A survey of more than 5000 singles for Match.com reveals real change in the attitudes of singles when it comes to marriage and relationships.
When asked about sex dating and what is OK in relationships, here is what the survey revealed.
1) Interracial marriage (86%)
2) Interfaith marriage (80%)
3) Long term live in partners who don’t marry (76%)
4) Same-sex marriage (65%)
5) Having children outside of marriage
1) Sexually open marriages (78%)
2) Long distant marriages (62%)
3) Married couples sleeping in separate bedrooms (56%)
4) Having sex on a first date (80%),
Looking at these lists, you can see that attachment and bonding are still considered important to any relationship, but the marital covenant is not always a part of the equation. Yet, this is God’s plan–marriage and children in the context of that marriage. It may seem old fashion, but making a life long commitment in a safe and secure environment to raise children, is God’s best. God doesn’t change with cultural attitudes. HIs Word is the same yesterday, today and forever.
Whatever it is that is discouraging you, note the cure the psalmist David employed in Psalm 103:1-5. David talks to himself in a way that uplifts his soul. He tells his soul to bless the Lord and to remember the benefits of serving God.
David wrote this psalm to encourage himself in the Lord, something we need to do regularly. Instead of focusing on all of his problems, David decided to engage his will and rehearsed the goodness of God. He begins the psalm by blessing the Lord.
Praise the LORD, my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the LORD, my soul,
and forget not all his benefits. Psalm 103:1-2
Then, he speaks to his soul and reminds himself of all that God does for those who are faithful to Him. So if you feel discouraged, encourage yourself in the Lord. Use Psalm 103 and apply it to your life.
Psalm 103 says, the Lord:
1) Forgives all my sins. There is no need to live in condemnation or guilt. The past is forgiven and gone.
2) Heals all my diseases. A bad report is subject to the healing power of Christ.
3) Redeems my life from the pit. And in that process, crowns me with love and compassion.
4) Satisfies my desires with good things. He renews my youth like the eagle’s.
This is only a partial list of all the benefits that come with serving God. Yes, bad news comes, life gets crazy and stressful, but we must remember who we serve and the blessings that come from being one of God’s children.
To fight discouragement, do what David did and encourage yourself in the Lord.
This season of love, take a look at your family relationships. Forgive and love generously. Remember, as you choose to forgive, bless and do good, this does not mean you condone negative behavior, are minimizing hurt or denying problems. It means you have decided to follow the words of Christ and do what does not come naturally to most of us. Our model is Christ. He was despised, rejected, and abused. Yet, he had compassion and loved the unlovely. What a challenge!
As you encounter family members who are not always so loving, try these suggestions:
- Make attempts to resolve issues that have built up and caused resentment. Avoidance just leads to anger, unforgiveness, and bitterness.
- Remember the good moments in your relationship. Do not deny problems, but balance negatives with positives.
- Do something enjoyable together in order to build positive memories.
- Control your tongue. It has the power of life and death according to the Book of James.
- Pray for those who irritate you. Ask God to give you His heart when it comes to them.
- Love people as yourself.
- Consider the biblical principle—what you sow, you reap (Galatians 6:7).
- Forgive often and do not hold on to offense.
- God’s grace is a gift; offer it to others as well.
- Read I Corinthians 13 as a true reminder of love. Love is patient, kind, does not envy or boast, keeps no records of wrong, hopes and never fails. (v. 4-7)
Check for physical tension.
Do you have any of the physical signs of anxiety such as a racing or pounding heart, sweaty palms, difficulty breathing, stomach upset, frequent urination or diarrhea, muscle tension, headaches, fatigue or insomnia?
Be aware of your body and the physical sensations that creep in with stress, anxiety, fear and worry.
List your concerns—those things that bother you and could potentially become areas of worry. Ask yourself:
Is this a concern or has it turned in to a worry?
Is this concern something that is in or out of my control?
If in my control, what am I doing about this concern?
If not in my control, can I allow it to be without worrying?
Your goal is to empty this list.
Take your concerns to God. Meditate on Deuteronomy 31:8
The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.
Are you able to lay worry down at the foot of the cross? Or do you carry it with you?
Worry is released when we trust God and do not doubt.
NOTE: If you feel you have excessive worry to the point that it interferes with your every day living, consider seeing a mental health therapist trained in treating anxiety disorders. An evaluation can help determine if your worry has moved to anxiety. God wants us to live a worry free life, despite our circumstances. For more help, check out my book, Letting Go of Worry for strategies to be worry free.