When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. – 1Corinthians 13: 11 (NLT) Human relationships can be so complicated. The differences between men and women can sometimes seem as wide as the Grand Canyon. We all know what the worldly experts tell us. Men are more visual while women are more emotional. Men are more physical while women are more emotional. Men are more anything…while women are more emotional. But seriously, when we peel back the layers of human reasoning, we find some general truths playing out in the spirit realm that we need to be more aware of. Especially if we are to enhance our relationships. The truth is that any relational disagreements are rooted in unmet expectations. One person had an expectation that went unmet. While many times the expectations may have been completely legitimate, quite often they were very unrealistic. When you have unrealistic expectations built into your heart, disappointment is sure to follow. The enemy has become quite adept at creating unrealistic expectations in the hearts of women through the worldly distortion of love. Hear me very carefully beloved and know that what I say, it is with the love of Christ. Ladies – no man is coming to your door on a white horse and whisking you away to an English manor where he will sing Barry White songs in your ear while you both lie in a dewy meadow. Chances are, he doesn’t even own a horse, let alone know how to ride one. I do not find it coincidental at all that the key verse above is found at the end of the discourse from the Apostle Paul on love. Everyone knows the verses and uses them for their weddings – only to then apparently forget them when the honeymoon is over. Those verses however do not seem to be strictly about marital love: If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. – 1Corinthians 13: 1 (NLT) But didn’t love others. Love is supposed to be what binds us together as believers in Christ. It is supposed to be what separates us from the world. It is supposed to be what others will see in us in order for them to see Christ. We are supposed to be kind and patient with one another. We are not supposed to be jealous, boastful, proud or rude. We are not supposed to keep a record of wrongs. Now, these are all things that go against our human nature so Paul is saying that to love the way God intended – we must deny our human nature and treat people the way God treated us. To love is to love people as Christ loves us. But the world twists that into a horrible caricature. Through the millennia - poets, writers, and philosophers have profaned love into some kind of bear trap that we “fall into.” A trap that we give up all control of ourselves over to. A trap that not only can we not control ourselves but that we cannot stop or get out of. We all know the trite expressions. “You can’t control who you love!” “Well, I know he doesn’t treat me well but I love him!” “I can’t just turn it off!” And of course, many, many others. The key element in all of these is a loss of control. That is what the world sells as love. A complete lack of control – a victim mentality. We have all seen entire lives ruined for the cause of earthly love. Do you think the intention of God for your life is to not be able to control yourself? One of the fruits of the Spirit is self control! In fact, when dealing with the subject of fear what does the Bible teach us? for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. – 2Timothy 1: 7 (ESV) Love and self control go hand in hand beloved! Now listen, this is not suggesting that romance should not be a part of any relationship. Nor is it suggesting that men may not need extra help in this area. What it is saying is that the key verse implores us to stop thinking like children when we have already grown up. Cinderella and Snow White are children’s stories. Things like romance novels create false idols in the hearts of women who then become infinitely disappointed in the men that fail to live up to that image. We are using the wrong book! You want an image for your man to live up to– give him the Bible! Not that he will become like God but that he will strive to be Christ like, as we all should – man and woman. A godly relationship has God in the center. God is leading it. You allow God to speak into it. You can still have the butterflies but realize that the ga-ga feelings wear off over time. Only in the world of Harlequin Romance novels does the man continue ooze rose petals through the retirement years. It is time for us all to put away the childish things of this world and put God back in the hearts of all of our relationships. Because while we will always disappoint each other– God never does. Rev. Anthony.