It is almost indisputable that in this day and age love has become a word we have become desensitized to. We don’t understand it’s meaning anymore. We don’t understand that above all love is the very definition of commitment.
Not many are willing to commit, it is too much of a sacrifice. The ‘what if’s’ win out (what if my feelings change, what if I’m no longer attracted to him/her). What we don’t realize is that feelings are deceitful and they can wreck our lives worse than a tornado if we base love solely based on feelings. We often use the term: falling in love. No I disagree with this. Falling implies chaos, an accident, pain, horrible consequences. Love needs to be more intentional than this if we don’t want to be left with horrible scars that take years to heal (believe me, I know a bit about this). Love is the thing that remains when the feelings go away, where you would still battle through hard days with that person even when you are hard pressed to like that person because you simply know that despite everything, despite the flaws, you would die for that person. It is a friendship that develops and blooms, it is a seed that is planted and watered and cared for and then can be enjoyed with it’s beautiful aroma. Love is not simply going to a flower boutique and picking a rose that you have not tended and nurtured (yes this coming from a person who has no green thumb). There is no satisfaction in that. But to know that the flower will continue to bloom in the garden where it belongs with your love and care, there is a satisfaction to that, because you have poured out your time into that. It is the same with friendship that develops into a forever love.
Love honors above all else, it knows how to sacrifice, it knows how to respect that which is beautiful and pure. It does not tear down and storm through and then leave everything wilted and dead.
Many of us have known the kind of ‘love’ that is not love. The kind that defiles the very sacredness of love and we are tempted to never love again…but that is only because we have never encountered the Christ love that can exist in a man or a woman who know Christ. You see, Jesus said this to men:
Ephesians 5: 25-28 (NASB) Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself;
If men were to HONOR women like in the verse above, a few things would happen:
- He would give himself up for her, put her above himself (sacrifice)
- He would sanctify her and cleanse her (by the washing of water with the word). To me this means he would point her to HIM (Jesus), he would seek to purify her, he would not lead her into temptations that he shouldn’t, provoking her etc.
- He would love her as he loves himself…now lets admit it, we all can be a bit selfish and think of ourselves first, if men were to put their wives and think of them as they do themselves, they would have a happy spouse.
If the above is done, then it would be very easy for the wife to SUBMIT to such a man as it is preached over and over from the pulpits. That is the kind of man that is worthy to be the head of a family, because he KNOWS what family is.
NOW, keeping all of the above in mind, many young and older people these days find it hard to find the kind of love described above, because as I said, not many people value that kind of love anymore, or if they do are tired of waiting for their Boaz or Ruth and so we seek other avenues.
This is where online dating comes into the picture for many ladies…and men. So, if you must go on this hunt, in this manner, I would say please be safe. There are a few steps you can take in staying safe:
The above article mentions not giving your address, phone number or real email until trust is established, this should be a give in. I would also add if you have children, no meeting of them until a deep level of trust is established.
Don’t get lured into going far distances and don’t be naive enough to believe sob stories…because most likely that is what they are. Predators prey on sympathy and if you are a caring person they will pick up on that. Check facts…run background checks if you must (some go as far as hiring an investigator to run background checks though keep in mind just because someone comes back with a clear record doesn’t make them a good person…just hasn’t gotten caught).
Move slow, don’t get sucked into moving into a fast relationship, don’t let your emotions rule you, take a step back and let your logic take over for a bit.
Listen and watch for clues in behavior once you do meet that person. Does this person constantly want you AWAY from friends and family? This should serve as a red flag. A person with good intentions would normally be eager to get to know both your friends and family just as you would his. It goes both ways.
When you go on your dates, tell a friend or family member when and where you will be (especially in the beginning stages) and as the article above mentions, YOU drive your own car, though it might be romantic to be picked up by a gentleman, keep in mind this is NOT someone you have known for years and in this case it is not safe or appropriate. Oh yes, and don’t go to a secluded place for heaven’s sake…make it a good populated, public place, in broad daylight.
As for in case things do go bad…I would say it wouldn’t be a bad idea to have pepper spray or at least know how to defend yourself.
Remember, you are worth being safe. You are worth not compromising. You are worth loving. Don’t become a victim, stay smart and don’t let your heart be torn out by a person who preys on those with good hearts who just want to truly love. Above all else, love is forever. It is not fleeting. It is not a fling. It is not just a physical relationship…and for the physical to exist, I truly believe that man/woman needs to be ready to commit to marriage. Don’t compromise, you are priceless in the eyes of Jesus, you were bought with a price! Demand that whoever you meet treats you with the honor that Christ demands.