I have been in a dating relationship for almost six months, and Lord willing, I will be getting married some time later in the year (Update: I have been married for two years now, and a father of one). 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 committed relationship has taught me a lot, especially how to die to self; it has taught me that God placed me on this planet for so much more than my selfish pursuits and pleasures.
So when I came across this book, Love Bila Regrets, I read it with mixed feelings. I was a bag full of regrets. My past is decorated with all the mistakes and bad choices described in this book: I have asked girls out without thinking about marriage; I have shunned accountability in my dating relationships; I have dated people who mocked my faith; I have indulged in sexual sin… you name it. I’ve been through it all.
I am not proud of it. Of course, every sin and mistake is highly regretted. If I had to do it all over again, I would still regret it. Yet, in some strange twist of fate, I also find myself looking back at that past with gratitude. God has used my bad dating decisions to define and refine me into the image of His Son Jesus Christ. He has grown me in spite of me.
Reading through the nine chapters of the book by John Musyimi and Mark Ambundo was like a scary trip down a dark memory lane. I winced as I read some of the hypothetical examples they shared. They were not so hypothetical for me.
I am grateful that God has seen me through my numerous failures and I am now in a relationship that honors Him. For those who are still contemplating the delicate dance of dating and hopefully marriage, you will be disappointed if you read this book as a “how to” guide to biblical dating.
It is not a how-to guide. It is more of a “who to” guide to dating — not talking about who to date, but who to be when getting into a dating relationship. First, this book will cause any young man or woman considering a relationship to step back and seriously consider their relationship with God. That’s why even though the book’s tagline is “Biblical guidelines for love and relationships”, a more appropriate tagline would be “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 marriage is not about us, but about the gospel.
The authors could not have put it 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 Musyimi and Mark Ambundo 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 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.
To get a copy of the book (retailing at only KSh 350), please visit the Ekklesia Afrika page for more details.