Now that I'm 23, and people keep asking about relationships (or relationshit?). I'm probably the least versed on this subject, but I've been reading books on singleness, relationships, and love lately. This book, Lovedecisions by Donald Harvey, has great practical and Biblical advice those of us who wish to be in fulfilling and lasting love relationships.
What's interesting is the subtitle: 'A Dad talks to his daughter about lasting relationships.' It is written with the sound advice of a therapist, but also from the perspective of a father who wants the best for his daughter. Between the chapters are letters from the author to his daughter about the men and events in her life. He gives sound advice and insight, but what's touching is that he has been teaching his daughter in the best way: by being the best husband to her mother! In how he treats his wife, he also wants his daughter to find the right man who will treat her well and bring out the best in her.
For us girls, its natural that parents are strict, not allowing us to go out late at night or be friends with questionable people. Even my dad is so overprotective, he claims that he'll shoot anyone who tries to court me! Which is very funny, because as if there's a queue outside my house waiting for me, and I'm definitely not ready for that kind of thing. I'm just posting this because Valentine's Day (or is it Bitter Singles Day?) is just around the corner and love is in the air.
So for easy reading, I summarized the points in the book.
What do we need to know about love?
- Before we think we are ready for love or marriage, we must be independent. We must grow up first and be able to make decisions on our own without being dependent on parents.
- Sometimes, we get into relationships thinking we can change the person to fit us. But we cannot change people, only they can change themselves.
- What is, will be. If there's a problem in a relationship, it will still be there during marriage. But we shouldn't think of people as 'projects', because they will not change if they are not willing. But people CAN change.
- We must also be flexible and compatible. Not just compatible with a certain person, because being compatible asks, can I make the necessary adjustments in this relationship? While marriageability asks, can I fit in with anyone at all?
- Some people just aren't marriage material. There are some out there who have real personality problems that we should avoid.
- A couple must really get to know each other and experience every season together before they decide that they can marry and live together.
- Ask questions to yourself and think about the relationship too. Are things getting better for you and to both of you? Is control an issue, which can be a problem later? Is the relationship mutual? Are you able to deal with conflicts? Are you number one for him? Is he Mr. Right, does he have the qualities you care about?
- All things end, and relationships, too. Sometimes, when you have different goals for life and marriage, incompatibilities (like religious beliefs), trusts broken, and unsolvable personal and relationship problems, maybe ending the relationship is the best course of action.
- Relationships sometimes must end before committing to a marriage. People must 'grow up' and be mature before they are ready, as growing up and adjusting to married life at the same time will make life more difficult and will slow down the process of growing up and living in a marriage.
- Be what you want to find. Cultivate the good qualities you want to find in a partner. "When it comes to finding a godly life partner, there are three prerequisites: Know what you want, Be true to God, and Be what you want to find." -the author