Keeper of His Home

by Chelsea McCafferty

The Missing Link & Internet Dating

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No, this blog has nothing to do with evolution or Darwin. A careful study of a variety of cases, as well as my own personal experience, has led me to find the “missing link” that is causing problems in an otherwise perfectly acceptable way to meet future life partners….online dating. I’m going to share this theory with you in hopes that those seeking a relationship online will take heed to my call to caution and therefore be able to save themselves pain and trouble.

Let me back things up here by sharing with you that my husband and I met online. It was over ten years ago. He was from Scotland and I was a California girl. We met on a Christian website called Christian Mingle. We spent a lot of time private messaging each other, emailing and also speaking on the phone. After a few months, my husband flew to CA to meet me. Oh the excitement and the nervousness! Needless to say, neither one of us turned out to be a serial killer, so it was all good! Over the course of a year, he visited me and I visited Scotland. We spoke on the phone or computer almost every day. We were married about 14 months after our first communication and at that point had probably spent about 2 1/2 months together in person.

When I first got married, I was always worried about the question, especially since my husband speaks with a thick scottish brogue. When we would meet up with people and they would ask, “how did you two meet?” I would always get nervous and I’d share that we had met online on a Christian website. I received mixed reviews and facial expressions. I always felt the need to justify it. Today, it’s not like that. Research shows that nearly 1/3 of married US couples met online. It is a popular way to meet people, both in and outside the church, and it’s not a bad way to meet either.

There are benefits to meeting online. First of all, you have a much wider sea of candidates from which to choose. Growing up in a small town, there were just not a lot of choices in terms of possible matches for me so the internet gave me more options and allowed me to meet a variety of people. It also can make it easier to get to know the person in certain ways. As you communicate online, you have plenty of time to talk, share and get to know each other without the distraction of being “on a date” or dealing with the physical temptations. For Christians, it offers the opportunity to get to know each other without putting yourselves in temptations way. You really talk. Whether or not both parties are honest as they talk is never a sure thing, but that can happen in any type of dating or courting situation, regardless of where or how you meet.

There’s nothing wrong with meeting online, but there is something missing. There’s a missing link that isn’t usually dealt with or realized at first, and it can cause plenty of problems down the road if a couple marries before spending considerable time together in person. There’s no one word to describe it, so I’m going to call this missing link, “the raw you.” The raw you is the person you are in your everyday habits, preferences and small personality features. It includes sense of humor, good and bad habits, and just your overall persona.

You see, you can share with someone about your dreams, goals, theological beliefs, past, job, hobbies and your love for Jesus. You can talk about how many kids you want and how you want to raise your future children. You can really learn a lot about each other, which helps you decide if it is a good match or not. However, you don’t learn everything. You can’t learn the “raw you” on the phone or on the internet. You can’t learn it in letters or emails. It has to be learned in person. I know this is true because I have seen the pattern in my own marriage, and in others who met online.

For William and I, we lined up well. Today we are so on the same page in most areas. We are very much of the same mind. However, where we have struggled in our marriage has always been in the little things. It’s been in habits, small personality traits and in humor where we are very different. Isn’t that strange? haha I think it is! Now, we are totally committed to one another and to this marriage. We love and honor one another. We just drive each other batty every so often! 🙂 Would we have chosen each other all those years ago if we had spent more time in person? I don’t know the answer to that, and it doesn’t really matter. We are blessed to be in a marriage where there is love, honor, respect and a focus on Jesus. We are blessed indeed, and so we can deal with the little annoyances when they arise. Other couples, unfortunately, are not in the same boat.

I’ve always been honest and open here that my marriage hasn’t always been easy, and for this very reason I am sharing today. William and I, however, are very dedicated to marriage and family. We have worked hard and continue to work hard to make a joyful home, where God’s covenant of marriage is honored and family is most important. Divorce is not an option for us. It never has been. Therefore we are blessed in our marriage and our daughter is blessed in her home. God has grown our love for one another so that we are able to transcend those conflicts when they arise.

I have several friends who have also married a person they met online, or got to know online. I have witnessed one common issue in all of these relationships….their raw selves simply do not match up. Their personalities are so different. Their way of thinking in basic situations are not lined up. Their sense of humors are off-kilter from each other. There is almost this awkwardness about them…and this is after many years of marriage. I recognize it because it’s the same awkwardness that my hubby and I no doubt have exhibited when our personalities crash into each other. It is what we have to overcome pretty much daily.

One of the couples I referred to above are also very committed to each other and to their marriage. Like us, they have chosen to conquer those raw issues through the power of the Spirit, the sword of the truth of God’s Word and through the love of Christ that is perfected in us. They will struggle more than other couples, perhaps, but they will honor God and love each other. Another couple, however, are divorcing. I’m not going to pretend to know the details or how bad it was. All I do know is that it has brought them all pain and I pray for them.

Internet dating can be a good thing, but it’s important not to fall into this trap. Be sure to spend time together in person – quality time – before marriage. Get to know the raw personality of the person you are considering, and remember that those personality traits will probably be even more pronounced in marriage when everyone relaxes. You have to decide if they are traits and habits you can live with or not. Get to know the raw him or the raw her. It may seem like small issues, but they can definitely affect your marriage, your life and your heart. So take care, dear ones. Marriage God’s way is til death. That’s a long time!

William and I believe in marriage. If you are struggling in yours’, whether you met online or not, we’d love to offer you encouragement and pray for you. Feel free to contact us by clicking HERE. God bless!

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A Family on Mission Together, Stays Together

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Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20

Throughout the life of any marriage, there are going to be mountain tops and valleys. Some marriages contain far more of one than the other, but both exist in some form. Today we see couples in the valley times calling it quits on the journey far too early. Many times we see Christians giving up because they’ve been in a valley for a while and haven’t been able to find the road up and out.

There are many circumstances that lead us to the valleys. It could be external issues such as financial strain (or other money concerns), health problems, child raising disagreements, a lack of respect and love in the marriage and, most of all, a lack of Jesus in the marriage. What’s interesting is that all of those issues I mentioned could be quickly and easily resolved when one fixes that last most critical point. Jesus in the marriage.

Not “religion” in the marriage. Jesus in the marriage.

Not “spirituality” in the marriage. Jesus in the marriage.

Not “church attendance” in the marriage. Not “charitable giving” in the marriage. Not “singing the hymns, raising the hands, thinking about what’s for lunch after church” in the marriage. It’s all about Jesus. So what was Jesus about?

Jesus was on mission. Jesus was about winning souls to the kingdom. Jesus was about sharing the gospel. Jesus was about making disciples and teaching the Word. Jesus was about praying and interceding. Jesus was about self-sacrifice and service. Jesus died so that others could live. Jesus was on mission.

A family on mission together, stays together. 

You want to combat divorce in the church? We need to get families on mission together. Does that mean they have to pack up their bags and move to the Congo or go to Iraq to share the gospel? Well, if Jesus calls them there then yes! However, being on mission doesn’t always mean going on foreign missions. It can mean that, but what it truly means is living a life of kingdom purpose. Jesus has given us all a commission to be on mission. Our life’s purpose should be to share the gospel and train our children up to do the same. That’s our purpose and our calling…..not SOME Christians, but ALL Christians.

You know what really stifles that missional life of sharing the gospel? DIVORCE!

Yes, it’s hard to be focused on sharing the gospel, ministering to people, sacrificing of your own time, resources and safety even to live out a life of service to the King when we are trying to get the divorce papers in order too. We know that God hates divorce. I tell you that those issues that bring Christian couples to the brink of divorce would be obliterated if they were to give up their lives, pick up their crosses and follow Jesus. It’s that simple.

Jesus lived a life of sacrifice and service. He was living, and dying, for others. The problem with so many marriages today is that people are living for themselves. In most cases, when divorce isn’t about abuse or adultery, it is about those valley times and people just aren’t happy. I tell you with confidence that a couple will not remain in that valley if they are living their lives on mission for Christ. If that means going on a foreign mission, go for it! The happiest marriages in the world are often those families who serve in the mission field. They could be living in a hut, surrounded by violent people and battling malaria and still be more solid in their faith, their marriages and their walk with Jesus than Mr. and Mrs. Smith over here who are getting divorced because they can’t stop bickering about money. It’s not because the missionaries are “better people” or because their lives are perfect. It’s because they have chosen a life of service and sacrifice and being on mission (where ever they are).

When we are fulfilling the calling of the Lord in our lives, the other problems seem to fade away and become manageable. A family who is on mission together, with kingdom purpose in their hearts, stay together. If they keep Christ at the center and the mission always present, they stay together. If they train up their children to follow Christ in this great commission, they stay together and the kids learn what God intended marriage and family to look like.

I want to reiterate that being on mission doesn’t mean you have to pack up and go. It could, but it doesn’t always. It means that your household has a mission-filled aroma about it. It means you work together to best serve the Lord by serving others. You go out and share. You bring people in and minster to them. You seek every opportunity to share the gospel and make disciples. You serve your brothers and sisters in the Lord whenever possible. You feed the hungry and clothe the naked. You care for the widows and orphans. That’s being on mission.

Some of you reading this may be wanting this life but are married to an unbeliever who won’t be on mission with you. Do not try and nag, manipulate or bully your husband into following the Lord…it doesn’t work that way. The best thing you can do is pray, serve the Lord, and love and respect that man of yours all the days of your life. One of those days he may just be won over by your good conduct. Never give up. He is your mission and you will win him over without words, but by being the amazing, respectful, submissive, loving and honoring wife God called you to be. That is the best witness in the world.

So come on families….let’s be on mission for Jesus! Lose your life and find that you gain new life in ways you had never imagined. Thank You Jesus!

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