Life usually doesn’t fit into nice neat little lists, but that doesn’t keep me from trying. Welcome to my Tuesday 10, where I try to fit the messiness of life into a list of ten.
In eight years of campus ministry far and away the thing I’ve counseled people about the most are their romantic relational issues. Love is easily one of, if not the most, talked about issue on the planet. These are ten fairly blunt things I shared with a group of college students Sunday night. This list comes from, not only years of discussing these issues with people, but from my own mistakes and experiences as well
- It’s okay to be single. Society treats single-hood as though it is something to be shunned, feared, or mocked; but that is wrong. Being single is a lot better than committing relational suicide, sexual sin, or emotional masturbation.
- The “you complete me” line from Jerry Maguire is a giant smelly fairytale lie. Putting two messed up people together doesn’t make one whole person, it makes one messed up couple–and if you’re not already solid in God, it becomes a lot harder for you to be obedient to the changes He tries to make in you if you are distracted by romance. When Jesus said a man and would unite as one flesh He didn’t mean actual human being. He meant one unified representation of the goodness, likeness, and image of God.
- Know who you are. If you have identity issues a relationship will only complicate them. The healthy way to find your identity is by searching for where your heart and God’s heart are joined.
- Early affection is a warning sign. Someone eager for early physical contact is dangerous to your sexual, physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being.
- You probably don’t know what you want. Guys are selfish. Girls want to be wanted. Sometimes those roles are reversed. Both are horny. Neither know what they want at 20ish years old. Know what you want in a future Mr. or Mrs. you. Make a list. Check it more than twice. Then check it again. Then let people in spiritual authority over you check it. Guys, if your list reads like a help wanted ad for a modeling agency, you don’t know what you want. Girls, if your list sounds like a trailer for anything resembling a Disney, Nicholas Sparks, or Ryan Reynolds movie, you don’t know what you want. Cultivate an expectation for a Christian union based around the the principles found in a Christian person.
- Relationships don’t change people. A frog doesn’t turn into a prince just because you kiss him. Just because she kissed you doesn’t mean you’re Prince Charming. Relationships don’t change people; they magnify all the weird little parts of who they really are.
- You are no one’s puppet. If every moment with someone is overshadowed by an expectancy to behave, act, or perform in a certain way you are in a poisonous relationship. Leave now and never look back.
- Emotion is a slippery slope. If it was a ski slope it wouldn’t even be a double black diamond. It would be an uncharted run that required a helicopter dispatch and constantly ran the risk of avalanche. If all that connects you is emotion–your relationship is destined to fail. True love is so much bigger than emotion.
- Wait for sex. Wait for sex. Wait for sex. If you’re not married, don’t do anything that can lead to orgasm, or anything that makes you want to do things that lead to orgasm. The enemy will do everything he can to get you to have sex before you’re married, and everything he can to keep you from having sex after you’re married.
- True love is unconditional. “Happily Ever After,” would make a better episode of Dirty Jobs than Mythbusters. Can you picture yourself changing their diaper for twenty years? What about pushing them in a wheelchair or carrying them to bed? What about listening to them snore or putting up with a really annoying relative?