One Sided Is Not a True Relationship

Relationship Notes:

I often wonder why men are encouraged to marry up and women are told to settle, there are no great men out there, take what you can get, marry down (less than what God would choose), and don’t be picky. Is it because our culture values the needs and desires of males over females? Is it because the value placed on women is lower? Her identity is sometimes linked to having a man, no matter how he treats her.

I believe God longs for relationships where BOTH people are blessed, you are not forced to endure a hellish union, iron sharpens iron, and both people benefit.

God is the best matchmaker. I believe God likes spiritually compatible unions, those rooted in mutual love, and those who seek Him can end up with them.

I have sat through too many coffee meetings where men expressed their needs, wants, desires, dreams, etc…and asked zero questions about me. I seriously could have placed a wax figure of me in the chair or any woman and they probably would have continued talking about themselves. Bored out of my mind I found myself daydreaming about Jesus and heaven and what I could’ve been doing other than another meeting. Honesty here.

Ladies listen up! If he cares nothing about inquiring of you, your dreams, desires, needs, or wants this is a red flag. You may be a trophy acquisition. Genuine friendship and love wants to know you, the real you, and will seek to get to know you…not just flatter you and talk about themselves.

Why are one sided unions even tolerated? I am not stating seek perfection. Only God is perfect. I am saying if you settle or think you will mold that person into who you wish you had married then you are not using wisdom. You may marry a fantasy yet wake up with reality.

I know some great men and some great women (maybe I need a matchmaking business 😉). Kidding about the business. I have seen on both sides the pursuit of someone they either thought was a trophy that elevated their esteem (not healthy-people are not objects to be used) or settling for what they do not desire just to have someone or not be lonely (also unhealthy).

Jesus help us humans pursue and have healthy relationships. May they be mutually a blessing and rooted in genuine friendship and agape love. Love seeks not just it’s own interests but the interest of another.

Are you settling or seeking a trophy spouse? If so, I highly encourage seeking the Lord for His ideas about relationships. God loves to see His children loved well. The person sitting across from you at coffee or lunch or dinner is someone Jesus died for and loves. Do you want to be with them to love them, help them, bless them, or for personal gain (to end loneliness, to fix feeling left out, to cure a low self esteem need)? Seeking dating or marriage for selfish motives leads to heartache.

God created relationships so both people are blessed! May we seek to be a blessing. Part of that is seeking to know what the other person perceives as a blessing, not just what we want to offer.

Love,

Erin Lamb

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Relational Lessons Learned Part II

Lessons learned on dealing with the opposite sex.

I am also including information from years of peer counseling, having female friends, talking to those divorced, talking to those in good relationships, working with mostly males, talking to men, and doing soul healing sessions with the abused. I hope this helps someone.

1. Seek God in prayer not only over female friendships, but those with men or men who want to pursue you for dating or marriage. I pray, “God show me who this person really is. What is their heart like and what is their motivation for connection?”

Some men are looking for something pretty and shiny to play with, you are not a toy.

Some are looking for a trophy to display their ability to snag something pretty/shiny, you are not an object.

Some are driven by hormones or lust, not genuine agape love, you are not a pleasure center-you are a person.

Some are lonely or trying to fill a void for their lost girlfriend, dead wife, divorce-you are not the back up plan.

Some actually want to attempt to love you the way Jesus loves you. This is what you want. You won’t know if there is no inquiry from God.

People are trained to put their best foot forward to get what they want, then the act stops once they acquire their target. Men around me have confirmed they put forth mega effort to win a woman over, some pretended to like what she liked, faked interest in her hopes/dreams and after I do or physical relationship they stopped the pretending. One guy said, “Yeah, I got her now. Those flowers and dates were to get her.”

2. If a man or person wants to be with you or connect with you, they will not let you do all the work or initiation. Level of interest is directly tied to level of effort. Zero effort (you do all the work), minimal interest. Just enough effort to keep you lingering, minimal interest. Those who desire connection, pursue connection.

I grow tired of, “I think he likes me but I never hear from him, or he fell off the grid.” Ummmm…he’s not that into you. If he were interested, ignoring you would not be an option.

3. If you are kind, some men view this as an invitation to date or interest or flirting.

God tells us to treat men like brothers in Christ, so this can be challenging if you are just trying to obey the Lord and he is thinking, “She wants me.” So, I try to limit kindness to men to what is:

1. Public (and not frequent).

2. Neutral, not too affirming.

3. What includes others so they see they are not singled out.

4. Group activities, not one on one.

If a guy is married, the boundaries are even higher. If I have a gift or encouragement it goes through their wife. If I do not know their wife, I seek to know her. I do not go on lunches or meet ups with married men. I do not have long conversations about my inner world nor let them talk to me about their marriage or inner world. They have a wife. I am not interested in anyone’s husband.

4. When they show you who they are, believe them. Watch what they DO, not just what they SAY.

Lots of abusive men show red flags before they act out. Women are sometimes conditioned wrongly that they can change a man or their love will change him. No! No! No! I repeat again NO!

It is not our job to try to change anyone! That’s control and manipulation. What he shows you, especially if you follow step one (ask God to show you who he is) is what you are dealing with, so act accordingly.

I had a guy pursuing me once who had a great resume on paper. We seemed perfect for each other. Then I put prayer on him. His mask fell off and God showed me how everything he did was an act. He was one person at church and someone else outside church. I talked to him and he confessed out of his own mouth that he just put on an act and religious show for women to hopefully get them to fall for him and compromise. Ummmmm no! No man is worth compromise. I thanked God for answering my prayer and sent him packing. I did not stay in that situation and try to make him my project. Nope! Bye Feliciano…praying for you from a distance.

5. Men are people, not projects. They were created to loved, respected, and not a Jesus substitute.

The only perfect man is Jesus…pause for my heart to swoon. To expect a human man to be Jesus is ludicrous. Christian men are called to abide in Jesus and imitate Jesus, not be Jesus. The only Savior and Lord is Jesus. Wrong teaching of husband as the head (some is just plain idolatry masked in religious terms) has made men to be like demi gods to women. This leads to gross disappointment and does not please God. God is God, you shall have no others gods beside Him.

It is also not a woman’s job to try to make a man Jesus. Let Jesus be Jesus, let God mold man into His image. God is better at being God than we are.

6. Pay attention to his interactions with you. Does he inquire of you or just talk about himself or what you can do for him? Selfish people make horrible partners. HORRIBLE!

If he only talks about himself, how you can bless or serve him, and how pretty you are…RED flag. You may be the pretty/shiny toy he is looking to play with or a trophy. Love involves inquiry of the other person and listening. Love involves caring about the other person, not just yourself. Love involves giving, not consuming.

The root of all sin is selfishness. I becomes greater than God. If a man is grossly selfish, he will hurt you because his greatest concern is himself.

7. Let God hold your heart until is is wise to give it away.

Maybe we all have met the girl or woman who goes on one date and starts planning her wedding. Pause speedy Gonzalez! Who is this person? Talk to God. Put the brakes on creating a fantasy relationship with someone because you must live with the REALITY of them. Not every guy needs access to your heart or all your time. What is easy is not usually appreciated.

8. If you see abuse of others, you are not the special one he won’t abuse. How did he treat other women? How does he treat his mother? Servers? Those who can do nothing for him.

Pay attention! Walk in love and wisdom. If you see him abusing animals, cursing people out, having fits of rage, punching walls, picking fights, disrespecting his mother or other women-you may be next.

Men, people in general, with low self esteem can be very abusive. They can not love you as they love themselves if they hate themselves. If he struggles with healthy love of self, you won’t be loved either.

9. Don’t isolate your friends and family from your life.

Sometimes those connected to you see what you don’t see. Isolation is a key tool of abusers. Get the person away from anyone who may see the mistreatment and try to get the abuse victim help. Stay connected to people who truly know you and love you; pray and listen.

10. You are NOT responsible for his sin or lust.

I believe in modesty, just for me. I do not have my chest out, wear skimpy clothes, etc…I also understand if someone has a lust problem, you can be covered from head to toe and they find something to lust over. Women are not responsible for the actions of men. Our culture blames women and it’s wrong.

If he cheats on you, it was his choice.

If he hits you, it was his choice.

If he rapes someone, it was his choice.

If he abandons his responsibilities, it was his choice.

Since the Garden of Eden women have been blamed for the choices of men. Well no. She made me sin does not fly with Jesus. So ladies, yes use wisdom, act godly…yet know you are not to blame for the choices of other people.

11. Beware of sneak a date or those who use “God told me you’re my spouse.”

God is not manipulative, nor the author of confusion. God tells the truth. Often the sneak a date is, “I will pretend I need something, want something, or just want to be friends when the motives are otherwise.” This can be deception. Honesty says, “I like you. I want to get to know you better. Would you be interested in that?” Adults communicate their intentions.

If God did say, “This would be a great spouse for you.” God is smart enough to tell the other person and it will benefit both people-not just one. God also lets us choose.

I have had several guys try the sneak a date or God told me. No. I am not going that road. I pray and if God says no, I say no. Why? God knows the end from the beginning. If God says no there is reason.

12. “Prophecy” is not a good standard for picking a spouse, look at how they treat you.

Over the years met several women given words about their spouse and that guy was a complete jerk to them. God is not cruel nor a poor matchmaker. If it is truly a word from God, His choice, that person won’t treat you like garbage. God is GOOD. There is a misunderstanding that God wants us in bad relationships. He does not!

I have been given at least a dozen words about “This is your husband,” mainly from women. All from women who want me to be married because it is a social club in Christianity. None of those men were right for me. Not one! Run Forrest RUN!!!

If you are having dreams or impressions about one particular guy, you may have a soul tie with them. Break the soul tie and heart entanglement.

If he is treating you poorly and you keep having words he is the one, examine the voice speaking to you. God is not the author of confusion or mistreatment. Demonic spirits can try to set up bad unions. Test every voice and see if it’s of God.

13. Understand you marry into a family, not just that person.

If they have kids, a broken family, they become your family. You are not just marrying a person, you get their family too.

14. If you are interested in marriage, talk about money (is their credit jacked up), gender roles (some in Christian culture have some special ideas about gender roles), expectations, destiny, calling, raising kids, etc…

Focusing on chemistry is silly considering you are partnering with someone to build a life. He’s so hot or she’s so hot doesn’t fly when they don’t pay the bills on time, are a slob, have bad credit…

15. Men have feelings too and some deep fears of rejection.

It is sometimes masked with anger, yet men have all the feelings women have and some more deeply. Men are sometimes conditioned not to feel. Our actions as women wound and hurt men. Treat them how you want to be treated. If he steps out to pursue and you are not interested, treat him with respect, honor, and dignity.

16. There are some amazing men out there.

I have met them, have some as friends, and even dated a few. Yes there are some bad apples. There are some great ones too.

17. Pray for men.

Our culture bombards men with images that are ungodly that tell them manhood is about control, power, violence, and sexual immorality. Truly manhood was and is best represented in Jesus; love, humility, purity, service, kindness, and compassion.

18. Be a good friend to men and set boundaries.

It is possible to have a friendship with someone of the opposite sex. Understand though the time and sharing can create a bond in the soul. Use wisdom.

19. If you desire marriage, examine is this person really good friend to me. Friendship lasts longer than butterflies.

20. If he does not respect your boundaries, he does not respect you.

If you say no, don’t do that, or I don’t like that…and he keeps doing it or pressing the envelope, he does not respect or love you. Love respects a no. It does not pressure for more. Satan is pushy. God is respectful.

21. Men respond to actions.

I have noticed this at work. Nagging is futile. Saying, “If this is not done by this time or this follows,” and following through with actions is far more effective.

22. Men were created to serve, not be served.

Found many men like to help, they are wired to help and serve. All followers of Jesus are to serve. When women do everything for a man, it is more crippling than empowering. Let him help. Let him serve. Let him work it out without trying to be Jehovah jr.. Let him problem solve and provide input.

I have heard women say, “The more I do for him, the worse he treats me,” well you took his opportunity away to be a blessing. Our culture has reversed the roles so women do everything and men are served. This does not cultivate love. The one who invests the most, gives the most is the one who begins to love deeply. If women invest too much, they end up entangled. Both are to serve. So let him serve.

Hope this helps someone, somewhere.

Love in Christ,

Erin Lamb

Relational Lessons Learned Part I

Morning Devotion: Some things are a blessing, others are a lesson. God desires we have mutually loving, respectful, and life giving connections.

Over the years in ministry, life, and relationships I gathered some lessons learned. I shared some of these these with a buddy yesterday. I hope they bless someone else.

In Christian culture it is taught quite a bit to love others, put others first, love God. Not as much time is spent talking about healthy boundaries, how to guard your heart, what obstacles you will face as a leader or in relationships, what to do with abusive people (and no just pretending they are not violating love does not work-they need boundaries and consequences), or that God wants you loved well too.

Relational Lessons Learned:

1. Watch people for a year and put prayer on them (God show me their heart towards me-when God does, pay attention).

2. When people show you who they are, believe them.

3. Limit your inner circle to those you have prayed over and seen them demonstrate God love.

4. Understand at any time your inner circle can change.

5. Place all faith in God not people.

6. Place all confidence in God not people.

7. When someone shows you they do not care about you, believe them, do not look at words-look at actions.

8. Trust your instincts and listen to Holy Spirit.

9. Some relationships are for just a season and you need to understand when they are over they were just temporary.

10. Don’t try to make an associate into a friend; don’t assume a ministry assignment is a real friendship.

11. Don’t be quick to call everyone friend, examine them first.

12. Don’t let people just have free reign of your schedule. I did this with A few people. When they got busy it was like, “See ya!” This was my fault. I should have guarded my time better and NOT given them so much access to my life, thoughts, etc…they should have been need to know only people.

13. Understand it’s not always wisdom to lead your friends in ministry, some are better suited under someone they do not view as a peer. The greatest dishonor I have experienced in ministry has come from those who claimed to be my friend. Strangers often treat you better.

14. Don’t expect your friends to stick up for you, you stick up for yourself (set boundaries), and ask God for help.

15. Guard your heart, and don’t let everyone inside it. If someone is wreckless, you can love them without giving them full access to you. Use wisdom.

16. Don’t sweat the small stuff.

17. Understand that not everyone wants you to win, and if you become successful, some may turn on you.

18. Understand culture says people of color should be at the bottom, so if you rise, there are haters.

19. Keep God as your best friend.

20. Pursue God for all needs and wants and relationships.

21. Understand only those who have received God’s love for themselves can love you.

22. When or if people attack you, understand their greatest inner turmoil is within and attacking you is a means to handle low self worth, insecurity, and a flawed attempt to feel more powerful.

23. Understand just because a person is gifted, anointed, and can flow with Holy Spirit sometimes does not mean they possess the character of Jesus. Character is costly and involves intimacy with God.

24. Understand everyone is in process, even you. God is at work in those yielded to Him. Someone can buck God and walk in the flesh. In the flesh there is no holiness. Extend grace and walk in wisdom.

25. Loving difficult people does NOT mean you need to be best friends with them or give them VIP access. Use wisdom.

26. People make time for what they value. If they value you, they will make time-even if it’s a 15 second text message. Do not buy into the lie of busy. For some you may be the back up plan or on call prayer buddy. When they have a crisis they come find you. They value what you do, not you personally. Don’t mistake being needed for being loved. Love gives.

27. Value yourself the way God does and you will attract more people who value you too.

28. Ask God for His best yes in friendships, relationships.

29. Trust is developed over time. Don’t let people try to force you into trusting them when they have not demonstrated they are trustworthy.

30. Ask God for wisdom and discernment. Wisdom is a life preserver. Discernment lets you know what is right and almost right.

Once again I hope this helps someone. Some things I wish someone had told me instead of having to walk it out and learn the hard way.