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Real Dating - Part 1

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"Finding the One"

Real Dating - Part 1 Transcription

This is a start to a new series called “Real Dating.”

 

A lot of people told me they were very very excited about this series that’s going to talk about dating.  People gave in some extra time doing their hair in the morning, they came in with their notepads waiting for abouna Anthony to give suggestions or maybe list some names or something like that.  Some people brought me their resume just in case we’re going to get to that by the end but…

 

Our goal in this series is to really see the idea of dating leading to marriage.  So the whole idea of courtship and dating from a Godly perspective and see what it is that God wants from us and what God expects of us.  I know that as soon as I say the word "dating", dating has different definitions to different people and everyone has different ideas of what it means to be dating or in a "dating relationship."  Some people, self admitted, have NO idea what it means to be dating! That's ok too because we're going to cover the broad spectrum of topics when it comes to this.  But like I said, we'll try to see things from a Godly perspective.

 

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:  marriage is not an easy thing.  One time I was giving a talk about marriage and I was saying… you know when you go to the hardware store or the toy store or something like that and you buy stuff?  Some stuff says “slight assembly required,” some stuff says “much assembly required.”  Well marriage is one of those “much assembly required” items.  Marriage is not intuitive, marriage is not easy.  Marriage is not a natural thing that you can be good at just randomly or by accident.  The only way to have a good marriage (and with all relationships, but especially in marriage) is that there is a lot of assembly that goes in and a lot of work that goes into it.  And here’s the most important thing that all the single people should understand that the work to have a good marriage begins well before your wedding day.  The work and assembly that goes into a good, God-pleasing marriage and satisfying marriage starts much much earlier, even as early as dating and courtship.  That’s why a lot of marriages have problems. 

 

Sometimes we all do this (or at least the guys do it)…we buy the thing, we don’t want to read the instructions of the much assembly so you just kinda wing it, you just try to put it together in whatever way possible then you end up with 10 screws left and some parts and this and that and you say “ohhh” and you just push them off to the side.  A lot of us do that with marriage, we just jump in, we do all the stuff that we think we need and then we look back later on and say “I wonder why that part and that part and that part didn’t get used?”!  That thing will come back to bite you in the end.  So what we’re going to try to talk about is how to assemble marriage the right way.  And we’re going to start way way way before.  We’re not going to talk about marriage, we’re going to talk about the stuff that goes into a marriage that makes it work the proper way. 

 

But before we jump in, let me get a feel of my audience right here.  Raise your hand if you are married.  Raise your hand if you are single.  Raise your hand if you are single and actively looking.  Ok, I got a few hands!  Guys, look around see who’s available.  Ok, very good. 

 

Whether you’re married or single, whether you have been married for many many years or whether you  have many many years until you get married.  Today’s topic is something that touches each one of us in a special way because what we’re going to talk about today is how to find “The One.”.  You know what I mean when I say “The One” right?  Everyone is looking for The One.  Some people hopefully have found “The One.” 

 

Sometimes people ask me what it’s like to be a priest, and good things and bad things.  Forget about the bad things, I’ll tell you one of the best things about being the priest…I get to know when some people have found “the One” before anyone else gets to know!  I get to know stuff and I may know a few stuff that is going on right now that not everyone else knows is public information!  There’s nothing better than to be there when the girl comes running…

 

Girl:  “Abouna Anthony! Abouna Anthony! Abouna Anthony…” 

 

You can just tell from the look in her eye what it was that happened today. 

 

Abouna:  “What is it so&so?”

 

Girl (squealing):  “You’ll never believe it…guess what?  So&so asked me out!!  He’s perfect and he’s funny and he’s smart and he’s successful and he’s a deacon!  He’s the best, he’s the best, he’s just like you abouna Anthony, he’s the best!”

 

Everybody dreams of that day, when he’s floating on cloud number 9, and they just feel swept off their feet. Where (excuse me I’m not likened to the movies and to the songs like that) but where time stops and where...uhm….i don’t know….all those funny songs on the radio suddenly make sense now.  Everyone dreasms of that day.

 

Look here what I’m going to tell you guys, what we’re going to discuss today is that to find satisfaction in life, you have to find The One.  I truly believe that.  You will never have satisfaction in life until you have discovered who that “One” is.  Just trust me, stick with me on this one and let me explain myself.

 

But I’m going to start off by saying that to find true satisfaction, you gotta find who  “The One” is.  But here’s the unfortunate thing about marriage that you don’t understand until you get married and the married people explain to you…(I’m not speaking for myself, I’m speaking general information, I’ve been happily married for 5+ years and everything is the best).  But sometimes marriage has a way of turning “The One” into “The One that drives you crazy.”  Marriage has a way of turning the perfect one into “the one with a lot of faults and a lot of annoying quirks and a lot of this and a lot of that.  I tell this to all couples when we do this premarital counseling: that marriage, believe it or not, creates more problems than solves.  Why do we work so hard in premarital counseling and why do we talk so much about dating and doing it the right way?  Because marriage creates a lot of “stuff” that you can’t prepare for so we have to eliminate as much of the stuff that we can in advance.  What marriage does is it turns the things which are “cute” in dating into annoyances. 

 

For example, the guy and the girl and they’re together and he tries to make a joke and it’s really not that funny and no-one really laughs and she says, “Oh that’s so cute!  That’s so cute, he was just embarrassed there and he said a joke and no-one laughed and he had dimples and that’s just so cute.”

 

Here’s another example….I’ll pick on guys because guys are much easier to pick on..

 

The guys who are messy and disorganized and the girl just says, “it’s just so sweet how he needs me to remind him of everything.  Everything in life, he’s like helpless without me, and it’s so cute”…and it’s so this and it’s so that.

 

Well you can see where this is going to go in marriage.  You can see the path that it’s heading down because one year into marriage, it ain’t cute no more!  Then all of a sudden it’s “why do you keep saying stupid jokes? No-one thinks you’re funny!  You always embarrass me in public!”

And “Why are you so messy? can’t you remember even your own birthday without someone reminding you?”

 

It’s amazing how marriage has a way of turning things.  And here’s the really scary part, seriously now.  Every marriage that you’ve seen that’s bad and the trouble and annoyance, etc I promise you did not start that way.  That’s the scary part for me, that’s the really scary part!  Is that you see couples that have been married for 10 years and they’re at each other’s throats, I promise you…they weren’t like that in dating.  I promise you they weren’t like that in courtship.  I promise you that she didn’t think he was so annoying back then and he didn’t think that she was so annoying back then.  The scary thing is how every marriage starts off the same way but then they seem to go in lots of different directions.

 

So what to do?

 

I’ll be honest, I hope you struggle with this, because if not then you don’t have a brain. But I hope you can see that marriage is a risk.  And yeah, the person may appear like this today and may appear like this tomorrow but like I said, ask the married people in the room.  Dating is not an accurate picture.  A year of dating is not an accurate picture of 50  years of marriage.

 

So, like I said, what to do?

 

Let me tell you what SOME people do.  Some people decide to play it safe and just be really really really picky.  And test things a lot before they take one step.  And some people decide to be really really really slow until they’re sure, double sure, triple sure that they’ve met “the one.”

Some people do the opposite extreme, some people say “You know what? Either way it’s 50/50 so I might as well take my chances, jump in, and hope the thing works out.

 

<<<<<<Video about interviewing college students asking them how do they know when they’ve found The One>>>>>>>>

 

What you see is that everyone seems to be looking for the one, but what stuck out in that video clip is that there seems to be a lot of confusion as to how to find the one.  And what that confusion has done is this:  people are getting married later in life, with more reservations and with less success.  Do you agree with that statement or disagree?  It’s very clear if you just look around, people are getting married later in life, with more reservation, more fears, more “how do I knows,” and the worst part, with less success. 

It’s because of this confusion, every one of those people wants to find The One, but not two of those people came up with the same answer.  Everyone said “Uh….i think it’s this way” or “uh…..” 

As soon as there’s an “Uh….” That’s when there will be problems and that’s why there are struggles in marriage. 

 

In the world that we live in, we get so used to the UNDO button.  This is why I understand why people don’t want to get tattoos, I don’t like to do anything that you can’t undo, I like that anything I do in life, I click the “undo button” and it goes away.  Marriage is one of those things where there’s no “Undo button.”  So, we get scared that I can’t undo it and we end up getting married later, more reservations, and unfortunately it seems to be less successful.  But I want to realize that it didn’t always used to be this way.  The current model for dating that exists in our society is not one that has been around for hundreds and hundreds of years.  In fact, it’s a very very recent thing.  If you look at the world that has been around for thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands of years, it wasn’t until the last really 50-100 years (which really isn’t much in the grand scheme of time) that the modern form of dating has been inplace.  Before that, it wasn’t like…boy asks girl, girl asks boy, proms, etc, there wasn’t all that funny business.  The way it used to be (maybe like some of our parents did in Egypt) was that there was a more formal courtship:  A boy reaches the age of marriage; he found a girl who has also reached the age of marriage and along with the help of his parents; they would approve the situation and that he would go and ask the father if he’s allowed to date this girl and stuff like that and they would proceed forth.  But it was always under this blanket of “parental accountability” that was going on.

 

It’s not like what it is today where each one just kinda goes off, parents have no idea what their kids are doing, their kids could be dating people from across the country and the parents have no clue of what’s going on.  I’m NOT saying we need to go back to getting arranged marriages, that’s not what I’m saying, but I just want you to realize one thing.  That the system of dating is something which is recent, and you know what else is recent?  What also coincides with that last 100 years or so?  It’s the worst time for marriage ever.  There has never been a time like it is today when marriages are just so unsuccessful.  Now you would sit there and say “It has always been like that” maybe 18, 19, 20 years old….well, 20 years is not really “always.”  It hasn’t really always been like that.  Marriages didn’t used to have such a high divorce rate and such a low satisfaction rate.  Is it coincidence?  That the dating model changed and the success of marriage changed?  That’s up to you to figure out. 

 

I am not saying we should go back to the old school model but here’s what I AM saying…we should question today’s model of dating.  We should question.  Because the one thing that’s very very clear is the world’s methods of dating have failed.  Dating as it is engrained inside all of us, as learnt by all of us, which (let’s be honest) we learnt it probably from Zack & Kelly & “Saved by the bell” that’s where we learnt how dating is supposed to be.  Or maybe if you’re old school and you watched the Wonder Years and Kevin and Winnie and that kind of stuff.  This is how we learned how dating is supposed to be.  But that model of dating needs to at least be questioned.  At least we need to sit and say “wait a minute…maybe the way that TV told me I should do it isn’t the right way?  Maybe the way I’ve always been doing it isn’t the right way?  Maybe my own way of just kind of seeing who I’m attracted to and trying and this….maybe that way isn’t the best way?”  I am not saying it’s not the best way, I have my own opinion but I haven’t said it yet, but I’m saying at a minimum when you look at the results of that methodology you have to say it has failed.  Have marriages ever been worst?  Have divorces ever been higher?  Has there ever been so much adultery outside of marriage?  Forget marriage, the life of singles has been destroyed by this dating methodology as well.  Look at sexually transmitted diseases, look at unwanted pregnancies, you look at abortions, you look at the amount of fornication and pre-marital sex that’s going on out there.  It’s clear that this method doesn’t work!  This method is not the right way, it’s far from God’s idea.  And even an atheist can look around at the world today and say that this model of dating is not a very very good one.  There has to be a better way to do it.  Everyone wants to find “The One” but the way that everyone’s going about it is not the best way. 

 

So you got a choice, you can either forget about everything I’m saying and just kinda go with the flow.  Stick with the Wonder Years ways, stick with the Saved by the bell way.  Just do it the way you’ve seen it on TV, do it the way your boyfriends are doing it, doing it like everyone around in the office is doing it, you can do it that way. That’s fine, you go with the flow, I don’t think you’re going to end up in a good place.  OR…you can question.  You can say “Is there a better way?” 

 

Look at Proverbs 4:26:  “Ponder the path of your feet and let all your ways be established.”

 

I like this verse, “ponder the path of your feet,” don’t just walk blindly down the road because everyone else is walking down that road.

 

A wise man once said, “if you travel the same road as everyone else, you will end up at the same destination.”

 

Common sense.  If I walk on the same road that everyone else is walking down, then I shouldn’t be surprised when I end up at the same destination that everyone else is at.  So before you follow that road, look at the destination. Is that where I want to be?  Is that the end that I want to have in my life?  Before I follow the world’s way of doing it, see where the world ends up and see if that’s where you want to go.

 

My guess is that you all are Godly people, are smart people, and you know there’s a better way out there.  There has to be a better way.  There has to be a higher standard.  There has to be something better than this nonsense that we see around us.  And the good news is…that there is.  Even though the Bible doesn’t use the word “dating” anywhere I looked cover to cover.

The bible does have principles on relationships and especially marital relationships that we can extract out to see how this dating model should go.  Again, before I jump into it, I know it sounds obvious and I know it sounds very very intuitive but it’s the most important thing, that we have to start off this discussion by at least questioning the way we’ve always done things.  At least I have to start off by saying, “maybe there’s a better way?”  And the source is that we’re going to go to God and see what God’s way is.

 

One of the things that I’ve discovered personally and I think it’s true for you as well. If I say that “dating and marriage and all that kinda stuff and I’m sure that God has a better way and a better plan for everyone else,” everyone of you will agree.  But do you know the hardest thing to believe?  Is that God has a better plan, not for you but for ME.  I discovered that that’s the hardest thing to accept in life.  I can accept that God is going to have the best stuff for all of you, but then when it comes to myself, I see my shortcomings and my fallings and I can’t believe that there’s something so much better out there for me.  That’s where you really really really need to take this and understand it.  That God does have better.  And the reason why you have to understand it is that I’m gonna start telling you stuff, I’m gonna shoot straight forward, and I’m gonna tell you stuff that probably you disagree with and probably all your friends at work and your friends at school will disagree with me and would say “that’s stupid,” but you have to be strong enough to at least question the road that you’re walking.  We’re not going to talk about the normal path because we don’t want the normal destination.  We talk about a better path because we want a better destination.

 

So, back to our idea, how do I find The One?  Where to turn?

 

Let’s start by this verse, Philippians 4:19: “My God shall supply all your needs according to his riches and glory by Christ Jesus.”

 

One of the best promises in all the bible.  That God shall supply all of YOUR needs according to HIS riches.  All the needs that you have in life will be supported by his riches. Imagine a bank, which has tons and tons and tons of money, that says “all of your debts will be paid.”

“All of my debts will be paid? Yeah, whatever..”

“No no no, all of your debts will be paid according to MY riches!”

 

Wait a minute, that’s a much better story.  All of my debts, even though they seem big to me, they’re nothing compared to the bank.  The bank can pay all my debts really really easy.

 

That’s what God is saying, “I can fill all your needs.”

Me:  Thanks God, I’ve been trying my whole life to fill my needs and I have failed.

God:  No no no, I’m going to use MY riches and my resources to fill them.

 

You want to know what causes problems in marriage?  I’ve discovered that 99% of all marriage problems are one thing:  one spouse is looking to the other spouse to provide their need that only God can provide.  One of the two partners has taken their eyes off God.  This promise says that God will supply all your needs, but when there are problems in marriage it usually happens where I meet the other person, I love the other person, the other person is perfect, the other person is the best, the other person is this or that and then the honeymoon finishes and then real life hits.  And then all of a sudden the other person isn’t what I thought they were.  They’re not perfect, and they do have bad days and they are grumpy.  Let’s say even that they are perfect, let’s say that they do fill your needs every second that they’re with you, but they’re not always going to be with you!  So if you are relying on another person to fulfill your needs, you’ll be in trouble because it’s something that only God can do according to his riches.

 

So you see now how this applies to dating, that if I don’t learn in dating to have my needs met by God, then you’re really going to struggle in marriage.  If you’re relying on your spouse, the most perfect spouse out there can meet your needs as much as he or she can but not 24 hours a day 7 days a week.  Your spouse will get sick, your spouse will go away on a business trip, your spouse will have a bad day or get stuck in traffic and if you’re waiting and relying on that, this is where the conflict happens.  That “I was expecting YOU to make me happy, I’m not happy, it’s your fault!”  That’s where the marriage problems take place.

 

So, our solution when it comes to dating is making sure that you find the right “One.” 

 

Jesus is “The One,” and your spouse is “The Two.”  I tricked you guys there!  You thought I was going to tell you how to get a date today, didn’t you?

 

Remember when earlier I said that the key to finding satisfaction in life is to find “the one?”.  I stand by that statement, but Jesus is “The One.”  It’s not a person.  Your spouse is very very important, but they can at best be number two.  But if you haven’t learned how to make Jesus your number One, you’re going to be in trouble in life. 

 

Look at the following verse and I want you to think….if you’re married, can your spouse say this to you? Can you say this to your spouse?  If you’re not married, can you imagine anyone that can say this to you?...

 

“Whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst but the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water spring up in the everlasting life.” (John 4:14)

 

Can any spouse give that to you?  I know that during the dating phase we say words like that, that when I’m around you your love makes me not thirsty and all kinds of funny business and nonsense.  That isn’t true.  No human being can give this to you, only Jesus can.  That’s why He must be “The One.”

 

I promise you, any relationship, and especially romantic relationships, where Jesus is not “The One,” it’s just a matter of time before it fails.  I promise you.  It’s a time bomb and it’s going to go off at some point in time. 

 

If there are screws missing in this stage that I’m standing on, it’s just a matter of time before the thing collapses.  Maybe I can tiptoe around it and it won’t collapse right now, maybe I can come back next week and I have lost  a little weight and it won’t collapse, but the day that I come back and I start jumping up and down, this day it’s going to collapse.  It’s inevitable.  And it’s the same thing in marriage.  If Jesus is not “the One” your relationship will fail.  Your spouse is not supposed to meet your needs, you know what your spouse is?  Your spouse is the icing on the cake.

 

Let’s say you’re building a house.  Your spouse is the nice windows, your spouse is the chimneys and the bay window and that’s beautiful, but if there isn’t a floor, if there is no foundation, it’s all going to fall apart no matter how expensive the windows may be.  My advice to those who are out there looking for “The One” is that Jesus is “The One” and that you need to start off by pursuing that relationship.  Said another way, pursuing marriage more than pursuing God is idolatry.  I’m scared that some of the single people are doing this idolatry because the number one thing in your life right now certainly isn’t God.  It has become marriage.  And that’s the focus, and you go to God to get you to marriage and that’s all that your prayers are about and that’s all that your thoughts are about.  If so, that’s idolatry. 

It can also be that way in marriage if you hold your spouse higher than God.  For example you know that you want to stand up in prayer and the spouse says, “let’s go to sleep.”  I reply, “Sure.”  That can be idolatry and that’s something that you need to examine. 

 

There are people I know who cannot live without a relationship, or pursuit of a relationship.  That’s idolatry.  You know what I’m talking about.  The people who can’t be single, they can’t.  They have to be either in a relationship or pursuing one.  And as soon as that one finishes they have to get another one.  That’s not making Jesus “The One,”  that’s making the other person “The One.”  So each one of us needs to examine themselves here, you’ll never be satisfied in any relationship unless Jesus is “the One” and your spouse is the icing on the cake.

 

Let me say it in another way….

 

Now all of you hopeless romantics are probably going to start throwing things at me right now….Love is not enough for marriage!

 

Oh my! How can he say that? Hasn’t he listened to the music that says “all I need is love….forget about what Abouna Anthony is saying, I don’t believe anything he says, Love can solve all my problems and when I’m in love..ah!”

 

Wasn’t there a song called “love will carry us through”?  That was back in the 80s…

 

This is what TV teaches, and this is what music teaches and this is garbage.  This is nonsense.  This is why marriages stink.  This is the bad fruit of the dating system because we believe that love is enough.  Love is not enough.  There’s a lot of people who love each other somedays and can’t stand each other the next day.  Love is not enough, if I don’t have my house built on the foundation of the right number one, who is God, then the house will crumble.  End of story.  Don’t tell me how much love and how much flower and how much candy and how much garbage there is in it.  Love is not enough. 

 

You know in the bible where it gives commands, Ephesians 5 gives commandments to the husband and to the wife on how to have a successful marriage.  We read them everytime we have a wedding ceremony, everyone chuckles and snickers and says “ah…these are nice ideas but they’re not really practical.”  You know those right?

 

First to the wives: 

“Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.” (Ephesians 5: 22-24)

 

Ladies…is that an easy command?  Does that make you smile and say “Yes!  Subject Yes!  Submit, wohoo!”

 

“Submit in EVERYTHING”…is that easy?  That isn’t easy.

 

Don’t worry guys, yours is just as hard if not more hard:

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her.  So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself.” (Ephesians 5: 25,28)

 

How did Christ love the church?  He got beaten and killed for the sake of the church! 

Husbands…is that an easy thing?  Is it easy to lay down your lives for the wives? Is it easy?  I know husbands who can’t even lay down their remote control for their wife! 

 

These commandments are not easy, these commandments are difficult, how in the world am I going to fulfill these things?  You would think Saint Paul is saying that marriage, wow, marriage is something where you look at your spouse and you hold them up so high that you’re willing to lay down your life for them, you’re willing to submit to everything they say and you just hold your spouse in such high regard.  Is that what he’s saying?  I don’t think that that’s what he’s saying.  You know the key to Ephesians 5: 22-28?  The key is in verse 21 that happened before all these verses and is the key motivator.

 

It reads: “Submit to one another in the fear of God.”

 

This is how Saint Paul starts off this section where he’s starting to give all these instructions, all these difficult things to do, lay down your life, submit in everything that you do, Why? Because of what I said in verse 21, because of your fear to God.  If I laid down my life for my wife because she’s great, she is great, but, that isn’t going get us through.  That may get us through the honeymoon, at most a year of marriage, two years of marriage, even three years of marriage but it certainly isn’t going to carry us through when there’s no money in the bank account.  And certainly isn’t going to carry us through when all kinds of disasters and catastrophes happen.  That “I think so highly of her and she thinks so highly of me.”  The only way to keep up is to be motivated by your love for God. 

 

You see the world’s way says: “love your spouse,  be in love, treat her with respect and dignity and kindness, treat her as you would treat yourself.  Everything should be compromised, everything should be 50/50, don’t ask her to do something that you wouldn’t do yourself and don’t ask him to do something that you’re not ready for, everything should be 50/50.  And we can even say something like “Golden rule: do unto others as you want to have them do unto you.”  That’s the World’s way of marriage and it sounds spiritual.  50/50 is compromise, love the other person as much as you love yourself, that’s compromise.  “Golden Rule” is what Jesus said,  but that’s not the biblical standard for marriage.  When Christ gave the golden rule it was not in regard to marriage, it was in regard to this relationship:  brothers and sisters, friends, neighbours, etc. 

 

Do you know what the Golden Rule of marriage is?  It’s “do unto your spouse as Jesus has done unto you.”  Remember he’s the one, he’s the motivating factor in this whole thing. 

He has laid down his life for me, I lay down my life for my wife. 

He has given me all things, I give everything I can to my wife.

He has gone above and beyond to meet my needs, I go above and beyond to meet wife’s needs.

 

That’s the Golden rule of marriage.  That doesn’t sound like 50/50 does it?  That’s a 100!  That’s a 100 zeros is what that is.  Is that you give everything that you have and here’s why people can’t understand marriage and have problems in marriage: Marriage is not two people coming together and sharing everything.  Marriage is you coming to die! 

 

Some husbands are like.. “Yeah! Amen!  Hey man I’ve been saying that for years!”

 

That’s not what I’m saying, marriage is you coming to say I don’t care for myself, I’m coming to care 100% for you. 

 

“Wait a minute, that isn’t fair!  What about my needs, what about my my my….??” One would ask.

 

Don’t start with that “my” business, marriage requires you to give entirely and hopefully you trust your spouse enough that she’s doing the same thing for you.  Marriage is “I no longer live for myself, I live entirely for you.  And trust that you will do the same thing for me.”

 

Believe me, if you are waiting for your spouse to be perfect, to motivate you, to give your life for them, you’ll be waiting a long long long time.  It’s never going to happen.  Our motivating factor should be our love for God, not our love for our spouse.  That’s why Jesus has to be “The One,” and if he’s not the one, it will fail.

 

As we go along in this series, I will just kinda give some personal experiences.  I’m not using myself as “the” example, but as “an” example of the way the dating thing worked out for me, and I think it worked out pretty good for me in the end. 

 

When I graduated from school, my whole life I wasn’t really really close to God, and I didn’t really get close to God until my college years and I started to get to know him.  I remember graduating school and ofcourse every guy has feelings and stuff like that, but even though I wanted to get married, and even though ofcourse there were thoughts of loneliness and stuff like that, I didn’t pursue any of that.  I didn’t pursue relationships at all, in fact those who knew me back then thought I was going to be like a monk or a hermit.  Even my wife, at the time she thought I was going to be a monk or something like that.  I didn’t pursue the relationship in any way, but I did pursue something else and that is: my faith.  I pursued getting to know God and I spent a lot of time whether it was here in the church with service or whether it was in my own time.  I think back in the time, it’s shameful how little I pray now compared to how much I used to pray.  I’m a priest now, I don’t pray half as much today as I used to pray back then.

 

Again, I’m not saying that I’m “the” example, but I’m just giving you “an” example.

 

The point of it all is that I did not pursue MaryAnn or anyone for the longest time, but I only pursued God and I made him my One.  And I promise you (I’m saying this because I lived it) as you make God your One, he will lead you to the Two.  As you make God “your One,” he will bring “the Two” to you.  There’s a difference between me getting “the Two” or God giving me “the Two.”  If I go to my dad, and say “dad, can I borrow ten bucks?”  He pulls it out of his pocket and gives it to me.  Is that the same as me saying “Hey dad, look over there,” and out of his pocket snagging it while he’s not looking?  The end result is the same, either way I end up with ten bucks right?  No, it’s not the same.  The same thing comes to relationships; a lot of us do that.  A lot of us are only pursuing the ten dollars, only pursuing getting it in any way possible.  What I’m saying is when you make God your One, he will give you “The Two.”

 

There are two ways of getting into relationships (I feel):  It’s either you push God or God pushes you.  Which one are you?  Are you the one who’s pushing God saying “Hurry up God!  I need a relationship okay?  I’m coming to church, I’m fasting, I’m doing all these things, I’m listening to abouna Anthony, he’s the best, I love abouna Anthony, yeah, I’m doing all these things the right way. Give me the thing.”

 

Is that what we’re doing?  I’m pushing God.  Or…do I have a mentality where God is the one pushing me?  I’m pursuing God and God alone.  He’s “my One,” as I make him My One, he will bring me to who the right “Two” is.

 

Last verse…..”Delight yourself also in the LORD, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalms 37:4)

This is exactly what I’m talking about here.  Make God your One and trust that he will give you the Two at the right time and in the right place.  I’m so thankful at this moment in time that God didn’t give me Mary Ann when I first decided I wanted to get married.  I’m thankful he didn’t give her to me when I first felt like I’m lonely because I certainly certainly wasn’t ready.  And I certainly would have screwed it up.  Royally.  If He had brought her to me earlier than that, I would have made a mess of everything and I probably would have lost her forever.  It wouldn’t have worked out as it is right now.  So I’m thankful that God didn’t bring me The Two right away.  I made him The One and I trusted him to bring me The Two at the right time.

 

This comes down a lot of the times to an issue of Trust.  Are you able to trust God to give you the Two or no?   Are you able to trust him that if I make him the One, he’ll provide for me in everything?  You know it says “seek first the Kingdom of God and all his righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you?”  Can I trust that or I can’t trust that?  Some people can’t trust it, you know what?  Good luck to you, I wish you the best, it’s a rough world out there, best of luck to you.  Divorce rate is like 60%, hopefully you’re the lucky one. 

 

But for those who are ready to take a step of trust, God is asking “can you make Me number One?”  My dream is to hear more stories and I love hearing them…of people doing just that…being faithful to God, serving God, being fully committed to him and doing anything they can for him and not worrying about “Oh no, I just turned 28, I just turned 29, uh, I just turned 30.”  People not being worried about those things but trusting in God and letting God bring them the best. 

 

The picture that I’ve drawn for many many people:  marriage should be a triangle of three people.  I’m sure that some of you have seen me doing this before because I say it all the time.  It’s God up here and it’s you and spouse in the bottom two corners.  Our problem in life  is that this Spouse and this Spouse have lot of faults and lots of problems and lots of selfishness and lots of annoying quirks and habits and smells bad, and makes bad jokes, etc etc etc.  When I take two people like that and I bring them really close together, I’m asking for a disaster.  There’s only one way to have a good marriage, and that is a union of THREE.  Think about it, if I have a triangle with 3 points, what’s the only way to get all three at the same point?  Assumption #1, God doesn’t move.  What’s the only way for all three to be united?  Is that each of you to go up to him and as you get closer and closer to God, God, behind the scene is bringing another person who’s getting closer and closer and closer to him and at the right moment, BOOM!  Voila!  Magic!  Something magical happens right here.  I’ve seen this because I lived this!  Our problem is that we’re not patient and trusting to climb that mountain, we get kind of distracted around here and we want to go and rush or do something like that. 

 

Do you have the faith and the patience and the trust to make Jesus “your One” and trust that He’ll give you “the Two?”  I hope the answer is Yes.