I was going through my old files and I found this talk on Courtship and Dating. For my single readers out there…this is for you…
Edric and I would like to share with you how our relationship started so that you can copy the good about it and avoid the mistakes we made. Some things we learned the hard way and we want to be honest with you. But we pray that at the end of this, you will be blessed and encouraged to follow God’s principles for courtship and dating.
Edric: Joy and I have been happily married for 13 years. We have three boys, Elijah, Edan and Titus, and two girls, Tiana and Catalina. We first met in college at Ateneo. I was a very religious person and one of the things that got me interested in Joy was our first conversation. Since we had psychology class together, we sometimes had group projects. And during one of these occasions we were seated beside each other and had a very deep conversation about God. Before then, I had crushes on many different girls and Joy was never one of them because even though I thought she was beautiful, she struck me as someone foreign—not someone I would click with. But after getting to talk to her, I was completely intrigued.
Things to note –
- Don’t rule out someone who is not your initial type because God they could turn out to be God’s best type for you. Be willing to look further than just your comfort zone.
- Men appreciate being able to have a meaningful conversation with a woman. And women, if you can practice the art of good conversation (asking thoughtful questions and acknowledging and responding to our answers), that makes us feel very connected with you.
Joy: When I first got to talk to Edric, I immediately noticed that he was different than most of the guys in college. He was a principled person. He was straightforward, honest, and easy to talk to. We were both blessed to have been raised with a godly set of values, so we had a lot in common. But, we had different religious beliefs. So initially, I guarded my heart because I did not want to get involved with someone who did not share the same faith. That was the most important criteria for me in dating anyone. But, it was very difficult not to like Edric. He was very gentlemanly, sweet, kind, and charming.
Things to note –
- As women, we appreciate transparency and unpretentiousness (like the guy isn’t trying to prove anything or put up a front). It makes us feel like we can trust the man. Values mean a lot to us. A guy can be super goodlooking, carry himself well, and be very confident, but if he doesn’t have a good set of values, he becomes unattractive very fast (to women who are looking for a serious relationship).
- Try to find out if the person shares the same belief that you do even before you start to fall for a person. Once you get married, you need to be spiritually aligned because you will be making decisions and establishing values as ONE, especially when it comes to convictions about faithfulness, finances and parenting.
Edric started to pursue a relationship with me sometime after that and I remember that he came to my house one evening during our Junior year of college with 36 roses to ask me out to dinner. My parents realized that he was seriously interested in me. They said to me that evening, “Why don’t you invite him in to have dinner with the family instead of going out?” They wanted to get to know him. Edric was a very good sport and agreed.
Things to note –
- When a guy is open to getting to know your family it is a very positive sign. It means that he has nothing to hide, that he wants to get to know more about you through the people that you care about. And, it makes a very remarkable impression on your parents and siblings!
- And of course, being blatantly romantic is very charming. Almost every woman I know appreciates it when a guy goes the extra mile just to communicate that you are important to him. Thirty-six flowers was very sweet.
Edric: I remember during this dinner that Joy’s dad asked me a very famous question that he asks all dinner guests. “Edric, have you ever come to a point in your spiritual life wherein you are sure that if you die you will go to heaven?” All of Joy’s four siblings turned to face me as I answered, “Yes, I think so, because I try to be a good person.” Joy’s father said, “That’s interesting, well maybe one of these days I can share with you what it means to really have that assurance.” And as if on queue, Joy’s siblings said, “Why don’t you share with him now?!” In a matter of seconds, one of them had run to get a bible and plopped it right in front of Joy’s dad. Then, Joy’s siblings politely vacated the table to give us privacy. That night, I came to understand salvation and place my trust in Jesus Christ. Before this time, I had always thought that I could earn my way into heaven by being a good person. But that night, something changed. I accepted Jesus into my heart and I began to have a personal relationship with him. A different kind of peace came over me. I had the assurance that if I died that very day, I would be with Jesus, not because of my good works, but because he died for me and paid for my sins. But I still had a lot of spiritual growing that I needed to experience.
Things to note –
- Spiritual leadership is one of the key roles of a man, especially in marriage. Whenever we conduct premarital counseling for couples, I always tell the guy, the buck stops with you. As a man, you are going to be the head of your marriage relationship, and the most important aspect of being the head is that you have to take charge spiritually. You don’t have to “dominate” spiritually but you are going to be held accountable for the spiritual health of your wife and kids. When Adam and Even sinned in the garden of Eden, God looked for Adam. He held Adam responsible even if Eve took the first bite. When I was in college, I didn’t know how critical it was that for me to be a spiritual leader as man, and that is why I want to share this with you, as early as now, before some of you make any major decision in the area of relationships. Are you ready to lead, take the helm?
Joy: After this evening, I got very excited. I thought, yippee! Edric understands what I believe, we can actually start dating! Well that was a wrong perspective. I should have waited on God’s perfect timing. My parents liked Edric very much but they also wanted me to focus on my studies more. Unfortunately, Edric and I started to became a distraction to each others’ studies, to developing our abilities and other relationships, and to maximizing our time to do ministry and serve others. Why? Because it was not yet the right time. The reality was that we were still in college, so even if we really thought we loved each other, we couldn’t get married, yet.
Things to note –
- Sometimes it can be the right person but not the right time. Or the right time but the wrong person. Both of those have to be right before you commit to a relationship.
- A very practical way to discern if you are ready to get into a serious relationship is this guideline: Each person needs to answer three major questions in their life –The 3 M’s — Master, Mission, and the Mate. If you already know who your master is – meaning who you will commit your life to (the spiritual question), then you can answer the second question, what will I do with my life, how will I best serve and glorify God with the abilities and strengths he has given me? And if you have answered that second question because you are already doing what you believe God wants you to be doing, then you can ask yourself the third question. What kind of person will enable me to pursue a life that is pleasing and glorifying to God?
Here some other practical considerations:
- Have you made a list of what you are looking for in a person you would like to marry?
- For the men – are you able to be financially independent from your parents and provide for a family?
- Have you established your personal standards for purity (that you are not willing to compromise on)?
- Do you have your parents’ full blessing and approval to get into a relationship with this person?
Edric: When Joy and I started to get serious about our relationship, we also began to compromise in the area of physical purity. We really believed that we loved each other and we were very attracted to each other. Because we spent a lot of alone time together, it was very hard to resist being physical with each other. Praise God we didn’t go all the way but we came way too close, too many times. This was a source of tension in our relationship because we both felt frustrated that we were not pleasing God.
After college, Joy and I began to think more objectively about our relationship. We both wanted to get married but we knew that we were not practicing purity before God. We said, “How can we expect God to bless our relationship if we are not completely obeying him?” We both decided to do something drastic — to break up and spend time discerning God’s direction for us as individuals. God convicted us to ask, “Whom do you love more, this person or me?” We had made each other more important than our relationship with God.
Things to note –
- Because being physical outside of marriage is not God’s design, you cannot expect God’s blessing or hand to be upon your life or the relationship. Both Joy and I wanted God’s blessing. We did not have peace about staying together if we could not control the physical aspect of our relationship. Some of you might be in the same predicament or you might have experienced this same issue in the past. And let me assure you that if you put God first, he will work things out for good in your life. For those of you who don’t think it is such a big deal to be physical before marriage, let me caution you. We are all free to make decisions but not free to escape the consequences. Joy and I have counseled a lot of couples who do not experience a fulfilling sex life in marriage because they exhausted that aspect long before they ever God married. And when you mess with God’s design, there will always be consequences. God’s grace can turn things around, but if you want God’s best plan for your future marriage, then make the hard decisions now – decisions that are based on God’s word and truth and not what the world is saying or doing.
1 Corinthians 6:18-19 Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?
Joy: Edric and I believed that if we put God first in our lives and seek him first, then he would bring us back together if that was his will. But we needed to want him above all things, above even our love for one another. When we broke up, we sought God independently and put him first. But it was extremely painful and difficult. The terms were: no communicating, no text messaging, no emailing unless absolutely necessary. God allowed this period of separation to be a time of delving in God’s word, reviving my prayer life, focusing on my job, and getting involved in ministry work. The same happened for Edric. Our lives became fruitful again.
Things to note –
- When you are waiting on God for a person or answer about a relationship, don’t be passive. Busy yourself doing ministry, go all out in your job, enjoy your friendships and loved ones, and most of all, find your completeness in Christ. One of the most dangerous things you can think about relationships is “This person is going to make me happy.” That’s not true. You need to take two happy, contented people to make one happy relationship. Find your joy and satisfaction in Christ and you can love your future spouse out of this joy and satisfaction.
Edric: This was a very difficult period for me. No one had ever broken up with me. In the past, I was the one that did the breaking up with my ex-girlfriends. But God used this period of separation to work in my heart and prepare me to be a husband.
God was amazingly faithful. I continued to pray for Joy and Joy continued to pray for me. I knew in my heart that Joy was the woman I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. But the Lord had to confirm this. My practical concerns were: I would have to be the spiritual leader, be able to make enough money to provide for a wedding, family, and home. And most importantly, get the full blessing of both Joy’s parents and my parents if I was ever to ask her for her hand in marriage.
I set up a secret meeting with Joy’s mom and dad for their blessing to marry her. They said yes. Whew. After half a year of praying, preparing and discerning, I was ready to ask Joy to marry me. Finally, I asked God, is it time? And he led me to this verse in Exodus 3:33, “I myself, the Lord answered, will go along to give you rest.” And I had complete peace. I set up an elaborate plan to orchestrate the proposal and I put the ring inside an old Bible and wrote out the question, “Will You Marry Me?” Everyone was in on the plan, except for Joy. Praise God she said, “Yes!”
Things to note –
- God knows the desires of your heart. If these desires are for your greater good, he will give them to you. If they are wrong desires, he will give you something better. The key is to discern when you are in the center of his will – so he can speak to you clearly. The same thing applies to relationships. You might be interested in someone and think, this person is it! If only God will allow us to be together! If you pray about it and God says a clear no, then be excited that God has someone better. Joy and I had to have this mindsight even if it was difficult. But praise God, he wanted us to get married.
I also did something a little bit unorthodox before proposing marriage to Joy. I called up my two ex-girlfriends to apologize and ask for their forgiveness. God convicted me to make sure that I cut ties in an honorable way, and avoid bringing any emotional baggage into my marriage. So I asked them if there was anything I did to hurt or offend them by the choices I made while dating them. And I said sorry. This liberated me to move on with a clean conscience.
Things to note –
- If you have not settled issues with past relationships and you want God’s blessing for your marriage, consider this passage: Matthew 5:23 – 24 “So if you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God.” The principle is put your affairs in order in the area of relationships, so that you can come before God and honor him at the marriage altar.
Joy: Hebrews 11:6 says, And without faith, it is impossible to please him (God) for He who comes to God must believe that he is and that he is a rewarder of those who seek him. When we sought to put God first, God rewarded us. By God’s grace, Edric and I are happily married. We love being married, having a family, and serving God together.
Things to note –
- God has a plan for each one of you. It is the best plan. If he decides to bring a special someone to your life then rejoice and if he doesn’t, well, you can rejoice also because he wants you especially for himself. But do your part – if you want to find the best person, then be the best person first. Focus on what you can control – plan out your singlehood by living it out to the fullest, in a way that glorifies God – but be open to the possibility that God may change and interrupt those plans by bringing someone into your life.
Be blessed and encouraged my dear single readers! While you wait and pray, may you experience God’s best even now – GOD HIMSELF.
28 thoughts on “Courtship and Dating”
i soo love your story. . very inspiring . . I do hope someday God grant my hearts desire which he bless me to a right one that could be my lifetime partner and to have own simple and happy family on my own. .just like yours. . im turning 31 this coming august. . Hopefully,this would be my year. .and true happiness will come along my way na. . Hehe. .anyways,continue to be a blessings to everyone. . You guys touches many lives. . Godspeed and more poweR. . Love love love
Very inspiring. I will share this article to my friends who are still single.
What an awesome post Joy! This is just inspiring and encouraging! Godbless!
It feels like I’m in the shoes of Kuya Edric. But I really don’t know what’s up for me in the future and the person I just broken up with. It seems that this is the time for me to really seek God, pray for that person. At this moment, something tells me inside that she’s the one but since the break up, I really don’t know what’s waiting for me there. Though I guess I am in the right path of discovering my completeness in Jesus as a single. And if it doesn’t turn out the way I intended it to happen. I’ll still be joyful for her and for me of course. Knowing that the best is yet to come.
same fair share. .:)
I always love your honesty, Joy. When you mentioned about that compromises you have made in the past and the actions you took to correct those mistake, you give me hope that I too can make things right.
You are a blessing!
I do appreciate you guys for sharing this article.
What I love the most is your honesty.
Hat’s off as well to your dad, Ptr. Peter. Very empowering & inspiring. He was involved in making sure that his daughter’s suitor is a real Christian!
Very timely and effective sharing. I am truly blessed to read this and will carry the best advice. Thank you so much!
Quite anxious about this topic lately and this has really helped relieve some of those anxieties plus of course some conversations with God.
Truly blessed by this. God bless you and your family! 🙂
Though i have not read the whole article but I knew it is very helpful advice. By the way, you can monetize your website by adding Google Ads on it or Affiliate products like books that you can recommend.
Praise God for His infinite grace and perfect guidance. Indeed, past mistakes do not indicate that we have to keep compromising. I understand from personal experience how even a pastor’s daughter can end up “way too close, too many times” in what appears to others to be a good relationship. God gave me the chance to start on a clean slate when I broke up with a spiritually immature boyfriend and ended up marrying my wonderful, godly husband. I hope we can raise a family like yours as well! Thank you for reminding everyone that God’s best is always HIMSELF! =)
Your story is very amazing! Congratulations to you and Edric and to your family as well. I’m truly inspired with this. One day, i hope to raise my own family like yours as well. More blessings! 🙂
Thank you for sharing your story with us. Stories like this remind us, singles, that God is still in control so we have to fix our eyes on Him. Blessed are those who seek Him. Stay in love with Him and with each other. God bless you.
Ms.Joy,Thank you for that wonderful story,you just inspired me to take the search for types and pro like Sir Edric , and I also share that with people like me who are single. so much inspire’s me Thank you!!!
Very inspiring and profound love story!
Thank you for sharing this love story that inspires a lot of people especially all the singles to “wait patiently, pray unceasingly and expect God’s best for our lives”. Praise God!
Thank you for sharing 🙂
Thank you for this post. I just want to commend you and Edric for continually being authentic and honest and open about living your commitment to God both as individuals, with your own personal struggles, and as a family. It is very inspiring to see you both grow in loving, obeying and honoring God, and showing us all how it can be done in the midst of this increasingly secular world we live in. Thank you for your constant reminders that we can swim against the tide and live godly lives.
Thank you Lissa, I really appreciated your encouragement!
I love this story so nice …. i wonder if could happen to me?? Oh well only god knows
I always love your love story, Ms Joy and Sir Edric. I became a born again believer when I attended a singles conference at CCF. Before coming to Jesus Christ, our Savior, my life was a real mess, my heart was always broken and always chasing worldly relationships with guys. I cursed everyone for my mishaps in life because I thought my life and love life is supposed to be perfect. Steering back to the singles conference, that was the time when God broke and humbled me, and I came to Him as I am, in total repentance — I surrender everything to Him. That was three years ago, and I am still single. But unlike in the past where I always feel I am incomplete, now I can say that I am very much fulfilled and happy by the grace of God.
And oh, both of you, Ms Joy and Sir Edric, were at that conference! Continue to inspire people, just like what you did to me. Thanks and God’s blessings!
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Very inspiring…I’ll share this to my friends who are still single. I’m blessed after reading..
Such a powerful and inspiring message.Am deeply touched and motivated by this.Am strongly challenged.
Hi, Ms. Joy — I could not help but cry while reading this. Thank you for the encouragement. My boyfriend (now my “ex”) and I, by God’s grace, decided to make a drastic move as well – to break up. But today, I still do not understand why God would want us to do that. We were not experiencing the physical purity problem. We both serve the Church and we are focused in doing ministry work. We were so focused on ministry priorities that people would not even think that we are actually a “couple”. Our parents and spiritual leaders approve our relationship but recently, for some strange reason, both of us were convicted to end our relationship and focus on God 110%. We agreed to surrender our relationship to the Lord. But now it pains me because he has been an encouragement. He is like a bestfriend to me in terms of ministry and discipleship. And I do believe that God used him to encourage me to win souls and disciple people. He told me that I am an encourager too. I have known him for 10 years before we decided to be a Christian couple. We were together for 1 year and 7 months until we decided to break up. But until now, Ms. Joy, it hurts.
Ms. Joy, is it spiritually right to breakup because the “boyfriend-girlfriend” relationship is not allowed in our Church; because both of us are not financially stable; and because both of us, according to others, are too young — 24 and 25? Or should we continue our relationship because we have 1 master, 1 mission? Should we continue it and just trust God? Or should we not continue it and just trust God? Ms. Joy, I have been crying big time since we ended our relationship. I feel lost but I know that God is holding on to me. I want to smile and God is giving me a lot of reasons to do so but my feelings are taking over.
Ms. Joy, how did you go through the waiting period. It is just so hard because the guy and I (including our families) have thesame church, have a business together — which vision is jntended for ministry work and we have Bible studies together meant for other people. What Christ-centered advise can you give?
I am really looking forward to your reply. No one in church understands our situtation – some (mostly those who have not fully submitted to the Lord) would consider it uneccessary while some (our spiritual leaders) would consider it “easy”. And I am torn. I desire to trust God with this concern as I am claiming His promises in Romans 8:28 and Matthew 6:33. I pray that your answer would give enlightenment.
Thank you very much, Ms. Joy.
Hi! I am currently going through a similar situation and seeing as your comment is a little over two years ago, I wanted to know how it ended up for you in hopes to provide a little encouragement for me. Thanks! God bless you. 🙂
Thank you for sharing us your story. I cried a bit when I was reading this, like, “Wow, parang ako ‘to, ah.” I have this someone I like for years na but I have not prayed for him talaga ng masinsinan. This reminded me of truly depending on God’s plan for me. Thank you again!