Test-Driving Your Relationship

Inquiring singles want to know… “How do I know if my sweetheart is the one?“

If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard that question, I could pay off half the Obama spending spree…okay maybe not.  Still, I can honestly say as a mentor to young women, co-director for a single’s women’s ministry and friend to many eligible ladies, this is the one question I’ve been asked more than any other.  Even many of my guy friends ask…as if some secret formula exists, a 12 step program for decoding the mystery of the one.  For heaven’s sake I’ve been single most of my adult life!  Why are you asking me?

Not far behind the question of the one, is its first cousin inquiry, “How long should I date someone before we should know?”  The obvious…and glib…answer is: “it depends on the couple”.  I have good friends who have dated for years and still they are not married.  Too, I am friends with couples who within months of meeting one another tied the knot.   In my family I have a relative who’s been seeing the same man for 13 years.  Another family member boasts he knew when he first met his lovely bride that she was the one and he was shopping for a ring after 4 months.  It’s complicated, right?

Maybe not as complicated as we make it out to be.  Recently I came across an article addressing questions 1 & 2, and much more.  “Stop Test-Driving Your Girlfriend” by Michael Lawrence is a call to accountability for single men but it almost as easily could have addressed single women…with a slight change in the title, of course…something like “Stop Testing Driving Your Relationship”. 

The writer suggests the Bible “does provide principles that point us in the direction of making a decision to marry or break up in the shortest appropriate time.”  Offering a comical, yet relevant comparison of long-term dating to an extended test drive, he makes some salient points about how easy it is to take advantage of your partner in a dating relationship.

In his article Michael Lawrence dispels a familiar myth about searching for the one.  He also offers insights on the difference between “settling” and commitment. 

How many times as singles have we approached our relationships with a consumer mentality and in so doing, we ask the wrong questions?  {Perhaps we even blame God when we don’t hear Him answer our questions???}  Probably the most helpful piece of the article is a list of 5 questions at the conclusion.

Rather than risk taking the writer out of context by trying to regale you with quotes, may I strongly urge you to read the entire article for yourself?  {click on link below}

 “Stop Test-Driving Your Girlfriend” gives practical, powerful and most importantly Biblical suggestions to help clarify your current relationship or to keep in mind for a future one.

One personal note:  some of you will read this and may feel I am picking on you specifically.  If you really know me, please trust my heart when I say, I’m not.  I care too much to purposely try to embarrass others or heap guilt on anyone.  This is shared to bring healing to relationships so we may honor Christ in them.

I recently sent a link for this article to a dear friend who has struggled for quite some time with the question of the one.  His response was one of sincere gratitude, thanking me twice in a single paragraph for having the courage to share it.  I was so touched by his heart to find a Biblical approach to answering his question and to act in a Christ-like manner to honor his long-term relationship, I felt compelled to share this with others.  If it fits your current situation, I pray you’ll benefit from it, too.  If it rings true of something regrettable in your past, I pray you’ll learn from it and give yourself grace going forward. 

Finally, I don’t do this often but in fairness to guys, I am willing to open up my blog for a “guest” post from my male friends.  I you have a counterpoint on this matter that you believe would be helpful to women, please let me hear from you.  I also welcome your comments.

For the full article, please click:  Stop Test-Driving Your Girlfriend 

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22 responses to “Test-Driving Your Relationship

  1. This hit home in a hard way. I dated a Christian leader for over 2 years and thought we were moving towards marriage. We talked about it and he said all the right things to make me feel secure enough in our relationship. But I felt like there was always something unspoken that kept him from commiting. He treated me good so I kept holding on and waiting for him to be ready. Unitl I read this article I was still trying to figure out what happened. We broke up, he met someone else and maybe not in that oreder I don’t know for sure. All I know is I lost my church because he was a leader and soon after meeting the other woman they got married. Now it all makes sense to me. I was good for him just not good enough. He thought he could do better and he never had any intention of committing to me. Do men really not understand how they are playing with a woman’s heart and soul when they act this way? I think they do. I think they just don’t care.

  2. Men are kidding themselves if they think there’s a Miss Universe out there for them. She may be out there but she doesn’t want them! When women go after men with money, they are labeld shallow and golddiggers and a bunch of other unflattering terms that don’t belong on this site. But men can chase after a woman 20 years younger and think its perfectly acceptible. Do they not realize how foolish they look?

  3. If I had a dollar for every time this has happened to me I could pay off the other half of Mr. Obama’s spending spree. Some lights are coming on. Thanks.

    • @dj…and Heather…and Name Withheld…and the two really angry women whose comments were not approved for this site {sorry, I have veto power if it’s vulgar…}:

      It doesn’t surprise me that some of you are commenting as you have and I would not want to minimize your pain. My heart aches for you. Please don’t ever think that you were “not enough”. What happened was NOT about you. Christ sees you as beautiful and a woman of deep worth.

      The risk I ran in posting this was the possibility of an “us vs. them” fight breaking out between men & women. If that happens, we miss the whole point.

      In truth, there are probably many women who have treated men similarly. We all want to think we’ll make the “best choice” when it comes to a life partner and sometimes the lines blur between high standards and fantasy. I’ve even found myself many times saying that I refuse to settle for the wrong man just so I can be in a relationship. Now I’m having to rethink what “settling” means.

      I will never make excuses for either gender’s unfortunate and painful behavior toward others. But I will say, our culture has placed so much emphasis on chemistry and our personal pleasure, it’s easy to see how one could get swept up in it.

      Again, the point of my posting this is to make us aware of a Biblical approach to dating and a potential marriage partner, not to point fingers. If you are an offender—male or female—in a current relationship, please make it right. If it was in a previous relationship, seek forgiveness if possible. If you are the wounded—male or female—offer forgiveness even if it is never sought.

      “Love keeps no record of wrong…” I Corinthians 13
      Grace.

  4. Di,

    I wan to echo what was already said by the man in your posting. THANK YOU for sharing this.

    Since my wife passed I have met many lovely women and felt I made it clear that I was only seeking friendship. Still I know a few took our friendship further in their hearts than I was prepared to go. In the past couple of years I’ve seen the other side of the coin and I know how it feels to care for a woman who doesn’t feel the same for me. But she has always been honest and let me love her as my close friend.

    First and foremost, as men of God our role is to protect our sisters in Christ. It is an honor and our duty. I am always aware that there are men out there who spend time with my future wife, whoever she is, and I want them to respect her and protect her heart until God puts her in my path. I am committed to doing the same with the women I spend time with.

    I especially like what the article said about marrying the godliest, most fruitful, most spiritually beautiful woman I can convince to have me. My standards are set pretty high but I know my limitations so I keep hoping but with realistic expectations. In the meantime, thanks for modeling what a godly, fruitful, spiritually beautiful woman looks like.

    I will always be grateful for the depth of our friendship and what we share in Christ, Di. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever known with another human.

  5. Seeking low mileage, well maintained older model. Sleek, classic lines, natural colored paint job. small trunk for very little baggage, but nice if there something under the hood (brains). Soft interior. Balanced speaker system with clear tones. Power steering for easy maneuvering. Good brakes to stop on a dime.Modified engine with extra slow torque but still firing on all cylinders. Willing buyer. Eager to make offer.

    • @ Willing Buyer: If you’re kidding, you’re hilarious! If you’re not, you better be ready to take a hike as far as women are concerned! Ladies, let me know if this brand of sweet talk holds the key to your heart. I’ll pass along this guy’s contact info to you… ’til then WB, if I were you I’d keep on walking.

  6. That was a very helpful article and I thank you for sending it to me. I was married for 20 years to a man who never really loved me and whom I felt I never “measured up to”. I’ve only been single now for 2 years and starting to date again. I’m finding the dating world a very scary place! I long to get married again and find “the right one” but at this rate I think I’m better of with my dogs!
    Thanks again and hope you’re doing well.

  7. re: “How do I know if my sweetheart is the one?“

    When presented with this question there are specific experiences that come to mind in my own life and the life of my friends and acquaintances. Soon after that I start to think well this answer can not be anything other than highly contextual, unique to each individual. Resisting the urge to nearly dismissively say, “It depends…”, I’ll offer a few random thoughts on the subject.
    Fist of all I’m going to assume that this question is being asked after one has done all the due diligence in eliminating necessarily obvious mismatches according to a short list of “have-to-haves” and “can’t stands” and has chosen a person with whom they’ve now spent a considerable amount of time. They’ve passed the period of what I refer to as the thick fog of chemistry, one who is now in the final stretches of rationally getting to know someone before commitment. (If this is not the case you first may want to read Dr. Earl Clark Warren’s book, “How to Get a Date Worth Keeping”)
    In other words, I’ll not assume we are in the beginning stages of choosing.

    Here are a few ways that I’ve learned are important to consider whether the person you’ve invested time with is that special one you’ve been looking for. I’ll leave these points in a generalized state so you can form your own conclusions. Everyone’s situation is different:

    1. How many times out of ten does this person smile when you enter their space? This may seem like an overly simplistic test but one’s smile is a window on their face that shows that their heart is home. A ready smile shows that one is consistently emotionally available.
    2. Have you had an argument or an intense conversation yet? How did he/she react? Arguments seem stressful when you’re going through them but they are useful in the sense that they are trials by fire. They’re a worse case scenario as to whether the both of you are mentally resilient to withstand the worst of each other and if they are flexible enough to work toward a solution. They realize the error in being “right-fighters” actively working toward communion, away from conflict.
    3. What is the level of integrity of your friend’s words? When he/she says “no” do they mean it? When he/she says “yes” do they mean it? How closely do their actions follow their words? These clues are all evidence of the existence, or lack thereof, of boundaries.
    4. Is he or she overly agreeable or overly disagreeable? A reasonably well adjusted person will be roughly balanced in this area.
    5. If someone were to walkup to you and ask why you love/like this person how quickly would you be able to answer? Would the answers be emotion-based or fact-based or both?
    6. Does your sweetheart allow and encourage you to become the “best version of yourself” as Matthew Kelly says in his book, “The Seven Levels of Intimacy”?
    7. What do your friends think of this person? You’d be surprised at how good a judge of character your friends are.

    Also, it is worth it to answer this question from the angle of self-examination, especially if you have been looking for a while and have gone through a whole list of potential suitors to no avail, or if you’re with someone now however you keep asking this question over and over.
    If you continue to meet good matches but somehow it “doesn’t work out”, could you be comparing your sweetheart to an unreasonable standard of perfection? Remember that God is the only one who’s perfect. We are all flawed to some degree.
    Somehow I think that all we really need to know about relationships in this world of WIFM (What’s in It For Me?) is that “God so loved the world that he gave …” Relationships are all about two people giving. It’s as simple as that.
    I do have a good book to recommend also that helped me tremendously soon after I was divorced, “”Are you the one for me?” by Barbara DeAngellis.” It was a New York Times bestseller.
    Finally, I would say of course to pray for God to send the right one to you. After all he knows you better than anyone.

  8. Great article. The one thing I took issue with that Mr.Lawrence wrote is this, “Once you’ve asked the right questions, and once you’ve found someone you suspect fits the biblical description of a godly wife, you now need to decide whether to get married.”

    I would think if you’ve asked the right questions and you’ve found someone who fits the description of a godly wife and as he wrote elsewhere you are attracted to one another in a way that husbands and wives would desire one another, then the only decision to be made is not IF you get married but WHEN. I don’t advocate rushing into marriage in the first few months. You still need time to get to know one another but you both understand that you are headed in the same direction and that direction is holy matrimory. Once that commitment is in place there is genuine opportunity to get to know the real person.

    If as a Christian you are not thinking in terms of finding a life partner, you shouldn’t be dating. Stick with the singles groups and outings with several friends. You have no business risking hurting someone by dating if you can’t see yourself in a marriage.

  9. Thanks, excellent article.

    I have been echoing the author’ s words for over 18 years in single adult ministry. Our becoming the right person seminar and starting over addresses the same concerns the author has.

    Time is still utterly important In the process while determining if we commit ourselves to someone. Down with consumeristic selfishness up with Jesus.

  10. From my limited perspective and experience, unrequited love from either person is very painful. However, a more important issue/question is am I a giver or a taker in relationships? If the later describes me, I am fashioning for myself a broken cistern that cannot hold water Jer.2:13. Better to come to the spring of living water to be filled with His life in order that a river may flow stong, unimpeded to the blessing of many.

  11. A different Paul here, so I labeled myself “Paul in Texas”. However, I do agree with much of what the first Paul said here. We probably have had similar experiences in dating many online “matches” and reading many books to try and make sense of the whole process of finding a suitable mate. These long, drawn out courtship scenarios can be heartbreaking. It doesn’t have to be that way.

    I’ll just suggest what I consider the essentials for those on this quest. This may require you to push a giant “Reset” button on your dating life. Better to do it now, before anyone gets hurt any more than they already have been hurt.

    Prerequisite: A starting point prior to all my suggestions is that you know the Lord. If that relationship is established, all human ones can follow. Oh, and besides, you can ask Him for advice all along the way. And read what He says in Proverbs, Ephesians, the four gospels books. Basically, pick up His wisdom and eat it. It’s real good. Always remember – God is love.

    1) Learn what makes each gender unique, and how to respect the differences. Get to know the way men are wired by reading For Women Only: What You Need to Know about the Inner Lives of Men. It’s advisable for men to read this one, too. Get to understand women by reading For Men Only: A Straightforward Guide to the Inner Lives of Women. Likewise, women should read it, also. Then, at least skim through Emerson Eggerich’s Love & Respect: The Love She Most Desires; The Respect He Desperately Needs. A quick read after that could be John Eldredge’s You Have What It Takes: What Every Father Needs to Know to emphasize that every many needs to know in his heart that he has what it takes to be a hero, and every woman needs to know in her heart that she is lovely.

    2) Find out how to date the right way, and learn all the things you ever did wrong in dating (seriously, it’s eye-opening), with Henry Cloud and John Townsend’s Boundaries in Dating: Making Dating Work.

    3) Now you’re almost ready to date the right way. Follow that with Henry Cloud’s How to Get a Date Worth Keeping. PLEASE follow his suggestion of dating LOTS of people over a six month period while staying emotionally detached from all of them. No kissing, nothing romantic, nothing sensual. Just date and find out what people are like, and what you are like, and what traits in another person work well with you. Guys, don’t lead a woman on emotionally. They are vulnerable in that way. Ladies, I know you feel the need for that emotional closeness, but be patient. Don’t trick a guy into providing that for you. Don’t draw him in. Really – don’t draw him in. Simply date. Enjoy the experience, and don’t do anything you wouldn’t be willing to post right here.

    If you do the above recommended steps, I can’t imagine you spending much time at all in a serious “boyfriend-girlfriend” relationship before you know you’re with “the one”. Like I said, you may be in a position (like I was) of having dated in wrong ways, driven only by your perceived needs, and you will need to do that big “Reset”. So, do it. Nothing else has worked yet, has it? Follow the experts’ advice and information they’ve laid out for us in black and white. Haven’t you had enough of the “shades of gray” in the past?

    Once you have come to know yourself, to trust yourself as having been cleansed by God of the false desires and false hopes that once drove you, and once you have learned objectively about the opposite sex and come to respect their true needs, you will be ready. That’s about the time God will drop that person into your life. Maybe through an online dating service, maybe through a friend. He’s creative. Let God be God and let Him do it the way He knows best. Just you get ready for it first.

    Last thing: There are only two kinds of spirits you can have in you – love and fear. Perfect love casts out fear. That’s because God has not given you a spirit that leads to fear, but a spirit of love, power and a sound mind. Everything that is not love is from fear. Leave it behind by going to God and asking him to help you know His love in you. He won’t turn you down, but will give more love than you can imagine possible. Let Him.

  12. I’m a romantic. In fact, I’m too much of a romantic (married three times… to just 2 women… yeah, I’m that guy). But 12 years ago I began to undertand many of Jesus’ teachings where He reminded only His chosen would understand. That was really good news to me, and it sparked my love affair with Christ, His Flesh and Blood, His word… especially the words He spoke from His very mouth, words that transcend all other scripture as the new covenant, the new wine, the gospel. I believe I will marry again, but not because I want to remarry… though I do. When I was born again in 1998 I vowed to maintain sexual purity until the Lord brought “the one” to me. His one. If you had told me then that 12 years later I’d still be celibate… and unmarried, I would have assumed I must have died in 1999. I still dream nearly every night of romantic encounters… and God somehow meets me there and brings me peace through my unrequited dreams. I know it seems like over-simplification, but with every passing year alone I grow to trust Him more in regard to “the one,” and have come to understand that the less I ask Him to bring my bride, the closer I actually am to meeting her. But even more, I first had to realize that it had nothing to do with time. “No one knows the hour…” says the Lord. This is not simply true for The Rapture, but for marriage rapture as well. I’ve learned to live in the zone of “Seek first the Kingdom of God…” and loving God with “all… all… all…and all.” That shouldn’t leave much time or even space in my heart, soul, mind, or strength to want for anything else, let alone something I try to tell Him that He wants for me. Is it me, or is it Him? Can I really know if I started the clock with the caveat that He wants me to find “the one,” or might I have been wooed into believing this by our culture… our modern Christian culture that says I get what I want, ESPECIALLY the opposite sex in the form of a Godly marriage, as long as I attribute this “want” to God’s will. That, as they say, is indeed a slippery slope, and yet we all do it, myself included. And so I repent, and I trust, and I stay open… not to the opposite sex, but to God’s perfect will, which is only attainable if I stop wanting for anything or anyone else but Him. Sounds impossible, yes? Peter once said to Jesus, ““See, we have left all and followed You.” And for that, Jesus assured them that the paradox of giving up our loved ones for the sake of the gospel is a good thing… and that it brings greater relationship in within the mysteries of His Kingdom. Again, hard teachings… stuff I ran from before being born again. Surely the Lord doesn’t want me to be alone… right? But I’ve realized the fact that “I am never alone” is more than a euphemism… but the truth I live for, and so I simply trust Him… and though my romantic soul yearns when it wanders, I repent, and I yearn only for Him and His gospel. I am not alone, and I have found “The One,” yet I still believe I will remarry… but it will have to be a woman who feels the same way, as I doubt I could fall in love with a woman who wants anything more than the love of Christ… from God Himself. That’s the woman I can truly love… the woman who understands this “hard teaching.” To wrap up my little diddy on “the one,” I would be remiss not to mention the verse “that is not to be spoken” among singles ministries or groups where unmarried Christian folk like us gather in hopes of finding “the one.” I was at a church gathering a few weeks ago, where I met a really cool gal who clearly loved the Lord. We chatted for a while, she asked me about my ministry efforts, and then I asked about hers. She told me that she has been led by the Lord to speak on the importance of marriage… the critical importance of marriage, especially among the over 30 crowd that is trending each year toward larger and larger numbers of unmarried v. married. She told me the Lord “wants us to marry,” that it is His perfect will that we all marry, and that scripture is clear on this. And being a true student of the gospel, I struggled to find a way to break the bad news to her… not ALL scripture supports her claim. In fact, Jesus… God Himself… never once said that. Oh contrare… and I am not a contrarian. As I said, I am a true romantic. I dream of my bride, but I want just for my Lord, and if He wills that I remain celibate for the rest of my life, I would feel what He told me I should feel about such a revelation… not what our culture has told me to feel… not what my soul wants to believe… only what He wants, and if we believe He is God, and that Matthew can be trusted to have quoted Him correctly, Jesus only addressed this particular issue ONCE, yet I didn’t see it quoted once in Michael’s article (not a criticism, just an observation), and I realized that this young lady of the marriage conversation probably never studied this verse in any of her “God wants us to marry” ministry efforts. Consider Matthew 19:10-12. It’s clear what the Lord is saying here. His disciples said to Him, “If such is the case of the man with his wife, it is better not to marry.” Jesus affirmed this fact by expanding upon it, and closed by saying, “He who is able to accept it, let him accept it.” I believe that the sooner we are able to accept it, the sooner we will find ourselves standing with Peter and the disciples, saying, “See, we have left all and followed You.” and Jesus will commend us for our all, all, all, and all consuming passion and desire just for Him. (Mark 10:28-30, another semi-taboo Word of the Lord among mature singles). So I pray this has not come as a rebuke, or a judgment, or a boast. In my dreams I yearn for my bride, but once I get my “all” righteously directed, I want only Christ and Him crucified… me crucified. We are but a vapor… and so is “the one” if we make her/him an idol. He is a jealous God… and I love Him for that. Please forgive my typos.. and please be blessed…

    • @ Wayne C. Many Christian singles would judge you cuz you’ve been married several times. We are good at that, ya know? Lookin down our noses cuz we’ve never been married or cuz our spouse died and we want someone untainted by marriage & divorce. But you get it, my friend. Somewhere in your 12 years of singleness God did a work in your heart. Sounds like he is still working. You let him. Bravo. Do you know how many divorced singles rush back into a relationship w/o ever spending a day in self-examination? Even widowed folks jump on-line to find somebody new w/o ever considering they may have had a good marriage but it wasn’t perfect. So they fail to ask to themselves what could I do better next time, how could I grow or change so I’m more pleasing to God as a mate? You are asking the hard questions, waiting on the Lord to answer and I believe you are reaping the rewards even while you wait. I know you are not looking for accolades but seriously man, I am proud to call you Brother.

  13. New to your site. I’ve been reading some of your recent blogs. You have an amazing heart. And you’re gorgeous. I’ve got one question. Will you marry me? Or we could start with a cup of coffee.

  14. Driven Into the Ground

    I think test-driving happens more than we realize, even to married folks. Thanks for an interesting article and post.

  15. DiAnna,

    After reading the numerous heart felt responses by readers to your recent blog on the article “Stop Test Driving your Girlfriend”, I can see you have deeply inspired a lot of soul searching amongst your readers. Finally, a blog that helps the dating person towards constructive, life changing answers. I know many have taken the easy road of keeping their perspective marriage partner at arms length where they stay protected from the hard work of building something special and eternal, while unfortunately and inevitably missing out on the full embrace of a loving committed marriage.

    Thank you for revealing a biblical and Godly plan that is sure to pull us out of the drudgery of commitment-procrastination and headed to the real action-packed thriller of a working, growing loving, God centered marriage. Please keep writing your thoughts and ideas here at Living4jesus.wordpress.com. You are consistently delivering an important message that keeps us thinking and growing closer to God and the Kingdom.

  16. I loved the test driving article………..the woman of my heart is more beautiful than any woman I have ever known……..and it is not just a physical thing though she is beautiful………her full attributes are nothing short of God given……..she could be scared, wrinkled and her true beauty would show always to me……..this is the woman I want to serve and love……..through all……..this article is absolutely right on….I’m so glad i discovered it………ladies, there are men who truly want to love and treasure your soul with God as a center in marriage………

  17. Hi Di,

    The ‘one,’ the soul mate, is a myth, and a damaging one at that. Boy meets the one. Girl meets the one. They get married and realize there spouse is not the one. They have missed God’s perfect plan and doomed to live Plan B while the one is out there somewhere. Thiss is a bad scenario and must be avoided by having God reveal whom he has chosen for us. We refuse the wisdom He offers, choosing abicate decision making and so we wait, and wait, and wait for God to make the decision for us.

    God does not have a perfect match for us (other than Himself). Have you seen the church? God does not even have a perfect match for Himself! You want a Biblical marriage. Get over the myth of what you think a perfect plan looks like, find a real man or woman with a heart after God who is willing to walk a REAL journey with a real, live-able, workable faith and love. Prune your affections from those things that dull discernment and seek to fill your soul with things other than God. Know whom God is calling you to be, whom He is pruning you to be, what sacrifices He requires of you to become the man or woman of God that He has put as centermost in your heart to become. Is this potential mate compatible with your journey? Are you compatible with theirs?

    God does indeed love you more than you could ever imagine, but He does not have a perfect plan (and a perfect spouse as a major component of that perfect plan) for your life. Well, theoretically He might, but it will never get enacted in this life on earth, because the shoes are too big for our imperfect feet to walk in. Our feet and legs are too small to take those large, perfect strides. We don’t need a perfect plan, or a perfect match. We need to be imperfect, earthen vessels of divine grace to one another as we work out our Salvation. His part of that walk is perfect: ours … not so much.

    I wish God would make all my decisions for me, or at least the biggies: spouse, career, education, iPhone or Android. As a good parent, our Father seems much more interested in training us to walk in wisdom, stretching us to think His thoughts, transforming us to love the things He loves, than He does in how well we perform in carrying out some perfect agenda. He treasures our imperfect decision making and in true God-like fashion, redeems our scribblings as He incorporates them into the masterpiece of His creation. Joining our imperfect lives, imperfect decisions and imperfect mates to His perfect Son is an act of faith. He is the great Redeemer, not just for forgiveness, but imparting to us the Holy Spirit, travelling this imperfect life with us as we are transformed and led into the complete (and perfect) fullness of fellowship with God.

    We are fickle creatures. There will always come along another who grabs us as being prettier, smarter, kinder, richer, more loving, spiritual, and who will never grow old or have morning breath. The flesh is stupid that way, always chasing after some idol, something better. What if a nicer vessel does come along? And it will! Whether it truly is, or only imagined, does not matter. You will believe it to be so. Accept the inevitable and plan ahead to just get over it. God is infinitely perfect, wondrous and beautiful beyond compare and yet our eyes light up for the things of this world all the time. – Prone to wander, Lord I fear it. Yet, in faith, I am not paralyzed. I keep turning my heart and face toward home.

    Do you delight in your prospective mate? Good. Do you delight in the One whom this vessel contains? Excellent. In loving this vessel, are you able to fill and be filled with God’s love for them and for you? The wine of His love, my friend, is the real treasure. Over time it will transform the vessel from within.

    Do you have a God birthed desire to be poured out in sacrificial love for this person? Choose wisely, asking and expecting God to give you wisdom, not decisions. The one whom you choose will prune you deeply. You should have a pretty good idea of what things in your life, and in their life, will be lopped off, and what things will flourish as a result of that pruning.

    How long does this take? It all depends. Are one or both of you going through a major transition in life: entering adulthood, graduation, career change, freedom from chemical dependency, emotional breakthrough, parenthood, break-up, empty nest, divorce, death, spiritual rebirth? If so your needs at the moment may be way out of proportion than what for you is ‘normal life.’ If you or your loved one are ‘in love,’ twitterpated, high on the good, good feelings of limmerance (the feeling of falling in love), then you really don’t know one another when sober. This is no time to be making life-long covenants. Give the feelings, the natural chemical high, time to return to a normal state. Do you love yourself and your prospective mate for whom they are and for whom God is calling each to be? Or are either of you just in love with how you feel about life and yourself when high on limmerance? Limmerance makes the critical person gush with positive things to day and the gloomy person vibrant with optimism – they are finally happy with themselves and they love you for it. For a season -a very short season. The season of limmerance passes, the criticism and gloom that they despise in themselves returns and they realize that they ‘missed God,’ you are not ‘the one’ He prepared as part of His perfect plan for their life.

    There is only one, “The One,” and that is the Lord Himself. The Holy Spirit is your only true Soul Mate. May the Lord grant you wisdom and insight as together you discern how joining your life with another will change you both and aide or hinder God’s calling on your lives.

  18. I’ve always been a stickler for precise definition.
    “Test-drive” is a somewhat squishy metaphor so I’d have to have a more precise definition to be able to answer without shooting of on a tangent different than the intended. Then I’d have to get all red-faced and say, as Emily Letilla on SNL would, “Never miiiiiiiiind.”
    Paul

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