Love Again

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Abraham again took a wife, and her name was Keturah. (Genesis 25:1 NKJV)

When Abraham’s wife, Sarah died he was 137 years old. He had spent nearly 100 years married to her. Now, he was alone. So what did he do? He loved again. The Bible says he took another wife named Keturah. 

Starting over can be hard sometimes. This is especially true if we’ve invested our hearts into a relationship only to see it fall apart. We have history with the person who left. We have inside jokes and experiences with them that others can’t relate to or understand. We learn their habits and they learn our little quirks. We may be left feeling like it’s nearly impossible to replace that man or woman we hoped would be “the one”. 

If that’s you, Abraham has a message for you: “love again”. Again, just like before, he took a wife. Again, just like before, he searched for someone to love. His relationship with Sarah ended, and I’m sure he thought of her every time he saw their son, Isaac. But he made room in his heart for someone new. 

At more than 137 years old, Abraham was still worth loving, and he still had love to give. You’re worth loving too. You still have love to give. I give you permission to love again.

Curb Appeal

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Like a lily among thorns, So is my love among the daughters. Like an apple tree among the trees of the woods, So is my beloved among the sons. (Song of Solomon 2:2, 3a NKJV)

This school year, I’ve taken note of a certain house on the road to my daughter’s school. At first the house appeared to be abandoned, almost dilapidated, and structurally unsound. It was overgrown with bushes and looked like it wasn’t suitable to live in. But someone started putting in a little sweat equity and gave the house some curb appeal. 

Over the course of the year, they cleared the bushes. They mowed the lawn, installed new windows, applied a fresh coat of paint and put a “for sale” sign out front. On the outside, the house looked attractive again, but it will all be a waste if the home inspection shows problems and weaknesses in the structural integrity on the inside.  

In Song of Solomon 2, the woman and her beloved compliment each other and compare each other to others in the crowd. What’s really interesting is the woman describes herself as unattractive in chapter 1. 

I am dark, but lovely, O daughters of Jerusalem, Like the tents of Kedar, Like the curtains of Solomon. Do not look upon me, because I am dark, Because the sun has tanned me. My mother’s sons were angry with me; They made me the keeper of the vineyards, But my own vineyard I have not kept. (Song of Solomon 1:5, 6 NKJV)

She was dark (not the same attractive color as the other women) but still lovely. She hadn’t taken very good care of her appearance (her vineyard wasn’t kept) but her beloved loved her and praised her beauty anyway because she had more than a pretty face to separate her from the crowd. 

What traits separate you from the crowd?

Let’s be honest, there are beautiful, and handsome people all around you. So physical attraction isn’t that distinctive. That’s just curb appeal. I’m talking about the spiritual, mental, and emotional traits potential spouses want. Good men aren’t as concerned about nails and hair as they are concerned about attitude, respect, and faithfulness. Good women aren’t as concerned about a man’s wardrobe or money as much as things like commitment, honesty, and integrity. 

If you’re going to attract a person who is serious about marriage, it’s going to take more than curb appeal. If you’re going to have a marriage that lasts, you need an internal strength that can stand up against the elements outside. Here is a thought: Instead of working to improve your curb appeal, work instead to strengthen and beautify who you are inside. Being a beautiful person is far more attractive than merely looking beautiful.

Gated Dating

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Have you ever lived in a gated community with a homeowners association? I haven’t but in college, I heard stories of how strict some of them can be. There always seems to be some president or marshall who patrols the community measuring lawns with a ruler to hand out penalties if the grass is more than 1/2 inch in height. 

Want to paint your house purple? You could be in violation of the rules. Have more than 3 guests at your house for a rousing party, they may limit how many cars can be parked at your house or cite you for being too loud. 

Basically, if you don’t look the part, act the part, play the part, you could have the entire community come down on you to force you to conform or try to force you out. I think the same could be said about relationships. Sometimes a person’s circle of friends can be like that. 

I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, If you find my beloved, That you tell him I am lovesick! What is your beloved More than another beloved, O fairest among women? What is your beloved More than another beloved, That you so charge us? (Song of Solomon 5:8, 9 NKJV)

In Song of Solomon, the woman is out all night searching for her man. She tells the other ladies if they find him “tell him I am lovesick!” The other ladies want to know what’s so great about him that we should be concerned. Sometimes the guy or girl you’re dating has a group of friends that need to be convinced that your date is worthy of being associated with their group. 

He or she must look the part, act the part, and play the part well enough to be accepted. Common questions are “what kind of car does he drive”, “is she as good looking as our girlfriends”, “who does he hang with”, or “is she one of ‘those’ girls”. It’s a type of control they use to maintain their image. If they don’t fit the mold, friends may try to force them out. 

The sad thing is, many single people have dismissed their future spouses because their friends didn’t approve. Others weren’t even given a chance because their potential date’s friends wouldn’t let them in. 

Here’s my advice: don’t let your own or someone else’s single, relationship challenged, social status conscious, wouldn’t know a good man or woman if they met one, friends pressure you into dating a cookie cutter copy of the men or women they’ve never been able to hold on to. 

Choose your relationships for yourself. Ultimately, if the relationship leads to marriage you must be happy living with your spouse, not your friends. Be like the woman in the scripture who had been out all night searching for her man: “if you see my boo, tell him I love him and I’m looking for him.”

Relationship Lease

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Through the years we’ve lived in a few apartment complexes. We typically chose those complexes based on the amenities they offered such as pools, fitness rooms, tennis courts, clubhouses, and more. 

But no matter how great the amenities or how long we stayed and paid rent, the apartments would never let us own our unit and we would never commit to spending the rest of our lives in rented space. The ideal circumstance is for us to own our own home. 

For I wish that all men were even as I myself. But each one has his own gift from God, one in this manner and another in that. (I Corinthians 7:7 NKJV)

The same is true in relationships. When talking about marriage Paul says each one has his “own gift (spouse) from God”. It’s kind of like having your own home in stead of renting. 

There are many men and women who advertise their amenities and provide benefits but have no intention of entering a permanent, marriage relationship. Any benefit you provide them, emotional, physical, financial, or social is like paying rent for a single unit in their lives. And usually, they have multiple renters (old girlfriends, ex-boyfriends, flirtatious co-workers) to occupy the other spaces. 

Listen, if the person you’re dating is only willing to lease part of themselves to you, there’s a good chance your relationship won’t progress toward marriage. If he or she doesn’t advertise marriage up front it will be difficult to convince them otherwise. Don’t settle for a six month, one year, or two year relationship lease. Let God lead you to find your own gift.