The Secret

We have all heard people say that there is a secret to life, a hidden way to find happiness. Well the truth is that everyone who says that is wrong. However, there is a certain way that we must live to be happy––it’s just not a secret. In Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 we are told directly what we must do to be content in this life. The inspired Solomon wrote, “Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all. For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil.” Solomon searched the world over and tried many different things to find happiness but in the end he finally realized that true happiness comes from serving the Lord with our all.

These fruits are not for eating

Making the choice to serve God takes great commitment and determination but is more than worth it! If we really desire to live this way then we will choose to repent and be baptized (Acts 2:38), at which time the Holy Spirit comes into our hearts (Romans 8:9-11). With Him, blessings and fruits develop within us that help make us satisfied human beings (Gal. 5:16-18). After they are brought within us, we can nurture and build them up so that we and God can be pleased with our lives’ work.

The fruit of the Spirit is listed in Galatians 5:22-25: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” I want to show you how every one of these fruits is necessary in a happy and thriving dating relationship and marriage. My intent is that you will see and understand all the good things God has given us to make our lives pleasant.

The power of love

Love is the most powerful force known to man and without it there is nothing. If we have enough faith to move mountains but do not have love then God says we are nothing (I Cor. 13:2). We must choose to love those around us, even the ones who are hateful toward us. This love will manifest and grow and we will become strong because of it. In a dating relationship love should be the shell of the core (Christ being the core). You need to love them and they need to love you.

Based on the Bible’s description of love, when you say you love someone you are saying so much more than just three words. You are expressing your desire to make them happy and that they sincerely make you happy. First Corinthians 13:4–8 gives us the best idea of what saying “I love you” means: “Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.” This passage explains the essence of love and the meaning of the three words, I love you.

Loving someone means that you are kind, that you encourage faith, and that you will go through anything for them. But please realize that this cannot be done by just one person in the relationship. You must both truly feel this way in order to have the type of bond God designed for His Creation. Saying you love someone needs to be a decision you think about for a long time and only after you realize the commitment you are making by saying it.

Without love, no dating or marriage relationship can exist. If both truly love then they will give all of themselves so that the two are one. God says that when you are married you leave your home and cleave to one another (Matt. 19:4-6). You become one unit working together to glorify and please your Father who is in Heaven. So the entirety of the relationship should be love.

Many people find it hard to love someone else more than themselves. If you are thinking to yourself, How can I love others in the way I’m commanded?, then try this: next time you are with your boyfriend and he is telling you something that is very important to him, choose to sincerely listen. Make eye contact and actually focus on what he is saying rather than thinking of your next comment or the exciting stuff in your life. Listening to and respecting someone are some of the first steps to truly loving someone.

Or think about this: you and your boyfriend have been planning all week to go to the movies on Friday, but when that night finally rolls around your boyfriend tells you he’s exhausted. There are three things you can do in this situation: you can pout and be upset, you can beg him to go anyway, or you can be understanding and let him get his rest. The last option can sometimes be hard, but it is the best choice in any relationship because it shows that you care more about how they feel than what you want.

Happy on the inside

The second fruit listed is joy. Joy is very necessary in a relationship. If you never have fun with the person you are dating or don’t enjoy their company then there’s a good chance they are not right for you. Having joy doesn’t just mean being giddy and laughing; it means you have a calming and comforting feeling deep within your heart. This joy is trusting and relying on someone without having to worry about whether or not they will let you down.

Joy is extremely important in the prospect of marriage. If the two of you cannot have fun together and comfort one another then the relationship will not be healthy or happy. Always be sure to date someone who has a compatible sense of humor and can make you laugh and be there for you when you are down. Joy is a natural stimulant in any good relationship; it helps keep it alive.

If you personally have trouble being happy around others, especially those in whom you are interested, then I would suggest reminding yourself why you are dating him. Whenever I am upset with my boyfriend I often make myself think of the many reasons I love him. I always realize as a result the many wonderful things about him and why he makes my heart happy. The joy of being with someone who simply makes you a stronger Christian and a better person is amazing and will make your relationship prosper.

Peace offerings

The third fruit mentioned is peace. The peace offered by God does not mean that as Christians we will never have conflicts or problems but that we have the peace of knowing that God is with you always (Matt. 28:20). He will take care of you and comfort you in your time of need. But this promise is only for repentant, obedient Christians. So in your dating or marriage relationship the peace of God can only be found when both know that they are saved.

If both people have this peace then so much more can be accomplished in life. It will be easier to make decisions and work together because both will have the necessary faith and comfort (John 14:25-27). So when looking for a partner, always take into consideration whether or not they have God’s offered peace (if they are genuine Christians) so that you can know if together you will be able to trust in the Lord.

If peace is something that is not in your relationship or future relationship then you truly need to consider what must be done to have it. If you or your partner has not repented and been baptized then you truly need to analyze your life and make the necessary decisions to have God in your life. If you have both been saved but one or both has strayed from God’s will then talk to each other and choose to work together to be once again committed to God so that you can both enjoy the blessings that God has provided for those who obey Him.

Stay tuned

I will continue examining the remaining six fruits of the Spirit over the next two months. Let’s focus on these three fruits of the Spirit this month: love, joy, and peace. Determine whether these three gifts are noticeable in yourself and in your current relationship or the boy you have an interest in. Being able to possess God’s special gifts in yourself and in a relationship will determine whether or not you will be truly happy together and in other aspects of your life.

Shelby Garrett

Shelby Garrett


  1. Tracy Garrett says

    Shelby….I am so proud of the work and time you spend on this site! I know you work hard and are committed to helping others who read it. You have a great talent and such confidence and I know you will always be an active member of the Lords work!
    I love you muchly,

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