the marriage.”
Marriage does not create problems. It reveals them. The more you can deal with it before you get married, the happier, more God-honoring, and more fulfilling your marriage is going to be. You and your spouse will develop a deep soul intimacy that is personal, spiritual, even sexual. It is the oneness that comes from being unified by a relationship to God.
Talk It Over
What are the hurts, habits, or hang-ups you need to address before you get married? We all have hurts, habits, or hang-ups; ask God where you need healing and how he can help you do that.
How would your relationships change if you committed to God’s standards?
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This devotional © 2016 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.