Understanding When and Whom to Date.

A friend asked me a question recently and asked me to blog it so here we are. The question is “When is the right time to start dating and how do you know the right partner for you?”

There are two questions here. By God’s grace, I will respond to both as best I can.

 

So, when is the right time?
The common answers are based on people’s varied opinions and understanding. Some set a certain age, while others set a point related to attainment of some social milestone (such as gaining admission to tertiary institution, or  clearing the first year exams, or reaching final year, graduation, finishing youth service or even getting a job and working for some time).
Some believe once they meet the right person, then it is time. Yet others believe they need to establish themselves in the actualisation of their dreams first. A number of people simply say maturity is the determinant but when asked what maturity is, many cannot put it into concrete words.

I will shed some light on these answers before we move on so stay tuned.

Rise again

Hello. I had the following discussion with one who is now a friend sometime back. Her story is quite frequently encountered as I interact with people and so, I got her permission to share it here. 

What better day is there to share a life changing story of faith and salvation than today.  

Enjoy. 

Q: Good evening sir

A: Good evening.

Q: My name is Q, I am 22.

A: Nice to meet you, Q.

Q: The pleasure is mine.

A: Is that you in the dp?

Q: No sir.
Please sir. I need your help.
I don’t know if this is the right platform to ask for your help.

A: Depends on the sort of help.
Ask your questions, I’ll do my best to assist you on your quest for answers.

Q: It’s about my spiritual life and relationship.

I get to rise and fall in my spiritual life and its mostly when I feel I’ve committed a very big sin and I feel if I render anything to God I’m just wasting my time and then I tend to stop praying, studying and fasting and I’m so addicted to secular music, everytime I try to stay away I find myself going back to it😥
What can I do?

And I’m having serious issues settling down in a relationship. Not getting what I’m expecting.

A: First question, are you born again?

Q: I thought I was but I don’t have the kind of experiences others have. I always come out for any altar call I get the opportunity to.

A: Coming out for altar call is good but did you Surrender your heart to Jesus or did you just go out because you were feeling bad about your choices in life?

Q: I go out because I want to surrender my heart to Jesus but deep down it turns out that I feel so bad about my choices and I just want to start all over and make it right.

A: 🙂
I totally understand you. Countless people I’ve met also share similar stories. I’ve been there too… wanting to start all over.

Q: But I end up going back.

A: You need to know something, once you have given your life to Christ, you are born again and that’s it. You may struggle with ungodly lifestyle, fall into sin and all that but as long as you have not denounced Jesus, you still belong to him.

Q: But I can’t relate to those born again experiences people share; I don’t feel Him
I’m just confused.

A: Although, Jesus is not a feeling, I can relate with feeling left out of the “experiences” you mentioned.

For years, I was into church and all things church and when people share their testimonies of how they got saved and felt a peace or overwhelming joy in their souls, I realised I had no such experience. For years I put it off and just kept doing church stuff like all the saved people but then, one day, it dawned on me that I was not born again.

Q: Totally my experience
Leaves me with the question.. Am I born again? How do I know.

A: Do you know what I did? I went to God and prayed the same prayer of repentance I have led many others to pray over the years. And when I prayed, I accepted it as a fact that I was saved because, as a matter of fact, you can never feel saved, you just have to believe what God says in His word that if you accept Jesus and confess him as Lord, you are saved.

Q: 😀 I’ll do just that.

A: Let me give you some examples as regards believing.
When I asked you for your name, did you feel like your name is Q?

Q: Yes.

A: Really? Do you actually *feel* your name?

Q: No.
No no
I’m sorry I was not getting the drift.

A: OK.
How did you come by the name Q?

Q: My parents gave it to me.

A: Really?

Q: Yes.

A: Are you sure?

Q: Yes…
Or am I missing the question?

A: No, you’re not missing the question. You’re making my point for me.
My point is, you don’t feel your name. You don’t have any way of knowing that your name is Q. You simply accepted it that it was your name.
You believed.

Q: Yes yes yes.

A: You not only believed that your name is Q, you also believed that the people who say they are your parents are actually your parents.

Q: Yes.

A: Or were you there to witness your own conception? Were you there to witness your own birth?

Q: No

A: Or do you *feel* that they are your parents?

Q: No
It’s based on belief.

A: Exactly. You believed them. And as you grew with them, you started having emotional connections that makes you *feel* like their child, and you got used to the name they gave you so you started acting like a Q. Anywhere Q is mentioned, you turn your head because you believe your name is Q.

Q: Right!

A: You allow your parents take care of you, feed you, clothe you, tell you what to do. Even as an adult, whenever you want to do something, you talk to them.
Isn’t that so?

A: It’s the same thing with being born again.

Q: Owww. Now I get it!

A: When you give your life to Christ, according to the dictates of the bible, do it the way the bible says to do it, then God says you are saved. Whatever you feel is irrelevant.

I’m a doctor and I know some babies cry loud and long at birth, some just cry softly but neither is more alive than the other. So whether you feel saved or not, accept what God has said, you are saved. Simple!

Once you have given your life to Him, He calls you saved. He calls you righteous, He calls you holy, he calls you Saint, He calls you his bride and His child. These are some of your names. And just as you respond when your earthly name is mentioned, you should also respond when your heavenly names are mentioned. And just as with time, Q became your subconscious identity, saved will become your subconscious identity and it will affect all that you do.

Q: I really appreciate this sir.
Thanks a lot.

A: If you allow your “father in heaven” to lead you, guide you, clothe you, feed you after a while you will start to have emotional connections with him and you will start to feel and enjoy your relationship with him and start to “feel” like a child of God.

Q: I need to get dressed for school now.

A: No worries.

Q: I’ll continue after school.

A: I still have some things to share with you so I will keep leaving you messages. At your next opportunity, you can go through.

Q: Thank you very much sir
Do have a lovely day
Ok sir.

A: Meanwhile, if you have not yet done so, just pray this prayer now, as in right now. Not in your mind but say it out loud so you can hear your own voice.


“Jesus, I acknowledge that I am a sinner. I am not saved and if I die this way, I will not be with you in heaven. But now, I acknowledge that you are the Saviour of the world and my own personal Saviour because I believe that out of love you died for me. I choose you today to be my master, my friend and my father. I now declare that Jesus is my Saviour and henceforth, I am saved and a full fledged, full blooded child of God. Amen.”

If you prayed that, you have the right to smile and shout hallelujah.

Q: 😀
Hallelujah!!

A: I rejoice with you, my sister in the Lord.
We’ll continue later.
….
[ The next day ]
….

Q: Good afternoon sir.

A: Hellooooo, my precious sister in Christ, how are you and how was school?

Q: I’m fine.
School was hectic and I came back with a terrible headache and sour taste in my mouth.

A: You need to rest. Take a shower to relax and sleep. You should be fine.

Q: How’s work sir?

A: All is well.
How did you feel today?

Q: Felt very happy I must confess and I was just meditating on everything you told me and I was happy I got to know what I knew today.

A: Meditation, hmmmm.. . That’s a very critical concept in resolving some of the issues you brought up previously as regards the choices you’ve been making before now.

Q: Can’t shower… I’m cold and can’t sleep. Been trying to.

A: Heat up some water, take a warm bath.

Q: Right away.

A: When you’re done with that, kneel by your bed and pray. Tell God how you’re feeling, just as simply as you have told me. Then tell him, in Jesus’ name, that you want him to help you relax, rest and get well quickly.
Let us see what God will do.

Q: I’ll do just that.
Thank you sir.

A: We’ll pick up tomorrow in answering you other questions.

Q: Yes sir

As at my last contact with Q, she is doing well and growing. 

A Room for Labour and Lessons

I was part of a discussion on another platform recently that was really fulfilling. One of the participants suggested that I blog it. It was difficult for me to leave out their comments because it was a major part of the beauty of the discourse.
I have here shared it with you, of course, protecting the identities of these precious friends by using codes.
It’s a long read but I have not doubt it’s fun…. Enjoy.
____________________

Me: First timers day in our labour room today.

First time deliveries are usually problematic, even for the most experienced hands. Today, we had soooooo many. Some ended well, with their babies. Two of them have a story that stirred my heart.

I usually don’t attend to labour cases unless to resolve some difficulty as was with the case here and when I was through I wanted to walk away but I was feeling sorry for the young under-18 expectant mother. I lingered and assisted but at the end, in spite of our best efforts, the baby was dead on delivery. After the mother found out her baby was dead, she started crying but then she said, “I didn’t get to see him”. We had to get the baby to her immediately, rather than later as is the usual practice, so she will see his face, albeit dead. I felt sad.

I thought of dreams we labour at but that, just at the last minute, fell through and didn’t see the light of day. I thought of the spiritually dead who pass on into eternity without seeing the light of Christ nor taking a whiff of the breath of life at all. I thought about these and I felt sad. Perhaps, judgement day is God saying “I didn’t get to see him”.

The other woman, she’d several times lost pregnancies half way through; several pregnancies but not a single baby to show for her pain, nothing to show for her labour. And then this time, she gets pregnant again, her husband abandoned her to her parents fully expecting her to lose the pregnancy around the sixth month as usual.
The woman showed up like clockwork at the hospital at about the sixth month complaining of labour pains. We found out she was too familiar with preterm labour and had resigned to it. We had to disabuse her mind of the thought that it had to be so this time around. She started draining shortly after that. She visited the hospital more frequently than any other pregnant woman I have ever handled and each time, she felt certain she was in labour… aborting again.

Well, between her 24th week and today, her 35th week, after 11 weeks of hospital visits and drugs, she came in yesterday in unstoppable labour but by today she still had not delivered. We had to take her to theatre for a cesarean section. At the end, she has twin girls alive and well.

I speak to you, no matter how many times you have tried and lost, no matter how many times you have missed it, keep going… keep moving forward. If God could be so kind to this non-believing woman to compensate her for lost time, then he will certainly do more for you his child.

Joel 2:25-27. And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten … And ye shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, that hath dealt wondrously with you: and my people shall never be ashamed. And ye shall know that I [am] in the midst of Israel, and [that] I [am] the Lord your God, and none else: and my people shall never be ashamed.

A1: The 1st woman’s story is soooooo touching.
Wow!!!!!!! Glory Glory Glory to God

A2: Glory to God! I’m almost in tears, amazed at God’s mercy and love. May his name be praised forever. Amen to your prayers sir.

A3: Thank you Jesus

A4: Wow wow. That is so great. So many lessons to learn. Glory to God!

A3: I pray those kids will have an encounter with God in their lives.

I feel pity for the young brides who are maltreated by their husbands. Married when they are still children to men older than even  their fathers and are  yet to understand the world just for them to be abandoned by these same men when they encounter challenges… challenges that a wife would expect her husband to stand by her.

Me: I think it was last week Wednesday or so that I saw, for the first time in 9 years of working here, a woman who was pregnant for the first time at the age of 20. I was surprised… Pleasantly surprised.

A3: It is sad. Culturally legalized child abuse.

A5: The stories are endless. I lived in the region so I know what you mean.

A4: Hmmmm so sad … these are cultural issues human rights activists should face but hardly do.

A3: In a Drs chat grp in the place I work that I am also a part of, an issue concerning this came up and a doctor, I mean a doctor indigenous to that area, that is supposed to be enlightened and should know better said if God does not want minors to have children,  then why is a girl’s reproductive system mature  at 12 yes of age? I was sooooo angry that I just left the group.
My boss, a doctor, who shld be approaching 50 if not more than that just married an 18 yr old girl as a second wife.

Q: But please…. just saying, is 18yrs too young an age to marry? I personally don’t think so. Please try to understand me. I am against 50 yrs marrying 18 yrs. For social reasons and more. But is 18yrs too young to marry say a 25 yrs old man cos most of our aged grand and great grand married at 18 yrs… :oops::oops::oops:

Me: My dear, your question is valid. Nothing wrong with asking.

A5: I don’t think it is wrong to be married. I have a problem with anything less than 18. I just don’t see why a 13yr old should be married.

A3: There is nothing wrong in an 18 yr old girl getting married but there are many factors to consider. In our society, an 18 yr old girl just finished her secondary school. How about other things in life like pursuing a tertiary education before getting married?
If we notice, those of our mothers who got married that early do not want their daughters to do the same. Some go as far as demanding that their daughters finish their masters degrees before marriage cos they know they had to give up a lot.

A5: On that I agree.

A3: She is mature physically but how about emotionally and mentally?

A4: True. Most xtain families in some countries consider it an ideal age to marry. In fact, I mean developed countries. So you find them marrying in year one in university. They believe it is better to marry than to burn.

A3: In developed countries, at 18 , you would have charted a course for your life but not here.

A4: Yes not here. I agree absolutely. I had to raise this so we think outside the box.

A3: I agree it is better to marry than to burn but if sex is the reason for marriage,  then hmmmm. After the wedding and sex has been accomplished, what next?

A5: Exactly. Preach it …..

A4: You know, in some developed countries they have massive support. Most of the Christian communities support themselves. They also can get job easily.
In our society it is finance that affects most late marriages. So like some one said a poor economy equals shaky family lives. From marriage to afterwards .
At what age was Mary betrothed to Joseph? How old was Joseph…probably very young but he already had a profession. Food for thoughts.
How old was Kenneth Copeland when he married? Don’t mind me …. I like to expand matter.

A6: Hagin was 19 or 20.

Me: Hagin started ministry at age 17. If he got married at 19 or 20, then he was already on a well charted course at that time. His wife was a year younger than he.

A4: See? It bothers me how these days a 25yr old man is still in his parents’ house. Thanks to strikes and shaky economy.

A6: I like the factors [A1] has laid down. Emotional and mental maturity are key.

A4: True ….. very key. However, it goes to say maturity is not age dependent nor after 18yrs. It depends on how you are raised, your community and culture and your personality and exposure.

Me: Age is the number of years a body has spent on earth. 18 years is the legal age for most countries in the world for adulthood and attending rights.
However, just as some people at 18 are very mentally sound and some are still very immature, same with the body. The body doesn’t become mature at 12,16,18 or even 25. It becomes mature when it becomes mature. It varies from person to person.
Some girls indeed have reproductive maturity at age 12 but that is in the vast minority, the very tail end of the normal distribution curve. Something so rare cannot be adopted as the basis of a blanket statement but obviously that is what has been done and still being done in our setting.
Statistics show that for the vast majority of women, the best reproductive years are between the ages of 18 and 35 or so but even at that, other assessments need to be done to be sure she is ready or to, at least, have a guess.

18 years at marriage is not wrong but in most parts of the world as well as ours, at 18, most people today are not ready to face their world as stand alone individuals. At 15, our ancestors were warriors and farmers and blacksmiths or whatever and their women were excellent home makers. But that was all they needed to be in their days. Things have changed. Our world is infinitely more complex than theirs so we can’t simply make comparisons.

Besides, due to unavailability of data in our setting, it is difficult to convince people that the death rates in the days of our ancestors were astronomical compared to today. Most families lost untold numbers of babies at birth for reasons ascribed to the anger of the gods of the land and all they had to do was offer sacrifices… which mostly didn’t work cos people were still dying anyway.

My grandma lost three or four babies between her first child and her second which was my mom. My mom married when she was 17, I guess she was big and looked ready but she couldn’t get pregnant until she turned 20 and I was the result. Of course in between there were all manner of reasons to explain what happened but my guess is her body simply wasn’t ready because there after, she never had a problem conceiving and she ended her reproductive career with a beautiful set of twin girls bringing the total to 8 kids.

However, I don’t need statistics to convince you that the population of the world is increasing steadily. This is partly because child survival rates have gone up and that is because scientific practices are being adopted more.

When one mentions science, people immediately wrinkle their nose thinking we are submitting all the credit to science. But the truth is science is not creation, science is discovery. You observe, make notes, compare, analyse data gathered and find a line of best fit, test the theories so surmised and then accept them as the basis for practice if they are constant in their deliveries. That is all science does, no matter how fanciful it appears.

So, if science tells us that it is better to allow a lady reach her 18th birthday before getting married and consequently pregnant, it means this age has been associated with the most acceptable outcomes in most cases.

It is not wrong biologically for a girl to marry at 18 or before 18 in some extremely rare cases but there is more to that girl child’s life than marriage, more today for a girl to become than she would have had the chance to be say 100 or even 50 years ago.

I say give her a chance, let her mature mentally as well as physically, let her have have more than just sexual and reproductive capacity to take with her to her husband’s life. Men today need their women to be far more than they did back in the ancient times. Any man who is oblivious to that is still stuck in those ancient times times and it is such and similar “stuckness” that makes underdeveloped countries in the third world.

Q: Is age a prerequisite for maturity? I think it helps but experiences matter as well. Like our brothers’ leader would say to us then, “I have seen 30 year old boys and 18 year old men”.

Me: A child, girl or boy, who loses a parent has to survive so it is thrown into adult situations quite early and will appear to have matured quickly but stamina and toughness are only a part of maturity.

Q: Hmm….sir. Thanks as always. I will pick and save for when I am asked… but be rest assured I will reference your name properly.

A2: Definitely should go on the blog. Well said, sir, well said.

A6: Experiences = level of exposure.
Some people have it early, others take a while. However, like he said, there is a reason science chose 18 (generally accepted practice).

A4: True ….. very key. However, it goes to say maturity is not age dependent.

Me: I was in my 20s when I found myself in a situation at a ministers’ conference where someone pleading with me said “please, be mature” because some men in their 50s were fighting over seat positions while service was going on. I merely gave up my seat and picked the one both older men didn’t want. It turned out to be a better location than the one they were fighting over.
A few weeks later, at my granny’s funeral, one of the old men fighting over seats was officiating the program for the wake; he was my granny’s pastor. I had to wonder what he was teaching my granny all this while.

A4: Lol

Q: What then is maturity?

Me: There is growth, and there is maturity. Growth stops at some point, when maturity kicks in and never stops.
Maturity, apart from the physical component, begins when you start thinking that one day, you will have to stand up for yourself, make decisions and stand by them, bearing the consequences.
You further mature when you learn wisdom to chose what to stand for and what to allow to be. You keep learning and improving on your decision making skills as you go along but because that “going along” translates to time, you might have become considerably old before you have got it mastered. That is why we generally expect wisdom to be found amongst the old gray haired.
However, the wisdom arrived at is also dependent on what “trained” our minds in its journey. If all you had to go on are the experiences of yourself and others, you may come away with Street smarts and thus possibly jaded and cynical. If all you had was bookwork and bookworms, you might come away very philosophical and high sounding but perhaps not very practical. If all you had was spiritual stuff, then you might end up deeply thoughtful and conclude you, even at your old age, still have a lot to learn and most people might find it difficult to relate with you.
I think the man who has a balance of all three will do well.

A7: 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼

A6: 🙌 Yes sir!

Q: 👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽 I have to clap. Very well understood. Yes… Learning  should never stop.

A8: Nice one sir. The day you stop learning you start drowning. …🏊
🏿

HEADS UP! 

Hi there, I started a series a while back on dating. I couldn’t maintain the schedule cos the time I had for it was taken by something else but I’ve slowly prepared some addition for the series so we’re going back to it. 

For the benefit of those who started with me after the initial portion, I’ll go all the way to the beginning. 

Thanks for keeping up. 

Meanwhile, if you’ve not already done so, you should subscribe for automatic notification via email in the fields provided below so you get the posts when they are fresh form the press. 

On your feet, Soldier! 

​Never let the fact that you’re going through stuff make you doubt your relationship with God or compromise your faith in God. 

Many are the afflictions of the righteous but the Lord delivers him out of them all. 

A righteous man may fall seven times but he shall surely rise again. 

There is hope for a tree that is cut down; at the sent of water, it shall spring up again. 
You shall spring up again, yes, you shall surely rise.

NEHEMIAH … 23

23…

13:4-9

The same Eliashib who performed nobly under Nehemiah performed shamefully under Tobiah. Sad.

Yet this shows why we should pray for those in government so we can live “peaceful, honest and godly lives.” (1 Timothy 2:2). If Tobiah had been a godly fellow, his influence on Eliashib would have helped Eliashib perform better.

Sometimes, in order to do God’s will as He wants us to, we’d have to turn our backs on family members and break some family ties. Jesus said so. (Matthew 10:34-37).

— end —