How are Christian Relationships different from a secular one?
In this article we look at similarities and differences between a Christian relationships and worldly relationship.
Before we look at the differences lets check out what is similar in both types of relationships
They involve humans
It is important to point out that all humans crave love. It does not matter what race or creed you are from – humans form relationships.
Love is to the soul what food is to the body. We all long to love and be loved. There are basic needs that we seek to satisfy in a relationship whether we are Christians or not.
There include but not necessarily limited to:
- Valued – admired, appreciated, acknowledged, approved of, significant, believed in. To feel worthy
- Secure – safe, cared about, accepted, to have borders and boundaries
- Respected – heard, to be listened to, to be recognized, to be understood
- Challenged – to help and be helped
- Clear – transparency, truth, to rust and be trusted, understood
- Forgive and be forgiven
- Loved – to be needed, cared for, to be important to, to be noticed, to be reassured, supported, be valued
All these are emotional needs that are common to most if not all relationships.
2. They both involve (not always) attraction and feeling of romance
May I also add the most modern relationships (both christian and non-Christians) also include feelings of love and romance. At strong desire to be together; a desire care for and be cared by another; to please and help each other. There is usually a need to have these desires reciprocated. In other words one party not only want to love the other but want to be loved by the other.
How are Christian relationships different from a secular one.
Worldly relationships tend to put a lot of emphasis on attraction, chemistry and feelings. The model seem to mostly based on chemistry and compatibility.
While Christian relationships accept that these factors have are important a spiritual dimension is factored in. The Bible warns Christians not get involved with non-christians in 1 Cor 6:14. It also advice that we should not put too much emphasis in external beauty.
“Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Prov 31:30.
Your adornment must not be merely external– braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; 4but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God 1 Pet 3:3,4
2. Christians are encouraged to love God more than they love each other
Christianity asks that lovers love God more than they love each other, while modern/western relationships tend to be totally consumed with each other. Mat 22:37,38.
In other words if for any reason lovers had to choose between what God desires of them and what their boy/girl friend wants, then they are required to choose God first.
That does not mean that loving God is at odds with loving each other. Actually loving God tends to deepen and embellish the love they have for each other. For example husbands are asked to sacrifice themselves for their wives and wives are asked to submit to their husbands. Eph 5:25,32
3. Christians are asked to put the needs others above and beyond their own.
Secular relationship tend to be based on each person contributing equally to the relationship. This is called the egalitarian system. It is expected that you should contribute to my happiness as much as I do to your.
People are encouraged to value themselves above others. If they are not happy in a relationship they are encouraged to leave and either be happy by themselves or find someone else who will make them happy.
The Bible encourages a different set of values. You expected to give 100% to the relationship. Interestingly the Bible encourages that you value the other person even more than you do yourself. E.g
Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; Rom 12:10 also see Phil 2:3
4. Avoid premarital sex
This perhaps the most obvious difference between secular and Godly relationships.
Most secular relationships have no qualms in having consensual sex outside marriage. However the Bible has very strong sanctions about fornication and adultery.
Christians are encouraged to manage and control their passions.
1 Corinthians 6:18
Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body.
But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Also see Col 3: 5
For those who found it hard to contain their passions Paul encouraged them to get married.