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Quotes of Author: Richard-phillips-and-sharon-phillips

1.
A great many Christian books and counselors hail compatibility as the key to a successful and happy marriage. In our view, this reflects the consumer model of our secular culture more than the sacrificial model found in Holy Scripture. Marriage, experts tell us, works only when our needs and desires are met. But no such teaching is found in the Bible. In Scripture, we find that marriage works as a man and a woman stand before God in obedient faith, giving instead of taking, and serving instead of demanding. This is our problem with the emphasis on finding a compatible companion: it turns the whole of the Christian life on its head. Jesus said of Himself, “The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve” (Matt. 20:28), and surely marital love can be built on no other foundation.

A great many Christian books and counselors hail compatibility as the key to a successful and happy marriage. In our view, this reflects the consumer model of our secular culture more than the sacrificial model found in Holy Scripture. Marriage, experts tell us, works only when our needs and desires are met. But no such teaching is found in the Bible. In Scripture, we find that marriage works as a man and a woman stand before God in obedient faith, giving instead of taking, and serving instead of demanding. This is our problem with the emphasis on finding a compatible companion: it turns the whole of the Christian life on its head. Jesus said of Himself, “The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve” (Matt. 20:28), and surely marital love can be built on no other foundation.

Reference:   Holding Hands and Holding Hearts, P&R, 2006, p. 155-156. Used by Permission.


2.
A redeemed woman is one who has entered into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ through faith. Her sins are forgiven, and she knows God’s love. She fears the Lord realizing that blessing for her comes through obedience to His Word. His commands are not burdensome to her and her heart is not set on worldly treasures. She attends regular worship and approaches her life with prayer. She enjoys healthy fellowship with other believers and bears observable fruit in ministry to others. She answers God’s calling in her life while single, not waiting for marriage to give her happiness or purpose.

A redeemed woman is one who has entered into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ through faith. Her sins are forgiven, and she knows God’s love. She fears the Lord realizing that blessing for her comes through obedience to His Word. His commands are not burdensome to her and her heart is not set on worldly treasures. She attends regular worship and approaches her life with prayer. She enjoys healthy fellowship with other believers and bears observable fruit in ministry to others. She answers God’s calling in her life while single, not waiting for marriage to give her happiness or purpose.

Reference:   Holding Hands and Holding Hearts, P&R, 2006, p. 78. Used by Permission.


3.
Take a look, then, at what you are presenting to men and ask what kind of man you will attract. If you are relying on charm and outward beauty, setting them forth in your dress and flirtatious conduct, then realize that it is only the foolish man who will fall into your trap. Especially if you are loud or contentious, realize that the Bible specifically warns men against falling for you. The godly man, the man who will make a loving and faithful husband, sees you and turns away. How much better for you to trust the Lord and cultivate those spiritual beauties that are calculated to draw a man of godly character and real wisdom and, better still, that are certain to make you precious in the sight of our loving Lord and God.

Take a look, then, at what you are presenting to men and ask what kind of man you will attract. If you are relying on charm and outward beauty, setting them forth in your dress and flirtatious conduct, then realize that it is only the foolish man who will fall into your trap. Especially if you are loud or contentious, realize that the Bible specifically warns men against falling for you. The godly man, the man who will make a loving and faithful husband, sees you and turns away. How much better for you to trust the Lord and cultivate those spiritual beauties that are calculated to draw a man of godly character and real wisdom and, better still, that are certain to make you precious in the sight of our loving Lord and God.

Reference:   Holding Hands and Holding Hearts, P&R, 2006, p. 104. Used by Permission.


4.
What matters most is not finding the one right person but becoming the person that God wants you to be. Before judging the man or woman you are with – scrutinizing and appraising every attribute and characteristic, as if you were buying a horse – you ought instead to scrutinize your own heart. Here are some questions to ask before an engagement to marriage:

1. What would it mean for me to love him or her in accordance with the Bible’s teaching?

2. Am I willing to commit myself to anyone “for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health?”

3. Can I be steadfast in fidelity and servant-hearted in ministry?

4. Is God leading our lives in similar directions?

5. Do we have similar goals and ideas about children?

The issue is not whether you can find someone worthy of your love, but whether you are ready to give a love that is worthy of marriage.

What matters most is not finding the one right person but becoming the person that God wants you to be. Before judging the man or woman you are with – scrutinizing and appraising every attribute and characteristic, as if you were buying a horse – you ought instead to scrutinize your own heart. Here are some questions to ask before an engagement to marriage: 1. What would it mean for me to love him or her in accordance with the Bible’s teaching? 2. Am I willing to commit myself to anyone “for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health?” 3. Can I be steadfast in fidelity and servant-hearted in ministry? 4. Is God leading our lives in similar directions? 5. Do we have similar goals and ideas about children? The issue is not whether you can find someone worthy of your love, but whether you are ready to give a love that is worthy of marriage.

Reference:   Holding Hands and Holding Hearts, P&R, 2006, p. 154-155. Used by Permission.


5.
Compatibility is not the key to marriage… It is our conviction, based on experience in ministry and God’s Word, that two Christians who share an attraction, who are committed in faith to God through Christ, and who are determined to obey the Bible’s teachings will be able to love each other in marriage.

Compatibility is not the key to marriage… It is our conviction, based on experience in ministry and God’s Word, that two Christians who share an attraction, who are committed in faith to God through Christ, and who are determined to obey the Bible’s teachings will be able to love each other in marriage.

Reference:   Holding Hands and Holding Hearts, P&R, 2006, p. 158. Used by Permission.


6.
Instead of considering those women who are most physically attractive, and then trying to restrain your flesh so as to give at least some thought to Christian character, you ought first to focus on those women who give evidence of fearing the Lord. Feminine wiles are deceiving, says God’s Word, and men easily fall prey to this very thing. Therefore, a wise Christian man will protect himself from the entrapment of beauty and will desire above all else a godly, growing Christian woman.

Instead of considering those women who are most physically attractive, and then trying to restrain your flesh so as to give at least some thought to Christian character, you ought first to focus on those women who give evidence of fearing the Lord. Feminine wiles are deceiving, says God’s Word, and men easily fall prey to this very thing. Therefore, a wise Christian man will protect himself from the entrapment of beauty and will desire above all else a godly, growing Christian woman.

Reference:   Holding Hands and Holding Hearts, P&R, 2006, p. 93. Used by Permission.


7.
A Christian woman is to seek a man who is: 1. Regular at church… A believing man who often cannot make time to faithfully attend and to be a contributing member of a church is not a likely candidate for the obligations and challenges of marriage. 2. A man of the Word of God, a man of prayer, and a man who delights in worship. 3. A man after God’s own heart. 4. [A possessor of] specific character traits [such as] industry… integrity…self-control…[and] kindness.

A Christian woman is to seek a man who is: 1. Regular at church… A believing man who often cannot make time to faithfully attend and to be a contributing member of a church is not a likely candidate for the obligations and challenges of marriage. 2. A man of the Word of God, a man of prayer, and a man who delights in worship. 3. A man after God’s own heart. 4. [A possessor of] specific character traits [such as] industry… integrity…self-control…[and] kindness.

Reference:   Holding Hands and Holding Hearts, P&R, 2006, p. 105-109. Used by Permission.


8.
Sin is the rejection of God’s authority. Sin is based on a denial of God’s goodness and truth. Sin involves idolatry.

Sin is the rejection of God’s authority. Sin is based on a denial of God’s goodness and truth. Sin involves idolatry.

Reference:   Holding Hands and Holding Hearts, P&R, 2006, p. 39. Used by Permission.


9.
God also places a man in a relationship with a woman so that she will grow spiritually within the safe confines of his loving care. This is masculine love, as defined by God: to nurture and to protect. Men are to show a protective and nurturing concern for women that equals (or surpasses) their instinctive concern for their own bodies. As Christian men do this, the women in their lives will shine with the spiritual beauty that is precious to God.

God also places a man in a relationship with a woman so that she will grow spiritually within the safe confines of his loving care. This is masculine love, as defined by God: to nurture and to protect. Men are to show a protective and nurturing concern for women that equals (or surpasses) their instinctive concern for their own bodies. As Christian men do this, the women in their lives will shine with the spiritual beauty that is precious to God.

Reference:   Holding Hands and Holding Hearts, P&R, 2006, p. 73. Used by Permission.


10.
Idols never satisfy, but always demand increasingly more, constantly adding to the burdens of our lives and in the end giving nothing of lasting value.

Idols never satisfy, but always demand increasingly more, constantly adding to the burdens of our lives and in the end giving nothing of lasting value.

Reference:   Holding Hands and Holding Hearts, P&R, 2006, p. 62. Used by Permission.


11.
We are all worshipers, and whatever we worship we rely upon and serve. For many men, success is the god they worship and serve. For others, it is fame or pleasure. Women often worship beauty or falling in love. Whatever it is, we worship it because we think it will make our lives work. It will secure us against a hostile world, it will give us satisfaction – in short, it will be our Savior. Thus, when an idolater says, “I love you, “what he means is, “You are a means for getting what I want. You are serving my needs and securing my hopes.

We are all worshipers, and whatever we worship we rely upon and serve. For many men, success is the god they worship and serve. For others, it is fame or pleasure. Women often worship beauty or falling in love. Whatever it is, we worship it because we think it will make our lives work. It will secure us against a hostile world, it will give us satisfaction – in short, it will be our Savior. Thus, when an idolater says, “I love you, “what he means is, “You are a means for getting what I want. You are serving my needs and securing my hopes.

Reference:   Holding Hands and Holding Hearts, P&R, 2006, p. 59. Used by Permission.


12.
The key to trials is to get out of them all that God intends for us.

The key to trials is to get out of them all that God intends for us.

Reference:   Holding Hands and Holding Hearts, P&R, 2006, p. 168. Used by Permission.


13.
In the right setting – that is marriage – sex is a wonderful gift from God. Sex is given for our good. But God gave sex to be the servant of love and never the slave of lust. God intends for love to express itself in the commitment of marriage, and only then for intimacy to unite us in the joys of sexual love.

In the right setting – that is marriage – sex is a wonderful gift from God. Sex is given for our good. But God gave sex to be the servant of love and never the slave of lust. God intends for love to express itself in the commitment of marriage, and only then for intimacy to unite us in the joys of sexual love.

Reference:   Holding Hands and Holding Hearts, P&R, 2006, p. 143. Used by Permission.


14.
In today’s society, intimacy means practically nothing more than having sex. Couples meet and immediately begin enjoying sexual intercourse, committing either to immoral hedonism or to the idea that sex will serve as the foundation for love. This goes a long way toward explaining why so many marriages, built on no stronger foundation than sexual thrills, end in divorce soon after the flames of passion have died down.

In today’s society, intimacy means practically nothing more than having sex. Couples meet and immediately begin enjoying sexual intercourse, committing either to immoral hedonism or to the idea that sex will serve as the foundation for love. This goes a long way toward explaining why so many marriages, built on no stronger foundation than sexual thrills, end in divorce soon after the flames of passion have died down.

Reference:   Holding Hands and Holding Hearts, P&R, 2006, p. 143. Used by Permission.


15.
It was thus in mercy that God cursed the woman and the man, injecting a poison into their relationship for which He alone is the antidote. In the futility of love apart from God, Adam and Eve were to turn back to God, just as we must turn to God today for grace to repent of sin and minister in love. Love between a man and woman simply cannot work without love for God at the center of the relationship; by means of His curses, God mercifully brings this fact to our attention so as to woo us back to Himself.

It was thus in mercy that God cursed the woman and the man, injecting a poison into their relationship for which He alone is the antidote. In the futility of love apart from God, Adam and Eve were to turn back to God, just as we must turn to God today for grace to repent of sin and minister in love. Love between a man and woman simply cannot work without love for God at the center of the relationship; by means of His curses, God mercifully brings this fact to our attention so as to woo us back to Himself.

Reference:   Holding Hands and Holding Hearts, P&R, 2006, p. 49. Used by Permission.


16.
The way to destroy Adam and Eve, [the devil] realized, was to turn their hearts away from God.

The way to destroy Adam and Eve, [the devil] realized, was to turn their hearts away from God.

Reference:   Holding Hands and Holding Hearts, P&R, 2006, p. 38. Used by Permission.


17.
God’s curse on the woman is alive and well today. Go to any checkout counter and look at the contents of so many women’s magazines. Page after page, article after article, is devoted to the very things God cursed Eve with: an obsession with possessing and captivating men, mainly through beauty and sex. If it is true that women tend both to long for a man and to try to control the man they have, the origin of this problem is found in God’s curse on Eve.

God’s curse on the woman is alive and well today. Go to any checkout counter and look at the contents of so many women’s magazines. Page after page, article after article, is devoted to the very things God cursed Eve with: an obsession with possessing and captivating men, mainly through beauty and sex. If it is true that women tend both to long for a man and to try to control the man they have, the origin of this problem is found in God’s curse on Eve.

Reference:   Holding Hands and Holding Hearts, P&R, 2006, p. 44-45. Used by Permission.


18.
We can observe three characteristics of this now-cursed desire of the woman for the man. First, the woman’s desire serves her own ends rather than serving first the glory of God and then the well-being of the man. Second, her desire weakens and disarms the man rather than complementing and helping him. Third, her desire for the man is driven by carnal emotions – fear, jealousy, self-pity, anger, pride – rather than by trust in God’s design.

We can observe three characteristics of this now-cursed desire of the woman for the man. First, the woman’s desire serves her own ends rather than serving first the glory of God and then the well-being of the man. Second, her desire weakens and disarms the man rather than complementing and helping him. Third, her desire for the man is driven by carnal emotions – fear, jealousy, self-pity, anger, pride – rather than by trust in God’s design.

Reference:   Holding Hands and Holding Hearts, P&R, 2006, p. 45. Used by Permission.


19.
Because of this curse, feminine sin involves disrespect toward men, challenging for control, belittling comments, incessant nagging, and exploiting his weaknesses, all in the place of godly respect and helpful companionship. The man must strive against her for headship, for respect, and for the rule that God gave him over the relationship.

Because of this curse, feminine sin involves disrespect toward men, challenging for control, belittling comments, incessant nagging, and exploiting his weaknesses, all in the place of godly respect and helpful companionship. The man must strive against her for headship, for respect, and for the rule that God gave him over the relationship.

Reference:   Holding Hands and Holding Hearts, P&R, 2006, p. 47. Used by Permission.


20.
The devil’s attack against God begins with the greatest of God’s creatures, the one who has dominion over all else, the one who bears God’s image and holds the dearest place in God’s heart. It says quite a lot that what the devil hated most in God’s perfect world was the man and the woman in their relationship with God.

The devil’s attack against God begins with the greatest of God’s creatures, the one who has dominion over all else, the one who bears God’s image and holds the dearest place in God’s heart. It says quite a lot that what the devil hated most in God’s perfect world was the man and the woman in their relationship with God.

Reference:   Holding Hands and Holding Hearts, P&R, 2006, p. 38. Used by Permission.


21.
Intimacy should therefore follow commitment; commitment is the cup into which intimacy is safely poured and from which it is wholesomely enjoyed.

Intimacy should therefore follow commitment; commitment is the cup into which intimacy is safely poured and from which it is wholesomely enjoyed.

Reference:   Holding Hands and Holding Hearts, P&R, 2006, p. 35. Used by Permission.


22.
Commitment, intimacy, and interdependence – these are the building blocks by which a healthy dating relationship grows toward marriage. They start out small – a first date does not and normally should not involve a great deal of commitment, intimacy, or interdependence – but as a couple desires to grow toward marriage, they should pray for these qualities to grow in their relationship and they should give of themselves along these lines. This is, by the way, the best way to develop a healthy marriage. A strong marriage draws from the relationship that was developed before the wedding, a relationship that grew according to the architectural plans of God’s design in creation.

Commitment, intimacy, and interdependence – these are the building blocks by which a healthy dating relationship grows toward marriage. They start out small – a first date does not and normally should not involve a great deal of commitment, intimacy, or interdependence – but as a couple desires to grow toward marriage, they should pray for these qualities to grow in their relationship and they should give of themselves along these lines. This is, by the way, the best way to develop a healthy marriage. A strong marriage draws from the relationship that was developed before the wedding, a relationship that grew according to the architectural plans of God’s design in creation.

Reference:   Holding Hands and Holding Hearts, P&R, 2006, p. 36. Used by Permission.


23.
[A godly single] answers God’s calling in his/her life while single, not waiting for marriage to give him/her happiness or purpose.

[A godly single] answers God’s calling in his/her life while single, not waiting for marriage to give him/her happiness or purpose.

Reference:   Holding Hands and Holding Hearts, P&R, 2006, p. 78. Used by Permission.


24.
For the majority of adult Christians, singleness is not a gift but a trial.

For the majority of adult Christians, singleness is not a gift but a trial.

Reference:   Holding Hands and Holding Hearts, P&R, 2006, p. 164. Used by Permission.


25.
If you cannot be contented in singleness, you will not be contented in marriage… No one person can be the source of your contentment. Contentment comes only from God, and the sooner we start seeking it in Him, the better off we will be.

If you cannot be contented in singleness, you will not be contented in marriage… No one person can be the source of your contentment. Contentment comes only from God, and the sooner we start seeking it in Him, the better off we will be.

Reference:   Holding Hands and Holding Hearts, P&R, 2006, p. 171. Used by Permission.


26.
Too many singles think that life starts only with marriage. But singles must cultivate a purposeful life of Christian growth and service. You are not stuck in a holding pattern, just waiting to land at the great airport of life. The habits you develop as a single will carry over into marriage, and you will probably pass them on to your children. Remember, it is death – not a wedding – that removes every vestige of sin and presents us glorious before God. As singles, we must cultivate godly habits and the fruit of the Spirit that enables us to lead holy and effective lives.

Too many singles think that life starts only with marriage. But singles must cultivate a purposeful life of Christian growth and service. You are not stuck in a holding pattern, just waiting to land at the great airport of life. The habits you develop as a single will carry over into marriage, and you will probably pass them on to your children. Remember, it is death – not a wedding – that removes every vestige of sin and presents us glorious before God. As singles, we must cultivate godly habits and the fruit of the Spirit that enables us to lead holy and effective lives.

Reference:   Holding Hands and Holding Hearts, P&R, 2006, p. 175. Used by Permission.


27.
Counsel, prayer and accountability – these are three vital tools for healthy, wholesome dating.

Counsel, prayer and accountability – these are three vital tools for healthy, wholesome dating.

Reference:   Holding Hands and Holding Hearts, P&R, 2006, p. 119. Used by Permission.


28.
In a dating relationship, a man does not have a right to expect submission from the woman, since this obligation is reserved for marriage. But backtracking this principle into a dating relationship, a man should take it as his responsibility to lead the relationship, ensuring that it honors God and is a blessing to the woman he is dating… Unlike the norm for worldly men, the Christian is not to exploit the woman sexually, emotionally, or otherwise, but to minister to her needs so that she will be blessed.

In a dating relationship, a man does not have a right to expect submission from the woman, since this obligation is reserved for marriage. But backtracking this principle into a dating relationship, a man should take it as his responsibility to lead the relationship, ensuring that it honors God and is a blessing to the woman he is dating… Unlike the norm for worldly men, the Christian is not to exploit the woman sexually, emotionally, or otherwise, but to minister to her needs so that she will be blessed.

Reference:   Holding Hands and Holding Hearts, P&R, 2006, p. 71-72. Used by Permission.


29.
Some specific suggestions for how a Christian man can put these principles into action in a dating relationship:

1. Commit to take the lead in the godliness of your relationship. Read the Bible’s passages about how men and women and all Christians should treat one another. Especially take the lead in establishing boundaries that will keep you from sexual sin. Assume that this woman is going to be your wife or the wife of some other Christian brother (who might be currently dating your future wife). Treat her as the precious sister in Christ that she is.

2. Decide in advance whether or not you are willing to love a woman in the self-sacrificing, nurturing way the Bible describes. Until you are ready to faithfully hold a woman’s heart in your hand, do not enter into a dating relationship.

3. Realizing that God wants you to learn to put her interest ahead of your own, ask her the kinds of things she likes to do and be eager to spend time doing them.

4. Be willing to talk about the relationship. Initiate honest dialogue about how you feel. Do not resent her desire to have the relationship defined, but protect her heart by making your level of commitment clear and thereby making clear the appropriate kind of intimacy to go along with that commitment.

5. Pay attention to her heart. Ask her about her burdens and cares. Seek ways to minister to her and to make her cares your own. Instead of being critical of her, speak words of encouragement and support.

6. Do not be shy in ministering the Word of God to her. Do not preach, but exhort her and call to mind God’s promises and God’s love for her in Jesus Christ. Make it a primary goal that she will be spiritually stronger by having been in a relationship with you.

7. If something about her bothers you, think about how you can encourage her in that area. Realize that none of us is without flaws. Pray for her weakness and try to strengthen her in that area. If your concerns are enough to deter you from wanting to marry her, let her know in a forthright manner while being as considerate as possible.

Some specific suggestions for how a Christian man can put these principles into action in a dating relationship: 1. Commit to take the lead in the godliness of your relationship. Read the Bible’s passages about how men and women and all Christians should treat one another. Especially take the lead in establishing boundaries that will keep you from sexual sin. Assume that this woman is going to be your wife or the wife of some other Christian brother (who might be currently dating your future wife). Treat her as the precious sister in Christ that she is. 2. Decide in advance whether or not you are willing to love a woman in the self-sacrificing, nurturing way the Bible describes. Until you are ready to faithfully hold a woman’s heart in your hand, do not enter into a dating relationship. 3. Realizing that God wants you to learn to put her interest ahead of your own, ask her the kinds of things she likes to do and be eager to spend time doing them. 4. Be willing to talk about the relationship. Initiate honest dialogue about how you feel. Do not resent her desire to have the relationship defined, but protect her heart by making your level of commitment clear and thereby making clear the appropriate kind of intimacy to go along with that commitment. 5. Pay attention to her heart. Ask her about her burdens and cares. Seek ways to minister to her and to make her cares your own. Instead of being critical of her, speak words of encouragement and support. 6. Do not be shy in ministering the Word of God to her. Do not preach, but exhort her and call to mind God’s promises and God’s love for her in Jesus Christ. Make it a primary goal that she will be spiritually stronger by having been in a relationship with you. 7. If something about her bothers you, think about how you can encourage her in that area. Realize that none of us is without flaws. Pray for her weakness and try to strengthen her in that area. If your concerns are enough to deter you from wanting to marry her, let her know in a forthright manner while being as considerate as possible.

Reference:   Holding Hands and Holding Hearts, P&R, 2006, p. 77-78. Used by Permission.


30.
In dating [the Christian woman] helps the man by letting him lead the relationship and honoring God alongside him. She helps him by being respectful of his ideas and his relationship to the Lord. This does not mean going along with a man even if he wants to lead her into sin! But it does mean that she helps him to conduct their relationship in a God-honoring way.

In dating [the Christian woman] helps the man by letting him lead the relationship and honoring God alongside him. She helps him by being respectful of his ideas and his relationship to the Lord. This does not mean going along with a man even if he wants to lead her into sin! But it does mean that she helps him to conduct their relationship in a God-honoring way.

Reference:   Holding Hands and Holding Hearts, P&R, 2006, p. 79. Used by Permission.


31.
What, then, does submission and respect look like for a woman in a dating relationship? Here are some guidelines:

1.  A woman should allow the man to initiate the relationship. This does not mean that she does nothing. She helps! If she thinks there is a good possibility for a relationship, she makes herself accessible to him and helps him to make conversation, putting him at ease and encouraging him as opportunities arise (she does the opposite when she does not have interest in a relationship with a man). A godly woman will not try to manipulate the start of a relationship, but will respond to the interest and approaches of a man in a godly, encouraging way.

2. A godly woman should speak positively and respectfully about her boyfriend, both when with him and when apart.

3. She should give honest attention to his interests and respond to his attention and care by opening up her heart.

4. She should recognize the sexual temptations with which a single man will normally struggle. Knowing this, she will dress attractively but modestly, and will avoid potentially compromising situations. She must resist the temptation to encourage sexual liberties as a way to win his heart.

5. The Christian woman should build up the man with God’s Word and give encouragement to godly leadership. She should allow and seek biblical encouragement from the man she is dating.

6. She should make “helping” and “respecting” the watchwords of her behavior toward a man. She should ask herself, “How can I encourage him, especially in his walk with God?” “How can I provide practical helps that are appropriate to the current place in our relationship?” She should share with him in a way that will enable him to care for her heart, asking, “What can I do or say that will help him to understand who I really am, and how can I participate in the things he cares about?”

7. She must remember that this is a brother in the Lord. She should not be afraid to end an unhealthy relationship, but should seek to do so with charity and grace. Should the relationship not continue forward, the godly woman will ensure that her time with a man will have left him spiritually blessed.

What, then, does submission and respect look like for a woman in a dating relationship? Here are some guidelines: 1. A woman should allow the man to initiate the relationship. This does not mean that she does nothing. She helps! If she thinks there is a good possibility for a relationship, she makes herself accessible to him and helps him to make conversation, putting him at ease and encouraging him as opportunities arise (she does the opposite when she does not have interest in a relationship with a man). A godly woman will not try to manipulate the start of a relationship, but will respond to the interest and approaches of a man in a godly, encouraging way. 2. A godly woman should speak positively and respectfully about her boyfriend, both when with him and when apart. 3. She should give honest attention to his interests and respond to his attention and care by opening up her heart. 4. She should recognize the sexual temptations with which a single man will normally struggle. Knowing this, she will dress attractively but modestly, and will avoid potentially compromising situations. She must resist the temptation to encourage sexual liberties as a way to win his heart. 5. The Christian woman should build up the man with God’s Word and give encouragement to godly leadership. She should allow and seek biblical encouragement from the man she is dating. 6. She should make “helping” and “respecting” the watchwords of her behavior toward a man. She should ask herself, “How can I encourage him, especially in his walk with God?” “How can I provide practical helps that are appropriate to the current place in our relationship?” She should share with him in a way that will enable him to care for her heart, asking, “What can I do or say that will help him to understand who I really am, and how can I participate in the things he cares about?” 7. She must remember that this is a brother in the Lord. She should not be afraid to end an unhealthy relationship, but should seek to do so with charity and grace. Should the relationship not continue forward, the godly woman will ensure that her time with a man will have left him spiritually blessed.

Reference:   Holding Hands and Holding Hearts, P&R, 2006, p. 85-86. Used by Permission.


32.
What does the Bible say about dating? Nothing. And everything! Our challenge is to think biblically about an activity that isn’t in the Bible.

What does the Bible say about dating? Nothing. And everything! Our challenge is to think biblically about an activity that isn’t in the Bible.

Reference:   Holding Hands and Holding Hearts, P&R, 2006, p. 12. Used by Permission.


33.
According to the Bible’s perspective, if you are dating you are not just holding hands, you are holding hearts. What you do with your own heart, and what you do with another’s, is a matter of great importance.

According to the Bible’s perspective, if you are dating you are not just holding hands, you are holding hearts. What you do with your own heart, and what you do with another’s, is a matter of great importance.

Reference:   Holding Hands and Holding Hearts, P&R, 2006, p. 15. Used by Permission.


34.
A woman needs to know about a man’s background and character before he has worked his way into her heart.

A woman needs to know about a man’s background and character before he has worked his way into her heart.

Reference:   Holding Hands and Holding Hearts, P&R, 2006, p. 117. Used by Permission.


35.
God values them with a great love, and men who think the treatment of a Christian woman’s heart will not affect their own relationship with God are seriously mistaken. She is Daddy’s little girl!

God values them with a great love, and men who think the treatment of a Christian woman’s heart will not affect their own relationship with God are seriously mistaken. She is Daddy’s little girl!

Reference:   Holding Hands and Holding Hearts, P&R, 2006, p. 76. Used by Permission.


36.
No one person can be the source of your contentment. Contentment comes only from God, and the sooner we start seeking it in Him, the better off we will be.

No one person can be the source of your contentment. Contentment comes only from God, and the sooner we start seeking it in Him, the better off we will be.

Reference:   Holding Hands and Holding Hearts, P&R, 2006, p. 171. Used by Permission.


37.
It is commonly accepted among men today that the great danger is to get married too early. The thought of marriage is approached with fear and trepidation, with the threat of what the man will lose mainly in mind. But in the view of Genesis 2 – and in our experience in ministering to singles – the greater danger is what will happen to the man if he doesn’t marry. It is not good for a single man to develop selfish and otherwise sinful habits. It is not good for a man to grow older without the sanctifying influences of a wife and children. It is not good for a man to battle with sexual frustrations. (The same things might be said about a woman, too, but the Bible is specifically talking here about the man.) What is good for a man is to seek a relationship that will blossom into marriage – the sooner in adult life, the better.

It is commonly accepted among men today that the great danger is to get married too early. The thought of marriage is approached with fear and trepidation, with the threat of what the man will lose mainly in mind. But in the view of Genesis 2 – and in our experience in ministering to singles – the greater danger is what will happen to the man if he doesn’t marry. It is not good for a single man to develop selfish and otherwise sinful habits. It is not good for a man to grow older without the sanctifying influences of a wife and children. It is not good for a man to battle with sexual frustrations. (The same things might be said about a woman, too, but the Bible is specifically talking here about the man.) What is good for a man is to seek a relationship that will blossom into marriage – the sooner in adult life, the better.

Reference:   Holding Hands and Holding Hearts, P&R, 2006, p. 21. Used by Permission.


38.
A Christian man who takes the lead in sexual purity, and who tells the woman that her heart means more to him than her body, and her purity is more valuable to him than his own pleasure, liberates her from a cruel bondage and gives her a blessing that words can hardly describe

A Christian man who takes the lead in sexual purity, and who tells the woman that her heart means more to him than her body, and her purity is more valuable to him than his own pleasure, liberates her from a cruel bondage and gives her a blessing that words can hardly describe

Reference:   Holding Hands and Holding Hearts, P&R, 2006, p. 153. Used by Permission.


39.
One of the reasons why so many fall into sexual sin – bringing guilt into the relationship and short-circuiting its emotional and spiritual growth – is that they place themselves in tempting situations. This is simply foolish, and Christian men and women who are realistic about sexual temptation will not put themselves in a position to fall.

One of the reasons why so many fall into sexual sin – bringing guilt into the relationship and short-circuiting its emotional and spiritual growth – is that they place themselves in tempting situations. This is simply foolish, and Christian men and women who are realistic about sexual temptation will not put themselves in a position to fall.

Reference:   Holding Hands and Holding Hearts, P&R, 2006, p. 118. Used by Permission.


40.
Sexual sin will damage and often ruin a promising relationship. It stops the development of emotional, intellectual, and spiritual intimacy.

Sexual sin will damage and often ruin a promising relationship. It stops the development of emotional, intellectual, and spiritual intimacy.

Reference:   Holding Hands and Holding Hearts, P&R, 2006, p. 152. Used by Permission.


41.
How are you to avoid falling into sexual sin? The answer is this: while you struggle with unfulfilled sexual desires, the last thing you should do is to toy with them. Human sexuality operates on a positive-feedback system. Each stimulus is designed not to leave you satisfied but to increase your desire until you finally join in sexual intercourse.

How are you to avoid falling into sexual sin? The answer is this: while you struggle with unfulfilled sexual desires, the last thing you should do is to toy with them. Human sexuality operates on a positive-feedback system. Each stimulus is designed not to leave you satisfied but to increase your desire until you finally join in sexual intercourse.

Reference:   Holding Hands and Holding Hearts, P&R, 2006, p. 149-150. Used by Permission.


42.
A typical mistake made by Christian singles is to ask, “How far can we go?” The very question reveals a troubling attitude, and the one who asks it has already gone too far. But since it is the question that many really want to ask, this is an honest response to the Bible’s teaching: “Not very far at all.” Physical, sexual interaction between a man and a woman is reserved for marriage. Too many Christians believe that so long as full-blown sexual intercourse is resisted, other forms of sexual interaction are acceptable. But such an attitude is far out of line with the Bible.

A typical mistake made by Christian singles is to ask, “How far can we go?” The very question reveals a troubling attitude, and the one who asks it has already gone too far. But since it is the question that many really want to ask, this is an honest response to the Bible’s teaching: “Not very far at all.” Physical, sexual interaction between a man and a woman is reserved for marriage. Too many Christians believe that so long as full-blown sexual intercourse is resisted, other forms of sexual interaction are acceptable. But such an attitude is far out of line with the Bible.

Reference:   Holding Hands and Holding Hearts, P&R, 2006, p. 144. Used by Permission.


43.
Far from inviting us to play around as much as possible and as close to the fire as we can without getting burned, [the Bible] makes it clear that a sincere Christian will cultivate the highest moral and sexual purity, as essential to his or her worship of God [1 Thes. 4:3-5; Eph. 5:3-5].

Far from inviting us to play around as much as possible and as close to the fire as we can without getting burned, [the Bible] makes it clear that a sincere Christian will cultivate the highest moral and sexual purity, as essential to his or her worship of God [1 Thes. 4:3-5; Eph. 5:3-5].

Reference:   Holding Hands and Holding Hearts, P&R, 2006, p. 148. Used by Permission.


44.
Should we “go as far as we can” without getting into trouble? That is how unbelieving people think.

Should we “go as far as we can” without getting into trouble? That is how unbelieving people think.

Reference:   Holding Hands and Holding Hearts, P&R, 2006, p. 145. Used by Permission.


45.
Many men think of the call to give themselves for a woman solely in terms of her protection. They say, “I would defend her if there was trouble. If someone attacked her I would step up for her protection.” But they fail to realize that when a woman enters a dating relationship, she mainly needs to be protected from the sins of the very man to whom she is offering her heart. The enemy that men need to stand up to is the one who lives within themselves: the one who is selfish, insensitive, and uncommitted. It is when that man is put to death that the woman will be safe and will be blessed in the relationship.

Many men think of the call to give themselves for a woman solely in terms of her protection. They say, “I would defend her if there was trouble. If someone attacked her I would step up for her protection.” But they fail to realize that when a woman enters a dating relationship, she mainly needs to be protected from the sins of the very man to whom she is offering her heart. The enemy that men need to stand up to is the one who lives within themselves: the one who is selfish, insensitive, and uncommitted. It is when that man is put to death that the woman will be safe and will be blessed in the relationship.

Reference:   Holding Hands and Holding Hearts, P&R, 2006, p. 72. Used by Permission.


46.
Only when we are finding our ultimate satisfaction in God are we able to relate rightly to one another.

Only when we are finding our ultimate satisfaction in God are we able to relate rightly to one another.

Reference:   Holding Hands and Holding Hearts, P&R, 2006, p. 56. Used by Permission.


47.
God’s gifts cannot be enjoyed without obedience to Him as the Giver.

God’s gifts cannot be enjoyed without obedience to Him as the Giver.

Reference:   Holding Hands and Holding Hearts, P&R, 2006, p. 49. Used by Permission.


48.
Women, too, need to remember the appropriate level of commitment and intimacy on a first date. Guard your heart and your expectations. Do not enter into a first date dreaming about marriage or trying out his last name with your first name; be emotionally prepared for it not to work out. One of the reasons the Christian man may be uneasy about dating is that the risk is too high among many other believers. If he doesn’t end up marrying her, his name will be mud with all the other women at church! Such a man fears to date lest he be forced to leave a church he loves. This kind of situation is unreasonable and unfair; the woman can help by keeping expectations in check and allowing the man to interact with her without easily breaking her heart. But insist that he treat you with respect and care, and do the same to him in return. Like the man, you should resolve that time he spends in your company will have been to his spiritual blessing and will have been pleasing to the Lord. If you don’t want to go out again, be honest. But don’t tell your friends about the things you found unattractive; protect his reputation and cover his flaws in love.

Women, too, need to remember the appropriate level of commitment and intimacy on a first date. Guard your heart and your expectations. Do not enter into a first date dreaming about marriage or trying out his last name with your first name; be emotionally prepared for it not to work out. One of the reasons the Christian man may be uneasy about dating is that the risk is too high among many other believers. If he doesn’t end up marrying her, his name will be mud with all the other women at church! Such a man fears to date lest he be forced to leave a church he loves. This kind of situation is unreasonable and unfair; the woman can help by keeping expectations in check and allowing the man to interact with her without easily breaking her heart. But insist that he treat you with respect and care, and do the same to him in return. Like the man, you should resolve that time he spends in your company will have been to his spiritual blessing and will have been pleasing to the Lord. If you don’t want to go out again, be honest. But don’t tell your friends about the things you found unattractive; protect his reputation and cover his flaws in love.

Reference:   Holding Hands and Holding Hearts, P&R, 2006, p. 126. Used by Permission.


49.
What is the commitment level on a first date? It is low – brother and sister in Christ. This certainly calls for care and respect. But it does not make it appropriate or wise for you to share your dirty laundry and open wide your heart. A first date is for wholesome interaction and the beginnings of a relationship, and it should not have the features of intimacy that are safe only in a more committed relationship. This, of course, means that there should be no sexual contact, and a godly man communicates respect for a woman’s character by making no such advances or innuendos.

What is the commitment level on a first date? It is low – brother and sister in Christ. This certainly calls for care and respect. But it does not make it appropriate or wise for you to share your dirty laundry and open wide your heart. A first date is for wholesome interaction and the beginnings of a relationship, and it should not have the features of intimacy that are safe only in a more committed relationship. This, of course, means that there should be no sexual contact, and a godly man communicates respect for a woman’s character by making no such advances or innuendos.

Reference:   Holding Hands and Holding Hearts, P&R, 2006, p. 124. Used by Permission.


50.
A first date should be safe, relating and fun. It should minimize awkward, compromising scenes. We think it best if the first date not be a place at night, both to create a more casual setting and to minimize sexual tension. The goal is to get to know each other better and to begin the process of sharing that, Lord willing, may lead to a closer relationship down the road.

A first date should be safe, relating and fun. It should minimize awkward, compromising scenes. We think it best if the first date not be a place at night, both to create a more casual setting and to minimize sexual tension. The goal is to get to know each other better and to begin the process of sharing that, Lord willing, may lead to a closer relationship down the road.

Reference:   Holding Hands and Holding Hearts, P&R, 2006, p. 121. Used by Permission.


51.
Some advice… about first dates. For the man, be polite, well dressed, and on time. All of these things show respect and consideration. Don’t be so intent on impressing her with worldly things, such as your car and the money you can spend, at least if you are hoping for the kind of woman commended in the Bible. Take her to a place that will make her feel comfortable and safe. Take an interest in her, and don’t talk all the time. Ask her questions and listen to what she says in reply. You should be interested in getting to know her heart and the character of her relationship to Christ. Above all, our Lord commands you: “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt. 19:19). Your guiding rule should be to ensure that a woman who spends time with you is spiritually encouraged by the experience. You must take responsibility to ensure that conversation is wholesome and godly. Remember that you are out either with your future wife or with the future wife of some other Christian man. Start honoring marriage now (Heb. 13:4), and thus honor God. If this is not the woman whom God has for you to marry, then assume that her future husband may be on a first date with your future wife. Do unto him as you would have him do unto you.

Some advice… about first dates. For the man, be polite, well dressed, and on time. All of these things show respect and consideration. Don’t be so intent on impressing her with worldly things, such as your car and the money you can spend, at least if you are hoping for the kind of woman commended in the Bible. Take her to a place that will make her feel comfortable and safe. Take an interest in her, and don’t talk all the time. Ask her questions and listen to what she says in reply. You should be interested in getting to know her heart and the character of her relationship to Christ. Above all, our Lord commands you: “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt. 19:19). Your guiding rule should be to ensure that a woman who spends time with you is spiritually encouraged by the experience. You must take responsibility to ensure that conversation is wholesome and godly. Remember that you are out either with your future wife or with the future wife of some other Christian man. Start honoring marriage now (Heb. 13:4), and thus honor God. If this is not the woman whom God has for you to marry, then assume that her future husband may be on a first date with your future wife. Do unto him as you would have him do unto you.

Reference:   Holding Hands and Holding Hearts, P&R, 2006, p. 123-124. Used by Permission.


52.
One last thing for the guys: call her the next day or evening. A woman feels tremendous anxiety about a first date, even if she isn’t very much interested in the man. Express appreciation for the time you had together, and communicate to her where you think things stand. That’s right – it’s what you must do to protect her heart. If you are sure that you have no further interest, then graciously let her know that. How about this: “I enjoyed the time we spent together, but I don’t think I’m really interested in going out again.” Is that cruel? It may not be good news to her, but if it is true, then it is godly and gracious. How much better this is than giving polite but false impressions that may encourage her to cherish false hopes… This kind of follow-up to a first date is more than a courtesy; it is the reasonable duty of any thoughtful Christian man.

One last thing for the guys: call her the next day or evening. A woman feels tremendous anxiety about a first date, even if she isn’t very much interested in the man. Express appreciation for the time you had together, and communicate to her where you think things stand. That’s right – it’s what you must do to protect her heart. If you are sure that you have no further interest, then graciously let her know that. How about this: “I enjoyed the time we spent together, but I don’t think I’m really interested in going out again.” Is that cruel? It may not be good news to her, but if it is true, then it is godly and gracious. How much better this is than giving polite but false impressions that may encourage her to cherish false hopes… This kind of follow-up to a first date is more than a courtesy; it is the reasonable duty of any thoughtful Christian man.

Reference:   Holding Hands and Holding Hearts, P&R, 2006, p. 124-125. Used by Permission.


53.
For the woman: here is your first-date advice. Remember that God wants you to help this man, and he probably needs it! Many men will be awkward and nervous on a first date, so do everything you can to be encouraging and friendly. Dress attractively, appropriately, and modestly (unless you really are hoping to attract a cad). Immodest dress or suggestive conversation is nothing less than an attempt to manipulate his interest. Women who do this incite men to lust and cause them to stumble, while starting the relationship on a very poor footing. Furthermore, do not be demanding or critical and do not complain (remember Prov. 21:9), and speak in a careful and edifying manner. Take an interest in him and get to know things about his life – his family, his work, and his interests. Speak freely about your faith and inquire about his.

For the woman: here is your first-date advice. Remember that God wants you to help this man, and he probably needs it! Many men will be awkward and nervous on a first date, so do everything you can to be encouraging and friendly. Dress attractively, appropriately, and modestly (unless you really are hoping to attract a cad). Immodest dress or suggestive conversation is nothing less than an attempt to manipulate his interest. Women who do this incite men to lust and cause them to stumble, while starting the relationship on a very poor footing. Furthermore, do not be demanding or critical and do not complain (remember Prov. 21:9), and speak in a careful and edifying manner. Take an interest in him and get to know things about his life – his family, his work, and his interests. Speak freely about your faith and inquire about his.

Reference:   Holding Hands and Holding Hearts, P&R, 2006, p. 125. Used by Permission.


54.
If God is my portion, if God is the true source of my joy, and if it is God who will fulfill me, then I am free to be a companion instead of a consumer. That is, because of what I receive from God I can give to another person instead of always taking; I can minister rather than manipulate because of the fulfillment I get from God.

If God is my portion, if God is the true source of my joy, and if it is God who will fulfill me, then I am free to be a companion instead of a consumer. That is, because of what I receive from God I can give to another person instead of always taking; I can minister rather than manipulate because of the fulfillment I get from God.

Reference:   Holding Hands and Holding Hearts, P&R, 2006, p. 58. Used by Permission.


55.
A woman was given not for a man’s whims but for his character. She elevates him in true masculinity. It takes a woman to make a real man. This is God’s design, and we tamper with it at our peril.

A woman was given not for a man’s whims but for his character. She elevates him in true masculinity. It takes a woman to make a real man. This is God’s design, and we tamper with it at our peril.

Reference:   Holding Hands and Holding Hearts, P&R, 2006, p. 30. Used by Permission.


56.
To call a woman a helper is not to emphasize her weakness but her strength, not to label her as superfluous but as essential to Adam’s condition and to God’s purpose in the world. Helper is a position of dignity given to the woman by God Himself.

To call a woman a helper is not to emphasize her weakness but her strength, not to label her as superfluous but as essential to Adam’s condition and to God’s purpose in the world. Helper is a position of dignity given to the woman by God Himself.

Reference:   Holding Hands and Holding Hearts, P&R, 2006, p. 26-27. Used by Permission.


57.
The woman ministers to the man in the role of helper. She helps him to do and to be what God calls for. She treats him as a brother in Christ, not as a savior who is to fulfill her every desire.

The woman ministers to the man in the role of helper. She helps him to do and to be what God calls for. She treats him as a brother in Christ, not as a savior who is to fulfill her every desire.

Reference:   Holding Hands and Holding Hearts, P&R, 2006, p. 80. Used by Permission.


58.
A wife submits voluntarily, not merely as demanded and enforced by the man. It is a gift that a woman offers to the man she has vowed to love in obedience to God who first loved her. For this reason, it is imperative that a woman’s submission be “as to the Lord,” that is, flowing from the submissive obedience she already yields to Jesus Christ.

A wife submits voluntarily, not merely as demanded and enforced by the man. It is a gift that a woman offers to the man she has vowed to love in obedience to God who first loved her. For this reason, it is imperative that a woman’s submission be “as to the Lord,” that is, flowing from the submissive obedience she already yields to Jesus Christ.

Reference:   Holding Hands and Holding Hearts, P&R, 2006, p. 83. Used by Permission.


59.
The longer we serve in ministry, the more we see that pretty much everyone is envying everyone else. It is really pitiful. None of us has the circumstances we really want, and the circumstances we have always provide us with challenges. What a shame it is when we allow such envy and resentment to hinder the Christian fellowship that ought to be one of our chief blessings in this life.

The longer we serve in ministry, the more we see that pretty much everyone is envying everyone else. It is really pitiful. None of us has the circumstances we really want, and the circumstances we have always provide us with challenges. What a shame it is when we allow such envy and resentment to hinder the Christian fellowship that ought to be one of our chief blessings in this life.

Reference:   Holding Hands and Holding Hearts, P&R, 2006, p. 166. Used by Permission.


60.
Second Corinthians 6:14-15 warns [Christians], “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever?” This, like all of God’s other commands, is not a cruel barrier to our happiness, but a loving restriction that preserves us for God’s blessing. The blessings that we are hoping for come from God alone. Therefore, we must start with obedience to His Word. Only a relationship in which both partners are Christians can possibly result in the kind of love that only God can give.

Second Corinthians 6:14-15 warns [Christians], “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever?” This, like all of God’s other commands, is not a cruel barrier to our happiness, but a loving restriction that preserves us for God’s blessing. The blessings that we are hoping for come from God alone. Therefore, we must start with obedience to His Word. Only a relationship in which both partners are Christians can possibly result in the kind of love that only God can give.

Reference:   Holding Hands and Holding Hearts, P&R, 2006, p. 56. Used by Permission.


61.
A woman’s heart bears God’s image differently than a man’s does, but no less accurately. Indeed, with only the masculine qualities that men exhibit, God’s image is not completely displayed in this world. Men must realize that those feminine qualities that seem so baffling (and to a certain extent always will) are things of beauty and honor that manifest aspects of the image of God. Far from wishing that a woman’s perspective could just be ignored or somehow fixed, Christian men should look upon women with wonder and joy – indeed, with the very delight once expressed by Adam in the Garden!

A woman’s heart bears God’s image differently than a man’s does, but no less accurately. Indeed, with only the masculine qualities that men exhibit, God’s image is not completely displayed in this world. Men must realize that those feminine qualities that seem so baffling (and to a certain extent always will) are things of beauty and honor that manifest aspects of the image of God. Far from wishing that a woman’s perspective could just be ignored or somehow fixed, Christian men should look upon women with wonder and joy – indeed, with the very delight once expressed by Adam in the Garden!

Reference:   Holding Hands and Holding Hearts, P&R, 2006, p. 75-76. Used by Permission.