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Have you ever been promised something from someone you regarded as a friend, and they disappointed you?  "I will be there for you", "we'll be together for a long, long time," or "I'm here to stay" -the next thing you know you're walking around with six-inch diggers thrust deep into your back?

A proper understanding of whom you call "friend" will uncomplicate your world and get you much, much further in life.

 

SO WHO IS A TRUE FRIEND?

This question, very few people step back and ponder. In fact, some people will stop reading this article, right about now. But before you shut the door on me like smoke, consider these important five important pointers:

  1. Your friends influence your mindset,
  2. Your friends affect your decision,
  3. Your friends affect your action,
  4. Your friends affect your destiny.

 

Friendships can raise you or ruin you. Hurt you or help you. Destroy you or defend you.

The question remains – who is a true friend?

 

May I suggest five important traits of a true friend:

 

1. A true friend is an elevator

 

He is the one who improves your life.

He brings out the best in you. He motivates you to pursue the straight and the narrow path. He is not a person who will persuade you to commit a crime. He will not put drugs in your hand or entice you to do something immoral -this is not a true friend! A true friend will encourage to serve God and to live right.

 

2. A true friend is an expander

 

He is one who will challenge you beyond mediocrity into the life of excellence.

He will push you, he will stretch your potential. The one who has a problem with your mediocrity and encourages you to fight it!  A true friend loves you the way you are but he loves you too much to leave you the way you are.

 

3. A true friend is lighter

 

He is one who will tell you the truth even if it means risking your friendship.

The truth is more important to him than offending you. A fake friend will withhold truth to watch you sink  -make a mistake or mess up. A genuine friend is not interested in pleasing you as much as he is in protecting you. You cannot reach your destiny with people who want to be in your "good books".

A true friend will say to you, " you cannot sleep with a woman you not married with," "you cannot buy a car that cost you more than your house". This is a genuine friend.

 

4. A true friend is a celebrater

 

A true friend is not uncomfortable with your success.

Your progress does not agitate him. A true friend celebrates your success in your absence. A fake friend sees you increase and feels intimidated, jealous and envious.

You will never increase or grow with such friends. Such people can not improve your life. Notice also the reaction of your "friends" not only during the hard times but during the good times. A true freind can handle your success.

 

5. A true friend is a lover

 

A true friend loves you for who you are not for what you have.
Wealthy people struggle most, knowing who truly loves them. The richer one becomes, the harder it is to tell who is genuine. In prosperity, your friends know you, in adversity, you know who your friends are. When you are the president of a country, you will get many Christmas card. The moment your term ends you will only get Christmas cards from true friends. Celebrities have many friends following them on social media but the moment they lose all their money and glamorous social status, they also lose all their fake friends.

It is a dangerous place when some relate to you because of something they want from you.

 

 

6. A true friend is a complimenter

 

A genuine friend is a person whose character, values and visions are similar to yours.

You are not an immoral womanizer, he is not an immoral womanizer. You are not a stealer, he is not a stealer. If you sit down with someone who is an immoral womanizer, or a stealer you soon will become one. If you continue with him, you will destroy your destiny.

 

Remember, friendships can raise you or ruin you. Hurt you or help you. Destroy you or defend you.

It takes, iron to sharpen iron as the proverbs say. When iron sharpens wood, both lose -the wood reduces in size, and the iron becomes blunt. The wood shrinks in size and the iron lose its' sharpness because the two are incompatible.

When you move with people who do not have your character, values, and vision, you will lose something.

 

SO WHO ARE YOUR FRIENDS?

Every girl looks forward to finding her Prince Charming. The moment love finds them, then the dream fairytale wedding and a perfect life thereafter. But, as you grow older, you realise that nobody’s perfect. So instead of looking for Mr Perfect, you look for the one who is perfect for you -a sign you’ve matured.

As Pastors for over a decade, alongside Rey, my wife (16 years and counting) we’ve observed how beautiful, ambitious girls, settled for less than THE BEST.

One of the most difficult things we face at times is trying to speak “sense” into some of these precious hearts. Whether it is by way of, Whatsapp, Email or our Dating and Courtship Workshops, we’d encourage these young ladies, “yes follow your heart, but not without your brain.”

 

Often the complaint we hear from them is, “the pickings are slim to none at the Church.” So they venture into the world throwing up their hands in despair, and desperation. Even lowering their standards in order to find “love.”

We shared with them our mistakes; we encourage them not settle for less than God’s best. As much as we feel we do our best, our wisdom often is disregarded and the consequences for them are inevitable.

Too many Christian women today, have ended up with an Ishmael because impatience pushed them into an unhappy marriage. This is a great sadness!

It’s my sincerest hope, this article would help you.  I’ve always believed God is in the matchmaking business. He matched me with my wife and He can do it for you. How or when I can’t tell you but what I can tell you is which guy not from Him.

So what are the qualities of a keeper: How do you recognize a good guy?

It’s true, as you look for Mr Right, you look past some of the bad traits, so you can see all the good ones.

This shows that you’re not shallow, emotionally mature and possibly ready for a steady relationship. But, despite how shallow it might seem, there are some guys you should just AVOID like the black plague!

 

10 Types Of Guys To Put On Your Do Not Date List

 

 

#1. The Controller Freak

 

Do not date a controller!

You may fancy the “attention” in the early dating stage. Particularly if you grew up as a young girl without the affection, attention and love of your father.  A controlling man will come back to haunt your marriage.

Here is the truth about biblical leadership, it is servant leadership, not domination!

There are many “Christian men” who go around quoting scriptures about headship and being the spiritual leader. However, their idea of leadership is having a woman be subservient to them.

They may quote Scripture and sound super-spiritual, but behind the façade of husbandly authority is deep insecurity and pride that destroys and leads into spiritual and emotional abuse. God created a man and a woman as equal. A man and a woman differ in function, not status!

 

“Commands husbands to treat their wives as equals.”
1 Peter 3:7

If the man you are dating talks down to you makes demeaning comments about women or seems to quench your spiritual fire for God, back away now!

You don’t need his “power trip” issues to further complicate your life.

Women who marry “religious control freaks” often end up depressed and having a  marriage like “Nightmare on Elm’s Street.”

Put that type of guy on your do not date list.

 

 

#2. The Deceiver

 

One of the major challenges in modern society is the lack of understanding of the difference between; dating and courtship.

Dating is for discernment. Discerning important things such as; character, emotional and intellectual compatibility.

It’s important to look beyond physical attraction.  Hers is why, when people date, they put their “best foot” forward to try to impress the other person, right?  This is human nature. What is not human nature is when people intentionally deceive a person about their past or their character.

If you discover that the guy you are dating has deceived you about his past…  run for the hills!

Marriage must be built on a foundation of friendship which is built on the foundation trust.

If he can’t be truthful about his mistakes in the past or about his character flaws, break up now before he deceives you with an even bigger deception.

This guy deserves to be on your do not date list.

 

 

#3. The Irresponsible Man-Child

 

Is your guy still living with his mama? Run and don’t look back!

Call me old-fashion, but if a guy at age 35 is still living with mum’s and pap’s, he is going to the tough-nut to please!

Forget about getting him to do any chores around the house. You’ll be like, baby in the one arm, the other whimpering in the cot, while you doing the cooking and thinking about the ironing.    I’ve seen marriages crush, because of the uninvolved, present but absent husband.

If his mother is still doing his cooking, cleaning and ironing at that age, you can be sure he’s stuck in an emotional time warp.

He is an overgrown baby in an adult’s body. You are asking for trouble if you think you can be a wife to a guy who hasn’t grown up and is not responsible enough.

If he can’t take care of himself, how the heck he going to take care of you, the children?

Back away and, as a friend, encourage him to find a mentor who can help him mature.

But whatever you do, put him on your do not date list.

 

 

#4. The Chippendale

 

There are actually men in the church and especially online that prey on women who are gullible, lonely and needy.

They will lead them right down the path of sexual promiscuity with no intention of marrying them.

If you marry someone who cannot control his libido prior to marriage, what makes you think he will control it after you are married?

If he has a “wandering eye” in front of you, trust me, sweetheart, he’s a player, flirting with others girls behind you.

How will you ever trust a guy like this, who can not trust his optical system?

This type of guy is a no-brainer for your do not date list.

Finding a man who has control over his sexual appetites is a rare gem indeed.

You will be well served to find such a man.

 

 

#5. The Abuser (Spiritual, Emotional, Or Physical)

 

Abuse is caused by anger and manipulation.

If the guy you are dating has a tendency to fly off the handle, either at you or others, don’t be tempted to rationalise his behaviour.

He has a problem, and if you marry him you have a problem, a serious problem. You will have to walk on eggshells in your own home. Angry men hurt women—verbally and sometimes physically.

Put that type of guy on your do not date list.

Pray for a gentleman.

Pray for a guy that doesn’t try to manipulate his world to always get his way.

Pray for a guy that can accept when things are not what he wants all the time.

 

 

#6. The Deserter

 

Do not date a deserter!

There are many great Christian men who have experienced the tragedy of divorce and have done the things necessary to heal from that event in their life and are ready to have a great marriage.

The Holy Spirit has restored them and now they want to remarry.

But if you find out that the man you are dating hasn’t been caring for his children from a previous marriage, you have just exposed a fatal flaw.

Any man who will not support children from a previous marriage is not going to treat you responsibly.

What makes you think that he will support you when he will not take responsibility for his own children or be the dad that his kids need?

Put him on your do not date list.

 

 

#7. The GQ Man

 

Everybody should marry somebody that is physically attractive to them.

But be careful: If your guy spends six thousand hours a day at the gym and regularly posts closeups of his biceps on Facebook, you have a problem, drink 13 red bulls and fly away!

He is self-absorbed if he cares more for his triceps or his toys (car, or hobby) that he cares for you. The guy who’s willing to drop it all for you, he’s the one! Never accept second best when God has only the best for his daughter.

Watch out for the narcist. Narcissus was an ancient Greek mythological figure who was so beautiful that he fell in love with himself – but because he couldn’t leave his own reflection in the water, he eventually drowned.

A person who is a narcissist is so convinced of their own greatness that they don’t see their weaknesses. Marrying a narcissist is a very one sided relationship. They’re always trying to vaunt their own greatness – often at the expense of others.

When a person is self-absorbed then they don’t have the time nor the inclination to give themselves to someone else. They are in fact in love with themselves.

He might be cute, but a man who is infatuated with his appearance and his own needs will never be able to love you sacrificially like Christ loves the church (Ephesians 5:25).

The man who is always looking at himself in the mirror will never notice you!

Put him on your do, not date list.

 

 

#8. The Addicted User

 

Guys who go to church but are addicted to mind altering substances have learned a secretive behavioural lifestyle.

Never marry a man who refuses to get help for his addiction.

Insist that he get professional help and walk away.

And don’t get into a co-dependent relationship in which he claims he needs you to stay sober.

You can’t fix him. It is not your job it is God’s job!

Don’t try to be “holy spirit junior,” and try to anyone. Firstly He does not need your help (thank you very much,) secondly, don’t deceive yourself into thinking, “he will change once we marry.” If God can’t change him, neither will marriage or you!

Take enough time to know someone before you get married. That’s the purpose of dating.

You don’t want to be surprised on your honeymoon that you actually married a crack head.

Put him on your d, not date list.

 

 

#9. The Lazy Bum

 

Do not date a lazy bum!

The first thing God gave Adam was a JOB, not a wife! For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat. 2 Thessalonians 3:10

Does your guy have a job?

Does he have a life plan?

If the answer is now, he can’t afford you or marriage. I can’t tell you how many ladies I have seen supporting guys who have no plan in their life.

The rule to eating applies to marrying you as well. If he is not willing to work, he has no business marrying a godly woman like you!

Ladies, don’t sell your spiritual birthright for a bowl of stew.

Don’t marry a man that doesn’t deserve you. Put him on your do not date list.

Please receive our “fatherly” or “motherly” advice:

You are much better off single than with the wrong guy!

Your smartest decision in life is to wait for a man who is sold out to Jesus!

 

 

#10. The Unbeliever

 

Don’t date an unbeliever!

Please take this scripture and write it on a post-it note and place it on your mirror, refrigerator and your computer at work.

“Don’t yoke with those who are unbelievers. How can righteousness be a partner with wickedness? How can light live with darkness? What harmony can there be between Christ and the devil? How can a believer be a partner with an unbeliever?” 2 Corinthians 6:14-15

You don’t want to be “yoked” with a man who does not know the LORD and God’s Word. It becomes complicated and more so when the children arrive.

Don’t be fooled by good looks, a witty personality, financial prosperity, or even a willingness to go to Church with you while you are dating. If the guy was not actively serving the Lord prior to you meeting him, then he is not marriage material.

Marriage taps into the spiritual dynamics of unity. If you don’t have a spiritual agreement, you don’t have a real agreement. You must do a spiritual X- Ray before you date anyone.  Don’t treat dating a guy like an item on the shopping list. Get it when you need it kinda thing…. 

It’s possible to end up being that woman who gets trapped in unfulfilling marriages because you fell prey to the guy who wanted to find a “good Church girl” but had no intention of being a good Church man himself. So be aware of this.

I have never met one godly woman who didn’t regret marrying an unbeliever.

Please put them on your do, not date list.

Every day we hear heartbreaking stories of marriages falling apart. This February I am married for 16 years to the world’s most virtuous woman, Rey

 

God has blessed us with three beautiful little girls, well they aren’t so little anymore. I’m thankful today, we’ve got a “model marriage.” Our home permeates with love, laughter and security. Our marriage we’d like to believe is an affirmation, too many, that marriage is still a great idea.

But there are no shortcuts to success, and the same is true about matrimony.

A great marriage takes patience, perseverance, dedication, endless forgiveness and a budget for yellow roses. 

 

Our Marriage Was Not Always An Easy Road

We’d to overcome (and still do) numerous challenges, to enjoy what we celebrate today. When we hear of the gut-wrenching stories of couples who’s marriages, have failed and fallen apart, or those partners who are together, but lost the joy of this blessed union,  I often wonder just how many of us say in our hearts: “Please, Lord… don’t let that happen to my marriage?”

While it would be unlikely and arrogant to assume that every marriage is the same, I would argue that many marriages that find themselves in deep water show one or more of the signs that I’m going to mention in this post.

It’s true every couple has the greatest intentions when starting out, right? But somehow, “life happens.” Your job, the children, money matters. ..all stand between the two of you and the next thing you find yourself awakening from the bed of lost passion and intimacy, resulting in a marriage that is torn apart, hearts tattered and distraught children.

For the sake of the health of your marriage, I encourage you to read through this list with an open-honest-heart. I’ve based these “marriage warning signs” around Biblical truths. If you discern any of these happening in your marriage, allow me to encourage you to consider these biblical truths for wisdom and the application for your particular situation?

One more important thing, physical or emotional abuse are definite signs of marriage in trouble. I’d advise that you seek immediate help from a pastor or a qualified marital counsellor.

 

 

 

#1. You Don’t have a Desire to Serve each Other (Any Longer.)

 

If you have a desire to place yourself first in everything, your marriage is in deep trouble.

Sacrificial love—which includes letting our spouses have their way, or choosing to bless them without expecting a return —is the exact type of love that we signed up to do when we got married (1 Corinthians 13).

Our culture is opposed to serving. Therefore this may seem almost taboo. Yet, we are required to sacrificially love our spouses (Ephesians 5) every day, whether that’s physically serving them or allowing their opinions to be as valuable as our own (Philippians 2:3-4.)

#2. You Care Less about Your Spouse’s Opinion

 

It’s dangerous to a marriage when we habitually choose to not weigh our spouse’s opinions as important as our own.
I’m not suggesting that we dismiss our feelings, or write off the validity to our emotions. But if you find that you habitually choose to not care about each other’s feelings your marriage is not in a good space.

I believe friendship is the foundation of marriage. A healthy friendship isn’t self-seeking but seeks to bless the other person, which sometimes results in sacrificing our own opinions and desires in order to maintain peace.

When we dismiss our spouse’s feelings as unimportant, you are hurting the friendship and by default, damaging your marriage.

Remembers these words;

 

“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-5)

 

 

 

 

#3.  Forgiveness No Longer Comes Easy

 

Conflict is inevitable in any relationship.

 

But the real question is, “What do we do with those conflicts?” Each time you violate the “plank and speck principle” in Matthew 7:5, we cloud our judgment more and more until we cannot see our mistakes and shortcomings. Resulting in it becoming too difficult, too extreme to forgive.

One little issue can compound with other issues, and before you know it, your hearts have shut down, and your marriage is slowly dying.

As hard as it seems, you must get to the root of our emotions and deal with these issues quickly with your spouse.

Learn to forgive quickly for the sake of peace, and of the importance of grace.

 

 

“(Love) is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.” (1 Corinthians 13:5)

 

 

 

 

#4. Physical Intimacy is Non-existent

 

 

Your sex life is a good indicator of your overall marital health.

 

If you and your husband are tired and too busy for intimate time together, your marriage will loose it’s “connectedness.”

When there aren’t any emotional barriers between a husband and wife, sex is easy and feels like a time of deep emotional connection.

Sex is God’s “balm of reconciliation,” and an “ointment of intimacy.” Sex “resets” the connection in marriage.

Sex is intended to be more than just physical but a spiritual and emotional investment in each other, and when you reduce it down to a physical act or lustful for that matter, you are neglecting your marital growth and intimacy.

Many couples let this aspect of marriage slowly erode, and its so easy to do so.

Besides being “too busy” or “too tired,” here are some other potential reasons why physical intimacy may be lacking:

You may no longer be attracted to your spouse because of physical changes they’ve undergone,

You’ve  been emotionally wounded in other areas (by your spouse or others) and sex seems unthinkable,

Pornography or affairs have trespassed the marriage and shattered trust,

You  have reduced sex to a physical experience,

I wish to encourage you, you can’t allow the enemy to use your busy-ness or your emotional scars to keep our marriage from this most vital form of connection.

God created sex for a reason beyond procreation. It’s one of the keys to marital intimacy and oneness. You must make sexual connection with your spouses a priority in order for your marriages to thrive.

 

“keep the marriage bed pure” (Hebrews 13:4)

 

 

 

#5. You’re no Longer Investing in Your Marriage

 

Consider the investment of time your put in your relationship before you got married? It was a joy wasn’t it?

 

You entered marriage with hearts full of hope and excitement because you’ve spent hours investing in your relationship.

Then you get married, and suddenly as the years go by (you become distracted by your career, kids, or even ministry), your marriage no longer is a priority. Somehow we expect it to care for itself. This is a disastrous view.
Date nights and regular scheduled “us-time” alone together are so important!

You must make intentional investments of time, in your relationship should you want it to stay vibrant and growing.

I’ve  made this mistake in the past and what’s worse, I came up with a thousand excuses.  I’m so grateful my wife helped me see my error. I moved my office to our home to remedy the challenge.  Today,  I’m grateful, that I’ve been there for my family every step of the way.

Some suggestion to prioritise your marriage:

Plan regular date nights, or days,

We usually do date days, breakfast once a week has done amazing things for our marriage,

Plan weekends away or vacations,

Participate in each other’s hobby or interests.

Remember, we must nurture our relationships in order to honour them and to stay faithful!

Have you lost the sense of “us-ness?” Couples often come into counselling complaining that they have “grown apart, ” and when they are together, “all we do is fight and argue!”

Do you miss the closeness that you once had, the feeling of feeling loved and appreciated?

Rey and I will be married for 16 years this February.  We have been teaching and encouraging couples over the years in our marriage seminars that it is possible to have “Longevity with Joy!” But, the truth is, we have not always treated each other with love and respect.

The “busyness” of life (ministry/work/studies/kids/school/ageing/etc.,) meant less meaningful time and energy for ourselves as a couple. Most couples have very busy lifestyles these days resulting in their marriages taking the blow first!

We made a decision several years ago, one that ultimately turned our “winter” into a “spring marriage” – spending “time together.”  The essential secret for restoring intimacy and happiness. Even though we work together and are in each other’s company daily, we realised, together, does not always mean together. “Time together” meant exclusively “us time,”  whether it was watching movies, or going on a date, or taking a short vacation when we could afford it, us time was something we’d let slip, badly   

You do not always have to be doing anything “special,” to be together, but you have to carve out time for each other and make it count!

This is an important principle to stay engaged in establishing closeness in your relationship and build a meaningful friendship.

Friendship before love has proven to be the cornerstone of our marriage.

Over the years it has helped us protect our intimacy.

I have compiled a list of principles that have significantly helped us protect our intimacy, I sincerely hope it will encourage you.

Four Secrets On How You Can Rekindle Lost Intimacy

  1. Build or Rebuild Your Friendship

If you are planning on getting married, then you are building a friendship.  If you are married and have lost your friendship – you need to Rebuild.
No matter how bad your marriage may be, the fact is, if you have loved, respected and enjoyed each others company once, you can do it again!

Friendship is the bridge that leads to the life of intimacy.

A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity
Proverbs 17:17.

During your partners weakest moments, temperaments, annoyances, sickness, financial difficulties – if you are friends, it means you are not going to leave each other. This is why you vowed “in sickness and health until death do us part.”

Friends love at all times, remain faithful and loyal at all times.
When a husband loves his wife with unconditional love, this triggers a chain reaction in his wife which will cause her to respond to that love with respect. On the other hand, if a husband magnifies the faults of his wife above his Love for her and when a wife criticises her husband above her respect for him, intimacy and love for each other gets lost.

We fall out of love when we focus on criticising each other (and for our weakness and failures) but we fall in love when we focus on our Friendship.

Friendship is Built on Two Fundamental Pillars

1. Trust
2. Truth

Without these two pillars, you cannot build a marriage of intimacy (in-to-me-see).

Trust is Proven Faithfulness

  • If there is no trust, there is no friendship. Trust is earned by being faithful to the covenant and each other.

Truth is Faithfulness towards Your Vows

  • A marriage that has a standard of Truth not modern day culture, has a guaranteed chance of success.
  • God’s standard for marriage is: “until death do us part”, our culture’s standard is “until our first disagreement do us part”.

Once you commit your marriage to God’s standard of truth, it becomes easier for both husband and wife to accept responsibility to build on friendship and protect Intimacy.

2. Believe in Each Other

Love always believes for the best, and through it a couple believes in each other. Friendship means you love, support and believe in each other. Your spouse ought to be your best friend because they believe in you more than anyone else.

How Do You Demonstrate Your Belief in Each Other?

  • Support each other’s interests, desires and needs. This means you have to start watching “chick flicks” together.
  • Compliment each other and speak words of life over each other. Nothing encourages a man more, when his wife compliments him, especially when he has done something good.
  • Affirmation over each other, both privately and publicly. Never speak ill of each other before friends or in-laws. You may forgive each other as a couple, but they may not.

Love always believes for the best and through love a couple believes in each other.

3. Embrace Each Other’s Differences

If we are both the same one of us is unnecessary. God made us different and He has joined the two of us together for a purpose.

You have gender differences. You have personality differences. You have background differences. The problem with differences is that we usually assume we are right. When hubby or wife does things differently, he/she seems wrong. A few years of clashing over how things should be done leads to “I wonder if we are really made for each other after all?”

How to Approach Your Differences

  • Don’t tolerate your differences, celebrate it!
  • Those differences are tools that God can use to mould you into better people.
  • It isn’t a matter of finding the perfect person as much as it is becoming the perfect couple.

Marriages don’t succeed because of who you are but because of what you desire to become. One of the greatest blessings in your marriage is to discover why God brought you together.

4. Value Transparency

You will know the level of friendship you have to the degree of intimacy you celebrate. You are only transparent with close friends. Transparency is fostered in our marriages (or any relationship) when we are not quick to judge each other, when we protect sensitive, shameful or damaging information.

Couples hide shameful and hurtful things from each other because of fear. But perfect love casts out all fear. You foster transparency by falling in Love daily.

Love Creates Transparency

  • Love extinguishes fear.
  • Love covers sin.
  • Love bears no record of a suffered wrong.
  • Love extends grace.
  • Love is patient and kind.

Your spouse can only love all of you if you let them love you without secrets.

 


Question: Are you building your marriage on a friendship? Do you believe in each other? Are you willing to celebrate each other’s differences and be transparent?

If you answered no to any of these questions, what are you going to change from now?