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Relationships can be really difficult to make and maintain, even between like-minded Christians. As God created us to be in relationship with one another and with him, it’s really important that we include him in all of our dealings with others, especially when things get tough.
Perhaps you always dreamed of having the perfect wedding but it just hasn’t happened yet and all your friends seem to be heading down the aisle. It can be really difficult to be single, especially if you attend a church that regularly extols the virtues of marriage and you feel like you’re already ‘passed it’, but there are also major benefits to having the freedom to make your own God-inspired choices.
“Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires” (Psalm 37:4).
Dating within a church setting can be tricky, with everyone looking on and offering unsolicited advice. Perhaps you’ve been on a series of horrendous dates or you started dating someone you’d liked for a while but they aren’t what you expected up close. Or maybe you’re happily dating someone but are struggling to set appropriate boundaries when it comes to physical contact.
“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).
You tied the knot and expected to live out your happy ending, but your new life together has thrown up a series of challenges. Maybe he leaves his socks on the floor and she nags, or vice versa. Maybe your spouse has been unfaithful, or your own head has been turned. You may simply have had different expectations and be feeling disappointed. Perhaps communication has broken down and you don’t know how to get back on track.
“Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love” (Ephesians 4:2).
However strong your relationship is, having children will test it to the limits. Dealing with the lack of sleep, practical aspects of parenting and the emotional side of it all is bound to offer up challenges and delights in equal measure. Maybe you got pregnant unexpectedly or you can’t have children and feel as though there’s a huge gap in your life. Or perhaps you’re constantly arguing about how to raise and discipline your kids.
Whether you’ve got toddlers or teenagers, children can be a real handful. From getting up to do frequent night feeds to helping your children with homework or personal issues, you may feel as though it’s a thankless task. Your children may even be grown up and want nothing to do with you, or maybe they’ve turned away from the Lord.
“We will not hide these truths from our children; we will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the Lord, about his power and his mighty wonders” (Psalm 78:4).
You never thought when you said, “I do” at the altar that you’d end up saying, “I don’t want to do this any more” to your beloved. Relationship breakups can be truly devastating, regardless of where the blame lies. Whether you simply can’t live together or there has been a major betrayal, it’s vital that you get some help if your marriage is on the rocks.
“Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you” (1 Peter 5: 7).
Perhaps you had a difficult relationship with your own parents growing up and have never been able to forgive them and restore the relationship. Or maybe your parents are growing old and are struggling with their health and you’re carrying the burden. Perhaps your parents are critical of the way you live your life and it’s bringing you down.
“Honor your father and mother. Then you will live a long, full life in the land the Lord your God is giving you” (Exodus 20:12).
Help is at hand
If you’re experiencing difficulties in any of these areas, it’s worth talking to a trusted friend or church leader. They can listen, share the burden and pray for God’s help in whatever you’re facing.
We have put together a broad series of resources that deal with these specific issues, from marital problems to parenting conundrums. Other people may have experienced similar problems, and it’s their stories that we seek to present here. You’ll find that many people have seen God transform the relationships they believed were unsalvageable, and he can do the same for you.