KEEP YOURSELF ON TRACK (Part 2)

on track part 2

Here’s the second part of yesterday’s post.

HOW could you practically keep yourself and the relationship on track? The Bible gives us a lot of them, but here are some:

  1. Have a Vision For Marriage and Stick To It.

“Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.”(Proverbs 29:18)

When you have a clear picture of how your marriage could be (eg. filled with love and respect) and a strong conviction that it should be then you know where you are heading. By this you have created yourself sort of “a map” of where you are now and where you need to go. Guard this well and hold on to it specially at times when you are getting tempted to give in to your self and lower your standards. 

     2. Learn From Other Marriages and Receive Wise Counsel.

“Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.” (Proverbs 15:22)

As a man need other men in his life to be “sharp” in all areas of his responsibility, so does every couple need other couples too. Open your relationship journey with a few trusted couples and date with accountability and covering. As a man, you could learn from other men on how they have grown better at leading and loving their wives.

    3. Honor Marriage and Keep Yourselves Pure.

“Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.” (Hebrews 13:4)

This is the part where you really have to trust God and His ways. The world today acknowledges that its ok to have sex outside of marriage, but that is just not how God would have us treat it. He wants us to honor Him and trust Him and enjoy the blessings of His favors as we obey. So plan your dates well and never place yourselves in situations where you know you’ll tend to give in to temptations (which is one of the reasons you dont want to be in a very long engagement season. We’ll talk more about this third stage on our next blog post)

KEEP YOURSELF ON TRACK (Part 1)

KEEP YOURSELF ON TRACK

The racks on the railroad were created for one single purpose: to get the train and it’s passages to arrive from one station their desired destination.

The same principle can be applied to your dating journey. You need to know where you are going. The intention must be clear and the journey must keep moving forward.

Now, assuming that you are on “Stage 2” (of the healthy dating relationship we’ve been talking about) and your dearest lady allowed you to to be in “an exclusive dating relationship” with her, you as the man are to be responsible in leading yourself and her in this journey well by staying on course towards your intended destination- marriage.

Unless there are very serious reasons to stop the relationship journey entirely and “part ways” because its the only necessary route, you just have to go on and pace this relationship closer and closer to “Stage 3: The Proposal Stage”! 🙂 (We’ll talk more about as we progress on this topic this week!)

In this post we are going to look at WHY “Keeping Yourself on Track” is important and tomorrow will talk about the HOW to practically do it. 

Now WHY is “keeping the relationship on track” important? Here are some of the major reasons that we can assume of:

FIRST reason is You want the best for your relationship

-No man in his right thinking would go out there on dates wanting the worse case scenario for himself and the woman he loves and respects right? Now for you and your “future spouse” to experience the best possible journey, you just go to keep yourself on track!

SECONDLY , You simply want to honor her.

-Before you set out for her, you resolved in yourself that you respect her and esteem her so much that you don’t want to put her to shame with any of those unwanted pregnancies and painful abortions. So stay away from these dangers and keep yourself on track!

THIRDLY, You want to leave an inspiring legacy to your future family and the next generation

-Imagine yourself having a conversation with your future kids, telling them from experience that by God’s grace you were able to save the gift of sex inside marriage. Imagine looking them eye to eye saying “You are God’s gifts to us, you were never accidents nor a burden to mommy and daddy from the beginning and with Him you can also make the right choice.” The way to do this is to keep yourself on track!

Is your relationship still on track?

You got to be sure it’s still on it, because the success and the health of your journey depends on this. 

3 Checkpoints Before You “Go For Her”

3checkpoints

John is a P.E. teacher at a particular high school campus in the city. And for sometime already, something within him beats so fast just at the sight of Michelle, his co-teacher in the same campus.

He finds her really attractive and admires her so much for being just an outstanding professional in her field. John feels a lot of tension within him and asks: Is she finally the one I’ve been looking for? Is this the right time for me and for her?

In the previous blog post (you could check it on in this link), we’ve talked about something that could help you (as the man in the intended relationship) have an overview of a healthy dating journey. And since a number of you who’ve read that have found that helpful, (thank you for your feedback by the way) we’ll keep walking through those stages one by one as agreed. 

The following are suggested “check points” before you finally lay down your cards, go pass through “stage one” and hopefully go on to dates with her.

Now these are not dogmatic rules or requirements but are only a few general pointers to think about that might be very helpful for you before you open up your feelings and intentions for her:

1. Passion

-Do you really have affections for her? Now this might be the most easiest check point  of all the three. But it’s good to ask just to be sure you are not being forced into her, or something 🙂 There has to be that “it” factor.

2. Respect

-Do you truly respect her as a person? Is her faith and values in line with yours? Would you really honor her, her friends and her family in this intended journey? This one’s good to ask just to make sure you are not a man who’s just after her body who would just go on dates simply to get “something” from her.

3. Friendship

-Do you have at least that acquaintance level of friendship? Have you had at least one meaningful conversation together? This one’s good for you so you would not just come out in the open and be so surprising to her as if suddenly you’re a stranger who does an “ambush approach” on her. (in Filipino baka masupalpal ka lang agad bro :))

So there you have it: Passion, Respect, and Friendship. Just a few things to think about before you go on and “cross the line.”

Here’s a little infographic of the whole concept that some of my guy friends (who are now also happily married) and I came up with 🙂

3 checkpoints

Passion and a bit of Friendship without Respect, that’s just like “maniac!” You wouldn’t want to be branded as one right?

And Friendship and Respect without Passion? That’s what you call “a sister”… you know, someone you don’t want to marry. 🙂

And what about Passion and Respect but without Friendship? That’s what you call just strange “fan”! You don’t want to be a weird stranger to her right? Maybe you could reach out and try to be a real friend to her first. Remember that friendship is a great foundation of all lasting relationships! So go ahead and be one to her (Now take note, don’t be too obvious! There’s a “ninja” way of doing it. Get coaching! Women have these inherent spidey-sense, they’d know if you’re acting strange and are up to something :))

What do you think about these three things?

Do you think you’re ready and set to “go for her” already? 

Our next blog post (on Tuesday, at 7PM) will be more about the “stage two” and some tips on how to get through it in a healthy way and a healthy pacing.

Hope this little dating series helping you 🙂

4 Stages of A Healthy Dating Relationship

4StagesOfAHealthyDatingRelationship

A healthy dating relationship has to have a clear direction.

And its objective must only be one thing:

Marriage.

Yes! M-a-r-r-i-a-g-e! Nothing more, nothing less!

Dating for fun, giggles (kilig-kilig), for bragging rights and mere “experience” is just unfair for the ladies and therefore is unhealthy, even destructive.

And as the man in this relationship journey, you should know where to take it step by step, little by little, stage by stage as you walk with the woman you believe you should marry. 

But take note that not every dating relationship ends up in marriage. Some end in the early stages (which is way healthier and better for the both of you) and some in the latter stages ending up even to be dis-engaged (which is really sad and painful but still better than having to have “tied the knot”). That is why even before entering a dating journey with her, you must have had done “your manly home work” first (you must have known who she is from a distance, who she is in group settings especially how she is with her family. You must have had enough conversations alone with her finding about how she thinks, does her work and values things etc.)

This post is a way of helping you do your homework. It’s just an overview and a little explanation of each stage. ( If this blog post works, I could do a little more elaboration on each stage every Tuesday Nights so stay put and lets see how this online conversation would go, so join in the conversation :))

Stage 1: The “Laying-Down-of-Intentions” Stage

In this stage, your goal as the man is to be clear about your feelings for her and what you intend or hope to do next. 

This stage is not a laying down of emotions but a laying down of intentions! So you must have had wrestled with “the idea of you and her” and have gone through some counseling and advices from trusted credible people first before approaching her and getting to this 1st stage. (Tip: Don’t open up your feelings to every person you know and esp “to her girl friends” to the point that she’s the is the only one who doesn’t know! Married people can be very reliable than your single friends who just have lots of concepts and untested ideas :))

Note that she does not have to answer right away so GIVE HER SOME TIME to pray and think about it. Do this in a way that’s humble and patient not cocky and assuming. (a day or a week might be a good time, a month or a year looks bad, bro :))

Now, if she says yes to you and is “allowing you” to court her, she is in a way telling you “sure, now pursue me!” (Note that it’s going to be stressful for you if your desire for her is very shallow, it would be a great joy of a challenge for you if your love is way much deeper!)

So again if she says yes to your intentions then go ahead and “run” for her! This is why you really need to be ready with your next moves.

The other scenario is that she would turn you down with “I don’t really see us taking this route together” or “I just see you only as a brother”, it’s up to you to discern whether you’ll push it further and give it another shot or whether its a good sign to just walk away and learn from it. (This could be another test of how deep your love for her really is)

Stage 2: The Exclusive Relationship Stage

The lady at this point must have challenged you enough to see if you are really serious about an honorable & decent relationship with her.  As the man, you would know by a gut feel whether its time to follow through by asking if you could take it to the next level and be in an exclusive relationship dating with you already. The goal of this stage is for you to broaden your understanding of her, her friends and her family. And no matter what, within you must be a growing conviction that she really must be your life time partner!

This is a time when you should be establishing regular date days to just be yourselves and converse about the things that matters most for the both of you in life – your dreams and aspirations, your hopes and life goals, your faith and beliefs, and family vision and life mission.

Take note that at this stage, you also must have established boundaries at this point especially when it comes to physical intimacy. Because the higher you go in the dating stages, the higher the sexual temptation becomes. And so getting accountability and being wise as to the times and places you meet would be very helpful. As followers of Jesus, we are commanded by Him to honor the marriage bed and so we must do every possible thing we could to stay sexually abstinent which is very possible by the enabling grace of God. 

Stage 3: The Proposal Stage

Now, since you’ve been in an exclusive relationship for “enough time”, you must have had gone through some up and downs esp through a number of conflicts and have learned how to resolve the those together. As the man, you must have learned how to love and lead her despite of the weaknesses you might have discovered along the way. And if there’s just no other reason to call it off, you should be getting ready to bring it to the next level, by popping the big question “Will you Marry Me?”.

(Tip: since you’ve known her personality and preferences, your proposal game plan must never be driven by whats popular or trending but what you believe she would greatly appreciate and love. Some do it with firework effects and complete video coverage while some do it during a simple date. Some do it in a big setting publicly with her love ones there, while some in a not so big setting. Do what you think be appreciated by her, and very memorable for the both of you) Personally talking with her parents and asking for their blessing would be an honorable thing to do. But in principle, know the best time and way to do it. 

Remember this, your goal after the proposal stage must none the less be wedding preparations. You would have to learn to work together towards this with joy and great patience. And this phase should not take you years! Most relationship counsellors would recommend 6 months to a maximum of 2 years to prepare for wedding. Beyond that is not encouraged because of the temptations of sexual intimacy and the hopes that might be put on uncertainties, that would be unwise already. 

Stage 4: The Exchanging of “I Do’s” Stage 

This one is the fourth and the final stage of dating. This is definitely the win and a joy not just for you but for your family and friends! 

The exchanging of your personal vows and being in your very own wedding ceremony is just one of the most memorable moments you’ll have in your whole life! Imagine your bride walking down the altar towards you and all the hardships you’ve been through together are nothing but a memory of the past. The minister then pronounces you as man and wife and then says “You may now kiss your bride!”

Marriage is an entirely different season and deserves an entirely different blog series (4 Stages of a Healthy Marriage maybe?:)) But until then, the first few months and years you have from this point is foundational for a memorable, enjoyable and meaningful marriage years ahead of you.  

If you are reading this and you are in a currently in a  relationship, try to ask yourself now: where are we in our journey with my lady? And then ask yourself personally “Where do you I think our relationship should go next?

Now, if you are not yet in a relationship, I hope that this would be of help for you before you even engage in one. 🙂

Why We Do Crazy Stuff

7U5SGs1463628389

We do crazy stuff simply because we don’t know how much loved we are.

It’s the almost the same story we get to hear over and over again. That a particular person would seem to be ok and then all of a sudden a crazy headline takes us by surprise:

-A father commits adultery

-A single lady gets herself pregnant

-A teenager gets addicted to drugs 

-A single pro gets hooked in pornography

-A certain woman has been spreading gossip

These are but a reality of how broken all of us are and how each of us are in dire need of a true love that would make us whole and complete againfree from all the wanting, and and all the thirsting and all the worldly cravings that really never satisfies.

And until we genuinely realize the fact that we are perfectly known and yet at the same time perfectly loved by God in and through Jesus Christ, we will never get to be free and empowered to live according to how we were supposed to live and thrive in this life.

So hear this truth again and again, and allow it to heal and restore you as it sinks deeper and deeper into your heart:

YOU ARE LOVED.

Got that?

YOU ARE DEEPLY LOVED! (Man! You are affirmed, approved, and accepted!)

Did that got through you?

YOU ARE PERFECTLY LOVED! (eternally, unconditionally, and unendingly)

God became man to hand it personally to you. He lived to demonstrate it and he died to prove it! And now He lives again, ruling and reigning in the heavens, wooing you to finally realize it, that you would own it and hold on to it until it begins its work in you.

Despite of what you’ve done and your unworthiness, He runs to you to embraces you and says “I love you and I have already paid for it all!”all the shame all the pain and all those sinful stuff you’ve committed. And God says to you “as far as the east is from the west I have taken away your sins from you. And as far as the heavens are above the earth so great is my love for you!”

It is only through His great love alone could we stop doing these crazy stuff and start to live enjoying life as it’s made to be enjoyed- under the grace and the favor of the LORD, in all its fullness and all its abundance, for our ultimate good, all for His glory.

“The LORD is my shepherd I shall not want. 

He make me lie down in green pastures and leads me beside still waters

He restores my soul.

He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name sake”

-Psalm 23:1-3