February 26, 2021
“Who should know about my love life in church?”
“How much should I tell my leaders in church about my boyfriend and me?”
“I get so much advice from well-meaning people in church. Who do I listen to?”
“I should have asked for counsel about this relationship early on. Now it’s too late. I’ve hurt someone.”
“Thank you for being with me since the beginning of this journey that led to today—my wedding day. I am so grateful that you get to celebrate it with us.”
These are just a few of the things I would usually hear from single people, students, and professionals alike when it comes to involving church community in their love lives. There are stories of joy and celebration, yet there are also stories of pain and heartbreak.
Regardless of what your relationship status is, one thing is sure: Your love life is too important a journey to attempt to go on by yourself. Your choice of a spouse will echo for generations. Your future marriage and family will impact your life in a way that no other relationship can, apart from your relationship with God.
Marriage may seem so far from the dating stage (or even from just considering to date someone), but if we want to date in view of marriage, then it would be great to start the relationship well. And just like anything involving our emotions, we need the voice of wisdom from people who care about us and our future. No one is smart enough to outwit feelings, so it is such good news that God places us in a loving, grace-filled church community filled with people who are committed to see us flourish in God’s plans and purpose for our lives.
As part of a church community, how can you be a voice of wisdom in matters of the heart to those you journey with?
When we help others in their faith journey, we remember that our ultimate goal is to lead them to God. Walking with them through their love life is no different. At the end of the day, we honor the person’s decision and trust that God will keep guiding and leading them to the right path. So how can we be involved in another person’s love story?
Listen and pray. Every love story is different. We don’t know how God will map out another person’s love life, so it would be best to take time to sit down with them and listen. As you listen, you can ask the right questions. As you listen, you can pray for wisdom and discernment to have the right heart and speak with grace and truth. Rejoice with the person as they marvel at God’s creation (even if you don’t agree that the object of their passion is that beautiful or awesome, haha!). Empathize with them through their joys or disappointments.
Speak the truth in love. If you do believe that there is a potential pitfall in the relationship or that God is not honored by how the relationship is going, gently point the other person back to God and His word. Remember, this is not about your opinion or experience. It is about true friendship that pushes both of you closer to God.
Be present. Whether your friend takes your advice or not, just be there for them through their journey. Celebrate with them when the relationship progresses. Be ready to restore them when they fall. Be a shoulder to cry on when they get heartbroken. Extend God’s grace to them even in their lowest moments. Most of all, be a constant reminder that God’s glory is the ultimate goal.
If you’re the one who’s in a relationship, how far should you involve the church community in your love life?
Hopefully, involving church community in your life started long before you considered getting into a romantic relationship. This way, you already have people who know you well—they know your strengths and weaknesses, your biggest temptations, and your quickest triggers. These are the people who have helped you get deeper in the Word and walked with you as you follow Jesus Christ together.
But if you don’t have that kind of community, it’s never too late to start. Shoot us a message and we’ll help connect you.
Be accountable. Most of us enter a relationship with good intentions for the other person and for your future together. But when emotions run high, it’s easy to be led into temptation. When left unchecked, we can fall into sin and fail to honor God and protect each other.
No one is exempt from sexual sin and emotional abuse. Having people who know about your struggles and temptations can help you navigate your emotions and actions well. They will pray with you and believe with you for a love story that honors God. They will speak the truth in love when your heart leads you astray. Being accountable to others will help us avoid pitfalls in our relationship.
Seek godly counsel. If you have peers and leaders who you can be accountable with, that’s great! In addition to asking others to hold you accountable, look for people you can ask godly counsel from. Whether your parents are following Jesus or not, their advice is definitely something you should consider because this honors them. However, aside from your parents, it would be good to get wisdom from a married couple who know you and who are ahead of you in the journey. They will be able to give you a godly and realistic approach towards love life and marriage.
At the end of the day, the next step you take for your love life will be your own responsibility. No one can make the decision for you. This is why praying and listening to God alongside involving church community is important.
So how do you make the right decision? There may be a lot of opinions from others. Sometimes, it can get overwhelming. Well-meaning people will give us input about our love life whether we’d like them to or not. Which ones do you listen to?
Humbly consider all inputs. There may be opinions that you disagree with, but don’t be too quick to brush them off, especially when they come from people who know you well. It would be good to ask them why they have that opinion. Prayerfully consider their answer if it points to a blind spot for you. Be grateful for them even if you end up not taking their advice or deciding that their opinion does not matter to you, because whatever they say is likely coming from good intentions.
Take courage and make a decision. Be strong and courageous when you make decisions, because God promised His presence and provision in your journey of faith. If you believe God wants you to pursue a relationship, then be in faith that God will lead you as you put Him front and center in the relationship. If you need to say “No” or to put an end to a relationship, then believe that God will carry you and the other person through disappointment and heartbreak. If you discern that you need to wait, then believe that everything will fall into place in God’s proper timing.
One of the things I look forward to on my wedding day is to celebrate it with people who have walked with me in this journey of faith. They’ve laughed and cried with me. They believed with me when I needed to take a step of faith. They believed for me when my faith was too weak and carried me through in prayer. What a gift from God to be surrounded by people whose desire is for me to not miss out on the life He has for me! My prayer is that you get to experience that kind of community as well. Don’t hesitate to message Every Nation Campus if you want to be connected to one!