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Friend to a Lover

Now we're in the homestretch.

You've been in a singles group for a while and made some very good friends. Or perhaps you've been carrying on an online friendship.

Either way, you've become increasingly interested in someone, and you feel like you're ready to start dating.

Here are a few thoughts that might help things go more smoothly in the first few stages of a relationship.

Baby Steps

You've been pacing yourself thus far and there's no reason to speed things up. You're still getting to know one another and the best way to do that is to take it easy and not rush things.

Even though you may be all giddy with romantic feelings, keep the flowers and Hallmark cards on hold for a little while longer. I know someone who made this same mistake once-and the young lady went screaming into the other direction.

Make your dates simple and non threatening. Get coffee. Have lunch. Take a walk. Enjoy talking one on one. Spend your time being fun and lighthearted, and don't be concerned about what lies ahead in the future. Right now, you're just enjoying getting to know this person.

Be open and honest. Don't try to be someone you're not. Remember: they're interested in YOU-not a false image of yourself you want to project. But by all means, take it S-L-O-W. You've got all the time in the world.

Dealing With a Past

Sooner or later, the past is going to come up in a discussion. And it may not be pretty. The key here is to be totally truthful. Lying will only come back to haunt you later and cause a serious rift in the relationship.

Now, that doesn't mean you must talk about something before you're ready to discuss it. In that case, it's best to make the other party clear about some boundaries at this point. They should be considerate of your needs and not press the issue. If not, you might want to rethink this relationship.

In time, you may grow closer to this person and feel more comfortable about revealing something from your past. Jason and Ronda came from two totally different backgrounds. Her dating history was virtually non-existent, while his was littered with sexual sin.

Needless to say, the issue eventually reared its ugly head. It was early in their marriage and Ronda was suffering from an illness that was causing a problem in their married life.

As they drove back from Dallas during a Thanksgiving weekend, Jason kept feeling like God wanted him to reveal something to Ronda that had happened in his past. Something awful. She knew he had been with other women. And she had forgiven him for it. But this was something he had never dared utter to her. He did NOT want her to know.

But the more God dealt with Jason about this, the more he realized that she would be healed if he did what the Lord asked. So reluctantly he told her. It was literally one of the hardest things he ever had to do. Even though Jason had asked forgiveness from the Lord years ago, for some reason God still wanted his wife to know about this issue. To say Ronda was shocked would be an understatement. She could have turned her back on the whole marriage and never spoken to him again. And Jason wouldn't have blamed her if she did. 

But she didn't. Incredibly, Ronda forgave him. They drove through Oklahoma, weeping like babies and praising God for His mercy. And when they arrived home, all traces of Ronda's illness had disappeared.

The Lord had kept his promise!

Ronda's forgiveness of her husband really strengthened their relationship. Today, Jason feels like the person who did those awful things is someone he doesn't even know. And in a lot of ways, he's right. Please realize that we all have skeletons in our closet, some uglier than others. Don't judge someone by their past mistakes.

Forgive them as Christ forgives us all and you'll form a bond of trust that's crucial to any healthy Christian relationship. But remember--don't go there until you're both ready. Revealing too much too early can spook the best of us. Again, follow the Lord's leading.



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