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“Leave room for the Holy Spirit” sounds a lot more restrictive than the six inch rule we had in my Upward Bound program. When we had dances, there were two rules Orma gave us: remain vertical and at least six inches apart. I would have been more impressed with the Holy Spirit thing myself; after all, I’m sure the Holy Spirit takes up more than six inches of space.

Sometimes in my relationship, I find I’m a little too close to it. It’s like sitting right in front of a TV or a movie theater screen: the picture becomes blurry and your neck and eyes begin to hurt from trying to make out what you’re looking at. The more I focus on any one part of it, the less discernable the whole picture becomes, never mind the tiny speck I’m looking at.  After your emotions become all wrapped up in this person, it can be hard to determine what you have in front of you. That’s where the Holy Spirit Rule comes in.

There’s a reason you are in a relationship. For me, that reason is I want to be married someday. I decided when I was younger that I wouldn’t date anyone who wasn’t dating to find a spouse. I don’t do casual dating. I wasn’t actively seeking someone to date, either. I was high off of I Kissed Dating Goodbye  and past bad experiences just trying to befriend men. I was just going to focus on the three Fs: Faith, Family/Friends, and Future. When the time was right, God would send me someone. In the meantime, I had plenty to keep me busy. No use pining for a man; it was past time to leave it up to God.

The thing is, not too long after starting to date Mr. Perfect, I wanted control back. I didn’t want to wait for the scene before me to come into focus like a Polaroid picture; I wanted to know what this was NOW. I wanted to know where we were, how long we were going to be staying there, and where the next stop was. I was ready already. Leaving meeting someone up to God was well & good, but I could take it from here, right?

Nope. Now, my feelings are involved. Time has been invested. Discussions have been had. I’m feeling some type of way about what I should be seeing and what the future should hold.But that’s my perception. There’s this whole other person involved, this person that once I’m stuck with, I’m stuck with. So before we get all over anxious and overheated, we need to step back and see one another through the clarifying lense of the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit is that wise, overly observant friend that you have that always sees the bend in the road that catches you by surprise. He knows how to say what you meant to say when you’re incapable of communicating it. He’s the person that you pour your heart out to and who helps you make sense of all the mess. He reminds you of all the things you promised God and that God promised you. He’s your conscience and your caution.

In relationships, there are many things we may not see coming, but we should. There are many relationships we shouldn’t be in, but we don’t realize that until we are deep in them and can’t seem to break free. The warning signs are there and the danger zones are clearly marked, but we’re moving so fast and so focused on our goal, whatever it may be, that we just don’t see them.

Of all of the advice I could give two Christian people endeavoring to have a relationship that’s pleasing to God, I would say leave room for the Holy Spirit. God should be at the center of everything, most especially the most influential relationships in our lives. There’s much debate on whether or not Christians should date & how our dating should look as opposed to how the world dates. There is debate in our society on what you should or shouldn’t do before you get married. There is debate on how you pick the right mate. But as a Christian, there should be no debate when it comes to whose word you take. No matter what society or your peers are doing, you are responsible for you and the relationships you have; you want be judged by or held accountable for what anyone else is doing, nor should you base your decisions in relationships upon the decisions of others.

There are some things that I believe are clearly defined for me in the word of God: not fornicating, rather treating your body as a temple of God, a holy sacrifice; not lying, rather letting your yea be yea and nay be nay; loving others as yourself, and etc. Other things, we must infer or follow the examples given. As a Christian, the Holy Spirit is always dwelling within you as long as you are doing God’s will. You always have that spiritual guide who works with God’s word in your heart. Don’t allow your attraction or affection for another person to squeeze him out, to shut God out. God ordained marriage; He realized man needed a helpmate and companion and provided one. Following Him will never prevent you from having the man or woman He has for you. If there is no room for God in your relationship, then this isn’t the relationship He had in mind for you.

Never stop praying for clarity, to know the purpose someone has in your life, to be able to see what God wills for the relationship. Be prepared to accept the answers. Who you will marry (and indeed if you will marry at all) is the second most important decision of your life, behind whether or not you will follow Jesus; it shouldn’t be taken lightly or entered into before you can see the full picture.

Even if you don’t profess to be a Christian (and thanks for reading this far, btw), don’t ignore the little voice inside you trying to get you to step back and gain some perspective. If you’re relationship can’t stand scrutiny, it probably won’t be able to withstand all the other problems life will throw at you. There are always warning signs and danger zones, if we will take the time necessary for the entire picture to develop. Oftentimes, that requires space as well as time, some time spent out of one another’s company to check in with your expectations and requirements, to come back to the relationship with fresh eyes (yet another reason I’m not a fan of cohabitation without a marriage contract–not enough space/time apart from one another).

That’s my two cents, anyway. Feel free to leave yours in the comments section. Note: More marriage kit interviews are being typed and will be posted soon. Until then, see the second part of my interview with the Lincolns here. Part I can be found here.