Summary: Part 1 in a series entitled "Love Sex and Lasting Relationships". Part 2 - "What Women Wish Men Knew About Women"

There are few subjects in life that ignite as much passion and longing within us as our desire for love, our interest in sex, and our hope for lasting relationships. No matter who we are, what background we come from, how intelligent we are, or how old we are, we all long to be loved. Every one of us wants to be cherished by someone else.

Each of us are drawn like an invisible magnet into the world of relationships. Put simply, we human beings are relational beings. We all crave intimacy, acceptance, and security, the kind of feelings that flow when we bond with a member of the opposite sex.

Think about it. After taking care of the necessities of life like food, clothing, and shelter, most of us spend the bulk of our time pondering, pursuing, or solving problems related to this area of life. Just turn on the radio and you’ll hear songs like:

“I Wanna Hold Your Hand” and “What’s Love Got to Do With It”. Add to these almost any other song on the current Top Forty List. Day after day people all over the world sing about their desires for love and their disappointment with love.

Walk into any bookstore and you’ll find romantic novels or self-help books on relationships and sex. Or the next time you go to the grocery store look at the cover of the magazines in the racks by the checkouts. Has Cosmo ever had a cover without the word “sex” on it? Who’s on the front of People or the Inquirer? They’re full of who’s together this week, who’s rumored to have cheated on his or her mate, or who’s split up again. Why do these magazines sell? Because we live in a world where love, sex, and relationships are at the top of each of our lists.

The advertising industry long ago discovered that our preoccupation with being in relationships and with sex sells merchandise. They use it to sell beer and cars and even to convince us to change long distance telephone companies all the while maintaining the same underlying message – the key to happiness and fulfillment in life is love, sex, and lasting relationships.

But something’s wrong because in spite of all the hype in magazines, books, and movies, people, for the most part, aren’t doing very well when it comes to this area of life. The words divorce, breakup, wounds, alimony, child-support, baggage, ex-mate, and abuse have become all too common parts of our vocabulary. Even in surviving marriages, the atmosphere is often one of unhappiness, disappointment, and lack of fulfillment. I can’t tell you how many couples I have sat with who have been struggling with marriage. I can’t begin to calculate the number of hours I’ve spent with couples who are struggling to even make it another day. The thing is: people are struggling with relationships in general.

The marriage statistics are staggering with more than half of all marriages ending in divorce. Frankly, I’d rather not hear about any more marriages and relationships that are breaking up. I can’t tell you how it pains me to watch a couple go through the struggle of divorce. I’ve seen enough pain in people’s lives to last me a long time. So much of it could have been avoided.

But if you were to add up the number of hours I’ve spent working with the marriages of others they wouldn’t come close to the number of hours I’ve spent on my own. I’m no different than any of the rest of you. I don’t have it together. I can’t seem to figure out how to make it work all of the time. Sometimes I do a pretty good job and then other times I really screw things up big!

Over the past eight weeks a group of people has been meeting in our home on Tuesday nights working through a program called “Making the Most of Marriage.” If you were to interview any one of the participants you would discover that my marriage is no different than most of yours. But they won’t tell you anything incriminating about me because I’ve got some dirt on them now as well. In a few weeks we’re going to beginning a new small group dealing with relationships. I’d encourage you to consider attending.

Here’s what I’ve discovered over seven years of marriage and six years of ministry: We all long to love and be loved but for some reason we all fall short.

Each of us has either experienced the difficulties of a relationship with a member of the opposite sex or will soon experience it. And if you’re in a relationship or have previously been in one then you know that maintaining a healthy relationship is not easy. But in spite of the staggering statistics on marriage, there is hope! There’s a better way to find love, stay in love, and grow in intimacy for a lifetime.

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