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.
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:
I actually have to tell men (and occasionally women) that seeing others, besides their spouses, in erotic scenarios isn’t good for them. That they shouldn’t sit around and watch others have sex. It seems obvious to me how bad this would be for you, and the statistical evidence against it is significant, but I still actually have to tell men, smart men: “This is bad for your marriage!” “This subconsciously changes how you view women.” “What momma doesn’t know does hurt her! So stop dad!”
Pornography has gone viral. Literally. It’s what’s for dinner. And there’s no stopping it. When anything gains the four “A’s” it’s only just a matter of time until it expands beyond control: (1) It’s readily Available; (2) It’s very Affordable; (3) It’s totally Anonymous; (4) Yet it’s increasingly Acceptable. And so the monster grows.
Can this just be a really honest blog? Like, just gut-wrenchingly clear? Because I don’t want the grave seriousness of this message to be distorted by anything. In fact, let me cut right to the chase and say what I need to say: You cannot love your wife (present or future), like Jesus loved the church, if you look at porn. Nor can you love your female neighbors, like Jesus loved you, if you look at porn.
Porn is self-love, but the cross is self-sacrifice. So cross-shaped people pass on porn.
You see, every time you sit down and entertain yourself with erotic fantasy, you burn into your heart and head four vile lessons that you might rather forget after it’s all said and done: