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Youth Messenger Online Edition


How To Find True Love
Tina and Calin Alexa

Let’s picture ourselves preparing to participate in a nationwide bread-making contest, and we are looking for the best bread-making school. After some research, we find two of the most prominent culinary baking schools owned by the finest artisan bakers in the country.

The first artisan baker is by far the most popular. He insists that his bread-baking method is the most known and says that he has fed thousands of people using his special bread recipe. He is not very strict in measuring his ingredients, stating that he likes to be free when he creates his loaves of bread. He says, “Just follow your heart when you bake bread. Your bread doesn’t have to be perfect; you can improve it as you go as long as you are having fun. There may be times when you’ll need to start your bread over until you get it right.” I was confused by his method, so I went to observe his students. Their motto was having fun, they had sprinkles of flour, yeast, and salt all over the kitchen, some burned the bread, others baked it only halfway. The bread samples didn’t look very appealing, but the master baker replied, “The next batch will turn out better.” I could see some of his older students leaving the school disappointed with tears in their eyes, regretting that they took his class.

I also was disappointed, but I still went to meet the second Master Baker. He impressed me from the start because He emphasized the importance of following his recipe precisely. This Baker told his students that if they want to be successful, they must follow the recipe that he created and perfected to the letter. If they did that and also accepted his assistance, success was guaranteed. Each ingredient had to be carefully measured and every student was dressed in a white uniform provided by the Master Baker. The oven had to be at the right temperature. The students worked diligently and followed every step given by the Master Baker. I noticed His smile as each loaf of bread was presented for His final inspection, and the satisfaction and joy experienced by each student. As I observed everything, I was awed by His methods. He looked at me smiling and said, “Life is too short and precious to try your recipe for happiness or to use one without any proven success, and then hope that your life, your relationship, your marriage will turn out well in the end. You can have My recipe; It will turn good every time. Then He looked straight into my eyes and asked me, “Would you like to be part of My team?”

We are all baking bread in the bakery of life. The question is whose recipe are you following? Your own and that of our friends in the world? Are you doing whatever feels good for the moment? Are you having relationships with one person after another, and then are heartbroken again and again? Or are you following the precise recipe of Jesus Christ, the Master Baker who wants to give you lasting happiness? Jesus says to you, “I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst” (John 6:35). When we come to Jesus and follow His plan for our life and relationships, we will not be hungry but will be full, happy, and satisfied.

From generation to generation both Christians and non-Christians alike have been fascinated by the “pursuit of happiness.” Volumes of songs, poems, and books have been written on the subject, yet young people and older people are perplexed about how to find true happiness. Although we may not like to admit it, each of us is naturally selfish, and almost every time we start a relationship, friendship, or even a business endeavor, we begin with the premise, “What can I get out of this? What’s in it for me?”

Everyone is looking for happiness and true love, and for a good marriage although all around us marriages are falling apart. Hollywood’s love stories promise much, but they don’t deliver on their promises. While many of us have hundreds of friends on social media, yet we may still be lonely and depressed. One question our young people want answered is, “Will I find true love? Will my marriage last under the pressures of problems, trials, and time?”

He touched my heart

Tina’s and my story began back in Romania in the summer of 1999 when we met there at a youth conference. Both of us grew up in Christian families that were doing their best but were not perfect. Both of my grandparents were Seventh Day Adventist Reformers and so was Tina’s grandmother.

One day as I was reading the book Messages to Young People, the Holy Spirit touched my heart and I surrendered my life to the Lord. Soon after my conversion, I was baptized. Immediately after, I quit my full-time job and joined the church canvassing team as a volunteer. My decision was not understood by my family or friends, but I made my choice based on what I felt the Lord wanted me to do. At that time, I was studying the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy daily; besides that, I was giving Bible studies to others, and that helped me to mature as a Christian young man much faster.

Looking for the right one

At the beginning of my Christian experience, the subject of courtship and marriage was not a priority to me since I devoted most of my time to canvassing and giving Bible studies. But the more I read God’s word, the more I was impacted by the principles that our Creator set up for our benefit and happiness. 

Growing up in Eastern Europe in a small community, I witnessed from an early age how various families treated each other. Regrettably, the majority of them were cold and distant; they lacked love and respect, they had an abrasive vocabulary and were abusive and violent.

Early on, I decided I did not want to establish such a marriage and family. I wished to have a marriage that would be “almost a paradise” on this earth just as I read from this inspired quote:

“Self-control on the part of all the members of the family will make home almost a paradise.

“A house with love in it, where love is expressed in words and looks and deeds, is a place where angels love to manifest their presence and hallow the scene by rays of light from glory. . . . Love should be seen in the looks and manners and heard in the tones of the voice.”—My Life Today, p. 84. 

So, we see that God’s recipe for happiness is LOVE. We show our love to family members, friends, and girlfriends/boyfriends in words, looks, and actions, and even in the tones of our voice. Having this kind of love will take self-control, but Christ promises to help us if we ask Him. To have this genuine love that brings true happiness, we need to follow God’s ten principles for success. (See Exodus 20:1–17.)

“The happiness of human beings is in their obedience to the laws of God. In their obedience to God’s law they are surrounded as with a hedge and kept from the evil. No one can be happy and depart from God’s specified requirements, and set up a standard of their own, which they decide they can safely follow.”—Christ Triumphant, p. 24. [Emphasis added.]

I decided that before I would show any affection toward a young lady I would have to practice as many of God’s principles for a happy relationship in my own life. I will share with you a few principles I found in my study.

When you are in the process of choosing a person to be your girlfriend/boyfriend, asking him/her, “Do you love Jesus?” will not be enough because this question is too general. Instead, you can ask them these questions:

□ Is he/she old enough to begin a relationship?

□ Is his/her family relationship strong and balanced?

□ Is his/her conversion genuine?

□ Does she/he have a missionary spirit?

□ Does she/he live a healthy lifestyle?

□ Is he/she following a plant-based diet part of her/his core belief?

□ Is she/he a good provider and a wise steward of his/her money?

□ Does she/he have the attitude of a learner?

But before looking for the above qualities in a young lady, I thought, “Why not cultivate these traits in my own life and character? Then once I cultivate and identify them in my life, I will easily see them in others.

The second principle that I learned is that I must get counsel on courtship. According to the latest research, the male’s frontal lobe is not fully developed and does not reach its full potential until around 30 years of age. So young men and young ladies, get as much frontal lobe computing power as you possibly can by asking God for wisdom and guidance as you begin a new relationship. Ask the counsel of your wise parents: “Wise parents will never select companions for their children without respect to their wishes”(The Adventist Home, p. 75). Let your God, your godly parents and your pastor help you. “Be not wise in thine own eyes” (Proverbs 3:7). Remember, “In the multitude of counsellors there is safety” (Proverbs 11:14). 

After some time, I started noticing potential young ladies in our church whom I could date. I took this matter seriously and started praying twice as much as before. Since I tried to follow God’s principles of courtship, it was relatively easy for me to see the character of the different girls and not to enter into relationships with those that God would not approve of. I also realized that I couldn’t trust myself once I got emotionally involved with a girl. One of my mother’s best counsels was, “Don’t give any young lady a false hope.” If she’s not someone you’d want to be your wife, don’t spend your time with her; do not play with a girl’s sentiments. 

Tina’s story

I was born and raised in an Orthodox home in Romania where I lived during my childhood. I loved to go to church every Sunday even if it meant walking to church by myself. My parents were often busy and would let me walk to church every Sunday which was just across the street. When my family and I moved to the United States, we started attending the Seventh Day Adventist Reform church every Sabbath. At the age of 16, I was baptized in that Sabbath-keeping church and that brought joy to my life. After my baptism, I was afraid to fall in love with someone who was not part of our church, especially since I was attending a public school. Each day I dedicated my life to God and prayed, and He helped me overcome that fear.

When I was ready to begin a relationship with a young man, I had certain criteria. First, the young man had to be consecrated to God, and possibly be a missionary or Bible worker. I also wanted to marry someone who would be a loving father and a good role model for my children when that time would come. I did not want to throw myself into a relationship if I was not 100% sure that I was ready to possibly marry that young man. Although I was not raised in the Adventist church, my parents still had high standards for us as children. They would tell me that it is important to find a young man who is loyal, faithful, and hardworking. In the last issue of the Youth Messenger, you can read the questions a young woman should ask about the young man she wishes to marry. (See The Adventist Home, p. 47.)

In the summer of 1999, I went to visit Romania with my mom and brother and on that first weekend there was a youth conference that I wanted to attend. At the time, Calin was doing colporteur work with three other people in my hometown. I met him at the conference and was able to see him actively involved in the program, sharing his experiences in the missionary field, and then, I wanted to know him more. Although several other young men were interested in me, I desired to have a relationship with a young man who had a true love for our Savior. Hearing the experiences and sacrifices of Calin and his coworkers touched my heart.

Calin and I went back to my hometown where we could get to know each other better. We were able to find things that we had in common. The two most important points for both of us were to love Jesus and to practice the health reform message. After my visit to Romania, we continued to remain in touch by phone or letters. We started a serious courtship and we prayed two to three times a day and fasted weekly. We both wanted to make sure we were right for each other, especially with a long-distance relationship. Our relationship grew stronger and I was able to go back to Romania in December. While I was there, we were able to see and feel that we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together. Next year in January we were engaged, and in April we had our wedding.

Now it has been almost 20 years since we were married. We are thankful that the Lord has blessed our lives and given us two beautiful girls. “Marriage, instead of being the end of love, will be only its beginning.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 176.

Calin’s story

Tina was visiting Romania with her mother and brother from the United States. I noticed her and was observing her from a distance. It was not hard for me to see that she was living by the principles I had learned from studying God’s word. God helped us by creating circumstances for us to get closer and to learn more about each other during her short summer visit to Romania.

Just before Tina departed to the U.S., I was sure that I would like to know her better so I approached her mother and asked permission to enter into relationship with her daughter stating I would follow the Biblical guidelines. After receiving her blessing, Tina left back to the U.S., and our relationship developed mostly by phone, with a few letters in between. Since we were not able to be physically close, we learned a lot about each other by talking.

After about 10 months of friendship and courtship, we were married in our church among family and friends. We are so thankful that God and His principles guided us for almost 20 years of marriage. 

True love, a fulfilling marriage, and real happiness, is not only possible for you and me, but it is worth striving for. God is more than willing to give you even on this earth your own “piece of paradise” if you will follow His principles and guidance. This question about how to be happy we all must answer, not only by our words but more with our own lives and actions. By the way we live and act we cast a vote if God’s recipe for happiness is true or false.

Dear young friend, if you are at the beginning of your journey, I seriously invite you to consider Jesus’ recipe for love and happiness. It has worked for us, and it will work for you too if you surrender your life to Him!