Tag Archives: Relationships

Disappointments In Relationships – What To Know Before You End It

The truth is we live in a fallen world filled with flawed people. As such, in this life, it is not a matter of if we will deal with disappointments, it is a matter of when we will deal with them.

The truth is everyone is going to hurt you. You just got to find the ones worth suffering for – Bob Marley

A dire but commonly employed strategy for dealing with disappointment (especially in a relationship) is to try to avoid being disappointed in the future at all cost. This strategy calls for the tactics of putting massive walls around our hearts, looking for perfection, being overly sensitive and critical of mistakes, and withholding intimacy. These tactics so distance us mentally and emotionally from relationships, that we sacrifice real love and connection for the illusion of safety. The problem with this strategy for the person that employs it is that (1) it leaves a gaping hole in their heart and (2) it does not take away the relational desire. It is not unusual for a person who has employed this strategy to be plagued by bouts of melancholy and depression because they have starved themselves of one of the human basic needs – the need for a close relationship. I do not recommend this strategy but prefer the one of offering our disappointments to God that He may turn our hurt and pain into gain and glory.

We should neither set ourselves up for disappointments, nor try to avoid them – Anonymous

While there is an element of not setting ourselves up for constant disappointments by choosing our partners carefully, there is another element of expectations we must be careful to manage. Below are two expectations that set us up for disappointments.

Expecting Our Partners to Be Perfect

Born out of selfishness (for the person who expects perfection is themselves not perfect), this expectation looks to gain more than it gives in the relationship, and expects from the other person what they cannot give.  Asking someone for something they do not have the ability to give is a sure strategy to be disappointed.

Instead of expecting perfection, we are better off accepting their imperfection, just as we accept our own.

Expecting To Change Our Partners 

Born out of arrogance (for we try to do only what God can do), this expectation encourages the would be changer to alter the environment of their relationship to effect a change in their partner. Though it may start off lovingly, it usually reeks of manipulation, and will likely end up in frustration and disappointment for the one who engages in it.

Instead of trying to change our partners, we are better of praying to God that our hearts change towards our partners as He effects His change in His time on both us and our partners.

Disappointments are inevitable but discouragement in a choice – Charles Stanley

We tend to get discouraged when we think that things will not change. The thought that things will not change is what leads us to want to give up. It is what has led many people to divorce their partners or end relationships prematurely.

To think that things will never change is to limit the power of God. The root of this line of thinking is unbelief for it truly does not believe that with God all things are possible. Choose to think differently. Before pulling a plug on your relationship, consider these three things:

God Will Finish What He Started

And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns – Philippians 1:6

God is not done with our relationships yet. His heart is that relationships not only survive, but that they thrive. We must submit ourselves to Him so that He can finish the good work He has begun in us. As His hands mark our lives, so will it mark our relationships. It is a process – we must let God do His good work. Things will not always be the same in Him.

God Can Create A New Relationship With the Same People

But forget all that—it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland  – Isaiah 43:18-19

While people say “well if I tell you what happened”, God says “well if I tell you what I am about to make happen”. See if we knew the future God has planned for us, the past would not discourage us. Our plans compared to God’s plans are rubbish. It’s time to surrender our plans over to Him so He can create rivers of life giving water to sustain the relationships that have become dry wastelands

God Brings To Pass What We Commit To Him

That is why I am suffering here in prison. But I am not ashamed of it, for I know the one in whom I trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until the day of His return – 2 Timothy 1:12

Though you may feel you are suffering and serving a prison term in your relationship right now, understand that He is able to guard everything you entrust to Him. So entrust your relationship to Him and watch as He keeps it and guards it. With God as the guard, no enemy can penetrate. So let go of it and release it into His hands for safeguard. You will not regret it.

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5 Reasons Why Many Christian Guys Remain Single

DSingles1God has a sense of humor. When I wrote 5 Reasons Why Many Christian Girls Remain Single, I never meant to follow it up with the same topic directed at men. But God had other ideas! Two days ago, I decided not to listen to music as I normally do in the morning but turned the radio on, hoping to hear a sermon. What I heard as I scanned for the right channel was a reading from the expositor study bible from Son life radio station here in Baton Rouge.

The couple on the radio was reading from Genesis 24 – the story of how Eliezer (Abraham’s servant) took a wife for Isaac. That particular morning, the story gripped me in a way that I had hitherto experienced. I quickly jotted down what the message spoke to me and headed out to work. Later that day, I read the story of Eliezer again. This time, the reasons why many Christian men remain single became unequivocally clear.

He is Not Listening to God’s direction

When Abraham spoke to Eliezer, he specifically directed him to go back to his (Abraham’s) land and family to take a wife for Isaac. Without godly direction, many men simply guess at where they should go to take a wife. They travel here and there, chatting up wrong women after wrong women. By the time they actually get to the place God wants them, the stories of their travels have already reached the land. The women of the land are no longer interested because they do not feel special…they feel like common currency instead of a pearl of great prize. They think, I am one of many he could love, not the one that he loves. Moreover, the man starts to look desperate to them as they start to wonder why the other women did not pick the man up. Nothing puts off a woman more than a desperate man.      

But  guys who move with godly direction do not become unequally yoked with those from strange lands. They do not have to chase after another man’s future wife!  Instead they set their course to the land of God and to the house of God, which is now their house by birthright. Guys, that is the only place where we find the sister that the Lord has planned for us.

He is Not Prepared to Meet His Mate

When Eliezer left, he left with all his master’s goods…which he put on his camels. When we leave to find our beloved, we must not go empty-handed but must leave with the goods of God. We must carry with us the love of God and the gift of the Spirit of God. We must be ready to be a blessing to her instead of going empty-handed, having to ask for and live off some of her stuff. Men, it is extremely difficult for a woman to respect a man who is not ready – who is not ready to be leader, provider, spiritual leader, and godly man that he has been called to become. When we go to find our wives, we must pack our bags of goodies and go. If we have nothing to put in the goody bag, it is not quite our time…we still have some work to do.

He Has Not Positioned Himself in the Right Spot 

When Eliezer got to his destination with his goods in hand, he positioned himself in a spot by the well where he could see the women of the land. It is tragic to think that many godly guys – who are following the will of God and have readied themselves for marriage miss out because they do not purposefully hand around godly women. They expect God to drop a wife on their lap without looking. I wonder if Eliezer would have met Rebekah if he had not purposefully positioned himself to be able to observe the women.

Just as Eliezer did, we have to position yourselves in the right spot and then pray to God to show us which woman he desires for us. Too many good men leave too many good women single because they simply will not position themselves in the right spot. Then both the men and women say ‘there is no good man or women around, they are all taken! No, they are not all taken…they are simply in the wrong spot!

He Beats About the Bush

When Eliezer saw Rebekah, he did not hang around or beat about the bush, but the bible tells us that he ran to her. Men, we cannot become shy and coy when we see an all round desirable godly woman. She will not be at the well forever! She has other things to do and a purpose to fulfill. If you are Mr. Snail, then you may find that she is gone or disinterested by the time you sum up the courage to go to her.

This reminds me of the man who had been waiting to get into the pool of Bethesda for 38 years, who Jesus asked if he wanted to be made well. Instead of just saying yes, the first words that came out of his mouth were excuses! He was going to miss the opportunity to get well because he had pinned his hope on the waters!

Similarly, you cannot pin your hopes on the lady you so desire noticing you per chance as you beat about the bush. If you are going to pursue her, then pursue her!

He Never Made His Intentions Clearly Known

When Eliezer caught up to Rebekah and she had watered his camels, he made it known to her the intention of his actions and his visit. Alas, after positioning and pursuing, too many men miss out on destiny because they end up in the friendship zone! After getting the woman’s initial attention, they do not fess up to their hearts intentions out of fear of being rejected. So they end up being the best friends of these women…doing all kind of things for them…and then watch as other men swoop. Sadly, the woman who once saw you as husband potential starts to think you are not interested and starts to see you as a friend. Men, we have to tell her our intentions. The worst thing that can happen is that she is does not go with you. If she is not interested, it is not rejection, it is simply re-direction. So tell her what you intentions her! She will respect you even if she does not care to follow you!

Food for Thought: Instead of standing in hope, start walking in faith until you meet your destiny

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3 Simple Ways To Know If Your Man Really Loves You

I recently met a woman by the name of Renee (not her real name) who divorced her husband after a few months of marriage. Though she said that she was over the relationship, the pain and hurt she still felt came through loud and clear as she spoke of their relationship. Her words were saying one thing but her heart was revealing quite another. When I asked if she saw any sign’s of trouble prior to the marriage, she said no. She said to me, Emmanuel, it is as if he changed into a completely different person. He said all the right words and did all the right things before we got married. I thought he truly loved me.

The statement, I thought he truly loved me, hit me hard like a swift punch to the solar plexus! They were the same words that an ex had spoken to me when we broke up many moons ago (my fault for the record). After a  few moments of silence, I was able to say to her:  Love is more than a feeling, is not confirmed by words, and it reaches beyond the boundary of actions. Love gives but expects nothing in return. Just because an action reflects love does not mean the action comes from a heart of love. The heart of love gives and expects nothing back in return. The heart of fear always wants something in return, but there is no fear in love! Did he marry you because he truly loved you or because you were great to him, filled a hole in him, and he was afraid of losing you?

She replied, I liked that I meant something to him (filled a hole in him) and that he wanted to keep me! What is wrong with that? I said, I do not know your full situation, but could it be that his affection towards you was triggered only by what you could do for him? His shower of love towards you and his sacrifice, was it because you met his needs? Though it seemed all about you, was it truly all about him? As she pondered the questions, I continued, it is not the what that matters most, it is the why that matter most!

She said, what are the reasons a man should love me? I replied, let us see why Jesus loved us and gave himself for us:

Ephesians 5: 25 -29:  Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church.

He wants you to be one with him in the Lord

A man who loves you continually works to strengthen the cord of love that exists between you and him. He does this by growing his relationship with the Lord and being a spiritual leader of the household. He understands that there is no way both of you can walk in agreement with each other unless you make Jesus the center of your lives. So he initiates open and honest conversation. He asks you to do nothing that is contrary to the way of the Lord and does not even put you in those situations. You are praying and seeking God together with the kind of man.

 

He wants you to be the best you can be

A man who loves you is one who wants you to walk in the purpose to which God has called you. He wants you to be the best that you can be. And he walk’s foreign lands if he has to! He wants you to live a significant life and makes you priority. A man who loves you will meet you where you are and will always strive to get you to a better place. Think of the Samaritan woman who drank of the water of the words of Jesus. She instantly turned from an insignificant harlot who probably avoided people out of shame, to an outspoken evangelist. She went from being an outcast to someone who helped bring her entire village to the knowledge of God. That is what a man who loves does! He desires to help you reach higher spiritually, mentally, emotionally, intellectually, financially etc.

He wants you to fulfill your destiny

Just as Jesus wants us to wear a crown of glory when we get into heaven, a man who loves you will desire that you win the prize in your race of life; that you cross the finish line and fulfill your destiny. This means that he is sensitive to your needs and chooses for you to be his first priority. He considers your destiny in the decisions that he is making. Nothing is done selfishly. He wants to shine the spotlight on you so that you can receive honor. He is not one to want the limelight for himself. This is a man who is not jealous of your accomplishments and does not become insecure in your glory. He asks about your goals and dreams and supports you. He is your number one cheerleader.

Food for Thought: A man who loves you feeds you and cares for you in every way

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5 Reasons Why Many Christian Girls Remain Single

DSingles1In 2012 ,I was invited to be a member of a panel at a Christian singles conference. After speaking about living a purposeful life, and remaining pure in singleness, the topic of marriage invariably came up. A woman stood up and started pouring out her heart about how she desired a husband. How she was in her late thirties and did not want to be alone anymore. She said that she was on the verge of ‘settling’!

In an attempt to comfort her, an older woman whom we will call Sarah stood up and proclaimed that she was single at 60 AND had never married. Sarah started to encourage the younger lady. She said, look at me, I am 60 and not married but I will not settle. I want what God wants for me and will not settle for less. I have had many counterfeit men come into my life. Sarah then went ahead and started to rattle off about the men that had been potential suitors and what was wrong with them. As she spoke, somethings that seemingly escaped her started to become clear to those of us on the panel. She was to blame for being single at 60.

Here are some of the things we realized about Sarah that kept her single

Sarah wanted Jesus…not a disciple of Jesus…but Jesus Himself

Many women, like Sarah are looking for the perfect mate. They want someone who is going to complete them and be their everything! If this is you, then my question to you is this: If a man completes you and becomes your everything, then what position is Jesus taking in your life? Jesus is the one that completes you and is meant to be your everything. So, to look for completeness in a man is to make that man an idol in your life, it is to have put man above God! This will only lead to ruin because no man is perfect! Try as he might, he will disappoint you! So stop looking for someone who will not disappoint you over the lifetime you wish to be married…you will not find it. Even you, yes you…have and still disappoint many people…whether you realize it or not…whether you meant it or not. Instead of looking for perfection, look for someone who is striving towards perfection. This is a person that loves God and does not want to be conformed to the world but whose life’s purpose is to be transformed into the image of Jesus.

As my mom says, if you meet a person who is perfect, run away, for you will make imperfect whatever is making that person seem perfect.

Sarah saw herself as a princess, but she did not care to prince her man

There are many women who see themselves as awesome and incredible royalty. Many women say, I want to be treated like a princess! The issue is that they do not want their man to be a prince. They do not want to share any power or give up any control. Instead, they want their partners to take the position of a slave while treating them like a princess. The reason many women cannot let go of control is because of fear – perhaps due to not dealing with the hurts of past relationships. The moment the man does not give her the power she craves, she takes it as he not treating her like a princess and so searches for greener pastures. Conversely, many men see that while they are giving all they have, the woman is not following suit! Many women think that this is part of being pursued; many men simply see it as being disrespectful.

As a princess, you have to make sure you prince your man. Compliment him and let him know that you appreciate that he is being led by the King. Let go of the control. Taking a chance at love means you take a chance with your heart. This is because only the heart can feel love, not your head.

Sarah liked being pursued but did not want to be caught

In the bible, the servant of Abraham went to a land far away in pursuit of a wife for Isaac. When he got there, it was Rebekah that came to the well. When he approached, she did not play games and dilly-dally. No, she said that she would not wait as her family had requested but would follow Eliezer immediately back to Isaac. When Boaz pursued Ruth, Ruth decided to show her interest by laying at his feet. See, both Rebekah and Ruth showed interest. They did not play games or play hard to get.

Ladies, if a prince has found you, then admit it and go forward as long as you have God’s blessing. I am not saying be easy, but at the same time, do not be hard to get. Just as you are a gift to him, he is also a gift to you! If a man is pursing you, do not run him away with games.

Sarah was way too picky

Sarah did not want God to decide whom she should marry but decided on who she wanted to marry. In essence, she said: God, forget about who you desire for me, this is the person I want to marry…now make it happen! It was no longer God’s will for her life but her will for her life!

But does God not want to give us the desires of our heart? Yes…as long as it glorifies God. In fact, the scripture says: delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires. As you delight yourself in the Lord, you will find that His desires become your desire…thus your desire will glorify God!

You must believe right now that what God wants for you is better than what you could ever want for yourself in the long run. If he is not giving you your hearts desires, it may be because you are not ready to handle your heart’s desire. It may be because what you desire is not desirable!

Sarah wanted Boaz but wanted to remain a Delilah

Do not be like Sarah! Every potential suitor she met had some flaw that was fatal. One could not provide. Another could provide but was not attractive enough. A third was attractive and could provide but did not pay her enough attention. Yet, another paid her too much attention. She forgot that she was filled with flaws herself! She was so busy finding fault with everyone that she had no time to look at herself. She was so busy trying to find the speck in someone else’ life that she forgot that the log in her eyes was blinding her vision of the truth about herself. The truth that just like everyone else, she is imperfect and needs a savior as well!

Sarah could not understand why the one’s she thought were ‘perfect’ for her were not interested. Sarah, perhaps it is because they are not willing to ‘settle’ either.

I thank God that he did not wait for us to be perfect but settled for us. He wants us to settle for nothing less than Himself. This means that we have to take the reins off our own lives and surrender completely to His will. It seemed that Joseph settled for Mary when He married a pregnant girl…but He became immortalized in history because of it. Are you willing to settle for God’s best for you?

Food for Thought: Maybe I cannot find Mr.Right because I am wrong in the way I see relationships

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How Do I Guard My Heart (Part I) – The Word

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it – Proverbs 4:23 (NIV)

Proverbs 4:23 clearly says that the reason we should guard our hearts is because everything flows out of it. This scripture is further explained by Jesus when He tells us that ‘from within , out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness’ – Mark 7:21

Hence, we see that we must guard our hearts so that filth does not to flow into it. Why is this? It is because whatever flows into our heart will ultimately flow out of our hearts. Once filth flows into our hearts, it becomes sin and leads to sinful actions.

Now, while it is clear that we should guard our hearts away from the filth of the world, what is at times unclear is how we actually go about this. Should we keep lock ourselves up so we do not get contaminated by filth or is there another way? Here is the answers: The way we go about guarding our heart away from the world is by keeping our minds filled with the word of God. Since the mind is the gateway to the heart, whatever we keep in our mind will ultimately make its way to our heart. If we keep out mind filled with the word, our hearts will reflect the word of God and so we develop a heart that is akin to that of God.

Moreover, our mind is either being influenced by the world or it is being influenced by the word. By filling our minds with the word of God, there is no room for the world in there; hence we have effectively guarded our hearts from the world and its influences.  Put another way, by filling our heart with the word of life, we find that only life flows out of our hearts.

Light-bulb moment: An effective way to guard your heart is to fill your mind with the word of God

The alternative to guarding our heart with the word is trying to avoid the world. Doing life this way requires that we cease to be salt and light to a fallen world because everything in the world would cause us to backslide since there is no ‘word’ barrier. It is not the will of Jesus that we seclude ourselves away from the world. Jesus did not do seclude Himself but spent time with tax collectors and other marginalized people so that He could be salt and light to them. Furthermore, He said He does not want us to be taken out of the world but to be protected from evil (John 17:15). Why? It is because He wants us to influence the world by shining our light in the darkness – instead of hiding our light under a basket and away from the darkness.

Light-bulb moment: We should never turn the guarding of our hearts into something we force to happen instead of something that happens naturally as we spend time with God.

So how does God protect us from evil that works through people? He does this through the Holy Spirit via the spiritual gift of discernment. Thus, it is the Holy Spirit that protects us from evil. This is why Jesus prays to God that He protect us from evil. He does not pray that we protect ourselves from evil through our own prejudiced and experienced based thinking. Hence, just as Jesus kept away from certain men because he discerned their hearts (John 2:24), we must keep away from evil company through spiritual discernment – not experiential or cultural discernment.

To conclude, guarding our heart with the word allows us to insulate ourselves away from the effects of the turmoil of the world and the actions of people, without alienating ourselves from people out of fear. Since guarding our heart Jesus style allows us to be salt and light to the world, we see the guarding our hearts has everything to do with love and has nothing to do with fear.

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6 Relationship Lessons from ‘The Great Gatsby’

Be Yourself

Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio) portrayed himself as a rich when he first met Daisy – something he was not. In doing this, he misrepresented a part of himself that he did not like. In essence, he started off their relationship in a lie. As such, he had to become the lie he told in order to continue the relationship. Moreover, the person Daisy (Carey Mulligan) met was an idea of Jay instead of the real Jay. The real Jay was lost a long time ago in a fantasy world that He was willing to bring to reality no matter what the cost.

Fear and insecurity are the bedrock of lies when it comes to relationships. The moment you lie to yourself about who you are is the moment you begin to lose your identity. If you have misrepresented who you are to your partner, then what you have is the illusion of a relationship. In truth, your partner does not know you, so how can he or she ever truly come to love you? Moreover, the only reason you would ever try to be someone other than you is because you do not love yourself. If you do not like you, change you instead of pretending. It takes a lot of effort to be someone else and you will not be able to keep it up forever so do not even try it.

Building a relationship on falsehood is like building a house on sinking sand. No matter how majestic the building, it will not stand the test of time. If you are going to build something, build it to last. Start off by being yourself.

Take Time to Know Your Partner  

Jay thought that he knew Daisy but he did not. What he knew was an idea of Daisy he had concocted in his head. His own emotions – which he kept bottled up for years – blinded him to reality.

Likewise, it is likely that our partners can do no wrong when in the throes of infatuation at the beginning of the relationship. But the proof of love is not infatuation but sacrifice and commitment. These take time! While Jay was committed to Daisy, Daisy married Tom instead of waiting for Jay as she had promised.

If the love you have is true, then love waits. Conversely, self-interest cannot wait but always wants what it wants now. Remember this: Though you are riding off into the sunset with your knight right now, the horse will get tired at some point and you will have to get off. The ride is just the beginning of the journey. Make sure you have someone who wants to finish the journey with you and not just looking for a thrill ride.

Remember, the end of a matter is always better than its beginning (Ecclesiastes 7:8). Just wait!

Know what Motivates Your Partner

The love of money was what primarily drove Daisy and Myrtle (Isla Fisher). They could never be happy with anyone who did not have money – no matter how much that person loved them. Don’t get me wrong, Daisy and Myrtle wanted love, but they wanted it only if it came with a ritzy lifestyle. Money was their security and security was more important than love.

It is no wonder that money is the leading cause of relationship woes. Today, when most people say I love you, what they are really saying is ‘I love what you provide me and are able to do for me’. Love that is based on ‘what you have’ is not love but fear and greed in disguise for it is based on selfishness. Take this challenge: Go to your partner and ask what they love about you? Listen closely to the answer and see if he or she simply mentions what you are doing for them.

What you want is for someone to mention your character, your heart, your loving nature, your faith etc. You want him or her to mention things that have nothing to do with material things – the material things are simply perks. Only true love stands the ‘in sickness and in health’ test.

You cannot serve both God (love) and money (Matthew 6:24)

Forget the Past   

Instead of looking at the reality of the present, Jay Gatsby kept his focus on the past and tried to re-create the past. The reality was the Daisy was a married woman, but the lens of the past kept him seeing her as his sweetheart.

Holding on to the past will only lead you to miss out on a great future. The only way to let go of the past is to focus on the present. Focus on who you are right now and how you are changed instead of allowing the muck of your past to dictate your life.

Similarly, if your partner hurt you in the past, ask yourself this question: Is this the same person or is this a different person living in the same body? Trying to punish someone who has long since changed is akin to flogging a dead horse. It simply saps all your energy without yielding any fruit.

You and Your Partner Must Flock Together

Birds of a feather flock together! When Jay met Daisy, he was flocking around a crowd he had no business flocking around. Similarly, if you are Christian, you have no business trying to entice someone to whom you are unequally yoked. Though things may seem exciting for the moment, you are more than likely flocking towards disaster.

We are warned that two cannot walk together unless they agree with one another (Amos 3:3). If you and your partner’s spirit are not in agreement, then nothing else will. The best relationships are the ones where the individuals are both flocking towards God. In this kind of relationship, both people know they are always flocking in the same direction, and they know that goodness and rewards in life are found when they reach their destination.

Do Not Play God

Jay tried to turn back the hands of time in trying to get back with Daisy. He was willing to sacrifice his integrity and himself to give her whatever she wanted. He wanted to be her god with whom she would feel safe, secure, and loved.

Here is the problem with being someone’s god: You can never satisfy the person completely for you are not God. Trying to become a god puts undue pressure on you and sets up your partner for disappointment for they will make an idol of you. It eventually leads to unhappiness.

Today, instead of trying to be perfect in your relationship, just simply move in the direction of perfection daily.

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