The Secret: Part III

For the past two months we have studied and focused on the first six fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, and goodness, and how they make for an amazing dating or marriage relationship. This month we will wrap up this study by adding the last three parts of God’s gift. They are faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal. 5:22–23). Every aspect of this gift is very important, and one cannot thrive without the other. So let’s get started!

Faithfulness Matters

When you think about being faithful, the idea of believing in someone or something and being trustworthy or honest may come to mind. When God says He requires faithfulness from His children, He means that He not only wants us to believe in Him but to give Him everything we have. God wants us to choose and stick with His commands. We cannot go back and forth between sin and God. For example, in Matthew 6:24, it says, “…You cannot serve God and wealth.” This means you have to choose one and stand by your decision. One or the other, not both; the same goes for a husband.

When you choose a boyfriend, you really need to be faithful to him. Now this doesn’t mean that if you start dating and it turns out that you aren’t very compatible you can’t break up, but if you’re married, that’s exactly what it means. While you are in a dating relationship, breaking up is always an option, but being faithful while in the relationship is still the right thing to do. Let’s say you and a boy have decided to begin dating after talking for a while. Now that you’re exclusively dating, you shouldn’t flirt and hang out constantly with other boys. Your boyfriend needs to be able to trust that you are not cheating on him, just like you should be able to trust him. Trust is a huge part of any relationship.

If you can’t trust each other then you will never be satisfied. Having an undoubting trust means that you can rely on each other and lean on one other when something goes wrong; just like you should do with God (Matt. 11:28–30). Trust is an underlying tone of love. Trusting means that there are no little white lies, or huge black ones! When you tell your boyfriend something, he should not have to question you or check up on your “story.” Faithfulness requires the conscious choice to say no to other boys and to be there for your boyfriend. Remain faithful so that there is always trust, because without trust it will be impossible to survive as a couple.


The eighth piece of this great gift is gentleness. There is something special about your boyfriend when he is gentle and tender, right? I don’t necessarily mean mushy, but sweet and considerate. When I am sad or down, it means the world to me for my boyfriend to give me a hug or just let me talk about how I feel. His gentleness portrays the love that I know he has for me. I am always thankful for those times in our relationship.

A lot of times girls are guilty of being too hard on their boyfriends when they make a mistake. For example, when your boyfriend does something that he realizes is wrong and then confesses it to you, it is not the right attitude to yell at him or pull him down further than he’s already pulled himself. I don’t mean that you should tell him what he did was okay, but try not to rub it in his face, and do not continuously bring it up in conversation. Tell him that yes, he made a mistake, but now that he sees that he’s messed up, he can repent and be forgiven (Matt. 26:28). Encourage him for realizing his mistake, and don’t be judgmental, but be gentle. Being gentle and considerate with each other will create a stronger and more loving relationship.

Self Control

The ninth and final piece of the gift is self-control. This is a key part of a relationship and for most people can be incredibly hard. This can be thought of in a few different ways. It can include self-control from sexual sin, or from anger. We will take a look at both.

Any Christian who has studied the Bible knows that sex is a pleasure meant only as a gift for married partners (1 Cor. 7:1–2), but sometimes we mess up. We may think, Well we’re gonna get married in a few years anyway, so why wait? This is seriously wrong thinking! Having plans for marriage is drastically different than actually being married. So when you find yourself in a situation where you are extremely tempted to participate in sexual sins, remove yourself from the situation. I know the self-control it takes to walk away from that temptation, but you will never regret it. By abstaining from sexual sin you may very well be saving your relationship, because many times after sex the relationship is never the same and you can’t continue together. I suggest that you talk with your boyfriend and make the mutual decision to abstain from sexual activities until marriage to help protect your relationship. There is always the possibility that someone reading this may have been sexually impure before. What I want you to really understand is that there is still hope; there is always hope. God has promised forgiveness, but it’s up to you to take advantage of it.

Now let’s talk about controlling anger. Sometimes people do things that just cannot be explained. Often when these things involve anger they happen without thinking. I have always been taught to never be too quick to act on strong emotions. In the book of James we are told by the inspired writer to “…let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God” (James 1:19–20). The word wrath means anger, so he is telling us to be slow to get angry. That can be incredibly hard, especially when someone does something foolish or hurtful. What God wants you to do in your relationships is practice self-control. If someone tells you something and then you find yourself very angry, tell them that you need to go out for a while. Then come back later, after you have had time to think, and talk about it. This will help everyone from making rash decisions. This will also keep the lines of communication open, and that will make for a much happier and more successful relationship.

It’s a wrap

I sincerely hope that if you have been keeping up with this series you have benefited from it; I know I have. This gift bestowed on us by the Holy Spirit can be such a blessing if we practice it and use it in our dating and marriage relationships––and in all other relationships. God truly wants us to be happy when that is done while following Him, which it definitely can be! Love and partnership is meant to help us live in this sinful world (1 Thess. 3:12–13). If we demonstrate all of the elements of this gift in our relationships then we will thrive and harvest good fruit for God as He desires and commands (Matt. 12:33).

Shelby Garrett

Shelby Garrett

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