Category Archives: Relationships Questions

Questions about Relationships: How Important Is Physical Attraction When Looking for a Spouse?

There is no doubt that God created men and women to be physically attracted to one another. The sexual component in marriage is important for intimacy between husband and wife and for procreation and the survival of the human race. At the same time, arranged marriages—those in which the couple do not even see each other until the wedding—were the norm in centuries past and are still practiced today in parts of the world.

Solomon described the attraction of the bridegroom for his beloved in chapters 4 and 7 of Song of Songs. He describes her physical beauty and his desire for her. She reciprocates in chapter 8, describing her passion for him and her desire for his embrace. Song of Songs is a beautiful depiction of conjugal love in which physical attraction is a component.

This is not to say that physical attraction is the most important aspect to be considered when looking for a husband or wife. For one thing, beauty should not be defined by the world. That which the world finds beautiful falls well below the standard of beauty described in Scripture. Physical beauty fades with time, but true inner beauty shines forth from a woman who loves God (Proverbs 31:30). Peter encourages women to develop inner beauty that comes from “the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful” (1 Peter 3:3–5). Outer beauty is fleeting; inner beauty is eternal.

The attractiveness of a man should also be that which comes from within. The most obvious example in Scripture is Jesus, who “had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him” (Isaiah 53:2). Yet the beauty of His glory and grace, as the incarnate Son of God, shone forth from within Him to all who saw Him. The exact opposite is Lucifer/Satan who is described as “the model of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty” (Ezekiel 28:12). In spite of his outward beauty, Lucifer was the embodiment of evil and ungodliness.

Outward beauty is not only fleeting, but unlike men and women whose judgment is impaired by sin, it is not the trait that God looks upon as important. “The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7). A prospective husband or wife should be a genuine born again Christian who is growing and maturing in the faith and who is obedient to Christ. Two people having the same purpose in life—to glorify God in all they do—will find that their physical attraction to one another increases daily and lasts for a lifetime.[1]

 


[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Questions about Relationships: What Are Valid Reasons for Breaking up with a Boyfriend/Girlfriend?

This is a difficult question to answer, no matter what was said or done. The first thing to remember is the advice Jesus gave Peter about forgiving someone who has sinned against him: “Then Peter came to Him and asked, ‘Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?’ ‘No, not seven times,’ Jesus replied, ‘but seventy times seven!’ ” Forgiving the other person in the relationship should be the first step you take in deciding what to do.

You can think of dating/courting as practice for marriage. This doesn’t mean you should stay with the first person you date/court and marry them. God may lead you to someone else, but it is best to forgive and try to work things out unless through careful, humble prayer God has led you to leave the relationship. You should put into practice the idea of making things work, as you would in marriage, instead of running away when your potential spouse does something that bothers or hurts you.

There is one thing that would definitely be a reason to consider “breaking up” with your boyfriend/girlfriend. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 5:9–11 “When I wrote to you before, I told you not to associate with people who indulge in sexual sin. But I wasn’t talking about unbelievers who indulge in sexual sin, or are greedy, or cheat people, or worship idols. You would have to leave this world to avoid people like that. I meant that you are not to associate with anyone who claims to be a believer yet indulges in sexual sin, or is greedy, or worships idols, or is abusive, or is a drunkard, or cheats people. Don’t even eat with such people.” If your boyfriend or girlfriend indulges in sexual sin continually or any of these sins continually for that matter, Paul says we are not even to eat with such a person. Perhaps if it was a one-time offense, it may not be something to leave them over. You have to realize, the sin is not against you, but against God. God instructed Hosea to love his wife (who was a prostitute and committed adultery against him) as an illustration of how God still loved Israel after they had turned from Him (Hosea 3:1).

Circumstances are different for each situation, and it is always difficult to tell someone what to do in a given situation. It is clear that God wants us to demonstrate forgiveness in all situations, but as for leaving someone, the only way to know how to handle a problem in a relationship is through prayer, with discernment, wisdom, and compassion.[1]

 


[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Questions about Relationships: What Should I Do If I Cannot Decide Who I Should Be Dating?

The Bible does not specifically address this topic, but it does give us insight into what we should seek in a potential spouse. The first, and best, advice is to pray about it. God will give wisdom and guidance if you ask for it. “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him” (James 1:5).

“Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14). The first question to ask is, whether the potential spouse is devoted to God. If he/she is not, they should not be considered for a potential spouse. On the other hand, just because one follows Christ, does not make them the right choice. Being “equally yoked” can also go deeper than just “Is he/she a Christian?” There are many different beliefs in Christianity, and this should be taken into account when choosing a potential spouse. Consider what marriage would be like with this person. Are your beliefs close enough to the same that you can agree to teach your children the same doctrines? This is of the greatest importance.

For men, it’s important to look at what a Christian wife is supposed to be. “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, His body, of which He is the savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything” (Ephesians 5:22–24). Paul tells us that a wife is to be submissive to her husband, out of love. This does not necessarily mean that the girl you are considering a relationship with should submit wholly to you, but rather she should not be rebellious, but should submit herself to her father out of love. She should be willing to be led. Proverbs 31:10–31 tells us what the “wife of noble character” is like. She is hard working, generous and charitable, strong, and wise. You may not be able to find all of these traits in one person, but these are desirable traits and pleasing to God.

Another scripture describing a wife that is pleasing to God is 1 Peter 3:1–4: “Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” This tells us that a woman should be pure and living for Christ so that they can win a lost husband over without words. It also indicates that she should not be as concerned about outward appearances as she is about her spiritual life.

For women, there are a few illustrations of what a Christian husband is to be. Although the person you are considering a relationship with is not your husband, you should look for qualities that display this kind of love in the person. “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless” (Ephesians 5:25–27). Is he loving? Is he willing to lead people toward Christ, and help them to be holy and blameless? Is he a leader? A man should love God above all else and be willing to help his brothers and sisters in Christ to strive to be holy and pleasing to God. He should be humble, wise, and merciful, just as Christ was. Watch for these qualities in a man, because this is what is pleasing to God.

You will not find a “perfect” person with all of these qualities, but God will let you see if someone you are considering a relationship with is striving to be pleasing to Him. Just as with any other big decision in life, relationships should be treated with caution, wisdom, and handled with discernment and much prayer.[1]

 


[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Questions about Relationships: What Does the Bible Say about Asexuality?

Physiologically, asexuality is defined as “having no evident sex or sex organs; sexless.” Typically, though, when asexuality is spoken of, it refers to “lacking interest in or desire for sex.” Since the Bible nowhere mentions physiological asexuality, for the purposes of this article, only the lack of sexual attraction/desire will be addressed. Is it wrong for a person to not have any sexual desire/attraction whatsoever?

What Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 7 is the closest thing to a biblical mention of asexuality. In verse 1 he says it’s good for a man not to marry. In times of singleness, without the constraints of family, a person can be available to be used by God anywhere and at any time. In contrast, in verses 2–6, Paul writes that marriage is good for those who have a deep passion for the opposite sex. Marriage allows those passions to be fulfilled in a godly way. Paul then makes it clear in verses 7–8 that he was, at that time, not married. God had given Paul the gift of singleness, the ability to be happily and contently unmarried. Does this mean Paul had absolutely no desire for sex and/or no desire to be married? Not necessarily, but whatever Paul’s desire, it clearly was not as consuming as his desire to serve God. Note—in 1 Corinthians 9:5, Paul perhaps indicates a desire to marry.

So, is it wrong for a person to have no desire to get married? According to 1 Corinthians 7, no, it most definitely is not wrong. Remaining single can be a very good thing, as it can free a person to have more time to serve God. Remaining single, though, does not necessarily indicate asexuality, that is, a lack of desire for the opposite sex. The gift of singleness mentioned in 1 Corinthians 7 is the ability to be content without marriage, not necessarily lacking any and all desire for marriage. If one has no desire for marriage/sex, and is confident that this is of the Lord, he/she should use the time of singleness for wholehearted service in God’s kingdom. It would not be wrong, though, to seek medical consultation, to ensure that the asexuality is not due to some sort of hormonal imbalance.[1]

 


[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Questions about Relationships: How can I recover from heartbreak / a broken heart?

The dictionary defines heartbreak as “crushing grief, anguish, or distress.” In today’s world, the broken hearted usually describes someone who has suffered a failed relationship or loss of a loved one. A search of the internet makes it appear as though almost all heartbreak comes from divorce or a being dropped by a lover. But a broken heart may be brought on by a myriad of causes such as disappointment in a child’s lifestyle, loss of possession, loss of job, etc. Whatever the cause, the pain of a broken heart can be enormous.

The world would assert that hope lies in psychoanalysis and medication. Advice may include taking an antidepressant, writing an angry letter and tearing it up, going on a shopping spree, getting a makeover, etc. Some would advocate the power of positive thinking. The most common “cure” is time. The world’s focus is on feelings, but God looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7). While the non-Christian may sense a waning in intensity of heartbreak, only a Christian can experience complete recovery because only the Christian has access to the power of the Spirit of God who alone “heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds” (Psalm 147:3).

The events in Job’s life may be the earliest biblical record of heartbreak. In one day he lost his children, almost all worldly possessions, his health, and his means of livelihood. What was Job’s response? “Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. And he said, ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD’ ” (Job 1:20–21). Job grieved. Yet, he worshipped God and remained faithful. Although he had doubts as to God’s goodness in these terrible events, through them he grew closer to God through God’s revelation of Himself (Job 42:1–5). Job learned what all believers can learn through heartbreak—God is faithful and good and trustworthy.

David, a man after God’s own heart, suffered many heartbreaking circumstances. Each time he recovered and was an even stronger man of God. Psalm 34 gives an example of how David overcame heartbreak by calling on the Lord. Notice the first step: “I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears” (Psalm 34:4). David knew “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18). Finally, he expressed a confidence in the love of God that every believer should have: “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all” (Psalm 34:19).

One might ask in a moment of despair, “He may have helped David but does God care about me?” The answer is He absolutely does! “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:32). What a comfort to know that God “will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5). God is always near to comfort the believer. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction” (2 Corinthians 1:3–4). God, who cannot lie, has promised to go through our trials with us. “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you” (Isaiah 43:2).

God never failed one of His people when they cried out to Him, and He will not fail the heartbroken Christian who cries out to Him today. He may not always answer exactly in the way we would like, but He answers according to His perfect will and timing and, while we are waiting for the answer, His grace is sufficient (2 Corinthians 12:9).

Finally, those who belong to Christ and are enduring heartbreak must know that God loves them and that His love is unconditional. Imagine the grief God the Father endured as he witnessed the crucifixion of his Son on the cross. What amazing love! That same God is there to comfort the broken hearted and restore the joy of their salvation.[1]

 


[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Questions about Relationships: How can I prepare myself for marriage?

Preparing oneself for marriage biblically is the same as preparing for any life endeavor. There is a principle that should govern all aspects of our lives as born-again believers: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37). This is not a flippant command. It is the centerpiece of our lives as believers. It is choosing to focus upon God and upon His Word with our whole heart so that our soul and our mind are occupied with the things that will please Him.

The relationship we have with God through the Lord Jesus Christ is what puts all other relationships into perspective. The marriage relationship is based upon the model of Christ and His church (Ephesians 5:22–33). Every aspect of our lives is governed by our commitment as believers to live according to the commandments and precepts of the Lord. Our obedience to God and to His Word equips us to fulfill our God-given roles in marriage and in the world. And the role of every born-again believer is to glorify God in all things (1 Corinthians 10:31).

In order to prepare yourself for marriage, to walk worthy of your calling in Christ Jesus, and to become intimate with God through His Word (2 Timothy 3:16–17), focus upon obedience in all things. There is no easy plan to learn to walk in obedience to God. It is a choice we must make every day to put aside worldly viewpoints and follow God instead. Walking worthy of Christ is to submit ourselves in humility to the only Way, the only Truth and the only Life on a day-by-day, moment-by-moment basis. That is the preparation every believer needs to be ready for the great gift we call marriage.

A person who is spiritually mature and walking with God is more prepared for marriage than anyone else. Marriage demands commitment, passion, humility, love, and respect. These traits are most evident in a person who has an intimate relationship with God. As you prepare yourself for marriage, focus on allowing God to shape you and mold you into the man or woman He wants you to be (Romans 12:1–2). If you submit yourself to Him, He will enable you to be ready for marriage when that wonderful day arrives.[1]

 


[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Questions about Relationships: How can I know if I am in love?

Love is a very powerful emotion. It motivates much of our lives. We make many important decisions based on this emotion, and even get married because we feel that we are “in love.” This may be the reason about half of all first marriages end in divorce. The Bible teaches us that true love is not an emotion that can come or go, but a decision. We are not just to love those who love us; we should even love those who hate us, the same way that Christ loves the unlovable (Luke 6:35). “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres” (1 Corinthians 13:4–7).

It can be very easy to “fall in love” with someone, but there are some questions to ask before deciding if what we are feeling is true love. First, is this person a Christian, meaning has he given his life to Christ? Is he/she trusting Christ alone for salvation? Also, if you are considering giving your heart and emotions to one person, you should ask yourself if you are willing to put that person above all other people and to put your relationship second only to God. The Bible tells us that when two people get married, they become one flesh (Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:5).

Another thing to consider is whether or not the loved one is a good candidate for being a mate. Has he/she already put God first and foremost in his/her life? Is he/she able to give his/her time and energy to building the relationship into a marriage that will last a lifetime? There is no measuring stick to determine when we are truly in love with someone, but it is important to discern whether we are following our emotions or following God’s will for our lives. True love is a decision, not just an emotion. True biblical love is loving someone all of the time, not just when you feel “in love.”[1]

 


[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Questions about Relationships: Can/should a Christian who is a virgin marry someone who is not a virgin?

The ideal situation for Christian marriage is, of course, when both parties are virgins, having understood that marriage is the only place in God’s eyes for sexual relations. But we don’t live in an ideal world. Many times, a person raised in a godly home and saved from childhood wishes to marry someone who was saved in their 20s and 30s and who brings to their Christian marriage a past lived according to worldly standards. While God puts our sins as far from us as the east is from the west when we come to Him in repentance and faith in Christ (Psalm 103:12), people have long memories and forgetting someone’s past may not be easy. The inability to forgive and forget the past mistakes of one of the marriage partners will definitely influence the marriage negatively.

Before entering into a marriage with someone with a sexual past, it’s crucial to understand that salvation and forgiveness of sin is given to us by grace. “By grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast” (Ephesians 2:8–9). When we begin to understand what it means to be truly forgiven, we begin to see through God’s eyes and how much He must love us, and that helps us forgive others. To forgive is to let go of the other person’s past and see him or her as a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). Christ died for his/her sin and the potential spouse now has to decide if it can be lived with. This is where doctrine moves from the theoretical to the practical.

In matters of forgiveness, it always helps to see our own pasts in God’s eyes. Sexual sin is certainly grievous to God, but so is lying, cheating, bad thoughts, drinking/smoking too much, impatience, pride, and unforgiveness. Who among us is without sin and can “cast the first stone”? Before coming to Christ each of us is “dead in transgressions and sins” and is made alive only by God’s grace (Ephesians 2:1–5). The question is can we forgive others as Christ forgave us? Completely and from the heart? Being able to do so is a mark of a true Christian. Jesus said if we don’t forgive, neither will God forgive us (Matthew 6:14–15). He did not mean that forgiving others is a way of procuring God’s forgiveness, which we know is by grace alone, but rather that a forgiving heart is a sign of the presence of the Holy Spirit in the heart of a true believer. Continued unforgiveness is a sign of a hard, unregenerate heart.

Before entering into a marriage with a non-virgin, much thought, prayer, and introspection is in order. James 1:5 tells us that if we seek wisdom, God will grant it freely to all who ask. Speaking with a godly pastor and being involved in a Bible teaching church will help in the decision making process. Some churches have excellent pre-engagement classes. Also, talking freely and openly with the potential mate about these things may reveal things in both parties’ pasts that need to be addressed and forgiven.

Marriage is a challenge in the best of circumstances and takes a lot of work to make it successful. Both partners need, and deserve, to be loved unconditionally. Ephesians 5 describes the roles of both husband and wife in marriage, but the passage begins with the overriding principle for both: “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ” (Ephesians 5:21). Willing sacrifice and the strength to choose to be a servant to the betterment of the marriage are the marks of a maturing spiritual man and woman who honor God. Wisely choosing a spouse based upon biblical qualities is important, but of equal importance are our own ongoing spiritual growth and our surrender to God’s will in our lives. A man who is seeking to be the man God wants him to be will be able to help his wife be the woman God desires her to be and, despite their pasts, they will be able to build their marriage into a God-honoring union that delights them both.[1]

 


[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Questions about Relationships: Can you give me some Christian relationship advice?

We often receive questions along the lines of: “I am interested in two different guys … which one should I choose to be my boyfriend?” Or, “I am in a relationship and my girlfriend did/said ‘_____’; so, should I break up with her?” These types of questions are very difficult for us to answer. GotQuestions.org is not a Christian relationship advice ministry. We will always strive to tell you what the Bible has to say about a given situation. However, in regards to relationship advice issues, the Bible rarely specifically addresses the situations we are asked about. The Bible is far more concerned with our relationship with God.

We are very reluctant to give relationship advice. It is difficult to give wise counsel to a personal issue through an article. It is exceedingly difficult to give Christian relationship advice when we do not personally know the people involved, we are not receiving all of the details, and/or we are only receiving one side of the story. We do not presume to speak for God in giving authoritative relationship advice to Christians.

With that said, what is our advice? It is our advice that you speak with God about your relationship. Pray to the Lord, asking Him to clearly reveal to you what He would have you do (Philippians 4:6–7). Ask God to give you wisdom and discernment (James 1:5). God promises to grant prayer requests that are asked according to His will (1 John 5:14–15). Being wise and discerning are most definitely God’s will. God wants you to make good relationship decisions. God desires Christians to be joyous and edified as a result of their relationships. If you ask God with an open heart and humble spirit, He will give you the relationship advice you need.

Finally, find wise counsel with mature Christians who have been married for many years and have walked with God all that time. Seek guidance from your pastor, elders or other mature church leaders. Their years of experience enable them to speak from wisdom and the knowledge of God in their lives.[1]

 


[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Questions about Relationships: Are we supposed to be actively looking for a spouse, or waiting for God to bring a spouse to us?

The answer to both questions is “yes.” There is an important balance between the two. We are not to frantically search for a spouse as if it depends solely on our own efforts. Neither are we to be passive, thinking that God will one day cause a spouse to arrive at our door. As Christians, once we have decided that it is time to start looking for a spouse, we should begin the process with prayer. Committing ourselves to God’s will for our lives is the first step. “Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4). Delighting in the Lord means we find pleasure in knowing Him and trusting that He will delight us in return. He will put His desires into our hearts, and in the context of seeking a spouse, that means desiring for ourselves the type of spouse He desires for us and who He knows will delight us further. Proverbs 3:6 tells us, “In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” Acknowledging Him in the search for a spouse means submitting to His sovereign will and telling Him that whatever He decides is best is what you want.

After committing ourselves to God’s will, we need to be clear on the characteristics of a godly husband or wife and be seeking someone who qualifies on a spiritual level. It is important to have a clear understanding of these qualities first and then to seek someone who fits them. To “fall in love” with someone and then discover he/she is not spiritually qualified to be our mate is to invite heartache and put ourselves in a very difficult position.

Once we know what the Bible says we should be looking for, we can begin actively looking for a spouse, understanding that God will bring him/her into our lives as we are in the process of looking, according to His perfect will and timing. If we pray, God will lead us to the person He has for us. If we wait for His timing, we will be given the person who fits best with our background, personality, and desires. We have to trust in Him and His timing (Proverbs 3:5), even when His timing is not our timing. Sometimes God calls people not to marry at all (1 Corinthians 7), but in those situations, He makes it clear by removing the desire for marriage. God’s timing is perfect, and with faith and patience, we will receive His promises (Hebrews 6:12).[1]

 


[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.