Left to Right: Ali & Vinnie Lopes, Joelle Erickson, Alexander McMeen; Cory & Ann (engaged); Ken & Nancy Durham
Relationship Panel (Left to Right):
Ali & Vinnie Lopes;  Joelle Erickson; Alexander McMeen; Cory & Ann (engaged); Ken & Nancy Durham
Last week at our weekly FCA gathering we had a Relationship Panel share their wisdom with us.  The goal of the evening was to discuss the questions submitted by the students to help them navigate Christ centered relationships within the culture of our day.  The panel consists of Christ followers who are all in different places in their relationship seasons of life. Ali Lopes, the young married woman on the panel offers below a commentary through the evening:


By: Ali Lopes

The playground rules still apply when you’re in college.  That boy with the charming smile who picks on you a little too much — yeah, he wants to take you out. Or that girl with the enchanting smile who touches your arm after every sentence — yeah, she like you back.

OK, so maybe just one playground rule still applies when you’re in college. Because let’s face it — relationships in college are a lot more complicated than holding hands, sharing a juice box and spinning on the tire swing. Let’s face it — we should be seeing #RelationshipMess as often as we see #RelationshipGoals.

God created us as beings who long for community, who long to be fully known. Yet, we are imperfect and broken people.

That hole you feel in your heart, that desire to be fully known and fully loved cannot be filled by someone here on earth. That hole is filled with God, no one else. Until you accept that a relationship with God is the only way you can be made whole, you will struggle to turn your #RelationshipMess into a #RelationshipGoal.

The Approach
Being in any relationship is about being vulnerable. If you are a friend, more-than-friend or in a relationship your flaws are going to be exposed. That little “quark” they once found cute is going to turn into an annoying habit.  That is what makes relationships scary and exciting all at the same time — being fully known by someone else.

Dudes, us girls don’t make it easy on you. We want you to sweep us off our feet when you ask us out. Be Prince Charming, he is in all the Disney movies after all.

Relationships are about being vulnerable, I have something to say to both sides:
Girls: Be vulnerable and be OK with letting that guy know you like him too (because, lets face it — we can usually tell).
Guys: Man up. Ask her out!

Ladies and Fellas… make sure you are praying over your relationship individually. Guys, she wants to be pursued. If you feel led by God, pursue her! Ladies, if you feel led by God, let Him pursue you!

So what is the most important thing when planning that first date?
  • Keep the time on your phone to a minimum. You asked her out, now be with her, not Snapchat.
  • Don’t go to the movies, you don’t learn anything about someone from a movie.
  • Find an activity you both like. Try skating, bowling, hiking. If the conversation is lacking or things just aren’t going the way you wanted you have something else to do during the rest of the date.
  • Be intentional. Can’t afford a dozen roses — send her a text a few hours before that you are excited to get to know her. Being romantic is not about money, it is about small, intentional acts of kindness. (And if you can afford a single rose, it wouldn’t hurt.)
  • After a few dates you may get to that conversation referred to as “Defining the Relationship.” Oh, scary.  It all goes back to being vulnerable. Communicating is being vulnerable — and that is the key to a healthy relationship.  Remember, individually leading your life in Christ is so important both as a single person and as a person in a relationship.  Don’t be fooled to believe that you are missing your other-half — you are missing a Savior.
And a relationship with your Savior should be your first #RelationshipGoal.

After awhile someone is going to be thinking about the four-letter word. … Love.
I can’t define earthly love here for you. I can say with certainty that the love our Heavenly Father has for us is true love. God calls us to love like Him — and as we learn to love and look to Him for guidance, we will mess up on the way, but it is through this that we grow.

There is a lie in all those chick-flicks that my pastor Pete Wilson has pointed out to me…  “that there is only one person for everyone.” (But what if someone picks the wrong person?) The domino effect begins and no one is with “the one.”  If love was fate, if there truly was only one person for everyone when our #RelationshipGoal becomes a #RelationshipMess we have a great excuse — you are not ‘my One.’  This is a loop-hole in our culture.  The truth is, God gives us the freedom of choice.  God desires us to prayerfully consider our mate, and to be intentional in seeking them through Him, with a Christ centered perspective (and this doesn’t stop once you’re married).

Each day when I wake up I choose to love my husband. Some days he makes it easy, some days he makes it hard. And I know he would say the same thing about me.

Two broken people don’t make a whole person. When two people choose to be in a relationship, friendship or dating, it is going to be imperfect, because there are two imperfect people operating within it.

With God at the center of the relationship the choice to love each other every day is easier (not easy — just easier). Through prayer and a relationship with God we are able to love each other well. The author of Ecclesiastes writes, “A three-stranded rope isn’t easily snapped.”   A relationship with God at the center can get through those #RelationshipMesses.

Ali Lopes and her husband Vinnie were part of the FCA panel on Tuesday, November 2nd. Ali works at Cross Point Church as the Creative Arts Coordinator and adores every minute of it. Her husband Vinnie is one of the broadcast announcers for the Lipscomb women’s volleyball team. Vinnie and Ali started dating when they were sophomores in college and they have been married for 2 1/2 years. You can find Ali and Vinnie on Twitter @alilopes and @vinnielopes.

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