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Posts tagged "dating"

5 Things to Keep In Mind When Choosing A Spouse

So what is on your checklist for qualities that you look for in a mate?  Yes, you should have a checklist...not one that goes on for eons and covers to the inch how tall they should be or exactly what profession they should be in BUT  it is important to know what you are looking for in a mate.  Some people have only one criteria...that the person is a member of the opposite gender.  Well, that's not so good either.  Let's take a look at the most important questions you should be asking when choosing a life long spouse.

#1 - Do they share similar doctrinal beliefs?

This is a biggie!  If I could stress one area that many couples have trouble with (especially if one partner is more solid in their faith than the other), it would be this area.  No, we don't need to be spiritual twins but we need to be equally yoked.  If the person you are considering is not committed to serving Yahweh as much as you are and/or they expect you to be the spiritual giant while they stay contentedly a spiritual midget...this is a BIG red flag!   Talking about your doctrinal beliefs and your goals as servants of Yahweh is so important.   When one spouse is carrying the full responsibility for being the spiritual enforcer and teacher in the home, this causes a huge strain on the marriage and confuses the children about spiritual priorities.  Save yourself the heartache and talk about this important issue first when getting to know a potential spouse. 

#2 - How do they handle money?

If you think this topic is not important, think again!  Statistics show that more couples break up over money management issues than anything else.  Why?  Actually, it's not so much the money itself but the priorities that people have for money that causes the friction.  If you are a frugal person and are doing your best to save money only so that your spouse can go and blow it on spur-of-the-moment shopping spree, this will be very hurtful to you.  If you are the husband and your wife is spending your hard earned-money on stupid stuff like kitchen gadgets that are overpriced and end up in your yearly garage sale after being used only three times, you will get discouraged.  If you are a wife who tries to save her husband money by looking for sales, using coupons,etc. and your hubby is bringing the latest techie gadgets home every week just so he can keep up with the 'guys', you will feel as though your efforts to save are not appreciated.  Are you starting to understand my meaning? Personally, I think every one should learn to use their money wisely and I think 95% of the North American populace lives with too many things that they don't need.  I am a frugal person to a certain extent and to marry someone who, in my humble opinion, wasted his money on things the latest video games would drive me crazy!  I would have to try so hard not to seem as though I was nagging about his spending habits.  The best solution is to talk about spending habits and PLEASE...don't fool yourself in to thinking that they will be more self controlled in their spending habits just because they married a frugal saver like you.  Marriage does not change life-long habits, discipline and the Ruach do.

#3 - How do they treat their parents?

I had a friend who married a seemingly nice guy.  He had one issue...he did not show respect for his mother.  He made all kinds of excuses for it by saying she wasn't a believer and she had done some awful things to him in the past.  Less than 2 years in to the marriage they separated because he was showing her much respect either...he took her for granted and dragged her all over the map because he wanted to pursue his dreams.  Sad but not surprising.  Any person who cannot CHOOSE to honour their parents, will have little regard for the rest of the commandments of Yahweh.  It is a choice, not a feeling.  If you think that you can behave disrespectfully towards your parents but respect your spouse, you are deceived.   When you are with a potential spouse, listen to the way they talk about their parents.  Do they say that they are thankful for them (flaws and all)?  If the parents are not Christian, do they say that they are praying and talking to their parents about Yashua?   Do they do small things that show respect (ie. opening doors, giving up their seat, offering to help with dishes, etc) for their parents?   Personal respect is earned but parental and spousal respect is not...it is mandated in scripture.  If you are having a hard time with this one, ask Yahweh to help you be more honouring towards your parents.  If the person you are interested in does not show respect for their parents, it is very likely you will be the one on the receiving end of their disrespect after marriage. 

#4 - What kind of friends do they have?

'Do not keep the companion of fools', Solomon warned us.  If the person we are interested in is consistently hanging around fools (if you want the many definitions of a fool, read the book of Proverbs), we can safely surmise that this will not stop once they are married.  Sometimes, as Messianics, it is not a good idea to hang out a lot with others who ridicule our beliefs about following Torah or those who accuse us of falling away from grace and being under the law again.   Yes, we do need to be a witness and so we can't completely withdraw but wrong friendships can subtlely pull us back into wrong habits.  I know some people who can't find a Messianic fellowship so they attend a mainstream Christian church.  After a while, they meet someone there and end up marrying them and never leave.  The road we walk on is a lonely road and requires sacrifices of many kinds.  The people you call your friends will tell me much more about you than merely by my talking to you.  If you claim to walk in truth but have close relationships with those who walk in darkness, I question your comittment to the truth.  The exception to this is, if you are already married to an unbeliever.  In that case, you should not seek to be separated but fervently pray for them.  Choose your friends wisely, they will influence and shape your decisions in ways you may not even be aware and will wither strengthen your resolve or weaken it.  When choosing a spouse, their friends will become your friends to a certain extent so be sure that you are on the same page. 

# 5 - What are their views on children?

This is another biggie.  Do you want lots of kids?  What are your views on birth control?  Do you want to homeschool?  How do you feel about spanking?  Who do you think should do the disciplining?  How do you feel about adoption?  These are just a few of the many questions that should be asked before becoming engaged.  To find out that you have very different views on these topics AFTER you marry is not a pleasant surprise.  If a woman who wants 3 kids, finds out that her husband expects her to have 15 after she marries him, she will be really upset!  I can't understand why people would not talk about this issue but it seems that once the rose coloured glasses go on, nothing much matters.  You should talk, talk, talk before committing to a serious relationship and be sure that you are in agreement on this topic.  

I guess you can tell from this article that I don't believe in beating around the bush.   I believe that communicating and practicality should come first and love and romance should come later.  All too often, couples get sidetracked with emotion and romance before they discuss the important issues of marriage.  This can lead to compromise (marrying someone even though they know they aren't right) or heartache (breaking up because they aren't right).  Dating for fun, should not even be an option for people who consider themselves Torah followers.  If you want to go out for fun, go out with friends not a boyfriend/girlfriend.   The world believes in compatibility based on sex and romance...followers of Yahweh however, should base compatibility on spirituality and life goals & priorities.  I challenge you to be a cut above and talk about the important things...once you know that you are on the same page in regards to Yahweh, Torah, children, money, friends, respect and Yashua, you are free to fall in love with that person....again and again!

Shidduchs, courtship, dating or arranged marriage?

There seems to be an abundance of ways for singles to get to know one another. I am sure we all have the well meaning friends who try to match us up with a "great" brother, friend, niece or acquaintance. There are online meeting sites like Messianic Singles, Facebook and pay-as-you-go places. Once you meet someone who you think might be a potential, there is always the date vs. courtship vs betrothal options and the decision as to how much outside involvement you will have in your relationship. Then, there is the interesting topic of arranged marriage which is still practiced in keeping with the ancient Biblical customs in some countries today. So how much do we actually know about all of this?

First of all, let's look at Arranged Marriage.

The Bible is full of examples of arranged marriage and seems quite in favour of it.  Isaac and Rebekah had an arranged marriage.  Several times in scripture we see that the father's had the ultimate say in who their daughters would marry.  The custom was that, a man would see a young woman he liked, go to his father and ask him to 'get him the girl' (to put it in down-to-earth terms).  We see this in the story of Samson, he asked his father to get him a girl from a pagan culture - not a good idea by the way.  After the girl's father consented (if he did consent), they would settle on a bride price.  This was not about buying a bride like a piece of property - the custom came from the practice of being able to divorce a bride that a groom didn't like on their wedding night.  The bride price was non refundable and it was used to care for her for the rest of her life since she was never again allowed to marry again.  Yeshua later refuted this custom and said that only for the cause of adultery was anyone allowed to divorce their spouse.  Adultery had a bit of a different meanign then than it does in our culture.  They were considered married from the time they entered into what we would call an engagement.  To break the engagement required a certificate of divorce.  If a woman was caught with another man, during the engagement it was considered adultery.  After they were married, according to Yeshua, they were never allowed to obtain a divorce for any reason - adulterers at this point were stoned, not divorced.  To enter into an engagement, there was a ceremony in which a contract was signed by the couple and their fathers.  The man would take a glass of wine and say "this represents my life's blood (lifeblood) which I will give for you" - if the woman drank from the cup, they were engaged.  Very significant when you consider the last supper (Passover) of Yeshua.   It would also explain Paul's stern warning not to eat and drink unworthily since the penalty for adultery (spiritual adultery with the world) is death.   Once you drink and partake, you are the bride of Yeshua and need to remain pure and not spotted (adulterated) by the practices of this world.  After the engagement, the man would go and begin preparing a place for his bride.  The engagement could last up to two years.  His father would help him prepare a place since the Father knew exactly what the son would need to do and have for his bride (Yeshua said that he went away to prepare a place for His bride and will come again to get her).  Then, when the Father said everything was ready, the son would go without much warning to get his bride.  He usually came in the evening and was accompanied with a shout and his wedding party (Yeshua will come again for his bride with not much warning - only those that know the signs of his coming will know that he is returning soon.  He will come with the shout of an archangel and the trump of Yahweh accompanied by the hosts of heaven as his wedding party).   Then they would have a ceremony and a great feast and finally the bride and groom would consumate their marriage in the wedding chamber.   Although many think this practice is outdated, it is the very method that Yeshua will use in the marriage of his bride (the true followers of Yahweh).  It's worth some thought, no?

Secondly, let's look at the Shidduch which is a system of matchmaking common in Jewish circles...

In strictly Orthodox Jewish circles, dating is limited to the search for a marriage partner. Both sides (usually the parents, close relatives or friends of the persons involved) make inquiries about the prospective partner, e.g. on his/her character, intelligence, level of learning, financial status, family and health status, appearance and level of religious observance.  A shidduch often begins with a recommendation from family members, friends or others who see matchmaking as a mitzvah, or commandment. Some engage in it as a profession and charge a fee for their services. Usually a professional matchmaker is called a shadchan, but anyone who makes a shidduch is considered the shadchan for it.After the match has been proposed, the prospective partners meet a number of times to gain a sense of whether they are right for one another. The number of dates prior to announcing an engagement may vary by community. In some, the dating continues several months. In stricter communities, the couple may decide a few days after originally meeting with each other. Also the age when shidduchim start may vary by community. In frum circles, especially among Hassidim, eighteen is the age when shidduchim start and shadchanim take notice. [Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shidduch]  This is similar to arranged marriage except that a matchmaker from outside the family is involved and they are allowed to see one another and chat about their goals before marriage.  Strong emphasis is placed on character not outward appearance.  How a woman will raise the children is considered more important than her figure and how a man handles money is considered more important than how tall he is.  Families do have quite a bit of involvement and the fathers' permissions are needed for the marriage to go forward.  

Thirdly, let's take a look at Courtship.  Courtship is when a mature man and woman decide they want to get to know one another for the purpose of marriage and have some very definitive limits set out to protect themselves from getting too involved before the marriage.  They often will do group activities as a opposed to just going out alone together.  The girl's father is asked for permission to both court and eventually marry the daughter.  The families and firends are very involved in the relationship and offer advice and counsel when needed.   Most often, important subjects are discussed between the father and the man - subjects like: How the man plans to provide for the daughter, child rearing methods, etc.  The goal of courtship is for the man to be accountable to the father and to treat the woman with respect and not pressure her for physical intimacy.  Eventually, the man proposes and they get married. Usually those that court do not court many people before they marry since the father's have screened the man ahead of time and unless something unexpectedly negative comes up in the man's character during the courtship, they enter into marriage. 

Lastly, we have Dating. (Get the world's view on dating here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dating)  A fairly new concept in our world, it has only been around for the last hundred years or so.  Someone obviously thought they could improve the courtship method when they came up with it.  Dating is not the same as courtship - that needs to be said clearly.  It is not a different label for the same thing.  It is the practice of going out for thepurpose of having fun and not necessarily to lead to marriage.   It is sort of a let's see how it goes and then maybe we can think about getting more serious.  It is a let's try before we buy type of mentality and many who decide to date, end up dating multiple times before they eventually get serious.  Many times dating starts very young and sets a pattern for marriage that is unhealthy - the pattern of being with someone because you like the way they make you feel.  When they no longer appeal to you, you say tell them they aren't right for you and move on to another one.   You will NOT find this method in scripture at all, in fact it would be considered wickedness.  Paul said that it was not good for a man to touch a woman before marriage...dating encourages a whole lot more than just touching.   Since dating allows for a couple to have alone time, much of the focus becomes on the physical too quickly.   The involvement of family and friends is minimal or shallow - limited only to getting together for social activities, not for the purpose of getting to know both people and counselling.  

So which method is best?  I think you need to answer that for yourself based on scripture.  I encourage you to study this out and be convinced of Yahweh's method.  Marriage is the most important earthly covenant you will enter into and it needs to be done Yah's way not our way.  We are not called to be influenced by culture, we are called to influence our culture.  Our kingdom is not of this world and so our customs and practices will often conlfict with what the world practices.  Maybe, your worldy acquaintances will ridicule your decision, so what?!   You will answer to Yahweh one day and He will ask you what you based your life's decisions on...popular opinion or His Word.   I realize that some people have families who are not believers in Yahweh and may not have godly standards.  I realize that some may not have parents at this point in their lives.  A godly older person may stand-in and fellow believers can fill in the gap where parents and physical family cannot.  

I would like to see some friendly discussion about this topic so feel free to click comments above so that you can comment here.