July 19, 2021

I love the symbolism of this stained glass window. It shows Yeshua the Christ holding the hands of a married couple. Notice that the star of David is between them. The star is composed of two triangles. The upside down triangle represents the infinite power of God, loving each person individually. The right side up triangle represents many people loving one God. So the Star of David represents the relationship between God and man.

Notice also, that Yeshua is looking down upon the couple and paying personal attention to them as they look upward toward Him. The way He is holding their hands together suggests to the mind and that the relationship is not between each individual and Christ, but between Christ and the couple as an inseparable unit. This is in harmony with the scriptural language:

"Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh." (Genesis 2:24.)

Yeshua expounded this verse as follows:

"But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder." (Mark 10:6-9.)

Cathy and I often teach about the importance of individuality in relationships. We talk about boundaries and honoring the agency of the other person, even when that person is making decisions that we consider wrong. We talk about the importance of self-care to showing up better in the relationship. We talk about the importance of owning your own thoughts and feelings instead of blaming someone else for them. We teach about being responsible for your own happiness rather than asking your partner to take responsibility for it. We talk about making the other person more important than our agenda for him or her. But please understand, these principles are not directed to make you a solitary individual that is primarily self-concerned. They are designed to help you become one in a holy way--and, in the end, Yeshua does not save us all by ourselves. We are created as two complementary genders, rather than one uniform gender. "neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord" (1 Corintians 11:11). They complete each other.

Now, I think the scriptural notion of completeness and deep oneness is at odds with how the world expresses the phrase, "You complete me." Oneness is not looking for another person to make up for our defects. Oneness is the deep vulnerability and intimate knowledge of each other that refines us and creates lasting love. It is where two people have absolute agency and yet choose each other. When someone knows you as completely as possible, including all your flaws, and yet accepts you without condition or reservation, the wind never blows so cold again. It is the clearest mirror of God's love we can experience on this Earth.

For some people, their path through this life may be solitary. For most of us, I think we are designed and created to be in couples. I don't judge anyone for their marital status and I don't pressure anyone to get married if that is not in their heart. I simply believe it is the place we go to become stripped of pride, vulnerable, and to know and be known. It is the deepest love we can experience outside of God's perfect love.

I am describing, as clearly as I can, the celestial way of being coupled. I want to suggest that making the Lord a partner of your marriage involves creating a relationship between him and yourselves as a couple. Like that triangle, the closer you come to Him, the closer you are drawn together.

In dating relationships, where you are experimenting with a lower level of commitment, you can begin this journey of drawing closer to the Lord by drawing closer to each other. As your relationship begins to deepen, it is wise to pray together. It is wise to attend church together and go to the temple. It is wise to read scriptures and other good books and discuss them together. It is wise to put Christ at the center of your relationship. I can love Cathy more by loving Him most. As you date prior to marriage, do not expect to keep God at the outer perimeter of your relationship and then invite Him in on the wedding day. You can't know if your visions of spirituality match up until you have tried to live that part of your lives together a little bit.

I am not suggesting, in any way, that you use religion or your knowledge of the scriptures to impress someone you are dating. This is not a game. It is a matter of being who you are wherever you go, particularly as you build relationships with others. As Paul said, "I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation." (Romans 1:16.) If Christ is at the center of your life, be intentional about making Him the center of your dating relationships. That doesn't mean every date needs to be to a church event. But make your talk, your treatment of the other person, and your overall way of being reflect a disciple of Christ.

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