SVEIKI IR IR REALŪS LŪKESČIAI IEŠKANT GYVENIMO DRAUGO

HEALTHY AND REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS SEARCHING FOR A SOUL MATE

"We've seen many singles who are so tired of waiting for their ship to come in that they don't even have the energy to go to the proverbial dock. Sometimes it's because their expectations are sky high."
(Dr. Les Parrott)

Today, in the Christian world, we meet so many lonely people who cannot find a right life companion, and are scolded and tormented and do not experience the fullness and joy of life.

Often when communicating with unmarried people, I realize that this is because we are creating unrealistic expectations. From the time we're old enough to listen, we hear our parents tell us how cute and wonderful and exceptional we are, so we start to believe it. But what most of us need in life is someone willing to be honest.

The truth is, you are not perfect, and the person you marry won't be perfect, either. And that's not a bad thing. Our flaws are what make us unique, and keep us humble. God uses our flaws to grow us into what he wants us to become, and we never really stop becoming.

If you're looking for a really great marriage partner, look for someone who knows their flaws and shortcomings and is willing to grow. Someone who readily admits that they have issues, and is ready to mature and work through them in order to build a healthy, lifelong relationship.

When I and my husband married, we were both far from perfect, we both had endless flaws, some of which we didn't even realize at the time. Even today, after 17 years of Marriage we are still imperfect, but with God's unveiling, showing, and empowering power to change from within, many failings have been turned into advantages. I clearly understand that I will never be perfect on this earth, but the basic principle I strive is to become the woman my husband needs. I know my husband does the same for me, and the result is a growing love.

Healthy Expectations

Having said all that, it's still important to have healthy standards when looking for a potential marriage partner. There are many expectations that are very realistic and essential, and you shouldn't be willing to compromise on those things. The key is to learn what you really do want and need from a partner, and then concentrate your search on people who seem to possess those qualities. The first step in setting realistic expectations is to throw away your list of superficial and unimportant desires and instead focus on things that are truly important.

We all have non negotiable standards that should never be compromised. You are better off staying single than to settle for a person who is emotionally abusive, unable to make a living, or is simply unattractive to you. Your goal is to refine your expectations, so that they are healthy and realistic, not non-existent.

As a Christian, the most important quality on your list of non-negotiable should be someone who is just as dedicated to their faith as you are. Someone who loves Jesus, and displays the fruits and qualities that committed believers are supposed to have. Getting into a relationship with someone who doesn't share your faith is a monumental mistake, no matter how you try to justify it. So finding a strong and faithful Christian should be at the top of your list of expectations.

Other things may be important to you as well. If you are extremely athletic and health conscious, it would be a mistake for you to marry a couch potato. If you grew up on a ranch and dream of owning horses, you wouldn't be happy with a city boy who doesn't know a cow from a chicken and owns a closet full of skinny jeans.

Your non-negotiable are unique to you, and not the same as everyone else's, but they are just as important and valid. So don't be afraid to make that mental list, and then keep it in the forefront of your mind.

Hold Yourself to the Same Standards

Once you've nailed down a clear list of non-negotiable traits you need in a mate, it's time to turn the tables and look in the mirror. Ask yourself if you display the same qualities and character traits that you're expecting from someone else. More than that, do you possess qualities that will actually attract someone who meets those criteria?

For example, if one of your non-negotiable character traits is a strong and independent person, you won 't find them if you are helpless and needy. Not if they are emotionally healthy. If you want someone who is caring and compassionate, those kinds of people will never be attracted to a diva. So make sure you exude the qualities that someone of that calibre is looking for.

If you want to find the right kind of person, begin by being the right kind of person.

"Do not equate human worth with flawless beauty or handsomeness! If you require physical perfection in your mate, he or she may make the same demands of you. Neither of you will keep it for long. Don't let love escape you because of the false values of your culture."
(Dr. James Dobson)

Be flexible and Open Minded

The reality is, the person you think you need may not be the person you find. Because none of us are completely dialled in to what is best for us. God may have a completely different person in mind for you than you have in mind for yourself.

Growing up in Church from my teenage years, I was firmly convinced that my future husband will be a long-time believer, God and Scripture knowing young man of faith. I had very high standards - I prayed that my future spouse would have the heart of David and the wisdom of Solomon. And this is certainly not a daily mix. When I met my husband, I didn't even have the idea that this guy, who had recently been born again and was constantly asking questions about faith (in my opinion, "totally immature") and who enjoyed spending time with friends would be my spouse. I knew what I needed, but God intervened and changed my attitude, my heart started to change and God showed me that this young man had the qualities I was praying for, and more, he had those qualities that I really lack.

At the end of the day, none of us really know what God has planned for our future. So when looking for a potential mate, expect the best, but always give God room to work.

When you're moving in God's will, sometimes the best plan you can make is to plan to be surprised.

 

Prepared by Jūratė Kapačinskienė

 

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THE POWER OF A PRAYING COUPLE

If I had one thing to tell couples that would improve their marriage and keep it strong, it would be this: You have to pray together and trust God together.

In Matthew Jesus says, "Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them" (Matthew 18:19-20). 

Jesus is reemphasizing a point He just made a few verses earlier about the authority God gives believers through prayer. The phrase "if two of you agree", comes from the Greek word sumphoneo. This is where we get the English word symphony (Lithuanian "simfonija").

A symphony makes beautiful music when different instruments play together in harmony. Jesus is saying that if two people synchronize their faith in agreement toward something, God will do it—and Jesus will be present.

That's an incredible promise, but it's one He makes not to an individual but to two or three people. Why? Because God doesn't want us to be alone. He wants us to come together as a couple or as a family. The more we join our faith with other people, the more miracles God performs.

The devil wants us by ourselves. The wolf always goes for the stray sheep. When we are isolated, we get discouraged. But when we join with a fellow believer—with our spouse—we enjoy the power of God and the presence of Jesus.

Beyond this promise in Matthew, why does praying together keep a marriage strong? Consider another promise. This one is from Philippians 4:6-7. "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:6-7). 

Paul says people who pray will have better emotional health. When you pray, you don't worry. You don't have anxiety. Did you know the number-one marriage killer on earth is stress? It's also the top reason for doctor's visits and medication. God didn't design the human body to operate well under long-term stress.

Stress depletes us emotionally and robs us of the energy to love each other. Anxious individuals tend to end up fighting and having disagreements within their marriage.

"Be anxious for nothing" is a command, and the Bible would never command us to do something we are not equipped to do. So the next part of that passage tells us how to follow that command: We have to pray. We have to give our requests to God.

If you're worried about money, about your kids, about your health, about your parents, about your job, about your marriage—that's your new prayer list. Let those worries be known to God and do it with thanksgiving that He will hear and answer your prayer.

When you do, He will give you peace. He will guard your heart and your mind. He will bring you to emotional health.

Karen and I were several years into our marriage before we prayed together for the first time, but it changed everything. Today, we don't worry. We don't allow anxiety into our home. Because of our agreement in prayer, God has filled our home with His peace and protects the emotional health of our marriage.

Every single couple can access that same promise. All you have to do is pray.

 

Jimmy Evans, Founder & CEO of MarriageToday

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In Ephesians 5:22, the Apostle Paul instructs wives to “submit to your husbands as to the Lord.”A few verses later, in verse 33, he says,“let the wife see that she respects her husband.”

A lot of people get caught up on the word “submit”in this passage, worrying that it calls women to submit to men because they are lesser or not as equal. I don’t believe in this concept of submission. Men and women are equals, period. In fact, before these verses, in Ephesians 5:21, Paul says, “Submit to one another in the fear of Christ.”Husbands, submit to your wives. Wives, submit to your husbands.

What Paul is saying is to respect your husband like you would the Lord. Not the way your mother respected your father, or the way your friends respect their spouses. And not how you’ve seen it on TV. But respect your husband the same way you would respond to Jesus Christ.

Why? Because the number-one need for men is honor and respect. Men gravitate to the place where they get honor and respect. They run from any place where they might be disrespected.

What does this mean for women? How do you honor your husband?

Here are four ways:

First, allow him to fail. Your husband is imperfect. He knows this. You know this. God knows this. A lot of women cause damage to their marriages because they try to keep their husbands from making mistakes. They correct their husbands all the time and tell them what to do.

That’s the wrong approach. You certainly don’t want to allow self-destructive behaviour. But when necessary, you should allow him to make a mistake. For men, some lessons are best learned through failure.

 

Second, let God be the enforcer. Husbands and wives are equals. This means you can say anything you want to say. You can confront your husband when necessary: “Honey, I don’t agree with that. I think that’s wrong.” But once you’ve confronted him, leave it in God’s hands.

It’s not your job to bring about change. Don’t nag. Don’t become aggressive or fearful. Instead, pray for your husband and rely on God to change his heart or mind. That’s what it means to have faith: You rely on the Holy Spirit to enforce change.

 

Third, honor where you want him to be—not where he is now. Your husband will rise to your level of honor. Men will do anything for honor and will become their fullest, healthiest selves when it comes their way. By giving him undeserved honor, you speak destiny into your husband.

Think about what you first saw in him. Think about the things that first attracted you to him. Then honor him at that level and watch him rise to it.

 

Finally, cover his faults and focus on his strengths. We have a tendency to take good things for granted and focus on bad things. That’s because the devil wants us to pay attention to the worst qualities in our spouse. But God wants us to think about our spouse’s best qualities.

That’s why praise is such a critical discipline for men and women. We need to remind ourselves every day about the good things our spouses do. When we remember these, we realize that the good outweighs the bad.

If honor and respect are a man’s greatest need, does he receive these from you? This is the Bible’s call for you as a wife. Respect your husband in the same way you would respect Jesus Christ.

 

Jimmy Evans, Founder & CEO of MarriageToday

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