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Does Boy-Craziness Stop After Marriage?

Does Boy-Craziness Stop After Marriage?

“Do thoughts about other boys/crushes disappear when you are married?” More than one boy-crazy girl has asked me this question. In other words, “Will marriage cure my boy-craziness?”

Since I’ve been asked similar versions of this question more than once now, I thought I’d share my answer publicly.

Marriage Is Not a Magic Pill That Cures Boy-Craziness

I will say there is a difference. Now that I’m married, my antennae don’t go up every single time a new guy walks into the room. I’m not constantly surveying the landscape to see who’s available, because I’m loved. Claimed. Taken.

Marriage isn’t a magic pill. Marriage isn’t your Savior. It cannot fix you.

But marriage doesn’t change your heart. Only God is powerful enough to do that. Marriage isn’t a magic pill. Marriage isn’t your Savior. It cannot fix you. Please, please, please . . . do not enter marriage counting on it to cure you of your boy-craziness, your porn addiction, your loneliness, or any other idol in your life.

Marriage is simply a covenant commitment for life to a man—to another sinner. And you know as well as I do that another “fallen” human being cannot possibly save you from your heart idolatry. Only God can.

Instead of hoping marriage will cure you someday, pursue God with everything in you now. This will not only provide the satisfaction your heart longs for during your single years; it will also prepare you to bless your husband if you do get married someday. (You’re a lot less likely to suck the life out of your husband and tear down your marriage if you’re not expecting your husband to be and do what only God can be and do for you.)

Instead of hoping marriage will cure you someday, pursue God with everything in you now.

Even now that I’m married, I still regularly ask God to satisfy me with His love each morning (Ps. 90:14), and then I pursue Him through His Word and prayer. When I’m out in public, I still ask Him to help my eyes look straight ahead (Prov. 4:25). (These are habits I developed when I was single.)

Because yes, once you’re married, you will likely still notice if a guy is cute or nice or smart or strong or [fill in the blank].

Is It Wrong to Be Attracted to Other People After I Marry?

If God is your first love and your husband is your second love, attraction will be little more than that—something you notice and then quickly forget about. You’ll choose not to dwell on that thought. You’ll choose not to look twice. (At least that’s what you should choose!)

Nowhere in Scripture is attraction condemned. Noticing that someone is good-looking isn’t sinful unless it results in lustful thoughts.

Another way of saying this is that there’s a difference between temptation and sin. For example, we know that Jesus was tempted, but He didn’t sin. Hebrews 4:15 says:

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.

And 1 Corinthians 10:13 tells us:

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

We shouldn’t feel guilt when we’re tempted; temptation is not the same as giving in to sin.

Does that help you know a bit more what to expect in marriage? Basically, you can expect to continue to face your current struggles and temptations and sins—unless you repent and flee to Christ today and allow Him to begin to transform you before you enter marriage. Either way, He promises to complete the good work of sanctification that He began in you (Phil. 1:6)!

I’d love to hear from you. What are your expectations for attraction to others after marriage? What game plan can you begin to implement now so you’re not taken off guard then?

Does Boy-Craziness Stop After Marriage? was originally posted on LiesYoungWomenBelieve.com.

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What Can I Do About My Boy-Craziness?

What Can I Do About My Boy-Craziness?

Hey, girls.

Now that we’ve tackled these two questions:

It’s time for the third and most important question:

  • What can I do about my boy-craziness?

Watch the video below for the answer. Once you’ve watched it, I’d love to hear if you’re ready to take action!

What Can I Do About My Boy-Craziness? was originally published on LiesYoungWomenBelieve.com. 

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Is Boy-Craziness Really All That Bad?

Is Boy-Craziness Really All That Bad?

After taking the Boy-Crazy Quiz, girls often ask me, “Is boy-craziness really all that bad?”

Attraction Isn’t Wrong

What a great question! Let me start by stating that being attracted to a single guy isn’t wrong. After all, God made guys and girls. Genesis 1:27 says, “God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”

There’s a world of difference between thinking a guy is cute and being obsessed.

And marriage, the most intimate relationship possible between a man and a woman, was His idea. Genesis 2:24 says, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”

So “liking” someone of the opposite sex who isn’t yet married isn’t sinful in and of itself.

But there’s a world of difference between thinking a guy is cute and being obsessed.

Obsession Is a Problem

My obsession looked something like this. Time after time I would:

  • Spot a cute guy,
  • Daydream about him all day long, and
  • Do whatever it took to get him to notice me (even swallowing a live goldfish!).
  • When he didn’t fall for me, I’d get over him by hating him.
  • Then I’d transfer all my affections for him to the next cute guy and begin the cycle all over again.

When I was younger, I often joked about my boy-craziness with my friends. It didn’t seem harmful, just funny. But as the years passed, my crushes became more and more frequent . . . and more and more costly.

Your boy-craziness might look different than mine did, but the root sin is still the same. Faith wrote:

I have prided myself in not being boy-crazy . . . but most of my answers to the quiz were “yes”! I guess I am just one of those “on the inside” girls. But I have never acted on my feelings ever since seventh grade. I am pretty good at pretending I am not always thinking about guys.

Faith’s comment raises an important question. Is boy-craziness okay as long as you don’t act on it?

I would say “no.” Boy-craziness—obsession with a fellow creature rather than the Creator—is treason against the living God.

Where do I get a crazy idea like that?

Let’s Call Boy-Craziness What It Really Is . . .

Well, in the first of the ten commandments, for starters:

“I am the LORD your God. . . . You shall have no other gods before me” (Ex. 20:1–3, emphasis added).

Only God is worthy of being first in our hearts.

A “little g” god, or an idol, is a cheap substitute for the “big G” God we were made by and for. An idol can be any good thing—food, sports, anime, horses, or fashion. But when we set it up as the ultimate thing in our lives, it becomes sin. Only God is worthy of being first in our hearts.

Once, when God’s people had turned away from Him to serve idols, He told Jeremiah the prophet to proclaim:

“My people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water” (Jer. 2:13).

God is painting a vivid word picture here to communicate that His people have left Him, the Fountain of Living Waters. He is the best and only source of life available to them, but they have settled for “little g” gods that compare to stale-tasting water polluted with dirt and debris. Not only that, but their water source leaks. It’s broken and useless!

How about you? Do you know what your idols are? If not, ask yourself, When I’m feeling empty and needy, where do I run for satisfaction?

As for me, I’m convinced boy-craziness is a serious problem. Treason, actually. What about you? Do you see boy-craziness as idolatry, or do you see it as an innocent but bothersome issue almost every girl struggles with? Oh . . . and why?

(Read the next post in this series to learn what to do about your boy-craziness.)

Is Boy-Craziness Really All That Bad? was originally posted on LiesYoungWomenBelieve.com. 

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Will I Go to Hell If I’m Not a Virgin?

Will I Go to Hell If I’m Not a Virgin?

“Will I go to hell if I’m not a virgin?” a single girl asked me.

I wish I could scoff, “Of course not!” But the truth is, it all depends . . .

Hell: Our Default Destination

Let’s start with this basic understanding: Every person’s default destination is Hell. That’s because without exception:

All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23).

While our culture ridicules the notion that sex is off-limits to everyone other than a man and a woman united in marriage, God says otherwise.

We all sin in countless ways, but let’s specifically address this girl’s question about choosing to have premarital sex.

While our culture ridicules the notion that sex is off-limits to everyone other than a man and a woman united in marriage, God says otherwise.

First Corinthians 6:13–20 explains:

The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her?

For, as it is written, “The two will become one flesh.” But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

Choosing to have sex outside of marriage is sin, and all sin results in death—physical death and eternal death in hell (Rom. 6:23).

That’s because our God is stunningly more holy than we can imagine:

You who are of purer eyes than to see evil and cannot look at wrong (Hab. 1:13).

Believe me, I get how hard it is to swallow the fact that all of us deserve hell. To us, hell seems like “a divine overreaction.” But as author Randy Alcorn writes:

If we understood God’s nature and ours, we would be shocked not that some people could go to hell, but that any would be permitted into heaven. Unholy as we are, we are disqualified from saying that infinite holiness doesn’t demand everlasting punishment.

So the million dollar question is this. How can this girl who is no longer a virgin—and how can you and I—exchange our one-way ticket to hell . . . for heaven?

How to Exchange Our One-Way Ticket to Hell . . . for Heaven

We can’t on our own. But Someone has done it for us. Jesus chose to endure hell for you and me so we might have the option of entering the joys of heaven.

He [God] made him [Jesus] to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God (2 Cor. 5:21).

Jesus chose to endure hell for you and me so we might have the option of entering the joys of heaven.

Because of our sin, you and I deserve hell. But Jesus has made a way for us, instead, to enjoy Him forever in heaven. In response to this girl who asked, “Will I go to heaven if I’m not a virgin?” I have to ask:

Have you accepted Jesus’ unbelievably heroic, extravagant gift?
Have you confessed and turned from your sins?

First John 1:9 promises that:

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Hell will be full of those who have sinned sexually (and in other ways). Heaven will also be filled with people who formerly sinned sexually (and in other ways). What’s the difference? It has nothing to do with the sins you’ve committed, but with whether you have embraced the Sin-Slayer, Jesus Christ, your righteous Substitute . . . and turned from your sin as a result.

Have you?

PS: I am indebted to Randy Alcorn for his insights on hell in chapters 3 and 4 of his book Heaven.

Will I Go to Hell If I’m Not a Virgin? was originally posted on LiesYoungWomenBelieve.com.

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Why Rules Aren’t Enough to Keep You Pure

Why Rules Aren’t Enough to Keep You Pure

Recently I heard from a girl who was struggling to remain pure. She had just started dating a guy long distance. After her first weekend visit, she wrote:

The physical temptation is so real. Even the smallest thing will set off a wildfire in my heart. . . . It’s a war I didn’t realize I would struggle with. I wish I had been more prepared to guard our hearts in the most heart-racing moments.

I can relate.

My Rule-Making Strategy

Before Trevor and I married, we also dated long distance. I’ll never forget my first visit to spend time with him over Christmas. Unlike this girl above, I did anticipate that it would be tough physically. So I set a couple rules for myself before boarding the plane:

  1. No lying down horizontally.
  2. No kissing on the lips.

And while I technically didn’t break either of those rules on that first visit, I found myself flirting at the very edges of those boundaries, like a hummingbird hovering near sweet nectar.

I kept “the letter of the law” while ignoring “the spirit of the law.” I observed my literal rules but not the intent behind the rules: purity, so I might see and enjoy God (Matt. 5:8).

Don’t just run from sexual immorality, though. Run to Christ.

It was soon blazingly obvious: Rules weren’t going to do the trick of keeping me pure. For example, if I had set a boundary, “I won’t be in a bedroom with him with the door closed,” my flesh would surely have countered, “Okay, I’ll go to the garage instead.”

Pastor and theologian Gerald Hiestand describes this well when he writes, “Every ‘objective’ boundary can be worked around by sin-inspired creativity.”

Colossians 2:20–23 also explains that boundaries and rules aren’t enough to keep us from doing wrong. On our own, they’re not capable of getting to the root issue—they don’t deal a deathblow to our ungodly passions and desires.

What, then, is to be done?

Your Dating Strategy

First, as 1 Corinthians 6:18 says, “Flee from sexual immorality.” Get your running shoes on and start sprinting like mad! Don’t just run from sexual immorality, though. Run to Christ.

  • Flee sexual immorality and fly to Christ, in whom every treasure is found.
  • Ask God to send His Spirit to help you see and despise your sin.
  • Be brutal with your sin. Don’t just exile it; cut its head off!

I’m not saying there is no place in dating for boundaries. But even if you do set rules, don’t rely on them alone to keep you pure. You aren’t strong enough to battle your ungodly passions in your own strength. Run to Christ. Only He is strong enough.

Be brutal with your sin. Don’t just exile it; cut its head off!

How about you? Have you set any rules or boundaries for yourself once you begin dating? If so, what will you do when your flesh doesn’t cooperate with your good intentions? Then what?

Why Rules Aren’t Enough to Keep You Pure was originally posted on LiesYoungWomenBelieve.com. 

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No Boyfriend? What’s Wrong with You?

No Boyfriend? What’s Wrong with You?

Lately several girls have told me they’re convinced something is wrong with them because they’ve never had a boyfriend. Most chalk it up to being plain ugly, like this girl:

I’m twenty-three and have never dated anyone. I honestly feel like the weirdest, ugliest girl in the world, and all I can do is question what’s wrong with me. I feel if I was pretty like other girls or more dateable, I wouldn’t be single. And quite frankly, sometimes I even question if I’m worthy of being loved or if I’m so horrible I can’t even be liked.

I know life shouldn’t just be about dating, but it’s so awkward when all your friends are or have been in relationships, and you’re just there thinking, It must be because I’m ugly. I’ve come to hate everything about my physical appearance. It’s like my whole youth has passed me by. Because even when I’ve had any crush, they wouldn’t even notice me. I’ve now come to the point of thinking maybe love isn’t for everyone, but I don’t know how well I can accept it.

Single girl, nothing is wrong with you. Not in the way you think, anyway.

Nothing is wrong with being twenty-three and not having dated. In fact, you have the advantage, in my opinion.

My hubby was twenty-six when we started dating. Until I came along, he had never had a girlfriend. That wasn’t weird to me. It was pure relief!

If you read this blog often, you know my story. While I always had a crush on someone, I was boyfriend-less from ages sixteen to thirty—well over a decade. Do I look back and regret the fact that I didn’t have a boyfriend during those long years? No way!

Let me try to give you a little perspective.

Having a boyfriend, dating, is a fairly recent phenomenon in our culture. But marriage was God’s design from the beginning of creation: one man and one woman exclusively committed to each other until death parts them. It’s okay—wonderful, in my opinion—if you don’t drag a string of old boyfriends into this lifelong covenant.

Also, if you’re not dating, you’re saving yourself a whole lot of temptation, as the world claims that boyfriends and girlfriends get to enjoy all the benefits of marriage, but God’s Word doesn’t back this up.

And then there’s the fact that you grow and mature so much in your twenties. You learn who you are, what you believe, what you stand for, what you actually want in a lifelong partner. This time of singleness is valuable.

I can hear you protesting, “That’s all good if someone eventually pursues you, but no guy will ever like me. I’m too ugly.”

If you’ve been telling yourself over and over that you’re ugly, why would one guy telling you you’re not ugly change your mind?

It wouldn’t.

You need to choose to believe what is true about yourself before you put a poor boyfriend or husband in the impossible position of convincing you otherwise.

You are beautiful.

How can I know this, as I’ve personally never laid eyes on you?

Because I know that God, the ultimate source of beauty, made you. And God doesn’t make junk.

I was in your shoes once. You can read all about it in my book, Confessions of a Boy-Crazy Girl: On Her Journey From Neediness to Freedom. A guy who led me on for over a year and a half finally admitted why he hadn’t officially asked me to be his girlfriend: “The spark comes and goes.” With that admission, the Liar (Satan) lodged a big, hairy lie deep within me: “You’re just not beautiful.”

That lie rang in my ears for months.

Until one morning when I lifted the bathroom blinds. The beauty before me nearly took my breath away—this delicate, purple flowering tree reaching up, up, up. While washing my face and combing my hair, I kept glancing at its beauty, drinking it in.

That’s when I saw it. You make beautiful things, God. At that moment, I chose to stop listening to Satan’s lies and to believe that my Creator had not made me ugly.

You make beautiful things, God.

As I write this post, I’m sitting in my backyard surrounded by wildflowers, vegetables, a Rose of Sharon bush, and decorative grasses. Each plant is different from the others, but I would never call anything surrounding me ugly! God doesn’t do ugly.

God made you, and you are not His one mistake.

May I challenge you to repent of believing this lie? Even if you don’t yet feel beautiful, agree with God that “I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well” (Ps. 139:14).

Then I challenge you to change your focus—not on being loved but on loving God and others. After all, Jesus said that this is the greatest commandment in the law:

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second
is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets” (Matt. 22:37–40).

This is what you were made for: to love as God has loved you. And ironically, as you shift your focus from yourself to God and others, this is what will put your beauty on full display.

This is what you were made for: to love as God has loved you.

So how about it, beautiful girl? Will you choose to believe that God makes beautiful things—including you?! (If you doubt this, I challenge you to take a walk outdoors for a glimpse of His beautiful world!)

Also, I need to ask, is being loved more important to you than loving God and others? If so, will you confess this as sin to God and ask for His help to keep the greatest commandment?

There is nothing wrong with you, single girl. Go live beautifully.

No Boyfriend? What’s Wrong with You? was originally published on LiesYoungWomenBelieve.com. 

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Should You Tell Him You Like Him?

Should You Tell Him You Like Him?

Have you ever thought a guy you liked was interested in you, but at the same time you’ve felt super confused after your interactions with him? Yeah, me
too. I think it happens a lot, unfortunately. Here’s what one girl asked me recently:

I’m in so much emotional turmoil. I cry almost every day over whether he’s interested in me or not. I know it’s absolutely silly and I determine not to do it, but I can’t help how I feel. I don’t know if I should just end my turmoil by telling him how I feel and then let whatever happens happen. Is that acceptable or is that wrong to tell him I’m interested and let him accept or reject me? I’ve never believed in the woman pursuing the man, but he is okay with that. I just don’t know if this is an issue if I should tell him I am interested in him. Please help!

Here are a few questions I sent her in response. I pray they will also help you if and when you find yourself in a similar bind in the future:

  • What specifically leads you to believe this guy is interested in you?
  • Have you given your friendship enough time to develop naturally, or are you impatiently pushing for more (Prov. 19:2)? If this describes you, check out what these guys have to say in “Should a Guy Pursue a Girl Like a Dying Man Looking for Water in a Desert?
  • Have mature, wise adults in your life also noticed this guy’s special interest in you (Prov. 1:5)?
  • Are you aware of other girls who are confused by this guy’s interactions with them and who also wonder if he’s interested in them? If so, you may need to gently confront him about his unwise interactions with young women (Matt. 18:15).
  • If you put yourself out there and tell him you like him, how do you know your turmoil will end? What if he responds by telling you he’s not sure how he feels about you?
  • What do you think would be best for this guy at this point in his life? If he’s extremely busy, do you think he even has time for a committed relationship?
  • Can you trust God—and this guy—to open this conversation if and when it’s the right time (Ps. 25:3)?
  • Do you believe that if this guy is settled in both his feelings for you and in God’s blessing of your relationship that he will have the courage to tell you how he feels about you? If you’re not certain he has the guts to do this, is he really a man you could respect for life (Eph. 5:33)?
  • Imagine this guy doesn’t respond as you hope. Will telling him how you feel about him leave you feeling free and peaceful . . . or desperate and worthless?
  • What if, rather than pressing the issue with this guy, you changed your focus and began seeking and serving God wholeheartedly until He sends a guy who makes his intentions for you clear (1 Cor. 7:24)?

What do you think? Have you ever told a guy you liked him? How did things turn out? Do you think this girl should tell her crush that she likes him? Why or why not?

PS: For more on this topic, check out the post “Why Not Pursue Him?

Should You Tell Him You Like Him? was originally published on LiesYoungWomenBelieve.com. 

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How to Tell if He’s a Christian

How to Tell if He’s a Christian

Sweet girl,

I hear a really nice guy has been showing you a lot of attention lately. I know you’ve gone on a couple dates, and you like him a lot. He’s told you he’s a Christian, but you’re not sure how strong he is in his faith.

Maybe he is a Christian; maybe he isn’t. I don’t know. But here are a few thing I do know . . .

Be on the lookout for the fruit of faith. Anyone can claim to be a Christian (just like anyone can claim to be an astrophysicist), but there should be
evidence of Christ’s transformative work in His followers. James (Jesus’ brother) puts it like this:

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? . . . So also, faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead (2:14, 17, emphasis added).

Pay attention to how this guy lives. Is he living like a young man who has been redeemed from the slave block of sin? Or is he still living like a slave to sin (Rom. 6:15–23)? Put him to the test (1 John 4:1). I’ve included one below.

You shouldn’t have to wonder if this guy is a Christian or not. It should be obvious. As 2 Corinthians 5:17 says:

If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

No, he’s not going to be perfect. Yes, we’re all in process. But if he truly has the Holy Spirit of God living in him, he will look more and more like His adoptive Father.

If he truly has the Holy Spirit of God living in him, he will look more and more like His adoptive Father.

Trust me on this one. You don’t want someone who maybe, possibly, probably, hopefully is a Christian. One who just barely squeezes by. You want a thriving Christian. A white-hot Christian. A young man who is well on his way to being able to lead you spiritually.

So here are a few questions to ask about him, straight from 1 John:

  • Does he walk in “light,” or does he walk in “darkness” (1 John 1:6–7)?
  • Does he confess his sins, or does he claim not to have sin in his life (1 John 1:8–10)?
  • Does he keep God’s commandments, or does he live differently than Jesus lived (1 John 2:3–6)?
  • Does he love others, or does he hate others (1 John 2:9–11, 4:7–21)?
  • Does he love the Father, or does he love the world and the things in the world (1 John 2:15–17)?
  • Does he confess that Jesus is God, or does he deny that Jesus is God (1 John 2:22–23)?
  • Does he practice righteousness (1 John 2:29) or does he make a practice of sinning (1 John 3:4–10)?
  • Does he believe that Jesus came to earth and took on human flesh, or does he not believe this (1 John 4:2–3)?
  • Does he have the Spirit of God? The Son of God? Or is he just doing life on his own (1 John 3:24; 4:12)?

If the majority of your answers were on the right side of the comma rather than the left, this guy is not for you, nice as he might seem. God is the
treasure in this life—and in the life to come—and you will want a man who will consistently point you to this treasure . . . through his words and his life.

How about you? Are you currently dating or considering dating someone you have doubts about? Where does this post find you today? I’d love to hear from you.

How to Tell if He’s a Christian was originally published on LiesYoungWomenBelieve.com. 

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How Can I Know If He’s ‘The One’?

How Can I Know If He’s ‘The One’?

“How did you know Trevor was the one for you?” a seventeen-year-old asked me. “I struggle with knowing if a guy is right for me. Every day I ask God to help me figure out my confusion.”

Believe it or not, it’s surprisingly simple. Let me share with you what I’m learning from Decision Making and the Will of God: A Biblical Alternative to the Traditional View by Gary Friesen and J. Robin Maxson.

1. Determine if you have the “gift” of marriage or singleness.

Dr. Friesen explains it like this:

The decision to marry or remain single lies within the area of freedom. The apostle [Paul] had a definite preference for [singleness] that he “wished” all others could choose. But he knew he could not give his desire the force of a command. For not everyone “has the gift.” God graces each believer differently. It is likely that Paul’s meaning is that some are “gifted” to enjoy singleness while others are “gifted” to enjoy marriage with its extra responsibilities (1 Cor. 7:7).

The first issue for you to work out is whether it’s best for you to be married or single. Surprisingly, “there is no command from Scripture one way or the other.” That means you don’t need to spend hours trying to discern God’s “still, small voice.” You don’t need to determine whether God is calling you to marriage or singleness.

Since both marriage and singleness are gifts from God, and since you are free to serve God as a single girl and once you’re married, both are good options. (You can read 1 Corinthians 7 for the pros and cons of both marriage and singleness.)

Now is a good time to think through this, even if there’s no guy knocking at your door yet. It will be less for you to figure out when a guy does come knocking.

2. Determine if your prospect is a believer.

Now—assuming you desire to be married, and there’s a guy pursuing you—you first need to ask if Scripture says anything about choosing a spouse. (And it does!) Scripture is clear: A believer in Christ may only marry another believer in Christ. This is vitally important. As Dr. Friesen explains:

The point is that not only are the believers’ values, goals, standards, motivations, and means of enablement for living incompatible with those of an unbeliever; they are diametrically opposed! They are serving two different lords that are archenemies of one another.

God has given you a whole lot of freedom beyond this one command. Don’t disobey Him here. Look first and foremost for a godly, Jesus-loving guy.

3. Seek wise counsel.

  • What do your parents think of this guy?
  • What does your pastor say?
  • Once you’re engaged, get some premarital counseling, and listen well to what your counselor thinks of you two.

Those around you will be a lot more clearheaded than you will with romance clouding your brain. Heed their counsel.

4. Use common sense.

Do you two share the same values? Here are just a few things Friesen encourages you to note: age, finances, employment, education, personal goals, personality traits, birth control, principles of child rearing, hobbies, family background, socioeconomic background, and possessions.

My Story

I didn’t always understand the freedom God has given in wisely choosing a spouse. I used to try to figure out if it was God’s will for me to marry a guy by praying and then watching for “signs” from God. And it was confusing! Here’s an example from an old journal entry:

I was talking on the phone with Dad tonight when Jim texted. Actually, at that particular moment, Dad was praying that my future husband would find me, when I heard the text come in. Coincidence, or God at work? I don’t know . . .

Jim was also confused, because after months of sending me confusing signals, he told me that as he’d prayed about pursuing me, he “sensed a yellow light.” He didn’t have a “red light” from God, but he also didn’t have a “green light.” He also told me that as he asked God whether now was the time to pursue marriage or not, God had been “annoyingly silent.” I think that’s because God had already given him the freedom to decide himself.

Needless to say, I ended up telling Jim goodbye (you can read how that went down in chapter 15 of my book). And oh, I’m so glad I did.

Because a few years later, God plopped Trevor Marsteller in my lap. Well, in my Twitter feed, to be exact. As I began to date Trevor (he was a believer, so he was fair game), I kept my eyes wide open and used the wisdom God has given me through His Word and community.

Make a wise decision based on the Word of God, wise counsel, and common sense.

It’s not that there were zero concerns. But as I brought those to God, to Trevor, and to wise counselors, in the end they weren’t game changers. Although Trevor wasn’t perfect (no guy but Jesus is!), I could see that he was “perfect” for me in so many ways. These three main things gave me the confidence to continue moving forward to marriage. And if you’re wondering, six months into marriage I am so grateful I chose him!

Back to you now, though.

Bottom line: Stop looking for handwriting in the sky telling you that this guy is “the one.” Make a wise decision based on the Word of God, wise counsel, and common sense. God has given you a ton of freedom. Choose wisely, and as you do, be blessed!

I’d love to hear from you. Does this sound surprisingly . . . simple? What questions do you have after reading this post?

How Can I Know If He’s ‘The One’? was originally published on LiesYoungWomenBelieve.com. 

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How to Know if You’re Ready to Date or Court

How to Know if You’re Ready to Date or Court

When should you start to date (or court)? Here are three tell-tale signs (among others) that you’re ready:

1. Your authority figures give you the green light.

I heard from a girl recently who wrote:

I like this dude, and he happens to like me back. One day after school, we talked, and he told me that he likes me, and so I told him I like him, too. I have heard from many people that he is going to ask me to be his girlfriend . . . and that’s where things get crazy.

My parent will NOT let me date. And if they find out that I am dating . . . let’s just say that I will die. LITERALLY.

I am not dating him right now, but I just have a feeling that he will ask me . . . and I don’t know what to do. I really like him, and he likes me. This is very rare!!! When ur crush likes u back . . . Rare. My friends are like, “Just say yes, and just don’t tell your parents,” but I am like, “They will find out!!!”

I can relate. I told her:

We have a lot in common. My parents had the same rules . . . plus some. Growing up I thought they were totally unreasonable, and I dated behind their backs (and was always discovered).

Now, looking back, I can see that God was protecting me from myself through my parents. It sure wasn’t fun in junior high and high school, but now I am SO grateful I wasn’t allowed to get my way. I actually ended up dedicating my book to my parents. Here’s a little taste:

“[Thank you] for keeping such close tabs on me during those tumultuous teen years! At the time I thought you were just plain ol’ mean, but now I can’t thank you enough for sparing me a harvest of regret.”

You’ll end up being grateful, too, for those strict parents. Even though you feel anything but gratitude now, know this:

  • God promises to bless those who honor and obey their parents (Eph. 6:1–3). And He always keeps His promises! It’s not just
    a suggestion; He commands it. If you disobey your parents, you’re ultimately disobeying God.
  • If this guy really, really likes you, he will wait for as long as it takes. And if he is the kind of guy you want to end up with long-term, he will
    NOT encourage you to disobey your parents.

God promises to bless those who honor and obey their parents. And He always keeps His promises!

Please, please trust me. Going behind your parents’ backs will only end in regret. And if you already have, it’s not too late to get out.

(Psst . . . If you’re struggling with your parents’ rules, here are some posts I’ve written in the past that may help.)

When Your Parents Say NO
How To Get Your Parents’ Trust Back
How I Lost My Parents’ Trust
Dear Parent Hater

Let me add that just because an authority figure says you can date whenever you want doesn’t necessarily mean you should. Maybe this authority figure isn’t currently making the wisest decisions. In this case, ask yourself if you’re ready for marriage. That’s right. Marriage.

2. You’re ready for marriage.

That’s the point of dating, after all. Ben Stuart explains it like this: “Dating is not a status. It’s a process (of evaluating a person for marriage).”

That doesn’t mean you’ll necessarily feel completely ready for marriage, as in, “Oh, yeah, I got this covered, no sweat.” But you’re actually at a point in life where you’re old—and mature—enough to get married. You don’t have something else you have to complete first, like a big chunk of schooling.

Scott Craft (a contributor to Sex and the Supremacy of Christ) says:

The practical advice I give the singles at our church is, if you cannot happily see yourself as a married woman in less than one year, then you are not ready to date.

But what if I met someone super special, you ask? And they actually like me? Shouldn’t I do something about that?!

Why would you, if marriage isn’t even a possibility?

I’ve gotta side with Scott and with the writer of the Song of Solomon on this one. Over and over throughout the book the warning is given, “Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires,” or until the appropriate time (2:73:5; 8:4).

Song of Solomon 8:7 explains why: “Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot sweep it away.” And as the verse before says, “It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame.”

God knows that if we don’t wait to experience true love in the safe context of a God-blessed marriage, we will get severely burned.

Can you imagine a blazing forest fire that several rivers worth of water cannot extinguish? That would be one intense firestorm. God knows that if we don’t wait to experience true love in the safe context of a God-blessed marriage, we will get severely burned.

Better to build healthy ways of relating with all guys and to pursue your relationship with Christ at this stage in life. You will not regret it. Promise.

Another way to know if you’re ready to date is . . .

3. You have pursued and served God wholeheartedly as a single, and now a godly guy is pursuing you that you think you could be even more effective in serving Christ with as a team.

In the biggest section of Scripture on singleness and marriage, Paul writes,

In whatever condition each was called, there let him remain with God (1 Cor. 7:24).

I like how Gary Friesen explains this in Decision Making and the Will of God:

Make it the goal of your life not to change your status, but to serve God as effectively and energetically as possible in whatever state you are. The contemporary poster says it well: “Bloom where you are planted now!”

In declaring this principle Paul was not forbidding marriage for single people or freedom for slaves. If the opportunity comes along and it is expedient to take it, do so (7:21). His point was that people tend to concentrate on the wrong things. They pour their energies into changing their condition for their own sake rather than into changing the world for Christ’s sake (p. 293).

I’d love to hear from you. Do you think you’re ready to date (or court)? Why or why not?

How to Know if You’re Ready to Date or Court was originally posted on LiesYoungWomenBelieve.com. 

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