One of the Non-Negotiables (And One You May Have Not Thought Of)

Are you wondering if you should be dating a Christian or not? Especially because you’ve met so many Christians guys with such obvious red lights. Or more simply ones you haven’t felt a connection with. And you’ve met some others who are not Christian and you’ve felt like you’ve connected with them so much better. And they are nice and confident and boundaried and “get” you and…

There is so much good here to justify trying a relationship with this person. As you are justifying this relationship, here me loud and clear–don’t justify on your own. Bring your team in and let them speak the real truth to you.

It is very true that there is chemistry in attraction and you need to pay attention to that also as you brave date. Know also that chemistry or even love does not make a good match. You can be in love with someone and it is still not a good match.

As a team member for you from afar I want to share this non-negotiable that I am finding true still in my life.

I highly recommend this book, Sacred Search by Gary Thomas. This is the nugget I want to share. It comes from the chapter entitled, “Are You Strong Enough to be My (Wo)Man?” By the way, this book is full of nuggets.

Finally, by “humble” spirituality I mean, does your Christian understand he or she is not perfect and needs to grow? Does that person resent it when you notice his or her anger, lust, selfishness, or does he or she recognize that while God is working on them, there is always room for more growth? If people don’t understand God’s grace, they will never be empowered to rise above an ineffective perfectionism that leads to legalism and denial. You will be married to someone who spends all of his or her energy covering up and making excuses instead of repenting and changing. Worse, you’ll be married to someone who doesn’t even think he or she needs to change (which means, by extension that your spouse will think you’re the one who is always wrong).

Let me say a word to the women here: at least 90 percent of the change in my marriage has come through God convicting me in prayer and Bible study. Less than 10 percent has come about from my wife confronting me or talking to me. I study marriage for a living. I’ve written over half a dozen marriage-related books (some with others) and speak on marriage twenty weekends a year. I try really hard to understand marriage and to serve my wife.

But if God wasn’t an active force in my life, a daily presence, I’d fear for my wife’s security, happiness and even sanity. I’d drive her crazy with my selfishness, weakness, sin, and pride. Though I have miles of improvement ahead of me, God is continually making me into a much better husband than I’d be otherwise. God is doing this, not me. –Gary Thomas, The Sacred Search, p. 128

John and I just celebrated 21 years of marriage. He was not a Christian when we met. He became a Christian while we were friends. This means I married a very young Christian with a lot of baggage. This also means that my team was highly involved in our relationship. I cannot emphasize that enough. In fact, they were the voices that encouraged me to look at this friend of mine as marriage material. They saw something in John that I could not see. And I trusted them to tell me this.

Since our 21st anniversary a month ago John and I keep circling back to how much John has changed in this marriage. Without airing his dirty laundry out there, it is nothing short of amazing. But this something is what my team recognized in him so they are not surprised one bit. What did they see in him? It is this humble spirituality I clipped from The Sacred Search.

This I know know know. This is what John and I keep circling back on over this past month. I didn’t nag John to become this changed man. I have nagged John over many things. That has been effective only sometimes. I don’t like myself when I nag either. And I hate that I have to do it when I do because that trash has not been taken out yet again.

Another amazing truth. Even though John and I had a wide gap in our faith levels early in our marriage that gap has closed up. John has grown so much in his faith. I believe this is so because he has wanted to grow in his faith. It wasn’t me trying to change him. It wasn’t me placing these demands on him. He fell so in love with Jesus at age 35 that he wanted to grow in his faith and change his baggage.

John has grown into this deep man of God (who writes such songs) because he has allowed God to convict him through his own growing faith. John has humbly allowed God to convict him and grow him into this changed man. John lives in this overconfident swagger and yet he humbly lives every decision depending on God.

I can’t and won’t answer the question I began this blog with. But I am telling you loudly that you had better find this character quality of humble spirituality in who you are dating if you are going to grow this relationship into a love for a lifetime. You can’t change someone into this, by the way. Only God does and this person has got to desire to allow God to do that.


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