Interview with Dr. Suzan “Sujay” Johnson Cook
GGBC: Dr. Cook, Could you tell us why it’s so important to have a new dating attitude in this day and age?
Dr Suzan Johnson-Cook: A new dating attitude is important in this day and age because even though this is a time of the .coms and ecommerce, for the Christian, dating is still about the relationship and we need to address what God would honor in our dating relationships.
GGBC: What are some of the ways a Godly woman can maintain her good sense when dating today?
Sujay: By holding on to the attributes of God and by honoring God, one’s self, and your parents. We need to remember that our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and no one has the right to dishonor that. The world says we need to have values, but God calls us to live with more than values—he calls us to holiness.
GGBC: Why is important for a woman to understand the importance of the season of trust-waiting? How can this benefit her in long term relationships?
Sujay: Trust-waiting is giving God the chance to select and prepare both you and your mate for a relationship. It’s understanding that not everything comes quickly and the process of trust-waiting will prepare you and develop maturity so that you are ready for a successful long term relationship.
GGBC: What words of wisdom could you give to the woman who is living a life that is pleasing to God (abstaining from pre-marital sex, etc) but it still seems that God is not providing her long desired mate?
Sujay: Wait on the Lord- be of good courage and he will strengthen you.
“Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” Psalm 27:14
“Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!” Isaiah 30:18
“I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned and heard my cry.” Psalm 40:1
God has a plan for every one of us- he created us for a purpose and it’s worth waiting to see what God has planned for your life.
“‘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.’” Jer. 29:11
GGBC: What are some of the things a Godly woman can do to avoid taking matters into her own hands?
Sujay: You have to be in prayer: it’s a prerequisite. You also should surround yourself with other godly women and men, so they can support and encourage you.
GGBC: What are some of the ways the beatitudes can shape a woman’s dating attitude?
Sujay: God’s word is true for all believers at all times. When Jesus spoke the beatitudes, he was speaking to a crowd that was hopeful—just as we are hopeful today. God’s word was true for those in Biblical times and will be true for us—it will be true for you. God’s promises will not come back to us void.
GGBC: Briefly, what are some of the steps a woman can take during her season of singleness to prepare for her life as a married woman?
Sit at the feet of other wise Christian women who are married, whether they are family or friends, and learn to imitate Christ’s attributes that you see in them as a woman and a wife.
Value your time of singleness; see it as a season that has been God-ordained and use this time to build yourself and your friendships.
If you are considering entering a dating relationship with someone, spend time with that person and ask yourself the following questions: can we worship together? How does he interact with his family? With his friends? Consider a variety of situations to get the full picture and pray before taking any action.
GGBC: Do you think that many people want to be in a relationship and also get married for the wrong reasons? Why or why not?
Sujay: Of course! Many people want to be in a relationship because we are human beings and we were created for relationship with God and with others. We have a natural longing for companionship, but society also puts a lot of emphasis on relationships- especially sexuality. So sometimes people get into relationships or marriage for the wrong reasons- they’re lonely and want someone to meet their personal needs or hurry into it because of society’s pressure.
GGBC: What are some of the right reasons a dating relationship should lead to marriage? How can a woman guard her heart and avoid being hurt and disappointed when dating?
Sujay: A dating relationship should lead to marriage only if you have gotten confirmation that the person is your God-intended mate for life- which is a confirmation that comes over time as you are together. Figure out if you can honor God together.
A woman can guard her heart when dating by:
- Take time to date, spend time together.
- Pray for God’s diving direction, and be open to how he directs you.
- Surround yourself with Godly people who believe in the holiness of marriage
- Avoid exposure to unhealthy environments
GGBC: Are there ultimate consequences for not being patient and not choosing God’s best for a lifelong mate? What’s the difference between choosing God’s best and expecting perfection?
Sujay: Yes,there are ultimate consequences in not choosing God’s intended mate for you- you’ll be in a relationship you don’t enjoy, and it could lead to divorce and/or abuse.
When you choose God’s best for you, you look for God in the person and allow God to perfect that person as He perfects you. When you aren’t patient for God’s best, then you are choosing yourself and worldly perfection.
Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”
GGBC: How can a Godly woman make the right decision for a mate without over spiritualizing the process?
Sujay: You have to make sure you have people in your life who are real and yet Christian- people who will give you sound advice. These people will keep you grounded, relevant and fun. (laughing) I’ve surrounded myself with some people like this for accountability and they kept me in check from going to extremes.
GGBC: Why is important for a Godly woman to feel secure in her relationship with God and herself before she’s married? How can a Godly woman maintain her “saltiness” during her season of singleness?
Sujay: Marriage is about what you bring to the marriage, so you need to know who you are and have a strong relationship with God going into marriage. Marriage is about having someone to share your completeness with- not having someone who completes you.
We are the salt of the earth, so to keep your “saltiness” during singleness:
Enjoy your singleness- do fun things! Appreciate the companionship of friends and the things that are unique to being single- such as time with friends, doing as you please, traveling, developing hobbies, etc. When you get married, you have to honor the other person and be accountable to them. I’ve enjoyed both seasons of my life- the season of singleness and the season of marriage- they’ve been blessings in different ways.
GGBC: Could you leave a word of hope and encouragement for women who don’t want to lose faith in God and themselves during their season of singleness?
Sujay: Wait on the Lord and be of good courage (Psalm 27:14); God will not leave you or forsake you (Deut. 31:6). The good work God began in you he will bring to completion (Phil. 1:6).
God is preparing you and the mate he has picked out for you- bringing you both to completion so that you’ll be ready for one another at the appointed time. Trust him, he will be faithful!