Bishop Marvin Sapp has some advice for people dating in the church.
Sapp, the 50-year-old gospel music veteran and senior pastor of Lighthouse Full Life Center Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, spoke to Essence magazine about dealing with matters of the heart.
"Never, ever give covenant commitment to non-covenant relationships," Sapp told Essence magazine. "If he hasn't walked you down the aisle, there are certain things that you need to withhold, until that time comes."
Sapp, whose 11th solo album Close made its debut last Friday, has shared his insights into love and relationships in the past. In a 2015 Instagram post, Sapp said he's often seen people misuse the phrase "I love you."
"Many use it as a manipulative tool to get what they think they want. However, I wonder while using them do we really understand the depth of what has been uttered from our mouths," the "Never Would Have Made It" singer wrote. "'I Love You' to me means total commitment, the giving of ones all, losing out on some [of] your desires in order to grant theirs."
Sapp is a widower who lost his wife and co-pastor, MaLinda Sapp, to colon cancer in 2010. Still, the gospel star has used his career to pay homage to his late wife, and previously told The Christian Post that she inspired his 10th studio album, You Shall Live.
"The greatest gift my wife gave me was a statement before she passed," Sapp told CP in a previous interview. "She knew that there was nothing else that they could do, she literally said to me, 'Honey, if you want me to be happy in my transition, promise me after I transition that you will live.'"
In his 2015 Instagram post about love, Sapp said he prayed that others would get to experience the love that he once had with his wife.
"I'm beginning to wonder in our pursuits for relationship happiness — do we really understand what 'I love you' really means? I said it once before and lost a lot in the process, but the gains with her far out weighed what I thought were losses," he wrote. "Prayerfully, I hope all get the opportunity to experience the hearing and the actions of real love. But most importantly I pray when we say it we understand the seriousness of the word we've selected."