There will always be a certain amount of mystery in the path to marriage.
In Proverbs 30:18-19, we find an interesting observation from a sage named Agur:
There are three things that are too amazing for me, four that I do not understand:
the way of an eagle in the sky,
the way of a snake on a rock,
the way of a ship on the high seas,
and the way of a man with a maiden. (NIV)
The interaction between men and women along the path to marriage is often hard to understand and simply too amazing. There’s no formula or fool-proof approach to dating, relationships or marriage that makes everything understandable or removes all mystery. When it comes to men and women doing what is often referred to as “the dance,” there will always be unknowns.
Anyone opening their heart to a relationship with another person, therefore, has to be prepared for risk and vulnerability as they navigate what the wise man Agur observed to be amazing and hard to understand. While that’s true, there are ways to clear away some of the mystery that surrounds relationships today and as a result, to reduce the risk and vulnerability that those relationships bring.
There are four simple ways to do this:
1) Be clear and honorable about your intentions. Too much mystery comes from simply not knowing when a date is a date or where a relationship is going once a couple has connected with each other in ways they don’t with their other acquaintances. Men especially have the ability to reduce the mystery for the women in their lives by being clear and honorable in their intentions.
2) Seek out the counsel and support of family members, mentors and friends. Emotions, tough questions and opposite sex mysteries are often best processed in community.
3) Be absolutely pure. The most predictable way to rob a relationship of clarity is to push the boundaries of purity. Physical intimacy was designed to bond a couple and make them one. Outside of the clarity and protection of a marital commitment to oneness, physical intimacy only increases risk and vulnerability.
4) When determining compatibility, ask the clarifying question, “Can we marry to the glory of God?” In a consumer-oriented culture, singles can easily get overwhelmed trying to figure what measures of compatibility matter most. Followers of Christ are called to do all to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31). Looks, personality, income, education, chemistry and all other aspects of compatibility mean nothing if the union that’s formed doesn’t glorify God — if the union is unequally yoked (2 Corinthians 6:14), or if it is unable to reflect God’s sacrificial love (Eph. 5:1 and 22-33)
Wherever you encounter unknowns, mystery or lack of clarity anywhere in the path to marriage, think about how you’re living out these principles. As we’ve tried to emphasize, these principles won’t remove all the mystery, but they can greatly reduce it and also keep from adding more.
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