When we think of rumors or lying, we often think of the difficulties of immature drama. We think of the deception and misrepresentation, and the hurt and pain that flows from faulty sources. It seems like the likely candidates are childish teenagers or daytime soap operas.
However, rumors and lies aren't limited to baby-momma-drama television shows. In fact, there are many sources and means by which people believe wrongly. Through media, pop-culture, peer-pressure, the lack of educated choices, and the imitation of immoral role models, people often land far from the truth.
In what seems like more than ever before, young people are believing lies about romantic relationships and marriage. As Christians, we believe that God created romantic relationships as a gift to be enjoyed in marriage, but the world has exchanged the truth and replaced it with lies. The result is that love is exchanged for lust, where honorable practices are replaced with dishonorable passions (cf. Romans 1:24-27). And whenever a lie is believed as a truth, consequences will follow.
As young people who pursue relationships on the path toward marriage, we often here and believe many rumors about romantic relationships. Sadly, many people have believed the lies. We must remove the rumors, and replace them with truth.
Here are five common rumors about romantic relationships:
Rumor No. 1: You can't truly know each other until you've lived together.
Living together isn't the only way to get to know your future spouse. There are plenty of people that you'd say you really know, but you don't live with them. To take this logic to its furthest extent, if you don't truly know someone until you've lived together, then why would you decide to live with someone that you don't truly know? Sounds sketchy.
If you pursue marriage God's way, there shouldn't be any major surprises when you get married and live together. Sure, you may discover that he leaves his clothes everywhere and she takes a long time to get ready. But those things don't really matter. Your future spouse should be your future best friend, whom you know extremely well. Before marriage, if you know them relationally, spiritually, and emotionally, and have honesty, integrity and accountability, you can have confidence that the physical act of living together will surely be fine.
Rumor No. 2: You need to know if you're sexually compatible.
News flash: If you're members of the opposite sex, then you're sexually compatible. Because of pornography and Hollywood love stories that are really "lust stories," people have unrealistic knowledge and expectations of sex. In reality, the physical, sexual relationship between a husband and wife is something that is special and unique to them, and something that they get to learn and experience for a lifetime. Contrary to popular belief, as Rick Warren says, "Sex with one wife for life isn't like playing one record over and over, but learning one instrument well for years of beautiful music."
As we prepare for marriage, instead of pursuing promiscuity, we get to know their personality; instead of focusing on the physical, we focus on the relational. Instead of giving ourselves to those who may not become our spouse, we save ourselves for our spouse. And instead of having nothing to look forward to on your wedding night, you'll have plenty to look forward to as you become "one flesh" with your spouse. It's worth the wait. You'll be sexually compatible. And God will bless it.
Rumor No. 3: You can date around and have fun now, and settle down later.
As Jefferson Bethke says, "Dating with no intent to marry is like going to the grocery store with no money. You either leave unhappy or take something that isn't yours." If your perspective of having fun now is hooking up, messing around, or having friends with benefits, and that marriage is something you do later in life to settle down, then you definitely have the wrong intention and perception of marriage. If and when marriage does come, you'll have all sorts of unnecessary baggage and regret because of past relationships and sexual experiences.
Instead of playing around with girls or guys, you need to be preparing for the person that you'll spend the rest of your life with. Instead of delaying marriage for something in the distant future, you can prepare for marriage—spiritually, emotionally, physically, financially—and ultimately get married, whereby you'll obtain favor from the Lord and rejoice in the spouse of your youth (Proverbs 5:18; 18:22).
Rumor No. 4: You can't get married until you're older, have finished college, have a great job, and have a lot of money.
You don't have to wait for your dream job to get married. It's really unfortunate to be in a godly relationship where you both want to get married, but you "can't" because of school, money, or the lack of a career. Granted, you don't want to be unwise and make foolish financial decisions, but many have false expectations of having to have a nice house and lots of money when first married. It's OK to live in an apartment for however long is necessary; it's OK to eat macaroni and cheese for dinner every night. Education, financial stability and careers are definitely important, but marriage is the most important commitment you'll ever have. It's foolish to push off the greatest commitment and blessing that will last a lifetime, for smaller commitments that will often change. Prepare for marriage; work hard; be mature; save your money; and, trust in the Lord to provide. When you do things the right way, with the right person, the "right time" should be sooner than later.
Rumor No. 5: You have to find "the one."
Whoever you marry will be "the one." If you're in a relationship that's headed toward marriage, you don't have to question if you're marrying the wrong person because "the one" might be somewhere else out there. Yes, God will provide the right person for you, but you don't have to search frantically for the one person on the entire planet that's specifically for you. Kevin DeYoung provides some helpful insight with this myth: "The problem with the myth of 'the one' is that it assumes that affection is the glue that holds the marriage together, when really it is your commitment to marriage that safeguards the affections. So ditch the myth and get hitched."
Instead of focusing on trying to find "the one," you should focus on being "the one" — the godly spouse God has called you to be. Instead of running every person through "the list" that you've created for your future spouse, create your own list of what you need to do to be a godly spouse. And instead of always praying that God would show you Mr. or Mrs. "Right," pray that you'd be the right kind of husband or wife.
The lies have been told and the damage has been done. Countless young people have taken the bait and have been reeled into regrettable decisions in their romantic relationships. But, it doesn't have to be like this. Within the counsel of God's Word and the community of God's people, there is a better way. Let's remove the rumors, and replace them with truth.