We've all heard the phrase "I'm the one your momma warned you about", and I think every one of us can think of a person who fits that description perfectly. With the explosion of online dating options and relationship services, where can you go today for good relationship advice? Would it shock you if I said the Bible?
It may come as a surprise to many that the Good Book actually contains relationship insights and advice about the types of women you should avoid.
Unconvinced? Let's look at five women who would qualify for your momma's list.
Samson's love interest, who after repeated badgering and manipulation, finally discovered Samson's secret. Once she knew it, Delilah cut off his hair, which led to Samson's capture and eventual downfall.
Ahab's wife could probably be described as a modern-day Maleficent meets Catwoman. Among many negative and dysfunctional behaviors, Jezebel killed and destroyed anyone who got in her way, including arranging Naboth's death so she could confiscate his vineyard.
3. Lot's wife
After she was commanded to flee Sodom and Gomorrah, God warned Lot's wife to never look back nor stop during her flight. Unfortunately, she did not heed that advice. Lot's wife stopped to look back and turned into a pillar of salt.
4. Potiphar's wife
Even though she was married, Potiphar's wife obsessed over a young servant named Joseph. Her infatuation passed the tipping point when she tried to force Joseph to sleep with her. Joseph narrowly escaped this encounter with only his underclothing intact.
So what can we learn from these four seemingly irrelevant and distant women for today's relationship complexities? At the risk of being overly simplistic with these layered and complex stories, there are a few underlying principles in each one that reveal critically important aspects to healthy relationships.
Pursue the building of trust in your relationships
One of the primary underlying themes of Samson and Delilah's brief relationship is a lack of trust. Samson continually lies to Delilah while Delilah continually seeks to pry Samson's secret out of him for her own gain. Neither of them trusted the other.
This story underscores a critical principle in healthy relationships: trust. Trust in a relationship is an absolutely essential. Without trust, your relationship is constantly in flux and unstable.
Seek someone who shares your core values
Ironically, even though Ahab was corrupt, he humbled himself when confronted about his actions and shows outward signs of remorse. However, while it appears that Ahab temporarily feels remorse for his actions, Jezebel feels no remorse for hers.
Healthy relationships are characterized by sharing the same core values. It is important to understand your own core values as well as your significant other's values. A relationship is difficult enough when two people actually share core values; when they do not, it becomes infinitely more difficult.
Make peace with your past and move on
While it is not clear why Lot's wife stopped and turned back toward her former home, it is clear that the consequences had lasting implications.
When it comes to our relationships, we all bring baggage. It's human nature to look back at our past, in particular our past mistakes. If we fixate on the past, we allow our past to negatively impact our present and future relationships.
The question is not if, but how your past baggage will impact your current and future relationships. Proactively seek to understand what your particular baggage is and why you carry it with you. A professional counselor can prove immensely helpful. In the process, seek to make peace with your past so that you can move forward in your relationships instead of living life in the rearview mirror.
Strive for a balanced relationship
Potiphar's wife was unhappy in her marriage and simultaneously attracted to another man, which led her to inappropriate desire to be physically intimate with Joseph. The Bible teaches that human beings have been made in God's image, which includes three dimensions: physical, emotional and spiritual.
God designed intimacy as a wonderful gift that incorporates all three dimensions of one's identity and is to be enjoyed within a committed, marriage relationship.
Because physical intimacy is not the only aspect of a healthy relationship, seek a partner who shares your commitment to balancing all three aspects of a healthy relationship: physical, emotional and spiritual.
To find out more surprising relationship advice check out your nearest Bible and tune into "A.D. The Bible Continues."
#ADTheSeries premieres Easter Sunday, April 5 at 9/8c on NBC.