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2016-top10-hottestWARNING: This article presents the first five of the TOP10 Hottest posts of 2016. Handle with care!

OK. Seriously, there’s nothing dangerous here, but it is our prayer that a careful reading of the following pieces will guide you in pursuing and growing in healthy, life-giving relationships with God, friends and family, and maybe even “that special someone.”

#10: God Will Never Leave You, but He Might Disappoint You

Why would an article published over four years ago be the 10th most viewed of this year?

Perhaps the need to reconcile our disappointment with a God who promised to never leave nor forsake us is a common and timeless conundrum. Here’s how the post begins:

might-disappoint-you“Another reason you might find it difficult to trust God is probably because He’s let you down so many times. (Did I really just write that?)

Yes, I did. God has let me down more times than I can count. I’ve felt forgotten by Him, tricked by Him and ripped off by Him.

At this point, you might be thinking, ‘But God promised to never leave or forsake us!’ And you’re absolutely right. The writer of Hebrews says that in chapter 13, verse 5, but let’s take that in context.” [Read More]

#9: LOVE is NOT Something You Earn (Love Part 2)

The title of this article might seem like a no-brainer. (“Of course you can’t earn love. Duh!”) However, when you look at the dating scene, it seems like everyone is out there trying to earn love:

  • High school where the men hope to earn that prom date
  • The halls of the Christian college campus where those ladies hope to earn a ring-by-spring
  • The hot mess of hook-up apps where boys and girls hope to earn more right swipes. And then maybe something else.

But this post doesn’t just state the obvious, it tries to get to the bottom of why we actually prefer to earn love over simply receiving it.

DNA-earn love“Isn’t that one of the things that makes the ‘game of love’ so fun and exciting?

  • Caught their eye! (1 point)
  • Got them to smile back at me (2 points)
  • Had a flirtatious conversation (10 points)
  • Scored a first date (100 points)
  • Scored a second date (100 points)
  • Scored a goodnight kiss (500 points)

Look how well you’re doing! Soon you’ll be able to cash in those points at the prize counter for bragging rights or even a relationship status change on Facebook!” [Read More]

#8: Introducing the TOP10 Dumbest Reasons to Date

This piece launched 38 others in a journey of discovering what drives us to date; and what should drive us to date. And four years later this article remains in our TOP10 most read, but not because it delivers the easy answers everyone wants to know, but because it presents the essential question everyone needs to ask. BEFORE they start dating.

“’What if it’s not about who you DATE, but why?’

The ‘why’ question is the most important question you can answer about any endeavor. The more significant the endeavor the more important the motivation.

Of course, people who know what they’re looking for have a way better chance of identifying it when they see it. And where could it be more critical to know what you’re looking for than in relationships – particularly dating relationships.” [Read More]

For your viewing pleasure, we also share the TOP10 Dumbest Reasons to Date in our LoveEd program on our FMU YouTube channel beginning with this episode.

#7: Porn is Like…

Why does someone like porn?

Well, in this article I admit there was a time when I more than liked it. I LOVED IT!

But what killed my love (and like) of porn was realizing what porn was really like; by that I mean discovering the true nature of porn. You know, like when you find out your crush is not only dangerously attractive, but dangerously psycho!

Porn is Like 2“The last time I consumed porn (or should I say the last time porn consumed me), was the early part of 2001, because while it may have felt like a reason to live at first, I began to see it was bringing death into my life. A terrible death. Though I felt powerfully alive in the moment, it got to where the good feeling would depart as quickly as when Nemo & Dory see the terrifying face behind the cute little glowing light of the Angler fish.

Good feeling’s gone!

Can you relate?

Can you relate and yet you still can’t seem to break free?

See if any of these other descriptions of porn might inspire you to swim away from porn.

And to just keep swimming.” [Read More]

#6: Date to Serve (Dating 101)

This post comes from one of my favorite series ever: Dating 101. Inspired by the TOP10 Dumbest Reasons to Date, both the series and this piece in particular are about…

051207-N-3019M-010“VISION… casting a vision for dating that lifts us up above the small-minded, selfish, petty, fearful, and shameless aims that motivate so many to date.

To that end, this week we’ll talk about service, and more specifically use military service as a metaphor to imagine how you can ‘be all that you can be’ in your dating life. [Read More]

That’s it for now. Tune in next week when we share the TOP5 Hottest Posts of 2016.

However, to you reading all the way down to these words here we want to say, “THANK YOU!” Thank you for taking the time to read the advice we share in this space. We know there is a PLETHORA of relational “wisdom” out there ranging…

  • From how to hook up with your best friend’s neighbor’s boss’ administrative assistant…
  • To how to save your first kiss for your 50th wedding anniversary.

But steering between those two extremes ain’t our goal. Instead, we prefer a straight-up Biblical vision as described by Paul in Phil 4:8 (ESV):

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

2016-family-pic-family-wallBeyond that, we want to bring to light two things:

  1. Biblical guidelines aren’t some impossible ideal, but an incredibly practical plan for living well. (You know, as if the supreme being who created us would know how his creation thrives best.)
  2. Submitting ourselves to Biblical guidelines shouldn’t lead to some kind of buttoned-up legalism, but to freedom, peace and joy! You know, the way a loving God who made you in love, for love, to love might want you to live.

So if you haven’t already, click around on the hyperlinks that interest you above and join us in the new year for more practical, passionate, Biblical truth on sex, dating and relationships.

Until then, from the hearts of the Future Marriage University (FMU) board members, as well as my family (pictured here) we wish you a very Merry Christmas!

DNA: It’s What’s For Dating

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The LoveEd study guide series, Beyond Sex & Salvation, will empower you to prepare for relational success when it counts: BEFORE YOU FALL IN LOVE! It’s NOT for couples, but for any wise individual who thinks they might want to get married sometime before they die. Check out the first two 8-lesson study guides in our store. You can walk through it on your own, but it’s more fun with friends, so consider putting together an FMU LoveEd small group study. Even better?  And ask a married couple you respect to lead it!