I have been in a dating relationship for almost six months now, and Lord willing, I will be getting married some time later in the year. I thank God for my relationship, largely because I have experienced His grace, mercy and loving care in ways that I could not have imagined. Being in a relationship has taught me to die to myself, and that God placed me on this planet for so much more than my selfish pleasures.
So when I came across this book, Love Bila Regrets, I read it with mixed feelings. You see, I have made all the mistakes described in this book (that is, in my previous relationships). I have asked a girl out without thinking about marriage, I have shunned accountability in my dating relationships, I have dated an unbeliever, I have committed sexual sin… you name it. I’ve been through it all.
I am not proud of it. Every sin and mistake is highly regretted. I would not want to live through any of it, given another shot. Yet, for some strange reason, I look back at that past with gratitude, because God has used it to define and refine me into the image of His Son Jesus Christ.
Reading through the nine chapters of the book by John Musyimi and Mark Ambundo was like a stroll through my own dark past. I winced as I read some of the hypothetical examples they shared, which, unfortunately, were not so hypothetical for me. But I also read this book with another attitude: gratitude. I am grateful that God has seen me through my numerous failures and I am now in a relationship that honors Him. I could confidently tick against the advice that the two brothers provide. Not that I have attained it and finally figured it out, but I press on towards the mark of biblical dating and, Lord willing, a Godly marriage.
I would not go to this book if I was looking for a “how to” guide to biblical dating. But I would highly recommend it as a “who to” guide. The authors focus a lot on the fundamental truths about “who” should get into a dating relationship rather than “what” to do in one. This book will cause any young man or woman considering a relationship to step back and seriously consider their relationship with God. Even though the book’s tagline is “Biblical guidelines for love and relationships”, I would suggest a more appropriate tag as “Biblical foundations for love and relationships.”
The ideas in the book are radical for any young person navigating the 21st century dating scene. To begin with, the authors make it clear that dating is about marriage. It is not about your emotional needs or your social capital. Dating is about marriage, and even more radical than this; marriage is not about us, but about the gospel.
John and Mark could not have put any clearer: “Christian dating does not always lead to marriage; however, it must ONLY be pursued in the context of movement towards marriage.” (Emphasis mine). The authors then outline how a man and a woman should go about approaching these treacherous waters of Christian dating. The chapters on the man’s and the woman’s role, and the ones on maintaining purity and emotional fraud struck a close nerve for me.
There’s so much to be gleaned from this timely book, but I’ll save that for your own reading. John and Mark have done an excellent job, and I am not just saying this because they are my friends. Read the book for yourself and you will not fail to see and feel the pastoral care that is behind every sentence. The book is formatted more like a personal study work-book than a typical paperback – with study questions at the end of each chapter and plenty of space for scribbling as you read along.
I was really refreshed re-assured by this book. I could not have written a better book – not that I have written any book. I am grateful to God for such a faithful work by these two brothers. I will definitely be purchasing several copies for friends and disciples that I know will benefit from the content. Thank you, Mark and John, for showing up for such a topic as this.