Marriage does not belong to people. It belongs to God, and serves primarily His purposes. Only when our marriage is dedicated to God and serve Him do we find the happiness of family life and the fullness of joys.
Step 1. Living for God’s Glory
That is why, before looking for a life partner, you must find God and begin to follow Him. Often, young people are concerned about secondary (but in their opinion, the most important) questions: where to study, where to live, with whom to start a family.
And they miss the main fundamental questions: how to please God, to know Him, to serve Him. Bypassing these key issues of life, a person can wander for a long time in the dark, trying to solve these secondary issues and not finding solutions.
Therefore, first of all, develop your spiritual life and live for God’s glory, as it is said in 1 Corinthians 10:31: “So, eat, drink, or whatever else you do, do everything for the glory of God.”
This is the first and important step.
The Origin of Love
Recently, a teenager of about fifteen came up to me and said that he had fallen in love. He wanted to find a good job to be able to provide for his future family and to marry this girl as soon as possible. I asked him why he was so sure that he needed to start a family as soon as possible. His answer was simple – because he had a crush on her.
How does human love develop?
It does not occur spontaneously at the very first meeting between a man and a woman. Those who tell sentimental stories about love at first sight believe that it takes no time to generate love. But this is not so. A person may like it at first sight, but true love needs time.
By nature, a man enters into a relationship mainly on the basis of instinct and reason. A woman, on the contrary, feels and perceives the world through emotions. Of course, this is a simplification, but it is useful for understanding how love is born between a man and a woman.
Step 2. Interest
Do not be embarrassed by this, God did so. In the first stage, most often, the guy often likes a girl for her looks. It causes attraction in him – maybe sexual, maybe just mental. But she does not leave him indifferent.
The girl is fond of the guy, thanks to a burst of emotions: admiration, warmth, thirst for intimacy and love. This sprout of love cannot be a serious basis for living together. These feelings are essentially ephemeral and short-lived.
In adolescence, you have a natural desire to recognize the opposite sex. There’s the desire to love someone and be loved, to be understood and heard. These feelings often serve as the basis for falling in love for a particular person. Therefore, when you have feelings for a person, this is normal.
But this does not mean that you have real love.
These first feelings lead to one of two options. Either you will eventually lose interest in a person or move on to the next stage – the emergence of consonance, kinship.
Step 3. Affinity or Consonance
Observe if you had a feeling of kinship with the person you liked at the first stage as if you had known each other all your life. Communicating with him and observing from the side, you will find more and more common, something near and dear. You are attracted to each other by a common interest or a common enemy.
Here, usually, the most “dangerous” stage of love development begins.
Step 4. Love
When we meet a soul mate and even the opposite sex and we like her, then a special stage begins – love. This is a natural, normal reaction, but it cannot be the basis for creating a marriage.
We can fall in love not only once and not only in one person. Therefore, my advice at this stage: you should not “dissolve” your feelings.
I especially appeal to girls: take care of yourself.
This is not the last step. At this stage, a person can hardly be objective. He definitely needs a third party. He needs someone spiritually mature whom he can trust. Surely, parents should always be consulted. But it can also be a pastor or youth leader, a spiritual mentor. But I beg you, be sure to chat with someone mature at this point.
Vivid emotions distort the perception of reality to such an extent that we are ready to ascribe to the object of our love all our virtues, denying in it the presence of the slightest flaw. Everything in it seems to us perfect, right, and reasonable. We are ready to forgive any mistake and protect our beloved from anyone, most often from parents, or ministers, or even friends, who, with a sober look note both the advantages and disadvantages of your relationship.
Somehow a disciple approached the ancient Greek philosopher Diogenes, who fell in love and asked him what is the cure for love at first sight. The sage replied: “Look at a person a second time”.
Falling in love cannot be a support for building a marriage. Rather, on the contrary: marriages concluded on this basis are most likely to result in divorce or disintegration from within. The very first days of life together bring the first difficulties: who will go to the store, who will clean the house, what to do in the evening and how to spend Sunday.
The dramatic and inevitable law of contrasts is disappointing; it is associated with the woeful discovery that the life partner we have chosen turns out to be a normal person, that is, a limited creature.
And it immediately makes us forget about its positive aspects, and now we are beginning to consider him the worst on the whole earth and ask ourselves how it could happen that we chose him. Thoughts come that there was no God’s will for you to marry her. What frustration and despair you will experience!
Step 5. Recognition. Friendship. Objective Assessment
Do not disclose your feelings at this stage. It is better to recognize a person from the side, looking at him with the most objective eyes in his natural setting. For this purpose, you can simply do some service together.
A meeting will not provide as much necessary and objective information about him as mere observation from the outside. A date cannot become a really good tool for recognizing a person of the opposite sex. Joint meetings are possible, only a few times, and then at the final stage, before making a final decision.
Discard the illusions that you will be able to change the character of your chosen one after the wedding! It is better to prepare in advance for the fact that you will need to live with its shortcomings (and to him – with yours). Learn how this person walks with God, overcomes difficulties, how respectfully he treats his family members. And work on yourself – kill your selfishness before marriage.
Lasting love is built on the objective knowledge of a loved one. Of course, I would like to think that sympathy, beating in unison of two hearts – this is the necessary foundation of love. But this is not enough.
It is the objectivity that leads from friendship to love that is the right path to marriage. I love a person when I love him for what he is; I love and appreciate its advantages, and I impartially evaluate the shortcomings and carefully help him correct them.
Every person, and in particular, a spouse, and then children, should be loved precisely for what they are, and not for the desired virtues, position in society, academic titles or successes achieved.
If we do not learn this central aspect of love, selfless love for a person by himself, we will quickly be disappointed. When success becomes less when a career does not work out, or the qualities that we so idealized turn out to be more modest, what are we left with? With disappointment?
If your love is built on this, then, of course, you will be disappointed. Moreover, we will have disgust, for we will feel deceived and seduced. There is nothing more violent than disappointment. Personal suffering arising from the realization of our mistake gives rise to the most cynical reactions – the better we know a person, his habits, his desires, the more evil we can inflict on him.
That is why it is important to get an objective picture in order to approach the final stage or the last step, when you can already go and make an offer (or accept it, saying “yes”).
Step 6. Giving Yourself
Donating yourself to another person is not to be confused with the plexus of bodies. Love as a gift consists in the desire for the good of the beloved: his good, and not good in general, dissolved in a cloud of emotions. That is why conjugal love is a consciously made choice. It should involve bringing oneself as a gift to another person, accepting her as she is, with the aim of creating a family.
Only a marriage based on love-giving can lead to strong family life, although this does not mean that there will be no difficulties. But if Christ, His love, and His example of love will be at the center of such a relationship, then such a marriage is doomed to become happy.
10 practical tips for behavior before marriage
1. Take your time to make a serious decision.
True love is not afraid of time but only strengthens. If you have it, then over time it will become more mature.
In addition, falling in love is natural for a person, but this does not mean true love.
2. Remember that love is a gift from God. And you can not say “I love her” and “she loves me.” This is not true: there is one common love between us. Check whether your love is such, whether there is reciprocity.
3. Talk to someone you trust. A wise person will help you understand the situation and look at it soberly and objectively.
4. Do not rush to share your feelings with a person to whom you feel sympathy. Do not bind a person in any way (take a promise, forced to answer). If everything is from God, then you should not “help” Him.
5. Do not force yourself to love, if love passes – premarital relations should be natural and free.
6. Ask yourself:
- Do I want to study the Bible together with him (her) and live on it?
- Do I want to have children with him (her)?
- When I think about this person, what thoughts do I have?
- Why do I want to marry her / marry him?
7. Do not worry about your future. It belongs to the Lord, He will take care of you. In addition, marriage is not the only way to realize things about yourself. Trust the Lord and do not make decisions solely on the basis of fleeting feelings (love).
8. Study the Bible, especially words about marriage and the relationship between a man and a woman. Pray that God will help you see the situation through the prism of these passages. And please don’t be stubborn. If God speaks, then obey without trying to convince yourself otherwise.
9. No dates. If there are dates, then there is no objectivity, therefore there will be no real friendship. Have patience. God will show everything with time.
10. Live a truly spiritual life so that God can guide you. Do not leave the church ministry because you fell in love. Spiritual life and ministry is God’s unchangeable will for you at all times. Otherwise, you will start to think incorrectly and you will not be able to have a sober look at things. From this point in your life, there will be a mass of wrong actions and decisions.
Five years ago, it was hard to come by any numbers for annual VC investment in Africa. These days the challenge is choosing which number to follow.
That’s the case for three venture funding studies for Africa that turned up varied results.
The numbers and variance
From high to low, Partech pegged total 2019 VC for African startups at $2 billion, compared to WeeTracker’s $1.3 billion estimate and Disrupt Africa’s $496 million.
That’s a fairly substantial spread of $1.5 billion between the assessments. The variance filtered down to country VC valuations, though it was a little less sharp.
Partech and WeeTracker shared the same top-three countries for 2019 VC investment in Africa — Nigeria, Kenya, and Egypt — but with hundred-million dollar differences.
Disrupt Africa came up with a different lead market for startup investment on the continent — Kenya — though its $149 million estimate for the East African country was some $500 million lower than Partech and WeeTracker’s VC leader, Nigeria.
So what accounts for the big deviations? TechCrunch spoke to each organization (and reviewed the reports) and found the contrasting stats derive from different methodologies — namely defining what constitutes a startup and an African startup.
Partech’s larger overall VC valuation for the continent comes from broader parameters for companies and quantifying investment.
“We do not limit the definition of startups by age of the incorporation or size of funds raised,” Partech General Partner Tidjane Deme told TechCrunch.
This led the fund, for example, to include Visa’s $200 million investment in Nigerian financial-services company Interswitch . The corporate round was certainly tech-related, though few would classify Interswitch — which launched in 2002, acquires companies, and has a venture fund — as a startup.
Partech’s higher annual VC value for Africa’s startups could also connect to tallying confidential investment data.
“We…collect and analyze undisclosed deals, accessing more detailed information thanks to our relationships within the ecosystem,” the fund’s report disclosed.
WeeTracker’s methodology also included data on undisclosed startup investments and opened up the count to funding sources beyond VC.
“Debt/loans, grants/awards/prizes/non-equity assistance, crowdfunding, [and] ICOs are included,” WeeTracker clarified in a methodology note.
Disrupt Africa used a more conservative approach across companies and investment. “We are a bit more narrow on what we consider a startup to be,” the site’s co-founder Tom Jackson told TechCrunch.
“In the clearest scenario, an African startup would be headquartered in Africa, founded by an African, and have Africa as its primary market,” Disrupt Africa’s report stated — though Jackson noted all these factors don’t always align.
“Disrupt Africa tackles this issue on a case-by-case basis,” he said.
Partech was more liberal in its definition of an African startup, including investment for tech-companies that count Africa as their primary market, but not insisting they be incorporated or operate HQs on the continent.
That opened up inclusion of large 2019 rounds to Africa focused, New York headquartered tech-talent accelerator Andela and investment to Opera’s verticals, such as OPay in Nigeria.
In addition to following a more conservative definition of African startup, Disrupt Africa’s report was more particular to early-stage ventures. The site’s report primarily counted investment for companies founded within the last five year and excluded “spin-offs of corporates or any other large entity…that [has]…developed past the point of being a startup.”
Commonalities across reports
For all the differences on annual VC counts for Africa, there were some common threads across WeeTracker, Partech, and Disrupt Africa’s investment reports.
The first was the rise of Nigeria — which has Africa’s largest population and economy — as the top destination for startup VC investment on the continent.
The second was the prominence of fintech as the most funded startup sector across Africa, gaining 54% of all VC in Partech’s report and $678 million of the $1.3 billion to startups in WeeTracker’s study.
An unfortunate commonality in each report was the preponderance of startup investment going to English speaking Africa. No francophone country made it into the the top five in any of the three reports. Only Senegal registered on Partech’s country-list, with a small $16 million in VC in 2019.
The Dakar Angel Network launched last year to bridge the resource gap for startups in French-speaking African countries.
There may not be a right or wrong stat for annual investment to African startups, just three reports with different methodologies that capture unique snapshots.
Partech and WeeTracker offer a broader view of multiple types of financial support going to tech companies operating in Africa. Disrupt Africa’s assessment is more specific to a standard definition of VC going to startups originating and operating in Africa.
Three reports with varying numbers on the continent’s startup investment is a definite upgrade to what was available not so long ago: little to no formal data on VC in Africa.
Flying is looked down upon in Sweden as much as plastic bags are in the UK.
Seriously, if you tell someone you plan on taking a plane for a journey that can definitely be done on the ground, like going from Stockholm to Oslo, you’ll probably experience some flygskam — that’s a now-popular Swedish word that loosely translates to “flight shame.”
Air travel is responsible for about 2.5% of global carbon dioxide emissions and the United Nations expects this to triple by 2050.
Why are carbon dioxide emissions increasing?
Well, if you ask Joaquin Phoenix he might mention a slight addiction that some of his peers in Hollywood seem to have to taking private jets everywhere. Those quick flights to and from Palm Springs definitely account for some emissions. Read more…
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