Relationship Goals. It seems we’ve all got them.
And why wouldn’t we? Everyone wants to be loved.
I certainly do.
While I don’t believe there is a single way to be in a relationship, and God created us for relationship, He didn’t create us to be the hot messes some of us are in them.
Oops! I said it.
Despite what #relationshipgoals on Instagram (IG), Facebook (FB), or even TikTok or other social media would have you believe, there are a few things we can do in our relationships (of all kinds) to be better at them.
Check out my latest post titled Relationships to learn 5 things described in the Relationship Goals book written by the pastor of the Transformation Church in Tulsa, Michael Todd.
Below you’ll find a book review of my thoughts on it and the accompanying study guide.
*Note: the latest book in this series “Relationship Goals Challenge: 30 Days from Good to Great” was not published yet at the time of writing this blog post.
About Pastor Mike Todd and Relationship Goals
This year I’ve been very thankful for many things–home, loving friends and family, His providence. I’ve also been keeping myself by learning to knit, meditate, sew, garden, and even home improvement.
What I’d been shying away from, though, was relationships.
I didn’t want to put in the work. But I wanted a relationship.
And I knew I’d need some Jesus to help me work through many of my issues, least of all how antisocial I’d become as a shut-in during this pandemic.
So I prayed. I prayed some more. God whispered “Relationship Goals.”
As I YouTubed this phrase and fully expected to see the sermon Pastor Craig Groeschel, pastor and founder of Life.Church, did in 2019 pop up, which it did, but it wasn’t the one that the Holy Spirit drew me to.
In fact, I was floored by how many sermons were of that same title: Relationship Goals.
“Weird,” I thought as I clicked on one with a young, energetic Millennial guy named Michael Todd.
I had no idea who he was, but I clicked on his Part 1 video titled “Before the Person” and soon got sucker punched.
But more on that in a bit.
First, who is Mike Todd?
Michael Todd has been the lead pastor of Transformation Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma for the past 15 years. He and his wife Natalie have four children–Isabella, Michael Jr., Ava, and one on the way–and pastor a congregation 5,000 strong on-site, and 20,000 online. Their website states that their goal is to “re-present God.”
I’m done with that.
The video above went viral and was the start of what ended up being a 9 part video message series that eventually expanded to a second 10-part series called Relationship Goals: Reloaded. You can find both on YouTube.
Now, back to how I got sucker punched.
The Book & Study Guide Review
I didn’t know about the book or study guide when God first lead me to the YouTube series. In fact, I didn’t finish watching all of the series because I began reading the book and leading a discussion group over the material.
Y’all, God got that deep with it.
It’s been a blessing and a needed punch to get myself in gear.
The good thing is that the books came after his first series had already been released, so much of the material was from them anyway.
Let me tell you my impressions about the book and study guide.
Overall, the book adds value and largely accomplished what it set out to do.
“What did it set out to do, Ashley?“
Educate you and give you a biblical blueprint for how God would like to see you engage in relationships.
And that’s not just romantic relationships–every type of human relationship.
Here are a few things I thought were well articulated and explained, and some bleh sections:
- He’s a humorous guy and that energy is revealed throughout the book.
- It’s written with the younger Gen. Z and Millennials in mind, but is applicable to all ages and genders.
- He firmly laid out that there is indeed a biblical model for relationships (it’s in Genesis).
- Many people aren’t as successful in their relationships because they’re taking aim–and shooting their shots–at the wrong things and people.
- It’s not “about perfection, it’s about progression,” as he repeatedly states.
- Work on your singleness before and during your marriage (i.e., keep cultivating and improving yourself).
- Date with intention. Full stop.
- Put God first in all that you do, especially in dating and relationships. Seek His face.
- Quitters win: God’s got a purpose for your life. If a relationship is toxic, distracting, etc., it may be time to call it quits.
- The “Sex Container” (read Chapter 6 to learn about that).
- Introduction to soul ties and the wonders and dangers of them.
- Basic information on what men and women want.
- Biblically centered
- Inconsistent reference to audience.
- Some chapters glossed over points where an in-depth explanation was warranted.
- As the book progressed the scriptural references dwindled.
- The latter part of the book leaned more to his opinion and not The Word.
- Study guide needed more guidance for leaders, or a separate section and resources for group leaders.
- Needs more action steps to help readers implement contents into day-to-day life.
Overall, the book gives an introduction to a massive topic with a fresh spin on it. It has several good points, but also plenty of less stellar ones. It’s target audience is pretty well established, but the flip-flopping between s/he pronouns and the fact that it’s supposed to be applicable to all ages (despite the fact different groups of people have different needs) waters down the books impact. I suspect that because this topic is so vast and it glosses over many things because of it. I think this will eventually become a multiple series line for couples, singles, teens, etc. just as The 5 Love Languages has, which is fine.
Incidentally, that’s the book my discussion group is currently working through.
Similarly, the study guide leaves much to be desired.
Had I not been a teacher for the past eight years, I would have been lost on how to add supplementary materials and discussion questions to this for the group I lead. This group, by the way, was a mixed group of 6 ladies between the ages of 19 and 63. Some of us are single and looking, single but dating, divorced, remarried, in a 30+ year long relationship, but not married, newlywed.
As I said, this book didn’t hit all of those categories.
It also was geared more towards women, for whatever reason, which I don’t appreciate
Would I recommend this book?
Yes. It’s just the first edition and has some work to be done, but I’d still recommend it. Just keep in mind that it may not be intended for you depending on your particular dating situation and goals. It’s not a end-all-be all.
Speaking of goals, comment below with a “yes” if you have 2021 relationship goals.