Choosing God's Best: Wisdom for Lifelong Romance

Overview

Make a God Choice, Not Just a Good Choice

Many Christian singles today are in pain. Wounded from past relationships, overwhelmed at being single longer than they expected, devastated at finding themselves single again. Eighteen- to sixty-year-olds will welcome the timely, biblically based approach Dr. Raunikar offers as he encourages them along the path to Choosing God’s Best: healing from the past; learning how to avoid the pain of “counterfeit oneness” physically, emotionally,...

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Choosing God's Best: Wisdom for Lifelong Romance

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Overview

Make a God Choice, Not Just a Good Choice

Many Christian singles today are in pain. Wounded from past relationships, overwhelmed at being single longer than they expected, devastated at finding themselves single again. Eighteen- to sixty-year-olds will welcome the timely, biblically based approach Dr. Raunikar offers as he encourages them along the path to Choosing God’s Best: healing from the past; learning how to avoid the pain of “counterfeit oneness” physically, emotionally, and spiritually; and much more. This attractive, repackaged edition delves into the real issues Christian singles face today and offers sound, proven advice for creating deeply satisfying godly relationships.

Who’s Your Matchmaker?

Disillusioned by dating? Tired of being let down? It may be time to visit the ultimate Matchmaker.

No matter what your age or past, it’s never too late to trust God and choose His best for your future. Dr. Don Raunikar delves into the real issues to offer proven, biblical principles for creating godly relationships and a deeply satisfying courtship. Read this book—and be ready for romance God’s way.

“Dr. Don Raunikar offers hope for the single man or woman who is disillusioned with the modern dating scene. Drawing upon time-tested biblical principles, Dr. Raunikar makes a convincing case for the benefits of a courtship based on God’s wisdom, versus a dating relationship based on man’s.”

Bill Bright

Founder, Campus Crusade for Christ International

“I feel like Choosing God’s Best was written specifically for me. Few would argue that the current system of dating isn’t in desperate need of reform. Dr. Raunikar goes even further with his radical, biblical solution to the perils and pitfalls of dating. Thanks, Dr. Raunikar, for being a radical.”

Derek Webb

Singer/songwriter

“I’m so glad to see a book addressing what I’ve called the ‘dating mess.’ Choosing God’s Best is straightforward and scriptural. I especially appreciated the explanation of the categories of dating, which are seldom understood.”

Elisabeth Elliot

Author and speaker

“I wish this book had been around when I was dating. So much pain, so many missed opportunities, and so many mistakes could have been avoided if I had used these principles.”

Steve Arterburn

Founder and chairman, New Life Ministries

Story Behind the Book

Dr. Don Raunikar was a professional therapist specializing in singles’ issues. He wrote Choosing God’s Best as a result of discovering the common frustrations and desires of his patients, combined with his own experiences before he was married. Originally published in 1998, the book continues to serve as a timeless message for singles. Still changing lives to this day, this repackaged edition will reach an even broader, untapped market with the hope of God’s truth and His promise for healthy relationships.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781590524589
  • Publisher: The Doubleday Religious Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 3/28/2006
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 193,704
  • Product dimensions: 6.03 (w) x 8.48 (h) x 0.66 (d)

Meet the Author

Dr. Don Raunikar was the director of New Life Clinics in Houston, Texas, where he worked as a psychotherapist specializing in singles’ issues. He led Christian singles’ seminars nationwide and oversaw Lifehouse, a Christian home for young women experiencing crisis pregnancies. Dr. Raunikar passed away in 2004.
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Read an Excerpt

INTRODUCTION

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
JEREMIAH 29:11

If dating is so wonderful, why does it hurt so much? Whether you’re sixteen and single or seventy and single again, dating is much more likely to lead you to anxiety and disappointment than to your marriage partner. If that’s the case, why do so many people keep at it? The ten most common answers are:

1. they’re lonesome;
2. they’re impatient;
3. they want to find a marriage partner;
4. they want to have fun and feel good;
5. they want to learn how to relate to the opposite sex;
6. their parents, peers, and the world tell them they should;
7. they’re determined to live life according to their own schedule, not God’s;
8. they want to develop social skills and emotional health;
9. they want to have certain needs met until a marriage partner is found;
10. they believe it will prepare them for marriage.

Even the secular world has started to admit there must be something wrong with a dating system that creates so much pain in people’s lives. Some of the best evidence of this is the astounding success of a book entitled The Rules: Time-tested Secrets for Capturing the Heart of Mr. Right. With some 900,000 copies in print, The Rules soared to No. 1 on the New York Times’ How-To Bestseller List in 1996. This little paperback lists thirty-five oldfashioned courting tips that essentially advise women to play hard to get: don’t call him, don’t see him more than once or twice a week, don’t open up too fast, don’t live with him before marriage. Why is this book such a phenomenal success? “Because the rules work, and friends tell their friends,” explains coauthor Ellen Fein, who has a Rules hotline, a monthly newsletter, twenty-five support groups nationwide, a movie deal, one or two seminars a week, and a personal consultation service.

But in fact, Fein and coauthor Sherrie Schneider were scooped by an even more popular book. God published His rules long before these two writers discovered “old-fashioned” courting tips. We might be even more surprised to learn that Fein and Schneider’s motives for their rules are very similar to God’s motives for His rules: protection and guidance. God isn’t out to spoil our fun. (Remember, He created our desire for companionship in the first place.) His purpose is to keep us from the pain, heartbreak, and disappointment that come from trying to satisfy our needs out of selfishness instead of godliness.

Fein and Schneider developed their rules by trying to solve the relational hurts and dating problems of their single friends. “Ellen and I started telling our friends what we thought they were doing wrong,” Schneider says. Eventually they put their advice in print. God did that thousands of years ago and called it the Bible. We talk casually about “breaking” God’s commandments, but the truth is that when we sin it’s not the rules that are broken. It’s us.

Singles looking for an alternative to dating have usually already experienced the pain of a broken relationship firsthand, or know someone who has. Perhaps you’ve wanted to find your marriage partner according to God’s way, but failed. Or you’ve never fully understood what God’s way was. Or maybe you’re a new Christian and this is one part of your life you’ve just recently decided to put in God’s hands.

This book is for you. It will help you understand what plans God has for your life now. And it will help you see how your attitude toward today’s relationships will affect your marriage and family in the future.

COUNTERFEIT ONENESS, GENUINE PAIN

But why talk about married oneness in a book intended for singles? Easy answer. The lasting consequences of your beginning will affect your ending. Many singles allow themselves to develop a counterfeit oneness with another person only to find their hearts ripped apart when the dating relationship ends. They feel as if they are losing part of themselves. Without a lasting commitment between two people, the rare and wonderful feeling of oneness with another person is artificial, counterfeit, and temporary.

As a young boy growing up in St. Louis, I watched as construction workers built the enormous stainless steel Gateway Arch on the western bank of the Mississippi River. With its massive arms stretching 630 feet above ground to meet in the middle, the arch was intended to be an impressive symbol of the city’s reputation as the “Gateway to the West.”

Construction started on the ground at two separate bases 630 feet apart. Like children playing with building blocks, the workers placed one stainless steel section on top of another. As the arms of the arch grew longer, everyone had the same thought: Will they meet in the middle?

Engineers calculated that if the two base sections were only 1/64 inch out of line, the center sections would completely miss each other at the top. In other words, the final result would depend on how they started. I never forgot the lesson.

In my practice as a psychotherapist, many of the couples I counsel just aren’t meeting in the middle. Their marriages show the strain of not having spiritual, emotional, and physical oneness. Some marriage partners never experience the oneness God intended because their relationship was “out of line” with God’s will from the beginning.
Their marital problems actually began in their dating life and ended in divorce years later. Even in lasting marriages, the baggage left over from previous dating relationships can be frustrating and painful.

True oneness in a couple is like two sheets of plywood that are glued together: the bond is stronger than either of the pieces. If anyone or anything attempts to pull apart those two sheets, the result will be permanent damage to both pieces. Oneness in marriage was meant to be lasting, but counterfeit oneness will cause a dating couple to bond and break. Many singles are beginning to realize that the principles inherent in dating are not the same as God’s principles. When we follow God’s plan for relationships, we are healed and whole, not scarred and shattered.

THE COURTSHIP OPTION

Ned Ryun was a sixteen-year-old teenager who saw that the pain of dating was greater than the payoff. Ned’s story appeared in a November 1995 Focus on the Family magazine article entitled “Courtship: The Comeback of the 90s.”

In the article Ned’s father, Jim Ryun—former Olympic champion and world record holder in the mile, and now a U.S. Congressman from Kansas—and his wife, Anne, describe how Ned made the decision not to date before the rest of the family embraced the concept of courtship. He and his twin brother, Drew, prayed to know God’s will for their lives regarding friendships and dating. Ned was the first of the children to look at all the broken hearts and hurt feelings of the dating couples he knew and choose to practice biblically based courtship instead of play the dating game. His decision led the way for the rest of the family as each child in turn also chose to court rather than date.

That was six years ago. Since then, there have been no casual “tryouts” of dating partners as each of the four Ryun children waits for God to reveal His choice of a marriage partner. It has meant waiting for God to move, and believing that He will.

“That decision may seem hopelessly old-fashioned to you,” says Anne in the article, “but our choice grew partly out of personal experience; as teenagers ourselves, we had encountered some of the drawbacks and dangers of dating. When I dated, my heart became emotionally tied to my steady, which created wounds of rejection that lasted for years. We wanted something better for our children.”

“Dating waves good-bye at the door and says ‘Be home by midnight,’” notes Jim, “but courtship includes time spent with the entire family. In our home, a young man interested in Heather or Catherine is apt to find himself playing basketball with Ned and Drew or helping out in the kitchen after dinner.”

For singles like Ned Ryun, courtship encourages group activities and ministry opportunities that allow couples practical and productive time together without spending lengthy periods of one-on-one time alone in isolated locations. Courtship enables a couple to look beyond physical attraction and focus on things that are truly important.

“GOOD” CHOICE OR “GOD’S ” CHOICE?

“It sounds good,” Jenny said, “but I don’t understand how we are supposed to find this person—the one God has for us.” I had been trying to explain the courtship concept to Jenny. She was thirty-six years old, single and worried. Her biological clock was ticking. She was certain there was something she should be doing to maximize her opportunities—places she should go, things she should do, people she should see.

“You don’t have to do anything but concentrate on being the right person—the person God wants you to be—instead of finding the right person,” I said. “Godly marriages are made by first living godly lives. It’s God’s responsibility to reveal whether you will marry and whom you will marry. The arrangement is up to Him.”

How simple it sounded—God the matchmaker!

But what if God is “late”? Jenny was thirty-six. How much longer would she have to wait? She wants to have a family. For Jenny the “what ifs” were endless. Would it comfort her to know hard facts like those of a recent study indicating the most stable marriages of all occur at age twenty-eight and later? Would that make God any more on target or on time? God would not force Jenny to marry His choice, but He would not prevent her from marrying her choice.

If Jenny could see God as a matchmaker, she would discover a much deeper, more fundamental truth: God has a plan and purpose for our lives. But that plan is under constant attack, and the enemy isn’t always dressed in black. As Oswald Chambers writes in My Utmost for His Highest, “It is the things that are right and noble and good from the natural standpoint that keep us back from God’s best.” The greatest enemy in choosing God’s best is our own strong compulsion to choose what’s good. But not every good choice is God’s choice, and the difference can radically affect your future happiness.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 9
1. God's Antidote for Dating Disease 17
2. A Prescription for Failure 33
3. Counterfeit Oneness 55
4. Making a "Good" Choice or a "God" Choice 75
5. Preparing to Be God's Choice 91
6. Crumble Proofing Your Foundation 107
7. Relating without Dating 129
8. Recognizing God's Voice 155
9. Becoming Accountable 173
10. Two Becoming One for a Lifetime 187
Afterword: True Testimonies of Choosing God's Best 207
Notes 243
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 25, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    A must read for ALL Christian singles who want to do thing's God's way.

    A friend gave me this book three years ago and I never read it. Around October last year, the Holy Spirit directed me to the book on my shelf and I have not stopped talking about this book ever since. This book is a must read for ALL Christian singles, who are like me and desire to do things God's way. After falling flat on my face over and over again in the "dating" scene, in and out of relationships the same way I breath air in and out of my body, and breaking off an engagement, I had no other alternative but to do things God's way. I have never been as happy as I am now. This book provides Biblical-based truths about relationships and how we as Christians are to govern ourselves in relationships with the opposite sex. Since reading the book, I have committed myself to waiting for God to send my husband and no longer "dating". I believe that God knows what is best for all of us, and if we just wait on His perfect mate for our lives, in His own perfect timing, only then will we have good success!! (and end the ugly, devistating, heart-breaking, profane cycle of dating)

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 14, 2008

    A reviewer

    'Choosing God's Best' is the worst book ever for Christian singles. Case in point...This is an entirely unbiblical teaching: 'The chief enemy you fight in choosing God¿s best will be your own strong inclination to make a good choice instead of a God choice'. This is also an entirely unbiblical teaching: 'Before you can determine whom to marry, you must first answer an preliminary question: Does God want you to marry anyone, ever? Or is His plan for you to remain single?' The Bible NEVER says anywhere that we must find out from God whether or not He wants us to stay single or get married, and if so, to whom. And there are no examples anywhere in the New Testament where someone sought God's personal opinion on these questions and got answers. No generation of Christians EVER considered singleness to be a gift, or marriage for that matter. ¿I wish that all men were as I am. but each man has his own gift from God, does NOT mean 'God will either give to a person the gift of being married or the gift of being single'. This was a mistake made by the editors of the Living Bible in the 70's. The latter part of 1 Cor 7:7 'which is conspiciously absent here' reads, some of one kind, some of another. Paul was NOT referring to two specific gifts 'like this, singleness and that, marriage' but rather the variety of gifts that we each may be given, and in his case, it was most likely the gift to contain himself sexually, although he doesn't state this specifically. So in light of the gifts 'ie. abilities' that we each have, we are free to CHOOSE marriage or remain unmarried, as Paul goes on to say in verses 8 & 9. Some may be gifted with enablements that might incline one to choose singleness, but that does NOT mean that that Paul considered unwanted circumstantial singleness a gift 'btw- suffering is NEVER considered biblically to be a gift, only when it occurs in the context of persecution for the sake of the church'. Unfortunately, this mistranslation has resulted in a generation of Christians who have been taught to believe that since God gives you either marriage or singleness as a equal gifts, you should be equallly happy to get either. And that since it's up to God, you don't have to take much initiative, and to do so might be sinful. As Raunikar writes: 'If and when God decides you can best serve Him as a team member with a life partner, you won't need to change Sunday school classes, search the singles ads, or join a dating service. He will work out the circumstances. 'He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the LORD' 'Proverbs 18:22'. This favor of the Lord is what God extends to His children in arranging the circumstances for them to meet their life partners.' Raunikar has it completely backwards in claiming that God grants you favor in arranging circumstances and then you meet your life partner, when it's clear that the actual verse reads that you get out there and find a wife 'finds what is GOOD' AND THEN the Lord grants you favor! It is astounding that he would encourage this kind of magical thinking, which inevitably discourages Christians from becoming active agents in their search for a mate. Especially amid our current epidemic of protracted singleness and declining birthrates! Young Christian women, who currently outnumber their single male counterparts two to one, cannot afford to waste their most fertile years on this kind of hyper-spiritualized nonsense. It's one thing to believe in the sovereignty of God and to take everything to the Lord in prayer as the old hymn goes. But it's quite another when you presume to get an unmistakable answer or clear path in response to every question you ask him, particularly when it comes to mate-finding, which is the most human decision you will ever make. Truth be told, Christians get married the same way as everyone else: a mix of 'man 'or woman' with a mission' and 'how'd that happen?!'. Dr. Raunikar di

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 29, 2008

    This Is Not The Only Way To Be A Christian Single

    I didn't find this book helpful at all, this book is by far the most legalistic book ever written for Christian singles. However we must not sit on the side lines & have a pity party, We must do our part to meet people & develop Friendships with other believers that's really how the Lord leads us to the right mate.

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