We’ve previously looked at how the spiritual aspect is the moral framework for a relationship. Let’s now discover how the intellectual aspect relies on the other three aspects for reasoning, choosing, and making decisions.
Deductive reasoning teaches you the law of if and then. Your choices and decisions (if) have rewards and consequences (then).
This deductive reasoning applies to your search for a compatible spouse. If you align physical attraction and emotional chemistry with spiritual morality and intellectual reason, then you are living a mature and balanced life that God can bless.
The Significance of Your Mind
Your mind provides you the ability to think, reason, evaluate, and understand. You use it to make choices and determine probable outcomes of your decisions.
Deliberately control your thoughts. Paul encourages us to “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). The longer you dwell on impure thoughts and mental images, the greater the risk of acting on them.
Making daily decisions with eternity in mind will have a significant effect on any relationship. Asking, How will this decision look when I stand before God? should help you make less impulsive choices.
Filter your thoughts through the moral framework of your spiritual aspect.
Intellectual Interaction with the Other Three Aspects
The intellectual aspect is interdependent with the other three. When you are deficient in this aspect or overemphasizing one of the others, you impair your reasoning capacity.
A wise strategy is to identify God’s purpose for your life before getting involved in a relationship. It helps you stay true to yourself while looking for someone who matches your life’s purpose and goals.
Though mutually attracted and emotionally connected, pursuing a relationship with someone with a different life purpose poses a perpetual dilemma. Should you follow your calling and pull the other person along where she hasn’t been called? Or should you reject God’s calling and be more attentive to her needs and desires?
Intellectual reason should objectively balance out emotional passion. It is wise to use your mind to analyze your feelings and their source.
If you have intense feelings about someone, ask yourself, Why do I feel the way I do? What attracts me to this person? Look beyond what your heart wants to see and hear – use your mind.
Instead of getting caught up in the whirlwind of your emotions, assess the other person’s capacity for emotional connection. Determine if your dating partner is emotionally “available” and able to express healthy emotions.
Your mind evaluates physical attraction. It helps you decide which actions your body will carry out. For this reason, your spiritual aspect must govern your mind.
Paul instructs us to think about things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely… (Philippians 4:8). To have a deep level of connection and compatibility in your relationship, find someone who is true to his word. Honest in feelings and intentions. Pure in thoughts and actions. As lovely on the inside as she is outwardly.
How the Intellectual Aspect Affects Relationships
Intellectual compatibility is often the first step in developing a relationship. What you talk about depends on the level of intellectual similarities and interest. If enough mutual interest exists, you each share information that is closer to your vulnerable core.
A significant intellectual gap may limit the things you have in common. For true compatibility, find someone at generally the same intellectual level as your own. This provides common ground from which to grow together.
Intellectual Development and Maturity
Knowledge, wisdom, experience, and maturity are all elements of the intellectual aspect. They work together to support the reasoning capacity of the mind. “The LORD gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding” (Proverbs 2:6). Solomon explains the benefits of wisdom:
Wisdom will control your mind, and you will be pleased with knowledge. Sound judgment and good sense will watch over you. Wisdom will protect you from evil schemes and from those liars who turned from doing good to live in the darkness. (Proverbs 2:10-13 / CEV)
Consider the following scenarios as we apply these four intellectual tools:
- Knowledge – dating is fun, sex is pleasurable, and there are many attractive people in the available “dating pool.”
- Wisdom – dating is a way to get to know people and interact with them, premarital sex is immoral, and physical beauty may only be skin deep.
- Experience – dating is a time to discover commonalities and differences, premarital and casual sex are not only immoral but also shallow and risky and come at a high price, and a person’s inner beauty may be more important than being good looking.
- Maturity – dating involves discovering compatibility in all four aspects, sex is intended for the sanctity and safety of marriage, and beauty is the shared and wholesome attraction of two people who cultivate a perpetually romantic lifetime together.
Signs of Intellectual Maturity
Here are some ways to demonstrate growth and maturity in the intellectual aspect:
- Apply God’s Word to your decisions. Jesus said, “Diligently study the Scriptures” (John 5:39). Research additional truth and wisdom about relationships.
- Make sound decisions based on reliable sources. Avoid decisions based on what everyone else is doing. Peer groups may not be the best source of reliable advice – their life experiences are not much different from your own.
- Keep an open mind. Seeking advice from wise sources keeps you safe (Proverbs 11:14). A good process for finding the best guidance is from the Bible first, reliable adults second, deductive reasoning third, and then your personal preference.
- Take responsibility for your decisions and actions – own both the rewards and the consequences. “Each of us will give an account of himself to God” (Romans 14:12). God sees everything you do and there is no shifting of blame with Him.
- Learn continuously. Read books. Listen to audio books. Participate in diverse blogs to respectfully defend or enhance your point of view. Study topics beyond those related to your career. Keep yourself informed of current world events.
Next time, we’ll see how the emotional aspect provides the other three aspects with the sensing, feeling, and relating component of relationships.