Presentation on theme: "The Love Target A framework for organizing and prioritizing criteria to select a spouse “Love Target” Conceptual framework originated by Ben Young and."— Presentation transcript:
The Love Target A framework for organizing and prioritizing criteria to select a spouse “Love Target” Conceptual framework originated by Ben Young and Dr. Samuel Adams in their 2001 book, The One: A Realistic Guide to Choosing Your Soul Mate. Contents Introduction 1 The Relational Zone 2 The Character Zone 5 The Spiritual Zone 7 Appendices The Powerful Impact of Emotional Health11 Differences you Must Not Overlook13 Principles of Negotiating a “Great Deal”14 Self Personality Test15 Partner Assessment Checklist16 Spiritual Maturity & The Love Target17 Top Ten “Biblical” Ways To Find A Mate19 This document excerpted and synthesized from the book and combined with other sources by CSR. [ CSR additions and comments in square brackets. ] September 2006 Revised June 2009
The Love Target The Love Target is a framework for organizing and prioritizing criteria to select a soul mate (a spouse). The ideal soul mate relationship can be obtained only when you connect in all three zones: Relational (relational compatibility, including physical attraction, personality style, lifestyle.) [ Includes cultural & educational background, emotional health, personal style. ] Character (essential character qualities such as honesty, faithfulness, loyalty, commitment, forgiveness, self-control, discipline, endurance.) Spiritual (core, the essence of who you are, comprising theology, beliefs, values, sense of purpose and meaning in life. All of one’s attributes and behaviors flow out of this inner core.) [ For Christians, includes Christian depth and maturity. ] The order is important because each zone represents an increasing need for discernment and, therefore, time. Knowing both the character and spiritual zones of another person takes time. There is no substitute for time. None. When people are not committed to take the time to connect in all three zones, they are following the ways of the world – which have produced a divorce rate in excess of 50%. Anytime you fail to hit the bulls’-eye of the Love Target, you are compromising and settling for less than is required for a successful marriage relationship. All successful endeavors, including marriage, are based upon a clear vision of what is to be accomplished. You must have a clear picture of the goal in order to achieve the results you desire. In order to accurately picture the goal of finding a soul mate you must have a good understanding of what you value and what is most important to make a successful choice. In your quest for a soul mate, it is critical to use your imagination to visualize what you need and who would meet those qualifications. This may seem obvious, but the majority of people do not take the time to identify and specifically write down what they need in a mate. [ You MUST take the time and make the effort create a written statement of what you are looking for. The process of doing so, even if it takes many small efforts, will be invaluable as your overly vague, or unrealistic, desires, become clarified through the act of writing them and then validated (or not) by seeing how they play out in the people you meet and date, or in the couples you know. ] Some people already have an unconscious love target. They are driven by an unexamined vision or an unspoken ideal [ often stemming from what “mom” or “dad” was like – no matter how dysfunctional-- or from unrealistic TV/film/media stereotypes. ]. In the hunt for love, a lack of intention and proactivity can get you in trouble. You must be clear about what is really driving you in your quest for a soul mate. [ Christians: the goal is to be free to live life in accordance with the Lord's and one's own purposes rather than as a puppet of one's sinful/sin-injured/family/cultural past. This is the deeper meaning of "leaving & cleaving" in Genesis 2:24 and is also a very real benefit of the Inner Healing that leads to sanctification and maturity in Christ. ] page 1
The Relational Zone Chemistry (physical and emotional attraction) Chemistry is a mysterious combination of looks, personality, sense of humor, speech, vibe, spirituality, etc. [ Humor, speech, vibe, spirituality, etc. require a shared understanding of these things. ] It is either there or not, cannot be developed, and should be natural and instinctual. [ Without the shared understanding that may come from similar cultural/educational/socio-economic/spiritual backgrounds, “chemistry” will fade very quickly. It is no fun being with someone who doesn’t appreciate your allusions, “jeux de mots,” jokes, and puns (Biblical, cultural, literary, musical, philosophical, political…) because they lack familiarity with what is being alluded to or parodied. ] Male perspective: a woman’s physical attractiveness is all about what she does with what she has – that she takes good care of herself and presents herself well, making the most of her God-given characteristics. Female perspective: women are primarily interested in protection and security. They will be drawn to a man who can provide for them a sense of safety as well as financial, physical and emotional security. Physical attraction is secondary at best. Personality Style is a pattern of behavior that represents an individual’s inherent style of relating to others and the environment around him or her. Since personality seems to be stable over time, expecting adults to change basic tendencies is unrealistic. Compatibility in this area is not about “sameness.” It is not necessary or even healthy to find someone with the same personality traits. The issue has to do with your ability to accept and adapt to your partner’s personality style, assuming it will not change. Does it fit with who you are and what you value most? Can you be in agreement in light of your differences? Optimally, your personalities should bring out the best in each other the majority of the time, resulting in both being better together. If you continually find yourself operating at your worst – compromising or displaying your worst qualities – then you need to reevaluate your compatibility. In order to have companionship, there must be a high level of compatibility in personalities. Personalities come in many different forms. Here’s what one man likes about his wife’s personality: her positive outlook on life, her willingness to both listen and talk, her range of assertiveness and reserve, her quiet strength, her low level of anger, her determination, her cheerfulness, her gratitude, her family bondedness, and her tireless efforts on behalf of those she loves. [ I hope to meet someone like her! ] We all look for a person who has “ways of being” that we like and can live well with. What type of personality do you want in your partner? How To Assess Personality- Various tests are available, including a self-administered test in the appendices of this document. The Prepare/Enrich Compatibility Test is strongly recommended for those thinking about engagement or already engaged (page 98 in the book). These assessments will either confirm what you already know or help clarify what you couldn’t quite put your finger on. They provide objectivity and help label some of the behavior patterns you have been seeing. Once you assess yourself and your partner, you can then make decisions about your ability to accept his/her personality style. [ The Myers-Briggs Personality Type test may also be helpful. ] Energy Level- Two things about energy are equally crucial: (1) A person’s energy level is often a good indicator of his emotional and physical health. There is something wrong with us when our energy is low. However, too much energy also indicates a problem. People who are constantly on the go and seen unable to contain their energy probably need some kind of intervention. (2) Marriage partners need to have similar levels of energy. Otherwise, issues will abound. [ This is very important! Chronological age can deceive. The older member of a couple can be more youthful and energetic than the younger. People age at different rates due to various factors. ] Intelligence- Marriage partners need to have similar levels of intelligence. Actual IQ has little to do with success or failure of marriages. It is the match of two people’s intelligence that is crucial. Because there are different types of intelligence, the type and amount of intelligence that is important to you needs to be understood and delineated. Verbal Intimacy- A good marriage needs a lot of deep communication. In our society, men are seldom trained to communicate well when they are young boys, and thus tend not to be very good at accessing their deepest feelings and meanings. [ Alexithymia (look it up!) may even be a possibility. ] Each person must be able to listen accurately and intently, thus making the other person feel understood and valued. [ If you don’t feel understood and valued, what is the point of the relationship? ] page 2
The Relational Zone (cont’d) Conflict Resolution Skills- In great marriages, two people learn to manage their conflicts so that harmony prevails most of the time. Marriages begin to disintegrate when conflicts are left unresolved. Judgment- One of the most important qualities that any person brings to a relationship is good judgment. If the individual knows how to make consistently wise decisions, he or she will almost certainly contribute consistently to the strength and health of the relationship. [ Christians: do your prospective partner’s conflict resolution and judgment skills demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit*, Christian maturity, and values? Do yours? ] For those who think personality assessment may be too difficult, the authors want you to take a long, hard look at your assumption. Too many turn a blind eye to this most important area based upon an assumption that it’s just “too confusing” or “too messy.” This is a tough area, yet there is no excuse to enter a marriage oblivious to your partner’s personality style. The authors don’t think it is unrealistic to identify and address your partner’s style and to consider whether your personalities mesh together. In the end, you must be able to enter a marriage accepting your partner as is, with the assumption that personality will not change. Lifestyle (interests and hobbies). An individual’s lifestyle, interests, and passions (or lack of passions) will tell you three things about him or her: Emotional Health: lifestyle provides a clue about emotional health and personal sense of well-being. It gives you valuable information about whether someone has a balanced, zestful, passionate life. Among many of the things that account for having a healthy identity is whether or not a person is truly engaged in life. No marriage can be stronger than the emotional health of the least healthy partner. If the person you’re dating is self- absorbed, paranoid, overly defensive, or anything else that signals an emotional health deficit, watch out! [ The more dysfunctional your family of origin, the more difficult it may be for you to identify emotional pathologies in others since you may not have had good role models growing up and, therefore, may not be familiar with emotionally healthy behavior. Or, you may falsely identify unhealthy behavior as healthy because it is all you know. Lest I appear to be unfairly harping on dysfunctional families, consider what the Managing Editor of Christianity Today’s Leadership Journal, wrote 4-24-09, “…our online poll…consistent with what other studies have found. Our culture, including the Christian subculture, is hooked. Alcohol, pornography, tobacco, drugs (prescription and illegal), gambling, gaming, sex, media. The list of addictive behaviors has never been longer, and they have never been easier to find…Rather than assuming the individuals and families entering our churches are relatively healthy and functional, the assumption should be the opposite. Most of us are hooked on something. Most of us are fighting a secret battle. And that applies to those behind the pulpit as well.” ] Inner Self: lifestyle and interests provide a window into the soul. In your search for a soul mate, this is going to be important information in answering the questions: What drives them? Do they live to work or work to live? What do they value most? [ The Myers-Briggs Personality Type test may be helpful here. ] How they spend their free time tells a lot about people. Are they creative and artistic? Do they have an appreciation for music, cars, or what? How do they cope under stress? [ Stressful situations can reveal the “real” person behind the pleasant social façade. Christians: have you thought about what a mature Christian response to stress might look like? ] Priorities: interests will tell you about their priorities. Are they cultured or are they the outdoorsy type? [ Are we allowed to be both? ] Do they enjoy travel? What forms of entertainment are they most likely to engage in? You are trying to assess how you will be spending your “free” time together. This is where recreational companionship comes into the picture. Are you willing to put money, time, and energy into certain interests? It’s a fair question! [ If you are intellectually or spiritually inclined do you need companionship with your partner in these less-easy-to-define areas? ] Desired skills are related to Priorities. If you are a man, how important is it that your wife know how to cook, sew, shop, clean, etc? If you are a woman, how critical is it to have a husband who is handy around the house, who knows how to paint, do minor electrical work, fix the furnace in the middle of the night? Whether man or woman, do you need someone with athletic skill, such as snow skiing or water-skiing, golf or tennis skill, and who can dance and socialize well? [ Socializing “style” is quite important and is closely related to socio- economic/cultural class and background. ] [ Personal presentation and public communication skills may be desired by couples who are in ministry or otherwise in the public eye. Some people have a lot more ability than others -- what skills are important to you? [financial?, organizational?... ] If you are ambitious, it might be difficult for you to marry a person who is laid-back and unconcerned about career advancement or getting ahead. [ Ambition may also be relevant in areas other than the workplace and career. ] A mismatch here can cause great discord. * "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control." (Galatians 5:22) page 3
The Relational Zone (cont’d) Instant Compatibility Test Is there chemistry? If you cannot honestly identify some inner spark or chemical attraction, then you must reconsider. Is your relationship natural? If you are always having to force the relationship to work or you find yourselves dealing with “issues” and conflict more often than you have times of peace and harmony, then maybe it isn’t meant to be. Would this be a good friend? If you removed the sexual or physical attraction, would you be naturally drawn to this person anyway? Would you enjoy his or her company? Can you accept his or her personality as is? Could you spend the rest of your life with this partner even if he or she never changed? If you find yourself wanting to change his or her personality, this could be a dead giveaway for incompatibility. Would you want your children to be like him or her? Can you envision having children that turn out just like your partner? If not, then why in the world would you even think about dating or marrying this person? [ Final thoughts for the Relational Zone Consider how truth comes from God to our fallen world: it is always in the form of a gracious invitation addressed to the free human person. Another way of illustrating this principle is the statement, “the Holy Spirit is a gentleman.” He does not force Himself on a believer nor does He insist a believer follow His prescribed course of action. On the contrary, the Holy Spirit prompts us towards a particular course of action and it is then up to us whether we respond to that prompting or not. This is Grace building upon nature, never overwhelming nature or replacing it. It always seeks to help other beings become more truly themselves, to ensure the preservation of their freedom. It respects the sovereignty of an individual, the right to make free choices – for good or for ill. I believe God and His Holy Spirit are modeling for us the way we should treat prospective (and actual) spouses (and all other people, too). This Godly principle could be violated when one party pressures the other to “buy-in” to an assessment of the relationship with which the second party does not necessarily agree. For example, such an assessment could be, “We make a great couple! Our relationship is going well and is heading rapidly toward marriage.” Not-so-obvious pressures to conform to a not-agreed assessment can arise if the pressuring party has a “control freak” (aka, domineering) or “sales-oriented” personality, which, in a variety of ways, continually broadcasts its message about the relationship. Control freaks need to, well, control their world. Sales- types need to convince, persuade, manipulate and get people to buy whatever it is they are selling. Even if the message is true for the broadcasting party, the way it is being broadcast may be a constraint on the other person’s sovereignty if it makes it more difficult for the other person to arrive at his or her own differing conclusion. Some people have difficulty accessing their feelings about a particular interpersonal situation and need time and “space” to determine how they feel (possible Alexithymia -- see the previous statement about Verbal Intimacy on page 2). The continual “broadcast” of the other’s assessment can be a very real hindrance to identifying and communicating their own dissimilar perspective on how things are going in the relationship. This is indeed a subtle point, but one that thoughtful, caring people will want to keep in mind. It all comes down to caring for and respecting the other, even if they disagree with you. As Jesus said in Matthew 7:12, “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” And as Paul wrote in Philippians 2:3-4, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” We should all take responsibility for how our personal actions affect others, which may include protecting others from our self. ] page 4
The Character Zone What you do matters. What you do is what you believe. Character is who you are when no one is looking. Character is the foundation of a person’s life. If a person has strong character, she is a rock. But if she has weak character, she is unstable and shifting, like the sand. You may be enraptured by looks, money, and even spirituality, but if your special person does not possess rock-solid character, then your house will come crashing down when hurricane-force winds hit your life. Character is not something you can spot on the first, second, or even third date. You must take a long time and carefully observe this person in a variety of contexts to determine whether he or she has the stuff or not. A crisis often reveals someone’s true character. When someone is faced with difficult circumstances or doesn’t have time to think, he responds from the heart – revealing how he really is. Use the following questions to determine Character. 1. Do You Respect This Person? The foundation of any healthy relationship is respect and admiration. What are your partner’s nonphysical attributes that make him/her special to you? 2. How Does This Person Handle Money? People have strange relationships with money. Most folks have an emotional relationship with the mean green and don’t even realize it. More than just a medium of exchange, money also represents security, status and power. It is vital that you find a person who manages money well, has a budget and a savings plan. What does your balance sheet look like? Are Assets greater than Liabilities? What is your credit rating? Someone’s credit report will give you a good idea of how your potential partner manages debt and whether you will receive a less than favorable interest rate if you ever buy a house. Do you want children? Children cost about $200,000 each, plus college expenses [in low cost Texas in 2001], so having kids is a financial choice as well. This question will also lead into other related topics: Will we both work? What are your desires for childcare? When do you want to start trying to have children? How was money handled while you were growing up? Many financial planners will ask this question as a way to gauge a person’s attitude toward money. Was money a hush-hush subject in his household? Were money and gifts used to display love and affection to the children? What are your financial goals? Before you say “I do,” get a picture of what he desires for the future. How does he feel about buying a house, saving for vacations and cars, and developing a budget? [ Christians: does your prospective partner carefully manage his/her time, money, possessions, and heart attitudes, so that he/she may be pleasing to God and contribute as much as possible to building His kingdom? Do you? Don’t be fooled by the supposed generosity of the rich or careless. Remember the widow’s mite (Mark 12:38-43). Recall King David saying, “I will not sacrifice to the LORD my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing." (2 Samuel 24:21-25). ] 3. Does This Person Have Endurance? Some people are basically wimps, and when things get tough, they will whine, cave in, or walk out. If you are going to spend the rest of your life with someone for richer or poorer, for better or worse, in sickness and health, till death do you part, you better be sure this person has the ability to make a commitment and stick by that commitment no matter what. Marriage is not about feeling good all the time and having your needs met all the time. Marriage is about endurance; it is hanging in there and doing whatever it takes to make your marriage work. The ability to commit to something and never give up, come what may, is the essence of endurance. page 5
The Character Zone (cont’d) 4. Does This Person Tell The Truth? We are living in a day and age when lying is a national pastime. Everything rides on the ability of people to tell the truth about who they are, what they do, where they have been, and where they are going. If the person you are with is not honest, how can you ever trust a word he says? If she continually lies to your face, how in the world can you trust her? Nothing erodes the foundations of a relationship more than dishonesty. When a person with strong character tells you something, you can rely on its being true. When they tell you they’ll do something, they do it. And when they seem to be a certain way, they actually are that way over time. They are all about truth, and thus you can trust them completely. 5. Is This Person Responsible? If people are not able to take care of their own lives, then there is no way they will ever be responsible enough to take care of you – or the relationship. Getting married is a huge responsibility. You have to be responsible enough to play the role of spouse, parent, friend, lover, financial planner, psychologist, accountant, domestic engineer, and travel agent. Don’t even think about making a life commitment to someone who is irresponsible. 6. Do you Like This Person’s Friends? A person’s friends are a mirror reflection of his or her character. If you want to get a picture of what your partner is really like, take a long hard look at his or her closest friends. If you do not like what you see, then just wait around a bit and those undesirable traits will manifest themselves in your sweetheart like fleas on a dog. [ The book has an interesting anecdote (page 119) about how at a wedding, the character of the groomsmen can indicate that the groom is a schmuck who will undoubtedly disappoint his bride-to-be. ] 7. How Does This Person Relate To His or Her Family? Does he have a healthy relationship with his mom? Does she have a healthy relationship with her dad? Research indicates that there is a strong connection between the same-sex parent’s approach to life and his or her offspring’s approach. People have a tendency to identify with the same-sex parent as well as imitate the behavior (whether or not they mean to). Additionally, you want to consider how love was expressed in the home. Was it through words, gifts, physical affection, or acts of service? Coming from a divorced home can radically affect one’s view of marriage, or of the opposite sex in general. Family dynamics play a huge role in forming someone’s character. Take the Time- You need to consider these seven questions about your partner over a long period of time. People can fake character for up to six months, but after that, character becomes much more difficult to disguise. If you are really committed to identifying someone’s Character, observe the person over the seasons: winter, spring, summer and fall. Five Essential Character Qualities Faithful (loyal, demonstrates allegiance to others; a capacity for fidelity). Honest (genuine and free of deception in words, actions and personhood). Covenant Commitment (fulfills his end of the deal regardless of your behavior). Forgiving (able to release you from the debt he perceives you owe him; no grudges). Giving (a capacity for selfless behavior, putting others first; can be “other-centered”). page 6 [ Yes! ]
The Spiritual Zone Everyone has a spiritual zone – from card-carrying atheists to Bible-toting seminary students. Your belief system, morals or values, philosophy of life or religious preference, all work together to form your spiritual zone. It’s the essence of who you are and who you desire to become. The Spiritual Zone is the bull’s-eye in the Love Target because ultimately everything flows from the heart. Your belief system affects the way you view dating, marriage, divorce, money, work, sex, recreation, political and social issues, etc. It spills over into every aspect of life and colors the way you see the world. When you internalize a particular religion and seek to apply its teaching to your life, it becomes much more than just a brand name (Atheism, Christianity, Judaism, Islam, etc). Your faith becomes your worldview. What is a worldview? A worldview is a system or arrangement of concepts that help you make sense of the world. For example, a worldview contains concepts about what is the nature of humans, what is the worth or value of a human life, what are our origins, what is ethical, what is our destiny, is there a God, and if so, what is God like? These concepts about the basic questions of life, taken together, represent the way you view the world…your worldview. Your personal worldview serves as a lens by which you view and interpret the world around you. There are a myriad of factors that go into the creation of your worldview. Your parents, education, socioeconomics, race, religion, and childhood experiences are just a few factors that contribute to the formation of your worldview. What kinds of worldviews are out there in society? --Atheistic, pantheistic, materialist, Christian, and others. [ For two life-changing books on worldview as seen from a Christian spiritual perspective, I highly recommend you read The Collapse of the Brass Heaven- Rebuilding Our Worldview to Embrace the Power of God by Long and McMurry and, Christianity with Power: Your Worldview and Your Experience of the Supernatural, by Charles Kraft. For a book to help you detect the multiplicity of world views out there, read The Universe Next Door, by James Sire. To understand why the Christian worldview is under attack and not well-defended by Christians, read Total Truth: Liberating Christianity from Its Cultural Captivity, by Nancy Pearcey. ] When dating, you are attempting to determine the worldview of your partner and discern whether or not it meshes with yours. It is important to note that the authors did not call this area your religious zone. Just because someone says he or she is a follower of Christ, Buddha, or Muhammad, doesn’t necessarily mean that the person is a true believer of any of these religions. Most people claim a particular religious affiliation if asked on a survey, but relatively few would consider themselves devout, practicing followers of that religion. Your spiritual zone should cover not only your religion and denomination, but the other variables that determine the way you view life as well. When you find out what makes a person tick, you are on the way to tapping into his or her spiritual zone. page 7
The Spiritual Zone (cont’d) Many people ignore the spiritual zone in a relationship – which will guarantee strife and discord down the road. The three most common reasons for ignoring the spiritual zone are: 1.Safety of the Silence, 2. Swimming in the Shallows, 3. Satisfied Just Having Sex. Safety of the Silence- If you keep silent about this issue, you are only hurting yourself and your partner. When you peel back layer after layer of someone, you finally get to the heart (core), that most intimate part. When someone you love does not understand or affirm your faith, he or she is rejecting the most precious and sacred part of your life. It’s the ultimate slap in the face to be in a dating relationship, much less a marriage, with an unbeliever who does not agree with your worldview. If you continue to keep silent and ignore the inevitable, you will pay a severe price. An unbeliever can never fully understand you. There may be compatibility and physical attraction, but the person cannot know who you really are. The price of living with a partner who rejects who you are, deep within your soul, is a price too high to pay for a lifetime. Rejection doesn’t get more total, more personal, or more painful than that. It’s one thing to have differences about styles of clothing or hobbies. Its another thing altogether to be married to a partner who discovers the core of your being and then says, “No, I don’t want any part of that,” or “No, I can’t relate to that.” Swimming in the Shallows- Many couples who supposedly fall in love never get around to discussing philosophy or theology with each other because they are too busy making out, going to the movies, or shopping. Seek some depth and ask yourself and your partner some real questions: Who am I? Why am I here? Does God exist? Is it possible to know Him? What are the things that really matter in life? What are you willing to die for? What is God doing in your life? What are your hopes, dreams and fears? These questions will help you to know your partner on a deeper level. If you want to choose a soul mate, you can’t continue to relate on a superficial level. You must find a way to connect at the core of your being. The purpose of marriage is about challenging and inspiring each other to grow and become better people. You cannot do this without true spiritual compatibility. Satisfied Just Having Sex- Whenever a couple introduces sex into the relationship, it creates an illusion of intimacy. It gives the false impression of closeness and serves as a substitute for other forms of intimacy (emotional, verbal, spiritual). In fact, a sexual relationship outside of marriage always stunts emotional and spiritual growth because it is unnatural and out of context. Sex is a life-uniting act that must be coupled with a life- uniting commitment. Ideally, sex should symbolize that you are one with a person in every way – physically, spiritually, economically, and emotionally. When you disrobe and join your body with another person outside the safe and secure confines of marriage, you are engaging in an unnatural act. You are saying, “I want to be one with you physically, but I do not necessarily want to be one with you emotionally, economically, or in any other way.” Sex was created for total unification, not just the joining of bodies. The Bible says when you join your body to a member of the opposite sex, you are one with that person [ 1 Cor 6:16 ]. It commands you not to be physically one until you can be one with that person in every sense of the word. It’s a monstrosity to think that you can have sex with someone in the bedroom and leave your soul parked outside in the car. Without allowing for a soul connection (within the confines of marriage) sex is merely a form of mutual exploitation between two people. The authors encourage us to channel our sexual energy into strengthening our emotional bonds and to be willing to expose ourselves emotionally and seek to penetrate the soul first. [ Sex today in the western developed world has been so strongly influenced by pornography and perversion that even Christians can be confused about what constitutes “normal” or “godly” sex within marriage. Of course there is no such thing as “godly” sex outside of marriage. But many Christians will bring (perhaps unknowingly, due to ignorance and spiritual blindness) ungodly sexual desires and practices into their marriage. They will defile the marriage bed with the world’s version of sex, which has no spiritual component, and focuses only on physical titillation and emotional arousal. Dating Christians: ask the Lord to help you discern** whether or not your date is accompanied by unclean spirits, which would indicate an unwholesome sexual past that has not (yet) been redeemed through repentance from sin and consequent forgiveness from God. If unclean spirits are discerned, continuing the relationship may not be wise unless that person’s mind is transformed (Romans 12:2) to understand why their perspective on sexuality is off-kilter, and they repent. This could take months or even years. Of course your own house must also be swept clean and put in order… (Luke 11:24-26). “Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart.” 1 Peter 1:22 ] If you are a Christian, then only Christians are qualified as potential marriage partners. 1 Cor 7:39-”…she is free to marry anyone she wishes, but he must belong to the Lord.” 2 Co 6:14-16-” Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? 15 What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? 16 What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. **Gifts of the Spirit are special abilities provided by the Holy Spirit to Christians for the purpose of building up the body of Christ. The list of spiritual gifts in 1 Corinthians 12:8-10 includes wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, prophecy, discerning of spirits, speaking in tongues, and interpretation of tongues. Similar lists appear in Ephesians 4:7-13 and Romans 12:3-8. The gifts of the Spirit are simply God enabling believers to do what He has called us to do. page 8
The Spiritual Zone (cont’d) Three Things to Look For In the Spiritual Zone: Faith- You must be certain of two things. First, that you have had a real experience with Jesus Christ, and second, that the person you plan on being married to for the rest of your life has had a genuine experience with Christ as well. When Jesus becomes a reality in your life, you realize that you are helpless and hopeless without Him. You humbly confess your wicked and dependent state and put your faith in Jesus as your only hope for salvation. You see for the first time in your life that it is only by grace through Christ that God is able to forgive you and make you right with Him. If people are really “in the Lord,” they will understand faith in Christ alone. Jesus will be a reality in their lives. [ They will not put their faith in their financial assets, accomplishments, education, career, family background, or even their spouse and children, but only in Jesus and His righteousness. ] Fruit- There are many posers in the dating world who say, “I’m a Christian; I have faith in Jesus.” If you truly have faith in Jesus Christ, then your life will be changed and you will produce the fruit of the Spirit mentioned in Galatians 5:22-23: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” The fruit of the Spirit is contrasted with the selfish desires of the flesh, such as sexual immorality, debauchery, fits of rage, selfish ambition, envy, and drunkenness, just to name a few. Love: is he or she a loving person? Does he or she sacrificially love me? Does he or she seek to love others? Joy: does this person have that exuberant spirit that lives in the life of a man or woman of faith? Does this person have a joy in his or her heart, even when times are tough? Happiness is dependent upon circumstances and “happenings.” Joy is stable and consistent in spite of circumstances. [ "Joy, which first lured C.S. Lewis to seek after God, is in the Christian’s life the authentic seal and promise of the Holy Spirit – the evidence, even in times of deep need and sorrow, that we are in communion with Christ and that our Spiritual Marriage with Him is being consummated." -Quote from "Real Presence: The Holy Spirit in the Works of C.S. Lewis," Leanne Payne, 1979. ] Peace: does this person have peace with God through Jesus Christ? Is this person anxious and worried all the time, or does he or she have a calming nature? Patience: is this person able to delay gratification? Disciplined with his or her wallet and time? Patient with you or demanding? Kindness: is this person truly kind? Whatever you do, pick someone who is kind, Someone who is cruel or has a mean streak will ruin your life. Goodness: is this person basically good? Does he or she have strong morals and stand up for what is right? Faithfulness: this is the mark of a true believer. Someone who is always there, consistent, and honest. Is the one you are with faithful or flaky? Gentleness: is this person sensitive to your needs and feelings, or is he/she cold and unfeeling or detached? Self-Control: does this person control his or her speech? Does this person control the sex drive, or is this person always testing your boundaries? Does this list of fruit of the Spirit describe you? Can you say that you are The One? [ Use the Partner Assessment Checklist in the Appendices to evaluate yourself as well as your partner. ] If you lower your standards at this point and compromise, you will lose everything you are trying to gain in a strong marriage. The strength of your marriage will be determined by your ability to make a wise choice to marry someone who is qualified. page 9
The Spiritual Zone (cont’d) Family- The authors are not talking about your biological family or the importance of making your family a priority in your marriage; rather they are talking about the local church, the family of God. A church family will be vital to the success of your dating and marriage relationship. God has designed us to live in community. We need the support, encouragement, and love of fellow Christians and other couples who are also trying to make their relationship work. Most people will tell you to bolt and get a divorce when your marriage goes through a tough season. But the church family will encourage your commitment, provide a listening ear, or recommend a counselor or conference to attend. The authors have seen many marriages saved and restored because a couple had surrounded themselves with close Christian friends. To land The One, you must hit the Spiritual Zone bull’s-eye dead-center. “Well, he is almost a believer,” or “She is close to coming to Christ...” Almost only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades! Be sure your choice of a mate for life is into faith, fruit, and family. [ Final Thoughts for the Spiritual Zone: Where and what is maturity? Consider this conceptual framework for understanding the stages of human development and maturity: Maturity and its Stages (Source: The Life Model, Shepherd’s House, Pasadena, CA [www.lifemodel.org]). Maturity level is determined by satisfactory completion of the maturity requirements, NOT chronological age. Infant (0-3). Fundamental need is to receive unconditional love and care. Child (4-12). Begins learning to say what is needed and to care for self. “Child adults” who have adult bodies but are emotionally at the child level of maturity, will always appear egocentric. Adult (13-birth of first child). Shifts from “me-centered” child to “both-centered” adult. Mutuality. Parent (first birth until youngest child becomes an adult). Can sacrificially care for one’s children without resenting the sacrifice or expecting to receive anything for one’s efforts. Elder (beginning when youngest child becomes an adult). Can act like themselves in the midst of difficulty. Willing and able to parent and mature the community. Open to God’s voice when He orchestrates a spiritual adoption. Most in our culture never make it to this level. The majority of the US population probably operates at the Infant or Child level. Evidence: broken marriages, abused and neglected children, violence, substance abuse, sexual addictions, etc. Recall from page three: “Our culture, including the Christian subculture, is hooked. Alcohol, pornography, tobacco, drugs (prescription and illegal), gambling, gaming, sex, media. The list of addictive behaviors has never been longer, and they have never been easier to find…Rather than assuming the individuals and families entering our churches are relatively healthy and functional, the assumption should be the opposite…” If you are a mature Christian, or aspire to be one, consider this rather sobering report: October 21, 2008, Christianity Today's Leadership Weekly editor wrote, "Last week I attended the Willow Creek Association's REVEAL conference. (Willow Creek is a 20,000- member, multiple campus mega-church in the Chicago area. The Willow Creek Association is a loose federation of 30 mega-churches across the U.S. REVEAL was a detailed survey of members of Willow Creek Association churches.) Bill Hybels (Willow Creek Founding Pastor) was the opening speaker, and apart from discussing the impact of the REVEAL research [e.g., frequent engagement with church activities does not predict one’s spiritual growth], I was surprised by what he identified as the church's biggest challenge. Hybels says the largest gap exists not between seekers and believers, but between less mature Christians and "Christ-centered" Christians. The less mature, he says, believe that "God is for me, my plans, and my agenda in this world." But the truly Christ-centered have given up their lives and dreams in complete surrender to him. "A big honkin‘ thing has to happen for a Christian to move from self-centered to Christ-centered.“ May 12, 2009, The Christian Post reported, “Many Churchgoers, Pastors Struggle to Define Spiritual Maturity.” A new survey revealed that half of churchgoers cannot describe how their church defines a "healthy, spiritually mature follower of Jesus.“ Even among born again Christians – a smaller subset group whose members say they have made a personal commitment to Jesus Christ as their savior and confessed their sin – a significant portion was unable to say how their church defines spiritual maturity. Two out of five born again Christians could not answer the open-ended survey question. ] page 10
The Spiritual Zone (cont’d) [ Final Thoughts for the Spiritual Zone: CSR perspective on what constitutes spiritual maturity: Transformation and renewal of the mind in accordance with Romans 12:2. "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Growth in the Fruit of the Spirit in accordance with Galatians 5:22. "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering (patience), kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.“ Growth in the Gifts of the Spirit in accordance with 1 Corinthians 12:8-10, Ephesians 4:7-13, and Romans 12:3-8. Gifts of the Spirit are special abilities provided by the Holy Spirit to Christians for the purpose of building up the body of Christ. The list of spiritual gifts in 1 Corinthians 12:8-10 includes wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, prophecy, discerning of spirits, speaking in tongues, and interpretation of tongues. Similar lists appear in Ephesians 4:7-13 and Romans 12:3-8. The gifts of the Spirit are simply God enabling believers to do what He has called us to do. Growth in understanding of and ability to act with love as described in 1 Corinthians 13. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self- seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” (1 Cor 13:4-8.) Development of “Spiritual Sight." Building a deep, nuanced understanding of the human condition and human nature. Seeing people, situations, the world and all of life from a Christian spiritual perspective. “The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." (1 Samuel 16:7) “For this people's heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them. But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. “ (Isaiah 6:10, Matthew 13:15-16) "I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh." (Ezekiel 11:19) "I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe." (Ephesians 1:18-19) "...those who take pride in what is seen rather than in what is in the heart." (2 Corinthians 5:12b) "So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view." (2 Corinthians 5:16a) Here is a definition of spiritual maturity for missionaries that I think is relevant for all Christians: Doesn't rely on institutional structures to express Christianity. Christian beliefs and practices are a spontaneous part of everyday life. Doesn't need social support (agreement) to maintain faith and practice. Not narrow-minded or dogmatic, but with firm beliefs. Giving rather than self-focused. Definite purpose for life related to spiritual life. Sacrificial. Clear relationship between knowing God and serving God. Actively using spiritual gifts. Evidence of the fruit of the Spirit. Ultimate goals are spiritually focused. Able to accept "negatives" of life as part of God's plan without being bitter. Forsakes self-gain which violates or detracts from spiritual values. Spends time studying the Scriptures in depth. Has active desire to share personal faith. Expresses love to neighbors as self. Has a living personal prayer life. Perceives movement toward spiritual growth. Source: Cliff Westergren, Christian & Missionary Alliance. ] page 11
Appendices 1. The Powerful Impact of Emotional Health.2. Differences You Must Not Overlook 3. Principles of Negotiating A Great Deal4. Self Personality Test 5. Partner Assessment Checklist6. Intersection of Spiritual Maturity and the Love Target 7. Top Ten “Biblical” Ways to Find a Mate (humor) 1. The Powerful Impact of Emotional Health Most people with disastrous marriages didn’t have a “marriage” problem. Rather, one or both partners had emotional difficulties, and when those individuals brought their personal problems into the relationship, the marriage went sour. In 75 - 80% of all marriages that eventually end in divorce or separation, at least one of the partners suffers from an emotional health deficiency. No marriage can ever be healthier than the emotional health of the least healthy partner. One might ask, “isn’t everyone a little emotionally unhealthy?” The author responds with a resounding, “NO!” Granted there is an enormous amount of pain in our society, and broken families are the source of much of it. What’s more, many people are confused about themselves and the direction of their lives. In fact, many persons are so wounded emotionally that they need to do a lot of work before they should even think of getting married. Still, the picture isn’t entirely bleak, because there are significant numbers of emotionally well people in our society. The author’s most important point in this chapter: until you are one of these emotionally well persons, and until you fall in love with another emotionally well person, you aren’t ready to be married. What Determines Emotional Health? - Emotional health begins with a well-constructed self- concept. This means knowing yourself well, being well-defined, and feeling good about yourself. Any person who suffers from a self-concept that has been poorly developed over time will usually show signs of an emotional health deficiency, which may be something as mild as low self-esteem expressed in the form of unnatural shyness and quietness, or something as overpowering as an explosive anger problem. [ Anger issues must not be ignored. ] The author watches communication patterns for signs of well-developed or poorly developed self-concept. Healthy people are capable of two-way (both talking and listening) conversations with a natural flow that results from staying on topic and respecting what the other is saying. People who have a hard time looking you in the eye while speaking to you, who seldom initiate or respond, or who give little indication they are following the line of discussion, may be experiencing the anxiety that almost always comes from a lack of self-confidence. Similarly, people who won’t stop talking are often unsure of their worth and attempt to compensate by controlling the conversation. The author does not immediately conclude that these people are incapable of a long-term relationship. He does conclude that their interpersonal skills are not yet well developed and that their ability to form a relationship is probably handicapped by low self-esteem. Significant communication problems like these are a tip-off to other, possibly more serious, underlying emotional issues. Other Communication Disorders - Over time, if your date continues to talk too much or too little, doesn’t show listening skills, asks nothing about you, or moves the conversation abruptly in too many directions, this would clearly indicate significant problems resulting in barriers to relational growth. Unselfishness - Any person who is a healthy marriage candidate will express attitudes of unselfishness. There is simply no quality more central to the eventual love that will bind two people together than this one. If you notice that your date is completely selfish, showing almost total disregard for your wishes and opinions, you may be in the presence of a serious disorder -- narcissism. These people have an inflated sense of self importance and don’t care much about others. As a result, narcissists have a difficult time communicating and building relationships. Excerpted from How to Know If Someone Is Worth Pursuing in Two Dates or Less, by Neil Clark Warren page 12
Appendices The Powerful Impact of Emotional Health (cont’d) Character Disorders - People with character disorders tend to have significant behavioral or emotional problems that will almost certainly spell disaster for any marital relationship. People with character disorders may be difficult to identify early on because they tend to be charming. They often present themselves in an engaging, reassuring manner, and before long you may find yourself sharing your most tender and intimate feelings. One needs to be attentive to anyone who begins a relationship in an overly charming way -- and it may take more than two dates to discover some of these elusive character disorders. At the center of a character disorder is a poorly developed conscience. These persons behave out of their own desires and impulses, and pay little attention to how their actions may affect you. People with these kinds of disorders tend to lie, cheat, exaggerate, and take advantage of others. A person who lies once is almost certain to lie again. A person who manipulates me once is going to manipulate me again. Once a cheater, always a cheater, unless some intervention changes the internal pattern. When you become involved with a liar, a manipulator, a cheater, someone who is irrational or rude or inconsiderate, or a person who takes advantage of you, back away immediately! The prognosis for this type of disorder (that is, the likelihood that it can be treated successfully) is low. You simply do not want to become involved with a person who has a character disorder. What About Neuroses? - A neurosis is an inner emotional state characterized by an attempt to manage excessive anxiety. Persons who suffer from neuroses are generally depressed, fearful, obsessive-compulsive, or overly anxious in response to certain cues from the environment. The author feels that neuroses are far less indicative of long-term catastrophic marital relationships than are character disorders. For instance, depression (apart from biochemical problems such as Bipolar Syndrome) is a neurosis that generally results from (1) anger turned on self, and/or (2) guilt and shame, and/or (3) an experience of loss, all of which can be effectively managed in psychotherapy [ this may be an overly optimistic statement regarding the powers of secular methods ]. However, if a person continues to be depressed over time, any primary relationship is bound to suffer. Every kind of neurosis can be effectively treated, but the time to do so is before any serious dating relationship begins. Addictions - the author has never seen a good marriage that involved one person who had an active and untreated addiction of any kind. However, someone who has successfully recovered from an addiction can be a successful spouse. But without going through the difficult recovery process, alcoholics and other addicts are highly dangerous. In addition to alcohol and other drugs, other addictions for which you should be alert include sex, pornography, eating disorders, gambling, and compulsive shopping. Some addictions are more difficult to identify, for example, when ambition is carried to extremes and becomes workaholism. Workaholism and great marital experiences are vicious opponents. How Is Your Emotional Health? - Consider these questions about yourself: 1.Am I emotionally healthy in relation to the categories discussed above? 2.How well established is my self-concept? 3.How well do I know myself and like myself? 4.Am I totally free of character disorder tendencies? 5.Do I have any untreated addictions? 6.Do I suffer from issues related to past physical or sexual abuse, which I have never worked through? If you find you are not emotionally healthy in some way, take time off from dating to address this part of your life. You need to get yourself healthy before entering a serious relationship. page 13 Excerpted from How to Know If Someone Is Worth Pursuing in Two Dates or Less, by Neil Clark Warren
Appendices The Powerful Impact of Emotional Health (cont’d) Emotional Health Begins With Unconditional Love - In order to be emotionally healthy, you and any person you date must become authentic. That is, you can never be healthy and content until you feel free to be that person you truly are at your center, someone who makes authentic decisions from moment to moment. This kind of decision-making requires that you be free to live without the drive to please any other man or woman. For this to be the case, you must have a radical experience with the unconditional love of God. When you get into right relationship with God, you are set free to become the person you truly are -- your authentic self. What you want to find is a person who has experienced this kind of life-defining experience. [ Life-defining experience rather than mere intellectual acceptance of the tenets of Christianity. Mere intellectual acceptance will not produce a person who has been set free, someone who has put on the new life in Jesus Christ. ] Characteristics of an Emotionally Healthy Person - Three qualities that indicate emotional health: 1.Generosity - generous people give freely of themselves -- the things they have, their time, their energy, their feelings. 2.Truthfulness - Someone who tells the truth is at least on the way to emotional health, The very core of emotional health is a deep and passionate commitment to the truth. 3.Kindness - Kindness comes out of an inner place that is healthy. If you find a person who is emotionally healthy, you will have eliminated 75 - 80% of the causes for divorce. 2. Differences You Must Not Overlook Once you’re convinced that someone matches up well with your must-have and can’t-stand lists, you will benefit enormously from careful observance of one other principle: Find somebody to love who is a lot like you. The greater the differences between two people, the greater the drain on their marital energy. Similarities are like money in the bank while differences are like debts. Seven Significant Similarities - 1.Spiritual Harmony - Not merely “religious affiliation,” but the deeper matter of spirituality: the larger context within which you perceive your life to be lived. Fundamentally, the question revolves around your belief in and relationship with a God -- and not just a God, but a personal God. If you believe there is a God, that He can be related to personally, and that He created you and cares deeply about you, then your life may well be significantly influenced by your interactions with Him. [ Be not unequally yoked… 2 Co 6:14-16. ] 2.Desire For Verbal Intimacy and Ability To Be Intimate - Intimacy has the potential for lifting you and your lover out of the lonely world of separateness and into the stratosphere of emotional oneness. But if two people have a significantly different level of desire for intimacy, the relationship will surely suffer. Moreover, even if their desire for intimacy is similar, the relationship can be painfully frustrating if one person knows how to foster intimacy and the other doesn’t. Since intimacy refers to the sharing of one’s deepest feelings, thoughts, dreams, fears, and yearnings, it requires both people to be able to do at least three things well: a. Each person must be able to access these thoughts and feelings within himself. b. Having located this sensitive material, the man or woman must be able to put it into words and be courageous enough to verbalize it to the other person. c. Each person must be able to listen accurately and intently, thus making the other person feel understood and valued. [ If this is missing, what is the point of the relationship? ] If two people have a mutual interest and ability in building intimacy, they will become bonded, fused and merged with each other -- what the Bible calls “one flesh” [Genesis 2:24] page 14 Excerpted from How to Know If Someone Is Worth Pursuing in Two Dates or Less, by Neil Clark Warren
Appendices Differences You Must Not Overlook (cont’d) Seven Significant Similarities (cont’d) - 3.Level of Energy - Lethargy always has a physical or psychological cause. If the cause is biochemical [thyroid problems, etc], it needs to be treated -- and long before you engage in a serious dating relationship with someone who has this problem. Similarly, a manic-depressive [Bipolar] illness can be treated with medication, and must be for a marriage to work. But perhaps most important, is the experience of dating someone who is neither “pathologically” up nor down, but whose energy level is significantly more or less than yours. The author advises us to treat this matter with great seriousness! 4. Level of Ambition - Levels should be similar for a successful marriage [although the author appears to limit his concept of ambition to the work place]. 5.Expectations About Roles - Both parties should have compatible ideas about their duties and responsibilities in the relationship and household. Of course, these days there is a much greater diversity of possible roles - from the traditional non-working mother at home to the stay-at- home Mr. Mom, whose wife has a traditional job. The key here is agreement on work distribution and roles to be fulfilled. 6.Interests - When there are several things two people enjoy doing together, they have a large field on which to happily play the game of life. If you find that two or three of your date’s interests overlap with your own, that’s a great start to a relationship. But if interests don’t overlap at all, the relationship doesn’t have much of a chance. 7.Personal Habits - Here are some that can create conflict in a marriage: punctuality, cleanliness, orderliness, dependability, responsibility, weight management. When dating, watch closely for habits that may be significant turn-offs. Why The Author Wrote This Chapter - he was afraid the reader might fail to include some of these important items on his must-have and can’t-stand lists. You might not notice how important these items are until you are around them for a while and the discrepancy between you and the other person develops a painful volume you hadn’t noticed before. For instance, if one of you is unusually clean, the other isn’t, and you spend all your dating time in the “clean” environment, you might miss how problematic this could be for both of you. Or if you spend too much dating time in activities that require you to “do” something, and there isn’t much time available for intimate talk, [ a very real danger ] you might not recognize how different are your needs to share your deepest thoughts and feelings. Find someone to love who is a lot like you and it will be like money in the bank for your long- term relationship. 3. Principles of Negotiating A “Great Deal” Get a “great deal” within your range of legitimate candidates by remembering these five principles: 1.Refuse to spend a high proportion of your “capital” for qualities that have high but superficial value, such as looks (external beauty). Rather, look for “deep at the center” qualities that are likely to prove more important to your marriage. 2.Look for raw potential. 3.Find a person whose most passionate dreams for the future significantly overlap with yours. 4.Gravitate to that person who places the highest value on your set of qualities. 5.Look for a person who sparkles most when you are together. [ Make each other better! ] page 15 Excerpted from How to Know If Someone Is Worth Pursuing in Two Dates or Less, by Neil Clark Warren
4. Appendices Source: The One: A Realistic Guide to Choosing Your Soul Mate page 16
6. Appendices Intersection of Spiritual Maturity or Need for Inner Healing, and the Love Target Source: http://profilecsr.homestead.com/InnerHealing.html page 18 Spiritual Maturity or Need for Inner Healing No one is perfect. All Christians should be “in process” of becoming more Christ-like. That is, becoming increasingly sanctified, or spiritually mature. Inner Healing is the flip-side of Spiritual Maturity. We become more spiritually mature by healing the inescapable wounds to our souls and spirits. Inner Healing is key to our ongoing sanctification. It is a collaboration with God that pleases Him Our healing and consequent sanctification are a collaborative effort between us and God. We have certain tasks and God does also, such as preparing our hearts, setting up the circumstances, and bringing forth results from the growth and healing work. We are partners in our own spiritual surgery. When we are passive, we shrink from the risks of the faith life itself. God takes no pleasure in this: “But my righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him” (Hebrews 10:38). Wounds to the soul or spirit have a damaging affect on our thought processes, feelings, and relationships – in other words, all of our existence. Such wounds affect the way we look at life, at God, at others, and at ourselves. These wounds result from the (fallen) world, our own sin, and Satan (the enemy of our souls). They can often be traced to psychological development needs that were not met during our infant, childhood, teen and young adult years. Everyone needs Inner Healing for some aspect of their existence. Inner Healing addresses 1. Traumatic and damaging life experiences 2. Damaged emotions 3. Sinful, or otherwise unproductive reactions to inner wounds 4. Spiritual sicknesses and sins 5. Things which impinge upon and wound our spirits When God looks at us, he sees the inner man and knows what needs to be healed in our souls and spirit. Trying to look at people through God’s eyes can provide a finer lens through which to understand and love them. Increase your effectiveness in using the Love Target by considering how issues of Spiritual Maturity and Need for Inner Healing intersect all three Love Target zones. As you become better acquainted with your partner (and even yourself), prayerfully consider them (and yourself), in light of the questions on the following page.
6. Appendices Intersection of Spiritual Maturity or Need for Inner Healing, and the Love Target Source: http://profilecsr.homestead.com/InnerHealing.html page 19 -Have you suffered a severe loss, such as divorce, or death of a parent or loved one? -Do you have old friends, or have you been unable to maintain friendships for more than short periods of time? -Have you had recurring 'issues' in your work relationships, your marriage, or other interpersonal relationships? -Do you have problems with anger, depression, perfectionism or self-centeredness that make it difficult to enjoy life? -Do you use your involvements in ministry and service to bolster your sense of self-worth or to convince yourself (and others) that you are "doing something worthwhile" with your life? -Are you aware of your own deep feelings and needs? Do you know how and when to share these with another? -Do you know how to respond when another shares his or her deep feelings and needs with you? -Do you have troubles with adultery, lust, masturbation, pornography, 'roving eyes,' or an unhealthy fantasy life? -Do you have trouble holding a job, being responsible, and building productive work relationships? -Are you irresponsible in your personal life? --your financial life? Is your word your bond? Can people depend on you? -Are you courteous to others? or do you live with a "me first" attitude? -Do you have trouble respecting the personhood of others, including those of other ethnic groups and socioeconomic classes? Does your respect for others vary across your professional, personal, or church relationships? -Is it difficult for you to have productive conversations about relationship problems? -- to confront in a way that balances grace and truth, and does not attack or invalidate the other person? -Do you have a need to glorify, justify, or promote yourself at the expense of others? Can you enjoy others' success? -Do you base your sense of self-worth on your education, family background, job, net worth, or spouse and children? -Do you suffer from envy? -- jealousy? -- competitiveness? -Have you been "blindsided" in your interpersonal relations - not knowing why you offended or antagonized your boss, co-worker, friend or family member? -Are you too blunt-spoken, with little sense of tact or diplomacy? Do your words inadvertently hurt or offend rather than heal and encourage? -Are contentment, joy, hope and peace elusive attitudes you experience only for short periods of time? -As you soberly evaluate your Christian walk and overall quality of life, does the "abundant life in Jesus Christ" seem to be only a faint possibility? Consider the possible implications of each question for the Relational, Character, and Spiritual zones of the Love Target Use these questions to become better acquainted with your partner and yourself. Escape from the shallow end of the pool!
7. Appendices A humorous look at what the Bible records as ways to find a mate! Source: The One: A Realistic Guide to Choosing Your Soul Mate page 20
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