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Ways to Pray Together

Posted by livinforhim316 on September 18, 2007

I’ve received a lot of requests to write about praying together. In one of my previous posts I touched on how important it is to pray together but a lot of people have been wondering how to pray together on a regular basis. I understand how this can be an intimidating activity, so I’ve listed a few ways that can get you going.

Once again, it’s so important in a Christ-centered relationship to be praying together on a regular basis. Across the board, Christian couples who pray together can tell you how important it is in becoming closer to God and making Him the center of your relationship. Is it somewhat awkward at first? It definitely can be, but the rewards are great.

Once you find a quiet area where the two of you can be alone, one of the first things that you should do before you pray together is simply talk. Ask each other prayer requests, joys and concerns. I’ve found that even having a casual conversation before praying can bring up issues that would otherwise not be mentioned.  It’s important to talk before praying, but make sure that talking does not become the focus of your time together! Remember, you came together to PRAY! After you have listened to each other’s prayer requests, go to God in prayer.

I’ve listed a number of different ways that you can pray together. Some couples like to pray different ways, while others prefer to do the same thing over and over again. Either way you look at it, God just wants you to talk to Him! All the ways to pray together have no time limit. You shouldn’t be putting a time limit with God! Feel free to go as long (or as short) as you want with any of these ways. Remember, you and your boyfriend/girlfriend may not prefer exactly the same way of praying and that’s OK – just remember that you need to pray together!

Traditional Praying - The reason I call this “traditional prayer” is that this is how I grew up praying. In my family, we would often list prayer requests and then each take a turn praying. It may not be traditional to you (maybe you grew up a different way) and that’s OK! The way traditional praying is done between a couple is that one person prays, followed by the other person and then the prayer is over. I’m not going to lie – this is the way I feel most comfortable, but my fiance feels differently.

Popcorn Prayers - I’ve been to a number of retreats where this is very popular. If you feel intimidated to pray with the other person, this is a great way to go to God together. The way that Popcorn Prayer works is that you say one thing at a time and then switch to the other person. You switch back and forth until you can’t think of anything more. For example, I would pray about one thing and then my fiance would pray for one thing and we just continue back and forth. I’ve found that by praying this way you are more attentive to your surroundings and can praise God about them!

Praying Before Meals - This is a great way to incorporate God into your every day life. Don’t think that you only come together in prayer in your private life. Whether you are at home or in a restaurant, take some time and pray together before your meal. You can do this separately, or have someone say a verbal prayer for both of you (I really like the verbal prayer).

Pray if there is something that is causing stress - I’ve done this a number of times and found that it really calms me (and my fiance) down. There are a number of different things that can be causing stress, so this is something that is unique to each couple. For example, if you are about to go into the dentist office to have you wisdom teeth removed, come together as a couple and pray. Pray for the doctors, pray that your boyfriend/girlfriend is calm and any other things that you can think of. All situtations are different and therefore prayer is important because every time you pray God is listening!

This is a small list of ways that you can pray together. There are countless ways that you can go to God. If you ever doubt that God is not doing anything, relax, He’s listening! Go to God in prayer on a regular basis and you will become closer to Him.

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Practical Ways To Keep God In The Center

Posted by livinforhim316 on September 6, 2007

Now that you are in a relationship, keeping God in the center can seem like a daunting task. You may have really busy schedules, different viewpoints on topics or some other problem that can make you shy away from keeping God a constant topic between the two of you. I’ve put together a list of ways that you can share with your boyfriend/girlfriend that will help you in a Godly relationship. I am in no way claiming that the suggestions below are the only thing you need to do, but it is a great start!

Pray Together on a Regular Basis - The key word in this statement is “regular.” I’ve found that if you find a time where the two of you can meet, you need to designate that time “prayer time.” Is it easy to find time when the two of you are free during that point everytime you meet? Definitely not – but if there is a conflict, try your best to prayer either later that day – don’t just skip it!

At first, praying with your boyfriend/girlfriend may seem a little awkward. I’ll be first to admit that! I remember when my fiance and I started praying together we both were surprised at the different styles in which we talked to God. I’ll say this now so you don’t get discouraged  – THAT’S OK! Just because they don’t pray exactly like you do, it doesn’t mean that their praying style is “wrong” or “God isn’t listening” (the second one is just plain crazy). As a story, I remember one time my fiance and I met to pray near a soccer field (this was in college). I had a lot of stuff I needed to do and so I “skimmed” through my prayer hoping that she would do the same so that I could get back to work (looking back on it that was a really bad outlook and don’t recommend it – you ALWAYS have time to talk to God!). Well, she thought that we should try something called “popcorn prayers.” The way popcorn prayers work is that instead of one person praying followed by the other person’s prayer, you pray for just one thing instead of everything. Once you pray for something, the other person takes a turn and prays for one thing. You do this until you can’t think of anything more. Well – she just kept going and going and going – I was getting frustrated and just wanted to be done so I claimed that I couldn’t think of anything more (even though I could). This was still in the early stages of dating, so I was skeptical of the ways she prayed and the fact that I had a lot of work to do didn’t help my willingness to try something new. Looking back on that night, I loved how she prayed and the innocence she shows when talking to God.

Over time you’ll come to appreciate the way your boyfriend/girlfriend prays and may even share stories of how prayer has impacted your life. My fiance and I have been praying together for awhile and both love doing it because not only does it bring us closer to God, it brings the two of us together as a couple!

Listen To Each Other - I’ll be the first one to admit I’m an extrovert. I’m extremely outgoing and love interacting with people. As a general rule, there is rarely silence in any of the conversations I’m a part in. My fiance is the exact opposite (I find this difference a lot in successful couples – it’s a great way to balance each other out). I remember when we first started dating we would go on walks and occasionally there would be a lull in the conversation. As I raced through my mind of anything to talk about, I remember asking her if the “awkward silence” bothered her. She said (1) it’s not awkward and (2) that she likes to reflect on what was just said. As a disclaimer, if you would meet me today I still don’t like silences…

I’m finding that listening to each other is a HUGE part of a successful relationship. You can talk all day long, but if you don’t know what’s going on in your boyfriend/girlfriend’s life, how are you going to help them? Are you going to be able to solve all their problems? No, and that’s frustrating (trust me – I know how frustrating that can be) but you can at least be willing to listen to the other person

Don’t think that you only have to listen to their problems to be an effective listener. My fiance claims I am an excellent listener, but I have my doubts. I can barely let her tell me her day without interrupting her about something! Just being there when your boyfriend/girlfriend wants to talk means so much!

Challenge Each Other - One of the great ways you can challenge as a Christian is to ask them about Biblical topics. These can be verses, passages or even themes found in the Bible. If you are doing devotionals (which I highly suggest) and come across a verse that you think is tough to interpret, ask your boyfriend/girlfriend! See what they think of that verse or passage. You’ll be amazed at the depth of conversations that can form as a result of talking about the Bible. My fiance and I have had numerous conversations dealing with topics ranging anywhere from the role of the husband to why God did certain things throughout the Bible.

Don’t think that challenging each other is limited to topics in the Bible. Apply them to your daily life! If you know that your boyfriend/girlfriend is struggling with a sin (or even the two of you together), challenge them to fix it. My fiance has to regularly challenge (or remind) me to tithe every Sunday. I am not sure why I struggle with this since God has entrusted me with the money He has blessed me with and in Malachi 3:6-17 talks about robbing God by not tithing. As a way to encourage me to tithe, every time I receive a paycheck my fiance reminds me to tithe and to give joyously (which I also think is a huge part of giving!).

Bottom line, challenging each other is a great way to focus on certain aspects and to make yourself a better disciple of Jesus Christ.

Do A Devotional Together - I had talked about this in a previous post about how important this can be. Doing devotionals together is a great way to grow closer and to know more about the other person especially if you are planning to marry them. I once dated a girl that was in a different denomination than me and was in awe at the differences between the two of us!! Even though we got along well socially, the fact that we couldn’t agree on Biblical teachings ultimately ended our relationship – yes, it’s that huge!

You should decide when to do devotionals between the two of you. My fiance and I tend to do them the same time we pray together and that seems to work well. We usually get great conversations in about God and then get to come to Him in prayer together.

As far as deciding which devotional to use, there are many different options out there (I’m sure that you’re aware of this if you’ve ever tried to look for one!). My fiance and I tend to do a variety of devotionals. We have done devotionals where you read a Bible passage and then read what someone  has to say about it, we have done devotionals where you read a passage and then a number of questions are presented and we have even done devotionals where we simply read a book about Christian dating. All three options are great and can strengthen your relationship with each other and more importantly with Christ!

Rely On Older Christians Who Can Help You - This may seem like a no-brainer, but I’ve seen time and time again couples who think they know everything about dating and eventually break up because it becomes too overwhelming. This is an important asset to have – especially when just starting to date. Things may come up where neither one of you are sure of what to do – this is where it’s very helpful to have an older Christian (especially one who is in a serious relationship – preferrably marriage) to ask for advice!

My fiance and I have found this idea particularly helpful. When we started dating, we asked our happily married parents for insight and advice about how to handle certain situations. You may think that the two of you can do it all by yourself, but it’s extremely helpful to have an older Christian available if you can’t!

I hope that you found these tips useful and insightful. If you have any other tips or comments please email me at livinforhim316@gmail.com and I’ll be glad to write a post about it. God Bless!

Posted in God In Relationships | Leave a Comment »

Keeping God at the Center

Posted by livinforhim316 on September 4, 2007

After asking my fiance to date me, we found ourselves sitting on a bench overlooking the night skyline of Pittsburgh. It was probably about 10 degrees outside, but that didn’t seem to phase us as we were talking alongside a river. We had been great friends before that night, so it was easy to talk for a long time. One of the topics that came up was how to glorify God through our relationship.

Now I had been in a few relationships before this point and thought I knew it all when it came to incorporating God into dating. I figured you just made sure you prayed before meals, didn’t do anything stupid and hope for the best (looking back on it that was a really dumb outlook). Even though I thought I had it “figured out” she introduced a concept to me that I will never forget.

The concept involved keeping God at the center. You may thinking to yourself “Chris, what center are you talking about?!” The center I’m talking about is between you and your boyfriend/girlfriend. As a youth director, I am constantly giving advice on dating and use illustrations to get points across. Here’s one that perfectly illustrates what I’m talking about.

Imagine that you are looking from a birds-eye view at a triangle. There are three people at each of the three points – you, your boyfriend/girlfriend and God. It doesn’t make a difference as to who is where, just think of those three people at each of the points. Now I want you to imagine that you and your boyfriend/girlfriend try to get closer and closer but are forgetting about God. This may sound like a great idea (since the distance between the two of you gets shorter), but in reality you’re pushing yourself away from God. The reason that your pushing yourself away from God is that if you were to go from the point God is to where you are, instead of going down a straight line, you now have to go the straight line and then turn the corner and meet you half-way down the line separating you and your boyfriend/girlfriend. So even though the distance between your relationship with your boyfriend/girlfriend is much shorter, the distance between you and God increases substantially!

In continuing with this illustration, a good Christian couple puts God at the center. Keep the image of the triangle in your head except this time, imagine the boy and the girl getting closer to the point with God at it. With God in the center and the boy and girl getting closer to Him, they (the boy and girl) are also getting closer in the process, which is what every Christian couple should strive for.

Am I saying that my fiance and I have kept God together for the entire time during our relationship? Sadly I must say “no.” We try to look to God in everything, but sometimes we (especially me) feel we can do it ourselves. Fortunately, Jesus came to die on a cross for our sins and promises eternal life. If you have not accepted Christ as your personal savior, think about your life and how you can make it better – I guarantee that looking to Christ will give you a peace like you’ve never had. If you have any questions regarding a personal relationship with Christ, I have included links on the home page (on the right sidebar) that can help you through the process. I pray that everyone reading this post has a serious relationship with Christ and not one that is simply forgotten once church lets out Sunday morning.

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