Question: How can I know if they’re THE ONE?

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I’m a preacher, who’s young, that likes to rant about dating and marriage. So naturally, one of the most popular questions I hear from singles is, “How can I know if he/she is the one?

“Tyler, we’ve been dating for a couple years, and she’s talking about rings and naming our first baby! How do I know she’s it?”

“I have a track-record for choosing duds. I used to say all guys were alike, but then I looked back at my last five relationships and noticed that the common denominator was… ummm, me. So I’ve finally chose a guy who seems like he’s good. How can I be sure he’s the real deal?”

“I’m 27 and already divorced. It was the worst thing ever. How can I know that won’t happen again? How do I know she’s the one?”

This is a tough question, to say the least, but it’s a good one. One I think everyone should ask that respects God’s institution of marriage. And it requires a conversation larger than this blog because each couple and situation is different. But allow me to offer one piece of advice that’ll start the conversation for you.

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Why You Weren’t Ready for Marriage: What no one ever told you…

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Marriage was created by God. True. But that doesn’t mean it’s magic. And that doesn’t stop people from approaching it like magic.

People spend their whole lives building terrible relationship habits that’ll make commitment near impossible for them. But then get married. And take vows. And exchange expensive rings. And make forever promises about the future that simply don’t add up with their past.

People spend years building bad spending habits, bad credit habits, bad debt habits, bad communication habits, bad conflict-resolution habits, bad anger habits, bad drinking habits, bad addiction habits, bad working habits, bad schedule habits, bad sex habits, bad commitment habits, bad faith habits.

But then despite it all, they get married. Because they must think marriage is magic. They must think marriage can just abracadabra all the stupid they’ve spent years building.

Maybe we’re confused because few are honest about the realities of marriage. Everyone wants to live and tell a fairytale. Maybe it’s because we haven’t gotten real with ourselves and clear with the next generation about how difficult lasting love is.

Love is worth it, trust me. But it takes hard work, just like anything else in life worth having. So real quick, let me do you a favor and share some truth. Repeat after me:

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Just To Be Clear, Women Aren’t Objects

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Since history can remember, women have been treated as less than human.

It wouldn’t take much time skimming ancient and recent history to see this. Today, in countries around the globe women are pushed around as weaker or peddled as property. Even in our “enlightened” nation women have to fight for their place at the proverbial table of honor, respect, and opportunity.

Notably, in the realm of sexual relationships, American men are taught to view women as objects rather than as people: the way women are joked about in cubicles at work, talked about in dorms like dating is a race to third base, sung about in popular music, depicted in mass media, divorced as if it was nothing more than a legal process. It’s all kind of sad really.

Do you know what you do with an object? You objectify it.

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Really Bad Advice On Your Love Life From a Good Friend

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When it comes to your love life, let me offer you some friendly advice, don’t take friendly advice, because your friends give the worst. Let me explain.

Tyler’s relationship guarantee: Someday, before you die, you’ll have at least one … ehhhh… maybe two “disagreements” with your significant other. I know that’s hard to believe for you folks dating out there (and I know you’re out there, you compose a significant percentage of our readership), because you found Mr. Right. And she’s perfect. He’s amazing. Cue Canon in D and call Stephenie Meyer because you two aren’t vampires, but your love is something to behold.

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Confessions of a New Christian: Do I really have to love her?

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Updated: 8:50AM, 11/4/13

A few weeks ago, in a small-group I lead for non-Christians interested in Jesus, I heard one of the more terrifying stories I’ve heard since starting ministry (for the sake of privacy, details have been altered). It was a story of an older gentleman, a wonderful older gentleman named Theo.

Theo wasn’t a Christian (until recently). He knew of Jesus but, self-admittedly, he didn’t “follow” Jesus. Nonetheless, he had lived a full life, raised great kids, with healthy grandkids, and had been married to the same woman for twenty-five years.

From the first day I met Theo, I liked him. He had this soft smile that lit up the room, and a dignified manner that made me think he was secretly British royalty. He dressed nice, talked nice, and always had thoughtful questions for the group. Everyone in the group loved Theo, and that’s because they sensed Theo genuinely loved everyone in the group.

Then a few weeks back Theo shared his horror story. About six months ago, his wife of twenty-five years left him. Theo said she decided, “She doesn’t love me anymore.” For the seventh time, Theo caught her having an affair, and despite his best efforts to reconcile the relationship… again… she left him. Kicking and screaming the entire way. Blaming Theo for her years of infidelity. Leaving him standing there cold and alone.

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