Intimate Clarity

Clarity On Finding A Life Partner

Three Angels Broadcasting Network

Program transcript



Series Code: IC

Program Code: IC180110A

00:01 The following program discusses sensitive issues
00:03 related to sexuality.
00:05 Parents are cautioned
00:06 this presentation may be too candid
00:08 for younger audiences.
00:30 Welcome to Intimate Clarity.
00:32 I'm Jason Bradley, and I'm here with Jennifer Jill Schwirzer,
00:35 and she is a licensed professional counselor.
00:38 And we have a very special topic
00:41 that we're going to discuss today,
00:43 a popular topic,
00:44 and it's a conversation that we need to have.
00:47 So, Jen, is there an ideal foolproof plan
00:52 in terms of finding a life partner?
00:55 Yeah, like a foolproof formula, you follow these steps
00:59 and you're going to live happily ever after.
01:01 Right? Yeah, absolutely.
01:03 No, I don't think there is,
01:05 and I think when we try
01:06 to come up with these foolproof plans,
01:07 what it effectively does is gets us to rely on the plan
01:10 instead of relying on God to lead us.
01:13 And so it's a risky thing
01:14 actually to have too foolproof of a plan.
01:16 But there are some basic principles
01:18 that we can employ
01:20 in the process of finding a life partner.
01:23 Okay, okay. Yeah.
01:25 And what might some of those be or...?
01:27 Yeah, good, I want to unpack that
01:29 but I want to talk first of all about
01:31 how God leads us step-by-step in our lives
01:35 to the place where we're ready to find a life partner
01:38 because actually there's a whole kind of course
01:42 throughout life in learning how to love and be loved
01:45 that God accomplishes with us.
01:47 You're married, correct? I'm married, that's correct.
01:48 I have two children. Nice.
01:50 And are you married?
01:51 I'm not married, I have a girlfriend.
01:53 I want to get married one day, that's the goal.
01:55 All right, good.
01:56 So you're really tuning in on this one, that's good.
01:58 That's good.
02:00 So basically what God does is that at every stage of life,
02:03 He builds our brain and builds our capacity
02:06 to love and be loved.
02:08 So it starts with a mother, a child,
02:10 or we call primary caregiver and child relationship.
02:15 And it's amazing as you study neuroscience
02:17 and developmental process,
02:19 you see how impacting that relationship
02:22 between the mother and the child
02:24 is in terms of building in that child
02:26 the capacity for future relationships
02:29 and for trust bonding.
02:31 So mother plays such an essential role
02:34 as she cares for that tiny infant.
02:36 And I'm not saying father isn't part of that
02:38 but women are especially set up physiologically
02:40 and psychologically to be able to nurture a tiny infant.
02:44 Yeah, there's definitely some things
02:45 that we can't do that women...
02:47 Yes, yes, yes.
02:49 Yeah, exactly, exactly, those nurturing impulses
02:50 and we can feed the baby from our own body
02:51 and I've never known a man that could do that.
02:54 That's exactly what I was talking about.
02:56 Right, exactly.
02:57 So then along comes dad, and about three years old,
02:59 the child starts to interact with a dad more and more
03:03 and the father really stretches the child
03:05 and increases the child's capacity
03:06 for risk-taking and this type of thing.
03:08 So he plays his own special part.
03:11 And then typically in the lifetime line
03:14 comes siblings,
03:15 and siblings are the first really horizontal relationship
03:18 we have as human beings
03:19 where we're actually negotiating,
03:21 and we're resolving conflict,
03:23 and we're learning how to share.
03:25 We learn a whole new set of skills.
03:27 And when you say horizontal, you mean like equal?
03:29 On an equal playing field?
03:30 Exactly, we're on an equal plane
03:32 pretty much with siblings
03:33 although there's an age difference usually
03:35 but we're not like parent-child,
03:36 like that kind of authority configuration.
03:38 Yes, yes.
03:39 So we're learning more horizontal skills
03:42 and those skills we use in the next relationship,
03:45 which is friendship building.
03:47 And that's the first relationship
03:48 that we develop outside of our family.
03:50 So it's the first chosen relationship.
03:52 And we've already developed this whole skill set
03:54 and now we're using it on friends.
03:57 And that kind of relationship prepares us
03:59 for the next relationship which is a life partner.
04:03 And I don't know if you realize this yet being unmarried but,
04:06 you know, I can say this as a married person
04:08 that what your life partner is,
04:10 is basically a friend on steroids.
04:12 I mean, you've got that romantic component for sure
04:16 and they're part of your family but you're also friends
04:18 and most of the time you're interacting as friends
04:20 and negotiating the way friends do.
04:23 And so it's really important to learn friendship
04:25 because it maybe you've experienced this
04:26 if it's all about the romantic attraction,
04:30 it's going to burn out sooner or later.
04:32 Well, yeah, I think that, you know,
04:34 that friendship element is extremely important
04:38 because as you get married and then years down the line,
04:41 there's going to be certain things
04:42 that may fall off, like in terms of that romance
04:46 or in terms of, you know,
04:49 what if somebody gets into a car accident
04:50 or something and you got to be in love with that person
04:54 and that friendship is so important.
04:56 That's right.
04:57 And what happens in the romantic phase
04:59 of a relationship is there's elevated dopamine,
05:01 which is the pleasure neurotransmitter,
05:03 and actually lowered serotonin,
05:06 which is the mood elevating neurotransmitter,
05:09 and there's higher levels of adrenaline
05:11 in the "in-love" phase of a relationship.
05:13 But there's no way that you can neurologically
05:17 sustain that "in-love" state
05:19 for more than like a year or two.
05:21 Wow.
05:22 Your brain just...
05:23 It doesn't have the capacity for it.
05:25 So you're...
05:26 Like kind of like the honeymoon stage
05:28 that people talk about.
05:29 Yeah. Yeah, exactly.
05:30 And you can retain the early affections
05:33 but what happens is the feelings tend to lead
05:37 and the behaviors follow before marriage,
05:41 but once you cross the altar, sometime after that
05:44 you're going to have to start leading with the behaviors
05:47 and the feelings will follow.
05:48 So the feelings can stay alive,
05:49 they don't have to completely die
05:51 but they're not going to drive the thing forward
05:53 like they do when you're in the in-love phase, so...
05:56 And even the Bible tells us that we're not to operate off
05:59 feelings per se but off principle.
06:02 Feelings matter, God cares about our feelings, they count.
06:03 Yes.
06:05 But they're not going to do a very good job of leading.
06:08 Yeah.
06:09 And especially when you're talking about
06:11 building strong relationships,
06:13 there have to be principles guiding that process.
06:16 So I suggest that because the stakes are so high
06:20 in a married relationship
06:21 and so many things can go wrong,
06:23 that we choose very wisely.
06:25 And so I suggest three phases of searching
06:28 for a life partner, in choosing a life partner.
06:30 Okay.
06:32 This comes from years of experience,
06:34 and reading, and studying.
06:36 For a long time the courtship model was very popular.
06:38 One of the struggles I had with the courtship model,
06:41 even though I believed it was an improvement
06:42 on secular dating
06:44 where feelings lead and passions lead,
06:47 I think the courtship was an improvement
06:49 but one of the issues with it was
06:50 you went often straight from like not interacting
06:53 with the opposite sex, hardly at all
06:56 or at least not in a very meaningful way,
06:58 to being in a very serious committed relationship,
07:01 a courtship.
07:02 And to me, that's too big of a leap.
07:03 So I've inserted a third step which is really the first step,
07:07 which is what I call friendship dating.
07:09 Okay.
07:11 So what I mean by friendship dating
07:12 is getting to know a wide variety of people
07:16 on a friendship level
07:18 and you can just really be honest with them
07:19 and say, "Hey, you know, I'm just getting to know
07:21 a wide variety of people on a friendship level."
07:23 Yeah, yeah.
07:25 "Let's go for a walk, or let's go over here
07:27 and have a sandwich, or let's go for a cup of tea,
07:30 or something and let's just kind of get to know
07:32 each other a little bit."
07:33 As long as you clarify
07:34 that you don't have any serious intentions
07:36 for that relationship,
07:37 I don't see what great harm can come from it.
07:39 Of course, you have to be careful
07:41 not to be wandering off into dark places
07:43 where you might be tempted but, you know, why not have...
07:47 You want to exercise care about building relationships
07:50 with the opposite sex but why be so afraid
07:52 that you don't end up getting to know very many people
07:55 and then end up grabbing
07:56 for any relationship you can find,
07:58 which I've seen happen.
07:59 Yes, yes.
08:01 So basically you want to lay the foundation
08:03 at the beginning, honesty is the best policy.
08:04 That's right.
08:06 And just let them know, "Look,
08:07 I'm getting to know people as a friend..."
08:10 That's right.
08:11 "And then see where it goes from there."
08:14 And as long as you're clear about that,
08:15 then you walk away
08:16 and you still have a friendship,
08:18 even if it didn't lead anywhere else.
08:19 Yes.
08:21 So then the second phase would be more serious dating
08:22 or what we call courtship,
08:24 where you're actually homing in on one person and trying to see
08:27 if that person might be an appropriate life partner.
08:30 And that's a very crucial stage and I'm going to unpack it
08:33 a little bit more later, but thirdly is this, you know,
08:36 the most serious phase before a marriage
08:38 and that's engagement.
08:40 And engagement comes when you've courted someone
08:42 and you've decided that this is the one
08:44 you want to spend your life with.
08:45 So those are the three steps
08:46 that I would break that down to.
08:49 I would also encourage you to ask three questions
08:52 when you're starting to get serious with someone.
08:54 What are these three questions?
08:56 And maybe even the beginning stages of courtship,
08:58 the three questions are "Am I ready?
09:02 Are they ready?
09:03 And are we compatible?"
09:05 Because two people can be ready,
09:08 and yet they can be incompatible.
09:10 Okay. So yeah.
09:12 So break each, break each one of those steps down.
09:15 So "am I ready, are they ready,"
09:17 there's some deal-breakers.
09:19 You're not ready if you have
09:21 an active addiction to anything.
09:22 Okay.
09:24 You're not ready if you have previous relationships
09:26 that you don't have closure on or previous relationships
09:29 you haven't really fully healed from.
09:32 'Cause then there's a danger that you're getting involved
09:35 on the rebound.
09:36 Yeah, you're bringing baggage into...
09:37 Bringing baggage with you, exactly.
09:39 Yes, yes.
09:40 You're not ready if you have major financial problems
09:43 that are unresolved.
09:45 You're not ready if you have no clue
09:46 what you're going to do with your life
09:48 and how you're going to make a living.
09:49 There has to be some kind of plan
09:51 for that moving into...
09:52 You don't have to have all the money
09:53 and all the security, how can you?
09:55 You're at the beginning of the life, not at the end.
09:57 But you need to at least have it planned.
09:59 Yes.
10:00 So those are some of the deal-breakers.
10:01 Okay.
10:03 For am I ready, are they ready.
10:04 You should be a person
10:05 of decent maturity level for your age.
10:08 Now you can't expect to be a saint
10:11 ready for translations,
10:12 you know, when you're 25 years old
10:15 but you need to have a decent maturity level
10:17 and have a track record
10:19 of being able to have decent close,
10:22 bonded relationships because after all,
10:24 this is going to be the most bonded relationship
10:25 of your life.
10:27 Yeah.
10:28 You're going to be raising relationship
10:30 to an art form in this relationship.
10:32 You have to have at least a history
10:33 that shows that you're capable of that,
10:35 of resolving conflict,
10:37 of moving through difficult passages,
10:39 having hard conversations and this type of thing.
10:41 So you need to be a decently mature person.
10:44 Then the compatibility issue. Uh-huh.
10:46 That's a more difficult one. Okay.
10:49 Compatibility and sameness are not the same thing.
10:52 I suggest that compatibilities in three basic areas,
10:57 values, gifts, and passions.
10:59 Okay, so values are the morals
11:02 and the principles that I live by.
11:05 Okay.
11:06 If I believe in pouring my life out at service for God
11:08 and this person that I'm dating believes in stockpiling
11:12 as much money as you can and that's what life is for,
11:15 there's no values compatibility there.
11:17 It is an extreme situation.
11:18 Yeah, yeah. I'm using it to illustrate.
11:20 And then gifts, you know,
11:21 I might be very, very gifted musically.
11:24 I might have just a wonderful music gift
11:25 and that might take me all over the world performing.
11:28 If the person that I'm with, doesn't like music,
11:32 and they really don't want to travel
11:34 or have anything to do with someone traveling,
11:35 that's going to be a problem.
11:37 Absolutely.
11:38 And then passions are the things
11:39 that really light a fire under us,
11:41 things that we feel strongly about,
11:43 things that we deeply love,
11:44 things that make us feel good when we do them.
11:47 Maybe someone, I'll use the same example,
11:49 has a passion for serving in the mission field.
11:53 And maybe the person that they're dating
11:55 or that they're courting has a passion
11:58 for a perfect home decor.
11:59 Okay.
12:00 And loves to wear fine clothing,
12:02 people have a taste
12:03 and a talent for that kind of thing
12:05 but they just love to make their home
12:07 look beautiful
12:08 and they love to make themselves
12:09 look beautiful,
12:11 that's not going to fly very well in the mission field
12:12 where you don't even have a curling iron you can plug in.
12:14 Yeah, yeah.
12:16 So like...
12:18 Okay, so if somebody's purpose...
12:21 It's like, okay, let's say you've got person A here,
12:24 their purpose is mission work or ministry.
12:28 And then you have person B who is wanting to just get rich
12:31 and do whatever it takes to get the money.
12:33 Yeah.
12:34 They're going to be...
12:35 There's no compatibility.
12:37 Yeah, they're going to be incompatible.
12:38 And I suggest that
12:39 if you're really wondering about compatibility
12:41 because compatibility and sameness
12:42 are not the same thing, you know.
12:44 Uh-huh, uh-huh.
12:45 You don't have to be alike to be compatible.
12:46 In fact, sometimes opposites attract
12:48 and work better together.
12:49 Yes.
12:50 One person's choleric, one person's more phlegmatic,
12:52 very assertive, very laid-back,
12:54 they're probably going to work together
12:56 better than two cholerics.
12:57 So it's not necessarily sameness.
12:59 But I would suggest that
13:00 two things can help you figure out
13:02 if you're compatible.
13:03 Okay.
13:05 Three things, the hard work of thinking
13:06 through the issues.
13:07 I would say working with a marriage counselor
13:09 or a pre-engagement counselor is an important thing to do,
13:12 and I have a list of questions I give my clients
13:14 that are just very detailed.
13:16 They ask about everything from whether you believe in this,
13:19 to money, how you manage money, in-laws issues,
13:22 all kinds of stuff.
13:24 And then I would suggest that people do the hard work
13:27 of really getting to know each other.
13:29 Yes.
13:30 That's really essential to that process.
13:31 You know, it's interesting, I read in a book,
13:33 basically like people go to school for so long
13:37 to get that degree.
13:38 Yeah.
13:39 But how long do they put in
13:41 the work for a relationship or marriage?
13:43 Building a relationship, we think it comes naturally,
13:44 it doesn't.
13:46 It takes just as much training, and schooling,
13:47 and hard critical thing as the most, you know,
13:52 developed science that we can possibly study.
13:54 Absolutely.
13:56 And we go into it just kind of boneheaded.
13:58 And there are so many different variables.
14:00 That's right. That's right.
14:01 So another factor is attraction matters,
14:03 do you like this person,
14:05 do you enjoy being around them, that matters too.
14:07 I don't want to leave that out.
14:08 Wow, there's so much.
14:10 Look, if people...
14:11 If you want to go get more information,
14:13 make sure you go to IntimateClarity.TV
14:16 for more information.
14:18 Join us next time, we're out of time.
14:20 See you later.


Revised 2018-09-17