I was in a dating relationship the first time I read Love Bila Regrets, or ‘Love Without Regrets,’ by John Musyimi and Mark Ambundo. That was five years ago. My wife and I will soon mark four years of marriage. But the lessons from this book have never been more relevant.
A Crucible For My Heart
Being in a committed covenant relationship has been a critical crucible for my heart, especially on the necessity of dying to self in marriage. Through the commitments demanded by marriage, God continues to teach me that he placed me on this planet for so much more than fulfilling my selfish pursuits and pleasures.
God placed me on this planet for so much more than fulfilling my selfish pursuits.
Each attempt at putting my needs above those of my wife has turned into a timely, and often painful, lesson that it is only by living for the good of another that I become the image bearer God designed me to be. But when I first came across this book, I read it with mixed feelings. In fact, I was afraid to turn over the cover. For the title already condemned me. I was a bag full of regrets.
Love Bila Regrets
There is much confusion and regret concerning love and relationships in our day. Kenyan Pastors John Musyimi and Mark Ambundo lay down some foundational guidelines from the Bible to help you navigate the murky waters of dating.
Love Bila Regrets (meaning love without regrets) addresses practical, everyday questions about dating. It also looks some common relationship pitfalls, giving helpful guidance from a biblical perspective.
Mistakes, Bad Choices & Grace
My past is decorated with all the mistakes and bad choices described in this book. I have asked girls out without even a thought about marriage. I shunned accountability in my dating relationships. At times I dated people who mocked my faith. And I have indulged in sexual sin. You name it, I’ve probably done it—probably more than once.
My past is decorated with all the mistakes and bad choices described in this book.
Of course, I now regret every sin and foolish choice I made back then. Yet, in some strange twist, I also find myself looking back at that past with gratitude. For God has certainly used my bad dating decisions to define and refine me into the image of his Son, Jesus Christ. He has done this despite those bad decisions.
How To Approach ‘Love Bila Regrets’
Recently rereading through Love Bila Regrets was a scary walk down my own dark memory lane. I winced as I read some of the hypothetical examples they shared. Since many were not hypothetical for me. I am grateful that God has seen me through my numerous failures. I praise him for the relationship I presently enjoy—that I also hope honours him more often that it does not.
For those who are still contemplating the delicate dance of dating and (eventually) marriage, I suggest you avoid reading this book as a ‘how-to-guide’ to biblical dating.
A ‘Who-To’ Rather Than A ‘How-To’ Guide
Love Bila Regrets is not a how-to-guide. It is more of a ‘who-to-guide’ to dating. No, I am not talking about “who to date,” but “who to be” when dating.
I am not talking about “who to date,” but “who to be” when dating.
This book will cause most young men and women who are considering a dating relationship to step back and first seriously consider their own relationship with God. Even though the book’s subtitle is “Biblical guidelines for love and relationships,” I wondered if a more appropriate tagline would be: ‘Biblical foundations for love and relationships.’
Idea 1: Dating Is About Marriage
The ideas in Love Bila Regrets will sound radical for many young people navigating dating in the 21st century.
Dating is about marriage, like buying a plane ticket is about the destination, not the flight.
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, just like buying a plane ticket is about the destination and not the flight.
And the destination of marriage is ultimately not about us either. For marriage is about the gospel and the glory of God proclaimed therein. 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.”
Idea 2: Dating As Tumultuous & Tempting Waters
The authors then outline how a man and a woman should go about approaching these treacherous waters of Christian dating. We must be aware of the dangers in the world and the flesh. Thus the chapters on maintaining purity, guarding your partner’s heart and emotional fraud struck a familiar nerve for me—since I was reading them with the hindsight of my own personal failures.
Yet the authors never fail to emphasise that marriage, rather than a perfect dating relationship, is the goal.
Idea 3: Putting Relationship’s In Context
Because marriage functions as the hallway to marriage, Love Bila Regrets also explores the roles of men and women. The authors provide a biblical basis for the pattern outlined by God for relationship. This serves as helpful reminder that our dating must always be pursued in the context of the whole counsel of God, and not just narrowed down to sexual and emotional gratification.
‘Love Bila Regrets’ Will Help You
There’s plenty to be gleaned from this timely book. But I’ll save that for your own reading. The authors have done an excellent job, and I am not just saying this because they are my friends. Read the book for yourself! You will not fail to see and feel the pastoral care behind every sentence. But in addition to its pastoral heart, the book is formatted like a personal study workbook. There are questions for reflection at the end of each chapter and plenty of space for scribbling as you read along.
You will not fail to see and feel the pastoral care behind every sentence.
This book has refreshed and reassured me on more than one reading. I could not have written a better book on dating. Thus I am grateful to God for such a faithful work. Over the years, I have bought copies for younger friends that I know will benefit from the content. Without fail they have found Love Bila Regrets beneficial.
Thank you, Mark and John, for showing up for such a topic as this.