The Secret: Part II

The purpose of this series on the fruit of the Spirit is to explain how God has given us many gifts with the intent of making our lives happy. God designed us with free will so that we might choose to love and obey Him (Genesis 1:27). He planned that we would choose to treat each other as we would have hopefully treated Christ while He was on earth. God presents us, through the Holy Spirit, nine specific gifts that affect every part of our lives (Gal.5:22–23). These gifts are meant to bring us comfort and hope by giving each of us a small glimpse of God’s grace and love. It is by understanding and applying these gifts to our lives that we will discover the path of happiness.


Last month I wrote about the first three elements of the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, and peace. We talked about how these three gifts enhance and promote healthy and happy relationships. Love is stronger than anything on this earth. It is by love and grace that God sent His only son to save His sinful creation (John 3:16). Likewise, love is necessary in a dating or marriage relationship. Without love you will not be able to make it together. Next, we mentioned joy, which is a natural medicine of life. It brings laughter and fun into the relationship and helps you both enjoy your time together. The third and final piece of the fruit was peace. Peace means harmony and bliss. Both people in the relationship should strive to compromise and encourage calmness between one another. For a more in-depth overview of the first three gifts, take a look at last month’s article, The Secret.

Patience is a virtue

Now let us move on to this month’s addition. The next gift from the Holy Spirit is patience (Galatians 5:16–18). This particular gift can be difficult for some people to grasp and use in their daily lives. The definition of patience is “bearing pains or trials calmly or without complaint.” Under certain circumstances this can be a very difficult gift to practice. For example, if someone is rude or just hard to be with it can be tough to be patient with them. In a dating relationship, you should not have to deal with a rude boyfriend, but sometimes you still have to discipline yourself to be patient with him.

If you are dating a boy who is not very experienced at expressing how he feels you will definitely have to work at being patient with him. Resist the temptation to get frustrated and angry, because sometimes they can’t tell you how they feel at the exact moment you want them to. Be careful, however, if he never wants to talk about his feelings, or is consistently avoiding any serious discussions. This is a character flaw that will only worsen after marriage. Sometimes, though, you may just have to be patient and give him time––time alone to think about it and figure out how to put his feelings into words. And when he is ready, he will explain to you what’s going on in his life. If you can do this, you will be practicing the gift of patience by giving him time to think and then listening to how he is feeling. Every now and then it may be hard to be patient and you will accidentally mess up. When this happens you should ask your boyfriend for forgiveness and ask God for forgiveness as well (James 5:15–16). Patience with yourself to grow and learn and patience with someone you love to grow and learn will make your lives and relationship much happier.

If you can’t say anything nice…

The fifth gift is kindness. Kindness can make or break almost every relationship in your life. If your friend was never kind to you, would you want to be her friend? If your boyfriend was mean to you would you want to continue dating him? Probably not. Kindness is a very important ingredient to a happy relationship. I know that two qualities I have always watched for in a boy were if he respects his elders and if he is kind to others. It is very important to me and obviously important to God, since He gave it to His Creation as a special gift.

When you are dating someone, you should always go out of your way to show them kindness and appreciation. You should never be cruel or mean to them when they don’t do exactly what you want. You should be understanding and show them kindness by accepting that they have a lot of commitments in their life and will sometimes not be able to give you all that you desire.

One example that comes to mind right now is a situation that I once had with my boyfriend. I was feeling hurt because he wanted to stay home instead of going to watch a play with me. I was really disappointed and sad, but I also knew that I was over-reacting. About twenty minutes after we got off the phone I realized how unkind I was being. He had spent every day after school at football and he had gone every night that week to our congregation’s gospel meeting; he had not had any time at home in awhile. He deserved a break and he deserved some kindness and understanding from me. So I called him back and apologized for being upset and told him I was glad he was choosing to take a night off. Even though I had made the mistake of over-reacting and not being kind, I quickly realized that that was not how God wanted me to treat someone I loved. That is just one of the everyday experiences my boyfriend and I have in our relationship using the gifts from God and the Holy Spirit.

Goodness is, as goodness does

The last piece of the fruit for this month is goodness. Goodness encompasses many different aspects. It means practicing purity and encouraging others to do the same. It means that you think of God’s will before even considering your own. Goodness can be a tough skill to conquer, and chances are it’s not something you will always be able to accomplish (Romans 3:23), but remember that God forgives us when we truly repent of our wrongs.

When you are in a relationship with someone and you are both striving to be good to each other and everyone around you, you will find that the gift of peace is much easier to acquire. If you are good to one another, you respect, honor, and take care of each other. This is something that makes us all much happier.

Some examples of what you can do in any relationship to show goodness are being reliable, trustworthy, enjoyable, and noble. One way you can demonstrate goodness in a dating situation is by always being reliable and trustworthy. Allow them to lean on you and confide in you by always keeping your word in a godly manner. When they are willing to tell you something that is personal, they are showing you that they trust you; don’t destroy that trust by telling others a secret. This is, of course, something that a genuine Christian boy should also do for you. He should be someone you can trust and rely on for all situations in life. Goodness toward others will make your life simpler and others treating you with goodness will assist in making your life a happy one.

Now you know!

This month we have reviewed love, joy, and peace and have introduced patience, kindness, and goodness. I sincerely hope that after reading these articles each month that you are taking away the desire to develop God’s gifts and are creating a more content life for yourself. Always remember that the secret to a happy life is simple: “Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man” (Ecclesiastes 12:13).

Shelby Garrett

Shelby Garrett

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

To Dance or Not to Dance

All my life I have heard different opinions on the morals of dancing and going to dances. I have heard these from Christians and non-Christians, both young and old. I will not lie to you by saying that I think it is always wrong to dance, but I will tell you that I have made the choice not to attend dances. There are many things that contribute to my decision, but the main reason is because I desire so strongly to remain pure that I will not put myself in a position where I may give in to temptation (James 4:7).

Now, dancing around at an all-girl slumber party is not what I am talking about. I’m referring to dancing at parties and school dances. In itself, dancing at these events may not be wrong––but it certainly can become sinful (Matthew 26:41). Instead of dancing being the enjoyment of innocent fun, it often develops into something sexual and very inappropriate. You and your dancing partner obviously have the choice of not allowing it to become sinful, but this can be ridiculously difficult.

To explain what I mean I will use an experience from last year. I was home-schooled through most of middle school; as high school approached,  I decided to rejoin public school. This was a hard decision but I think for me it was the right one. I have a best friend who went to a Christian private school all her life and also entered public school for high school.

The Homecoming dance, which follows a huge football game, was during the beginning of the school year. I had made up my mind not to go, but since my friend had never been to a dance she begged me to come with her. So that night I asked my boyfriend to come with us, and after some convincing, he came too. I rushed home, threw on a dress, and headed straight to the dance.

It started out all right, mainly because no one was really dancing yet. But it quickly became something that I was simply ashamed to even be present at. A huge crowd of people toward the front were doing some of the most heinous dance moves I’ve ever seen in my life. I could not believe that these teenagers thought it was okay to dance in such a way and that the chaperons allowed them to do it! I was shocked and very upset.

We wanted to leave but were unable to, so we were forced to stand awkwardly in the back until the end of the party. We had a decent time in our little huddle, but I still would have rather been at home.

I am certainly not trying to say that all dances are bad, but I will say that they all have the potential to become bad (Proverbs 16:17). From this experience my friends and I have decided not to attend any more dances––instead we plan replacement activities! For example, during the previous dance at school we invited all of our friends from school and our youth group to an adult friend’s house from church to play games until midnight and then we all went bowling. We had Guitar Hero, Dance Dance Revolution, video games, and karaoke! It was a blast! Everyone had a great time and the awesome thing was that no one regretted skipping out on the dance.

This decision to not attend dances is one that should be decided personally after reading God’s word, talking to your parents, and praying (I Corinthians 7:5). Always consider the outcomes possible in every choice. Think to yourself how you, others, and God will benefit or not benefit from going to dances. If you discover after real thought that nothing truly good could result then choose to spend time in other activities. Always think if what you’re doing will glorify the Lord or not––if not, find another way to have fun and enjoy your time!

Shelby Garrett

Shelby Garrett

Boyfriend Study

Do soul mates exist? What does the Bible say about love? Is there just one perfect person for everyone? How can I find someone who’s right for me?

Let’s study His Word together to find out!

Soul Mates: Fact or Fiction?

What exactly is a soul mate? Some people have different definitions for soul mates, but for the sake of this article, we’ll define a soul mate as this: An individual who is perfect for another person. Without their other half, neither one would be complete.

What does the Bible say about soul mates? Let’s look it up. Open your Bible and look in the concordance in the back of the Bible for “soul mate.” Now turn to…wait, what, you can’t find it? You won’t. There is no term “soul mate” in the Bible.

If the Bible doesn’t talk about soul mates, then where did the idea come from? The concept of soul mates derived from Greek mythology. In Greek mythology, it is believed that humans originally had four arms, four legs, and a single head made of two faces. The god Zeus was afraid humans would become stronger than him and overcome him, so he split everyone in half. Doing this would make the humans spend their lives searching for their other half so they could become one complete person together. Since they would be concentrating on finding their other half, they would forget about their desire to overcome Zeus, and he wouldn’t lose his place as the most powerful Greek god.

Is it just me, or does that sound bizarre? There’s a reason Greek mythology has the word “mythology” in it––it’s a myth!. It’s not true and it didn’t really happen! I choose not to base my beliefs on a myth. I choose what to believe based on fact; so when I want to know the truth about something, I turn to the Bible for answers.

Love: Feeling or Action?

If the idea of soul mates isn’t a Biblical concept, then what does the Bible say about love? First Corinthians 13:4-8a is one of the most well known sections about love in the Bible. “Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails…” Read that again. Does any of it sound like, “Love is looking for the one person to complete you so you will have a perfect life” or “Love is when your Prince Charming comes and sweeps you off your feet with a bouquet of your favorite flowers”? Those things don’t sound like the Biblical description of love to me!

What else does the Bible say about love? Genesis 29:18, 20 gives an example of love in action. “Now Jacob loved Rachel, so he said [to Rachel’s father], ‘I will serve you seven years for your younger daughter Rachel.’ So Jacob served seven years for Rachel and they seemed to him but a few days because of his love for her.” Jacob loved Rachel so much that he served her father for seven full years just so he could marry her.

Is that all? If you read verses 21-30 you’ll find that Rachel’s father, Laban, tricked Jacob. It was their custom that the oldest daughter should marry before the younger daughters, so Laban gave Leah to him on their wedding day instead of Rachel. Jacob didn’t find out that he’d been tricked until the next morning. What did he do? Did Jacob divorce Leah and run off with Rachel? No. He went to her father and said he’d work another seven years if he could marry Rachel! It was customary in this time for men to have multiple wives, so he ended up marrying both of Laban’s daughters, serving Laban for a total of fourteen years because he loved Rachel so much. Now, that’s commitment!

So what about the feeling of love? The Bible talks about loving God with all of our heart (Mark 12:30), but there are no verses in the Bible that talk about love and marriage being about a fuzzy, warm feeling in the pit of our stomachs. According to the Bible, love is about commitment, putting the other person first, and dedication.

Does this mean we shouldn’t have romantic feelings toward other people? Not at all! In Song of Solomon, there are many examples of how enamored King Solomon and his wife were for each other. The romantic part is fun, but it’s just a very small portion of a much bigger picture.

Are you saying that one person can’t be completely perfect for one other person? In order for two people to be absolutely perfect for each other, they’d first have to be absolutely perfect. Since nobody is perfect, nobody can possibly be completely perfect for another human being.

Relationships: Perfection or Compatibility?

But there’s someone who’s perfect for me, right? Someone who completes me? Absolutely. Read Philippians 4:7 “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” God gives us peace, and He alone can fill the void in our hearts. If we rely on a person to do that, we will always be disappointed. We need to become a complete person ourselves, and have God as the center of our lives before we can ever be completely happy with someone else. I repeat: relying on another person for our complete happiness will only end in disappointment. Only God, through Christ, can complete us.

If there is no such thing as a soul mate, if love isn’t all about the romance, and if only God can complete us, then why even have a relationship with another person? We are told in Genesis 1:26-28 that we were created in the image of God, and are to reproduce, or multiply, after we’re married. Genesis 2:18-24 explains that we are to be helpers to our husband.  We are also to respect them, and husbands are to cherish and love their wives. Ephesians 5:33: “Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband.”

Apply It

Does this actually work in real life? Yes. Problems arise in my marriage if I do not help my husband with what he needs, or if I do not respect a decision he makes. Problems also happen if he chooses to make a decision that does not put the good of the family before his own desires. Nobody is perfect, so these things will occasionally happen in most marriages, but if those poor attitudes were to become a common occurrence, we would both be very unhappy together! God knew this, which is why He told us to help and respect our husbands, and it’s why He told husbands to love their wives. God doesn’t tell us to do things for fun; He tells us for our own protection.

Does this mean that it doesn’t matter who I marry since there’s no such thing as a soul mate? Absolutely not. I was once told to marry someone with whom I could do more for Christ together than either of us could do alone. That is the biggest thing I looked for in a potential spouse! We need to choose to marry someone who we will be able to help and respect, and who will love us. We should choose to marry someone with whom we can work to accomplish worthwhile goals, and who we can also have fun with. I suggest writing a list of what’s important to you. Your list may be completely different from everyone else’s list, and that’s okay. The first and most important item on your list should be that he’s a genuine, faithful Christian, but other than that, the list is up to you!

How long do I have to wait to find this type of person? That answer is different for everyone. Just learn to be complete in God and serve Him, be confident with who you are, develop your own personality, and love life today! God knows when you will be ready, and He’ll send someone who fits what you need when His time is right. It may be tomorrow, or it may be several years from now. Just concentrate on being Miss Wonderfully-Made-By-God, and before you know it, Mr. Right will cross your path and ask you to become his Mrs. Right. Just make sure that, together, you’re both right with God.

Davonne Parks

Davonne Parks


dating3bSchool is right around the corner, and a new way of everyday life is approaching! Once again, we’ll be getting up early in the morning for school and going to bed late because of homework and practices. We’ll be fixing our hair and actually paying attention to the clothes we put on in the morning. With the school routine coming back to life, some other things are also changing, such as how many lives we touch in one day and how many people are watching us.

Some of us may not realize this, but going back to school places many more responsibilities on us as Christians. Responsibilities to talk, act, and simply just be a certain way (1 Thess. 5:22). The way we present ourselves to others may influence them on whether or not they want to become a child of God. Therefore, in every part of our existence we must first consider and follow the commands of God (Matt. 5:16).

This includes dating relationships. If we are dating someone, we must always think of how we behave together in front of our peers (Phil. 1:27). People will judge us and the Lord based on that behavior. We should all pray for God’s help in controlling our urges, and be vocal about where we stand. By openly abstaining from sexual contact, we may encourage others to do the same. But most important, we will be pleasing God.

Let’s make a statement at school by letting others know that we are saving your body for our future husband (1 Peter 1:15-16). In today’s fast-paced lifestyle, we see more and more teens having sex with people they barely know, which later leaves them with very little satisfaction. After a breakup, the two involved are left missing a huge piece of themselves. If we set a good example and make the statement of sexual purity to our peers, we may unknowingly help save some of them from making one of the biggest mistakes of their lives.

Also realize that there are many options when it comes to dating. For example, many teens choose not to date at all. To some, this may seem strange or extreme, but really it’s not. If you feel more comfortable not dealing with a boyfriend, then don’t have one! Being single will certainly eliminate some temptations. There is a lot of pressure to be in a relationship, but that doesn’t mean it’s the best choice for every person. After searching God’s will, do what is best for you personally.

I understand the stress and the difficulty of being different from those with whom you go to school, but by being different, God will bless you, even though it may not feel like it at the time (John 17:16). Therefore, choose today to make a statement to your friends and peers, and pray that God will make you steadfast everyday. God is always here and He will never let you down; ask Him and He will give you what He sees fit. So this year at school decide for yourself what others will see when they are with you. Decide whether your statement will end in a period or a question mark.

Shelby Garrett

Shelby Garrett

Mission: Compatibility

Are you having trouble building good relationships? Could your attitude be the problem? We’re going to talk about relationships this month. There appear to be three basic character types: the Dominant, the Childish, and the Adult.

Dominant Character Type

The Dominant person has to have their own way, and usually at any cost. They are bullies who can resort to aggression, throwing and breaking things, violence, control, emotional and physical abuse, and manipulation. They may be in trouble with the law or fired from their jobs because of their inability to submit themselves to authority. However, if they are the boss, they can be tyrants.

The Dominator is intimidating, a dictator, selfish, and “always right.” Their saying is, “It’s my way or the highway,” or “I’m the king of my castle.” The Dominant person makes demands on those around them. They want to dominate everyone or every situation. The Dominator will also make threats and is willing to follow through with them. They will have their own way, one way or another. The Dominant person has power, and they will not hesitate to use it to control and manipulate other people.

Proverbs 14:17 “A quick-tempered man acts foolishly, and a man of evil devices is hated.”

Childish Character Type

The Childish personality will pout, scream, cry, throw temper tantrums, slam doors, manipulate others, or give the silent treatment if they don’t get their own way. They are very dependent and resent being that way. Childish people are selfish and always think they’re right. They are not trustworthy and are unreasonable.

The Childish person is passive-aggressive. We have all known people like this. They are nice to your face but will not hesitate to attack you behind your back. Most Childish people will gossip to make themselves look better, since they tend to suffer from low self-esteem.

Have you noticed that the Dominant and the Childish people are very much alike? The main difference between the Dominant and Childish behaviors is that the Childish one has NO power.

Proverbs 10:18 “He who conceals hatred has lying lips; and he who spreads slander is a fool.”

Adult Character Type

The person who conducts themselves as an Adult will be willing to negotiate and speak calmly. They are assertive but not aggressive. They are kind and respectful of others’ opinions and feelings. The Adult is trustworthy, rational, and reasonable. They are also cooperative and great team players.

The Adult has the power to make the major decisions about their life. However, they believe in shared power. The Adult feels everyone should get their way some of the time. In other words, “sometimes we’ll do it your way and sometimes we’ll do it my way.” Adults are very cooperative and friendly. They are not manipulators like the Dominators and Childish.

Proverbs 3:3-4 “Do not let kindness and truth leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favor and good repute in the sight of God and man.”

Relationship Problem #1 – Dominant vs. Dominant

What happens whenever a Dominant person marries another Dominant one? They obviously aren’t going to have a happy marriage. Why? Because they will both have to be “right,” which will lead to screaming, yelling, and abuse. They will be in a constant struggle to be the one in charge since both of them want to have power over the other person. Both of them will be manipulating the other person in order to gain control.

Relationship Problem #2 – Childish vs. Childish

What if a Childish person marries another childish type? As with the two Dominant personalities, they will also scream and yell at each other. They may slug it out, scratch each other, or pull each other’s hair. Childish people will give each other the silent treatment for days and even weeks if they can’t have their own way. They can’t be trusted, so they won’t be able to trust the other person. The Childish type will slam doors and break things that are important to the other person. They enjoy hurting the other person’s feelings because it makes them feel powerful, even though they have no power. The Childish person is not responsible or reliable.

Relationship Problem #3 – Dominant vs. Childish

What happens if a Dominant person marries a Childish type? The dominant one is extremely happy! Why? Because they always get their own way since they have the power and the Childish one has NO power! The Childish person is their servant and they are the master.

The Childish person will sulk, pout, slam doors, or may break things. In this relationship, there would be yelling and abusive behavior, including emotional, physical, or verbal. The Childish type may find it difficult to leave this abusive relationship because they are so dependent upon their Dominator. The Childish person is absorbed into the Dominator’s identity, thus losing their own personal identity.

Relationship Problem #4 – Adult vs. Childish

What happens when an Adult type marries a Childish type? There will be a constant struggle, because the Adult will be forced to become the parent of the irresponsible and untrustworthy Childish person. It will be a parent/child relationship. While the Adult attempts to be rational and negotiate, the Childish person will give them the silent treatment or pout, cry, whine, stomp, or slam doors.

The Adult has to assume the dominant role, while not becoming abusive. Children can be unreasonable and irrational at times. Just think of how a 2- or 3-year-old child acts whenever they don’t get their own way. It’s rather ridiculous to think about a grown person acting that way, isn’t it?

Girls, do you want to be married to a childish guy who sulks, pouts, or throws a temper tantrum when he doesn’t get his way? Some Childish guys will even threaten suicide if a girl attempts to break up with him, which is manipulation. What about the guy you can’t trust to always be faithful to you? What if he is irresponsible with his work ethic? A woman with the Adult behavior can never have a happy marriage with a Childish man.

Relationship Problem #5 – Adult vs. Dominant

When an Adult type marries a Dominant one, something very different happens! If the Adult type remains an Adult, the Dominant person LOSES their POWER! Remember how the Adult person is assertive but not aggressive? They will stand up for themselves in a firm but kind way. The Adult will have power, and since the Dominant person loses it, they will revert to the Childish behavior, which then becomes an entirely different situation!

Again, did you notice the similarities between the Dominant and Childish personalities? The only real difference is that the Dominant had power and the Childish did not. This previously-Dominant person who marries an Adult will now throw temper tantrums or pout and whine to get his way, just like the Childish type would do.

Girls, do you want to marry a man who will threaten to harm you and attempt to intimidate you? A dominant guy will have no respect for you and will use you to get what he wants. Dominant guys will “put you down” and belittle you in front of other people. If you marry a man like this, you should prepare yourself to be his servant as long as you are married. This Dominant man will always try to keep you in the Childish role so he can completely control you.

Relationship #6 – Adult with Adult

If two Adult-type behaviors marry, they should have a very good marriage. They both are team players, and in a marriage you are a team. You work together for the common good of your relationship and household. The two Adults will be willing to compromise. What is right matters more than who is right.

These two married Adults will negotiate to reach an agreement. They will be calm and rational and their life together will be relaxed and peaceful, even in the event of hardships. Adults respect each others’ feelings and opinions and they don’t purposely try to hurt one another emotionally. They can trust each other in all things. Married Adults don’t keep secrets from each other. They share equally in chores, in decision making, and in their thoughts and feelings. Their lives are full of love and respect for one another.

Girls, do you want to be married to a man who loves you more than himself, respects and values you, is trustworthy, responsible, and doesn’t attempt to manipulate you? Rather, he encourages you to grow as an adult Christian woman?

Proverbs 31:10-11 “Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies. The heart of her husband safely trusts her; so he will have no lack of gain.”

Ephesians 5:25 “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her.”

Let’s Talk About You!

What type of behavior do you want to have? I think we all want to be Adult-like, don’t we? Having the knowledge of these three behavior types is critical in your dating relationships, because who we date is who we will end up marrying! My favorite saying is, “Date only those whom you would consider marrying.” I have personally known many women who totally ruined their lives by dating the wrong type of man.

If a guy is going to have Dominant or Childish behavior traits before you get married, he will NOT change! You cannot expect to be able to change him. You might persuade him to change some of his actions or behaviors for a short time, but you will not be able to change his values, morals, and character. Many unhappily married or divorced Christian women have come to that realization…too late! Please understand that! He will NOT change!

A person’s character does not change! Matthew 7:17 says, “Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.” Verse 18 continues, “A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.” He can change his behaviors and actions for a short time just to fool you, but his underlying character will rarely change!

People with good morals are usually those who decide to become Christians. However, when an immoral person decides to become a Christian, they can make radical changes in their values and character to conform to the image of Christ. However, this is extremely rare. This depth of character change comes from deep within his heart. It will not happen if someone attempts to force him to change.

His decision to become a Christian must be just that–HIS decision. When dating, it is very difficult to discern if his intentions are pure and he desires to please God, or if he just wants to please you. Please understand you also are not responsible for someone’s salvation. Philippians 2:12 says, “…work out your salvation with fear and trembling.” You must live your life as God commands you to do. You can set a good example for others, but it is ultimately up to them to totally change their lives to serve God. You must not feel responsible for them.

Which husband would you want to have? A man that says, “I will act like the very best husband you could ever want,” or a man that says, “I will be the very best husband you could ever want?” I opt for the latter one! Who wants to marry a pretender?

Dating: Preparation for Marriage

One great thing to do, even before you start to date, is to make a list of all the non-negotiable qualities that you want in a husband someday. Be specific and don’t compromise! I made a list that consisted of 22 items. I was very choosy! Do you know that my husband has every one of those qualities? He is a faithful Christian, he has integrity, he has a good, clean sense of humor, he is good with his finances, is sensitive, caring, and kind.

I could go on with my list, but I want you to decide all the qualities that are important to you! Don’t overlook attractiveness either. If that is important to you, then write it down! You are going to have to live with that same man for the rest of your life, and if he’s not what you desire, then don’t choose him! The everyday stresses of life make those negative traits come out more prominently.

If you are in a negative relationship, there will be warning signs before you ever enter into marriage. Does your boyfriend belittle you in front of your friends or family? Does he lie to you or tell you stories that just don’t make sense or fit together with other things he says? Do you suspect unfaithfulness? Does he make you feel inadequate? Does he attempt to alienate you from your family that loves and cares for you?

Is he aggressive? Are you sometimes afraid of him? Girls, it never gets better! Contrary to popular opinion of some women, you cannot change him! Not until it’s too late do many women realize that. You cannot change the character of someone!

If you are in that type of negative relationship, GET OUT NOW! Marriage is binding, and for life—that is what God intended. Marriage is not to be taken lightly. That is why it is so important before you are married to choose a mate who serves God and who is compatible. Once we marry, we are commanded by God to remain married to him unless we are divorcing him due to his unfaithfulness. Matthew 5:32: “But I say to you that whoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual immorality causes her to commit adultery….”

Save yourself the pain of a failed marriage, girls. The Bible warns us not to be unequally yoked together. In II Corinthians 6:14 we are told, “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?” God, in all His wisdom, knows the heartache that will come from that. As Christian women, God wants us to only marry faithful Christian men.

Talk, talk, talk before you get married! Make certain that what is important to you is also important to him! Girls, since the guy you are dating may someday be your husband, find out what things are the most important to him. If you have too many things that aren’t compatible, then please don’t marry him. You deserve to be happy and contented for the rest of your life—it’s what God wants for you! Don’t settle for less than you deserve!

Mr. Right is out there somewhere for you. Be patient. Don’t rush. Don’t compromise. Just remember to be yourself. You have to know who you are to attract the right mate. Acting like an Adult and choosing to marry a man with Adult behavior, who, most importantly, puts God first, is the best way to ensure that you will have a happy marriage together!

By: Carol Gartman

Please read our July Family column for information on how this type of relationship affects our relationships with our family and friends!

Pure Summer Days

Welcome to my column…

Wow, relationships!!! They sure can be pretty crazy sometimes! I hope to use this column to talk about a lot of different topics that deal with relationships, such as being content alone, true love, and the pain of breaking up. We will also discuss happiness, safety, what God commands of us, and what He wants for us. I hope that by writing this column, I will help readers to realize what they deserve and how to obtain it. I hope you will learn to put God before everyone else and that we will all develop a better relationship with Him.

Now let’s begin!

The definition of relationship according to Webster’s Medical Dictionary is “an emotional attachment between individuals.” All of us are a part of many relationships—friendships, siblings, student-teacher, and child-parent. All of these associations may not exactly be tension free, but they are still relationships. Connections with others are a major part of our lives; as a matter of fact, they shape our lives and make us who we are. This makes them incredibly important, and becoming a part of any relationship should be considered carefully. Just as you have been told all your life to be watchful of who you choose to be friends with, you should also be very cautious about who you date.

Dating during the summer can be a tough situation, because there is always ample opportunity to “cross the line.” Usually if the relationship is relatively new it will not be as difficult to resist temptation, but if the two of you have been together for some time there may be more pressure. So in this issue I will explain why we should stay pure and suggest different tips to remain pure.

There are many earthly and biblical reasons why you should wait to have sex until you are married. Some earthly reasons to wait are diseases and pregnancy. Those are simple and obvious, but there are reasons that travel deeper, such as the effect it can have on your future marriage. When you are newly married, sex is a special gift for the two of you; it is a way to connect and should be shared with no one else other than your spouse. If you have had sex with someone before your marriage it can make things less significant and beautiful. But with all of that aside, the main reason to not have premarital sex is because it is a commandment of God. In I Thessalonians Paul writes, “It is God’s will that you should be sanctified, that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God…” (4:3-5) There are many other Biblical examples of this command and many more earthly results of this particular sin, so to help you remain pure I have listed five useful tips below.

1) Whenever a dating relationship becomes truly steady, purity and the value of purity should be discussed. Whether or not the boy is a member of the church, it should be talked about and standards should be agreed upon. Once this has been determined, and both have vowed to remain pure, there are always extra tips that should be considered to keep from falling short.

2) Never be in a place where the two of you can be alone for a long period time, such as a house without others there. Do not go to his house if you know already that no parents or siblings are home, and don’t invite him over if it is the same at your house. If you have plenty of time without fear of interruption you might become carried away with kissing and/or touching. And there is nothing comparable to the shame and guilt of disappointing yourself and God. Always keep yourself in check, and your boyfriend also.

3) Have plans for any time you will be spending together. For this tip, I will use my own relationship as an example. Whenever I go out to my boyfriend’s farm, we always have a basic outline for the day. Nothing ridiculous—just something simple to go by. One day’s plan may go something like this: we can ride the dirt bike, play football/baseball in the front yard, go on a walk down the driveway, and watch a movie with his family. Now this does not mean we can’t stray from the plan by playing basketball or swinging in the hammock, but it does mean that we won’t come to a point with spare time. It is kind of like saying that idle hands can lead to mistakes. Just be aware of what you are doing so that no slips occur.

4) Simply limit physical contact. This means that you don’t have to be touchy-feely all the time to show how you feel about each other. I know that when I started dating my boyfriend two years ago, I felt like I had to hold his hand or be close to him at all times, but now I realize that I don’t have to be. Yes, we still hold hands and stay close to each other, but it’s not a constant thing anymore. I don’t have to hold his hand all the time for him to know how I feel about him. It will be easiest if you start your relationship with some boundaries. If you start being overly touchy at 14 and 15, chances are you will want something more by the time you are 17 and 18. Even though that may seem far away, long-term effects should be on your mind with every decision.

5) Remind yourself often why you choose not to do impure things. What I mean by this is to repeatedly renew your vows to yourself, God, and your boyfriend. Talk with each other about why it is important for both of you to remain in God’s favor. Explain why you want to save yourself for marriage and why that’s important to you. Renewing these vows will keep them fresh in your mind and, therefore, impossible to forget. If you and your boyfriend have already done things that you regret, but are now striving to become pure, talk with him often about how proud you are that the two of you made the decision to please God and how good that makes you feel.

Never forget that God is a forgiving God. As it is written in Acts 3:19, “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord…” One thing I have grown to understand is that God only wants His creation to be with Him in Heaven, and all that takes is your willingness to accept His son, repentance, baptism, and living steadfastly. This summer, make your main goal to grow pure in heart, pure in mind, and pure in body.

by Shelby Garrett