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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Up or Down

When I started dating my now-husband, I was only 16.  He was 22, so it was a big age difference.  Because my mom knew his family and knew their strong Christian background, she never worried about him or our relationship.  My dad didn't, either.  He wasn't the typical, "no one's dating my daughter until she's 20" kind of dad (thankfully!).  But now that our oldest, and only daughter, is 17, and will be leaving home in a little more than a year, I think about my future son-in-law or with my boys, my future daughters-in-law.

There are some important questions to ask yourself if you are of the dating age.  As a Christian, there are some very tough questions that are of utmost importance.  Don't think that you can change someone.  Perhaps they will change on their own, and perhaps you can help them change some, but don't go into a relationship expecting it.  Go into the relationship thinking of it as an "as is" thing, if you will.  In other words, you don't want someone who will change to make you happy while dating, yet after marriage, go back to the way they used to be.  Look at their family.  Look at the way they treat their family, their neighbors, the poor, the sick, the lonely.  Look at their relationship with God.  

So, on to the questions:

Will my relationship with him/her bring me UP or bring me DOWN?
Will he/she help me grow closer to God or draw me further away?
When I am around him/her, does he/she lift me up or drag me down?
Does he/she encourage me or discourage me?
Will he/she stand up for what is morally right and ethically correct or will he/she go with the flow - even if it's wrong?
Is he/she interested in helping others, or does it seem like he/she is more concerned with himself/herself?
Is he/she striving to be closer to God, or is that personal relationship ever even talked about?
How does he/she feel about the church?  Is it important to him/her or is it something he/she feels really doesn't matter?
What does he/she believe about Jesus?  Has he/she given his/her life to him?  Is he/she totally committed to Him?
How does he/she talk about his/her parents, grandparents, siblings?

These are just a few important questions.  Of course, there are many, many more.  But as a Christian, the ones that show whether the person you are dating with draw you closer to God or draw you away from God is the most important of all.  There is no other relationship as important as the one you have with your Heavenly Father and the one you have with His Son and your Savior, Jesus.  Nothing is worth allowing that relationship to suffer.  Nothing.

These questions can be used for relationships with friends and co-workers, as well.  It is our duty as Christians to teach others and bring them to Christ, but we need to be careful that we are not being brought down in the process.  We want to be one who lifts others up, who bring others up with us, and ultimately, people who point others to Him.

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