Imagine going out to an expensive restaurant with someone you really like. The ambience is fantastic and it promises to be an amazing evening. Your date says he’d like to order for both of you and has a brief conversation with the waiter. You’re thinking secretly that you like his confidence!
When you later ask him what he ordered, he says that he asked for all four courses to be blended together. I mean who’s got the time to wait for each course separately, right? You’re sure he must be joking but sure enough when the food comes, there is your dinner all in one bowl with a straw. He proudly tells you that the unappetising green and orange suspension includes French-onion soup, Romaine salad, pork chops, sukuma wiki, and mango ice cream. Bon appetite! More like ‘yuck!’
But that’s exactly what many relationships are like today! Instead of savouring the ‘courses’, people want to do everything at once. It’s straight to sex before they’ve even developed friendship. No wonder relationships are such an unappetising mess in our city today!
So how do we avoid rushing too quickly into intimacy? How do we grow our friendship? In my book Finders Keepers: How To Find And Keep The One, I detail three arenas you must focus on with the other person before you agree to take it to the next level.
Social arena: Once it’s clear you’re interested in someone, instead of both abandoning your existing relationships and clinging to each other, you must invite each other into your social circles. See how he interacts with your friends and what they think of him. Hang out with his friends and see if you like them. If he doesn’t have any friends or if you don’t like who he hangs out with, that’s a huge red flag! Also see how he treats his parents and siblings. That’s a great indicator of how he will treat you later.
Intellectual arena: Once you start going out with someone, don’t just meet to look into each other’s eyes and say sweet nothings to each other. To prepare for a lifetime together, you must learn to communicate! A great way to expand your communication is to read books and discuss them together. This will help you expand your vocabulary and know each other’s opinions and interests. There are some great books on dating that you can find in most Christian bookstores.
Spiritual arena: This sets the foundation for spiritual oneness, which will help you weather whatever storms life will throw at you in the future. How do you begin to grow spiritually together? One way is by attending church and serving in a ministry or community organisation together.
Sex before marriage stunts the development of all these other important arenas. Like a good meal, great relationships are savoured one course at a time!
Pastor M is a leadership coach, author and the senior pastor at Mavuno Church. Follow him on twitter @muriithiw or like his Facebook page, ‘Pastor_ M’
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