I take love for granted. It’s sad. I’ve realized this lately. My wife is a gift. I am often reminded with comments made to me that I have something special. I’ve had women cry saying they’ve longed to pray with a spouse as Ava prays over me before I preach. I’ve heard women say, "I know what it is like to be mistreated and disrespected. When I remarry I want to find a love like what I see in you, Ava, _______ (and names a few other Wellspring couples)." People are watching. I hear their longing for what I have in Ava. So from this perspective, I continue to fight for my wife, and I will not take it (or her) for granted. But also from this perspective, I share this verse; I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, that you not stir up or awaken love until it pleases. Song of Solomon 8:4
Song of Solomon is an incredible book. It’s a love story. It is deeply passionate. Jewish boys were not allowed to read it until they reached the age of maturity. Let’s just say there are a few body parts mentioned that would need some explaining. It's birds and bees type stuff y'all!
But that verse above (8:4) is a repeated verse. It’s repeated in 2:7, 3:5, and 8:4. In the midst of such passion, wisdom is this; wait. Don’t force it. Let it happen. Come on, take a second and be honest. We force love. We give of ourselves sexually trying to create feelings of love. We jump on apps swiping this way or the other trying to force love. We spend money, lots of money. The online dating industry made over $3,000,000,000 (THREE BILLION!) in 2018. By 2020 it is projected to be around a $4,000,000,000 industry. We spend so much money trying to arouse and awaken love.
Love is powerful. The absence of love or the abuse of love can lead to so many struggles. Eating disorders, mental health disorder, pornography, overeating, workaholism, unwise marriages, drugs, alcohol, and so much more. Love is powerful. So how can we allow it to happen naturally? Here are five suggestions:
Date with intention //
If you’re dating with the intention to marry, this ain’t no joke. You won’t date just anyone. If this is the intention, it has to go beyond the physical. Is this someone drawing me closer to Jesus? Further away from Jesus? Are there any immediate red flags when I consider marriage? Maybe they aren’t red flags for dating, but marriage? Take this seriously.
If you consider marriage, why wouldn’t you pray? Paul says in 1 Corinthians that bad company corrupts good character. In other passages, we are told that our enemy can disguise himself as an angel of light. So a good person may be just that, a good person. But even a good person may not be a good fit for us. Are you willing to pray? To fast? You should be if something could genuinely lead to marriage. There is no decision too small to bring before Jesus.
Ask those you trust //
The key here is those you trust. You know who I trust? People willing to tell me the hard stuff. Sometimes the people who will only tell me what I want to hear, don’t give me the best advice. I have learned to trust those who are willing to tell me the tough stuff. Ask those around you about people you are interested in. Listen to their advice. Do not gravitate to people who will only tell you want you want to hear. Maybe, just maybe, consider what Mom and Dad say!
Look in the right places //
Let’s be honest, if you date with the intention for marriage you’ve got to ask yourself where am I most likely to find marriage material? This isn’t an absolute, but let's use common sense. The clubs in AC? Come on. The strip club? No, your mom isn’t looking for you to put a diamond on Diamond's finger. What are your common interests? Running club, sports, church, life group, areas you serve, etc. Where you go looking for a relationship says a lot about the type of relationship you’re looking for. Be wise.
Slow and steady wins the race //
Confession, I was engaged after three months of dating and was married about 14 months or so after meeting my wife. We are in a society of the instant. Slow your roll. Even though my wife and I married quickly, I was super intentional. Our first handful of dates were in groups. I didn’t want to waste time. We worked together, so I watched how she interacted with others. I watched how she lived out her faith. I didn’t rush into spending countless hours with her. Because I was slow at first, by the time I knew, I really knew. It was slow and methodical leading up to popping the question.
Learn contentment in singleness //
The way the Apostle Paul talks about marriage may surprise you. He considers singleness of more value than marriage. There is a great value and worth to be had in singleness. Odds are if you can’t learn to be content in singleness, you will have a hard time being content in marriage. If you need a spouse for contentment, then the idea of a spouse has become an idol. You will get married and expect something from your spouse they are not meant to fill. Until you learn to be content in Christ and Christ alone, no marriage will fulfill you. If you are single, there are valuable lessons that you will only be able to learn now, so lean in and learn them!
Keep praying for ONE,
Written by Pastor Jason Coache,
Lead Pastor of Wellspring Church