The first five questions: on dating, singleness, fearless wives and advise for husbands.
In total on Sunday 15 questions were asked about marriage, singleness, husbands and wives. Thank you to everyone who took the risk and texted in a question. Every one was brilliant and over the next three weeks I’ll try and offer a very brief answer to them in the weekly email. Here’s the first five!
1. As a man, how do I start to implement this?
Proverbs 27:17 says ‘As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.’ Jesus had two extremely close friends. Paul wrote about his ‘dearest friends’. We are meant to do life together – it’s the lone wolf who starves, the isolated soldier the sniper strikes. So find another person to share your life with. We have smaller, mid-week groups for this, or get along to the men’s night at Jonny’s (14 Henry Street, Stafford) on Wednesday at 7.30 to pray and connect with other guys (if you’re a guy!)
2. I am dating a Christian girl. How far is too far physically?
I get asked this lots by young people and University students. It’s a wrong question! It’s like asking ‘how close to sin can I get?’ A better question – at this moment, with this person how do I ‘love God’ & ‘love my neighbour’ best (Mark 12:30-31)? And God (whose ways are both right and better) says restraint. Why? Two very practical reasons spring to mind.
– You trustworthiness. If you can be self-control now she can trust you to show that same self-control over the next 50 years. If you can restrain from sleeping with her before you are married she can trust you more not to sleep with someone else once you are married.
– Your seriousness. That Jesus is most important for you, and amongst Christians that is deeply attractive.
3. I find singleness really difficult – why is that?
The Bible, for example is places like 1 Corinthians 7, calls singleness and marriage BOTH a gift and grief. In marriage there is gift (like intimacy, children, commitment) and grief (like compromise, conflict and loss of independence). In singleness there is gift (time, independence) and grief (lose of intimacy). The Bible says, whether single or married gift and grief will be woven together for us. So singleness is partly difficult because we live in a culture that idolises relationships and loads them with freight they cannot and were not designed to carry, but also we should not, as Bible Christians, expect it to be different. Whether married or single we will experience aspects of gift and aspects of grief.
The key is what we do with the gift and the grief.
We are to serve with the gift – help and benefit others.
We are to help each other with the grief. So invite those who are single into our home and families if we are married; journey together in friendship; if single find ways to surrogate-parent others’ children (for their and your sanity!). All these and more are ways we ‘mourn with those who mourn and rejoice with those who rejoice’ (Romans 12:15)
4. Last week we talked about fearless women. As someone very anxious how do I become more fearlessness?
This ‘fearlessness’ is not something we try and squeeze out or self-generate, beating ourselves up as failures if we are fearful. Peter says this fearlessness comes from a ‘hope in God’ (1 Peter 3:1-6). It comes from an ever-deepening and growing knowledge of God and his sovereignty in all circumstances. You are fearlessness in the face of what is frightening because you know God has it in control.
Do you fear failure? Remember, Jesus has already succeeded for you so you will ultimately win.
Do you fear punishment? Jesus has already been punished for you so you can be loved.
Do you fear abandonment? Jesus has already been forsaken so you won’t be.
Of course there are forms of anxiety which rightly benefit from medical and professional assistance – please accept that help.
5. I get married next year – what is the best advise you would give me about being the best husband I can be?
Ephesians 5:21-32 speaks to husbands very clearly. Fundamentally, ‘Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church…’ So the best way to be a good husband is to be a good Christian – saturated in knowing how Jesus loved the church and emulating that in how you love your wife. How did Christ love the church? He was strong, sacrificing, unflinching, and servant-hearted, even to the point of death. Be like Jesus was. After all that is the main point and purpose of marriage – to put Christ’s love for the church on display for all to see – ‘This is a profound mystery but I am talking about Christ and the church’ (Ephesians 5:32)