Tag Archive: boyfriend

[Dani is a friend that tbV and i met while working with the Simple Way and she currently lives in San Francisco, which is just across the water from us, this is a piece she wrote a year ago which was published in Sojo.net and which she offered to share with us]

Dani Scoville

When my intoxicated friend leaned in to kiss me, I didn’t think I was just the most readily available girl. No, I convinced myself that his true affections for me were coming out. But the next morning, when I realized what it actually meant, I felt less worthy of being loved than I did before.

This wasn’t the first time I lied to myself in the moment and felt awful later, but I wanted it to be the last. I told my friend that wasn’t going to happen again, but I didn’t attempt to process why it happened. Then I was asked to organize an event around the intersection of spirituality and sexuality.

As I began reflecting on my past sexual interactions with men, I tried to bring God into the conversation for the first time.

It was easier to punish myself with guilt, follow youth group-style sexual boundaries or just say, “forget it” and do whatever I desired. I was reluctant to process my sexuality. Not only would it be a lot of work and uncover a lot of past hurt, but what if it unraveled foundational faith and lifestyle beliefs?

Up until six months ago, I had never questioned my decision to not have sex until I was married. I just did what I thought I was supposed to.

Once I began to reflect on it, though, I realized I was angry that God was asking me to wait. Or maybe it was OK to have sex, and God hadn’t told me sooner! I envisioned what would happen if I didn’t wait.

I decided that I would give my current relationship six months. If we were in love, I would give in.

But no matter how I attempted to deconstruct sex outside of marriage, I still felt that this change in my standards would result in me putting an unhealthy amount of expectation on that man to marry me. I knew that I would feel all those years of waiting were cheapened. Because, for me, sex holds an intense emotional and spiritual association.

I didn’t know all this until I questioned. And now, the only way I can envision having sex with someone is in a safe and committed context. This has also led to the more recent realization that I needed to revise my sexual boundaries in dating.

I listed all the events of the past year: what I enjoyed, what made me feel used, and what I needed to allow myself to enjoy. After I processed the last year, I thought about how my desire to be loved and accepted by a man was rooted in a desire to be love and accepted by God. If I first believe that I am God’s beloved, then I would be confident in my interactions with men, knowing I’m already loved and accepted.

So I drafted another list: this one of boundaries self-confident me would ideally want and be able to stick to. A week later, I met a guy who walked me home and kissed me good night at my gate. Rather than slam the gate in his face to make sure he didn’t come upstairs, I told him I was interested in him but that I wasn’t going to invite him in. When I woke up the next morning, I felt great.

I didn’t expect that deconstructing my sexual boundaries in the name of faith would cause me to develop boundaries. But these new ones aren’t oppressive, because they come from an understanding of myself. No one else came up with them but me. Now when the temptation to get a momentary intimacy fix is there, I’ll have my own voice and story reminding me to not give in and wait for something rooted in love.

[Dani Scoville lives in San Francisco and is an active member of ReImagine, a community focused on integrating the teachings of Jesus into daily life. to read more of what Dani writes, check out her blog, ‘Through the Roof Beams’ here]

[For another story on Singleness, meet my friend Beverley by clicking here]

[For an inspirational post titled ‘I don’t wait anymore’ click here]

[Sueihn was our housemate at the Simple Way – she has been an absolute pleasure to live with and it has been incredible to watch her connect with people and especially children on the block as well as with churches and organisations in the area – i tag teamed with her on Mondays to share lemonade with the people in the food lines as well as talk to and pray with them – i am so thankful for her bravitude in sharing part of her story here with us]

I’ve been boy crazy since the age of five, when I used to daydream about riding flying unicorns together with one of my kindergarten classmates. It only progressed from there – Leonardo DiCaprio back when he was on Growing Pains, countless other celebrities, and boys at school. Once adolescence hit and my teenybopperdom reached its pinnacle, so did my severe low self-esteem and depression, which began as melancholic sprouts in childhood. I thought the only solution would be to find a boyfriend and get married. Maybe then I’d feel beautiful and good about who I am.

As God healed me of the lies attacking the core of my identity, I also began to realize that marriage is not a cure-all. It has its blessings but also its own set of serious challenges, just as singleness has both its unique gifts and difficulties. I love the freedom that I have in making choices, especially spontaneous ones, without having to take into account how it would affect a life partner. I’ve never been in a serious relationship (had a boyfriend in 10th grade whom I dumped after a month and a half), so this freedom has given me the opportunity to have some unforgettable adventures and shenanigans in my 20s and now early 30s.

Though I enjoy the perks of singleness everyday, I also wrestle with the struggles, which were exacerbated by the loss of my dad from lung cancer in 2007. I know I’m incredibly blessed to have dear friends from all the stages of my life dating back to kindergarten, despite being horrible at staying in touch. The most tangible sign of God’s grace in my life is demonstrated through my friends’ love for me. Yet, no one loves you like parents or a spouse. You will always be the center of their universe. Since my dad died, I can’t help but to feel significantly less loved. And when my mother passes on, how much more bereft will I feel if I’m still single?

My dad was also my main source of verbal and physical affection. My mom is great at loving me through sacrifice and service, but I miss having tenderness shown to me in more direct ways. I recently saw a picture of Obama watching TV with his daughters, snuggling cozily on a couch with an arm around each of them, and it was a slap in the face since I no longer have a healthy outlet to experience that kind of physical connection. My friends are very demonstrative, but ever since my dad died it feels like embraces are too few and too fleeting. The only exception is when someone leaves a hand on my shoulder while praying for me – I don’t think others realize that this comforts me as much and sometimes more than the prayers themselves. Honestly, when couples show some PDA, I often have to look away to avoid feeling a shroud of cold emptiness wrapping around me. I don’t think that people should have to censor themselves in front of me (especially not the married couple I live in community with – that would be so unfair!), but I have to fight hard to continually abide in the embodiment of Love who lives in me.

I know that God’s attention is always on me, and that He sends signs of His affection in various ways, using interesting disguises – like the 4-year-old stranger who demanded to hug me on the street today, or the random female pastor that held me for hours while I poured out my grief at a conference last year. But I wonder if that emptiness will ever be completely filled in this lifetime because of the fallenness of this world (2 Corinthians 5:4). These days, I’ve actually been more comforted by communing with Jesus in any suffering of His, so that I might also share in His glory. I think about my trip to Jerusalem, when we visited the high priest Caiaphas’ house and descended to the tiny, dank dungeon where Jesus likely spent the night in chains before He was executed. As I listened to my professor read the most depressing chapter of Psalms (88 – it ends

with “darkness is my closest friend”), I realized that Jesus truly took on my pain, brokenness, and emptiness upon Himself. Any time I feel any twinge of loneliness, I think about Jesus’ own experience of abandonment and know that I’m not alone – my pain is a drop compared to the ocean that Jesus endured, and He went through it all to be with me forever.

Married folks, if I had to give you just one suggestion on how to bless your single friends, I would encourage you to celebrate their lives well. Weddings are very extravagant celebrations of the couple’s entire lives – complete with photo slide shows, speeches and gifts. There are also bridal showers, bachelorettes and engagement parties, along with baby showers later on. Sometimes I wonder if the only milestone in my life that will warrant this much commemoration (and money) will be my funeral. So, I decided that I would be more intentional about celebrating my own landmark moments. When I turned 30 and graduated from seminary last year, I threw myself my first party since the cake-fight incident of 1995 (my 14th birthday party). I also threw a going away party before I moved to Philadelphia. It was actually really hard for me to allow myself to be celebrated – I felt a nagging sense of unworthiness and shame. Then I saw that God is exposing and breaking down the barriers that are blocking deeper intimacy with Him, preventing me from receiving more of His love and loving Him more fully. At the end of this painful process, whether He uses marriage or not to help accomplish it, God will give me the greatest gift in existence – union with Himself.

[to read my friend Kate Hurley’s story of Singleness click here]

[For an inspirational post titled ‘I don’t wait anymore’ click here]

these are a series of posts i am sharing that i have taken from a series called ‘How to Love your Woman/Man better’ from a while back and also a series titled ‘One way to Love your spouse better’ that i ran more recently [with the input of some friends] – there are many incredible gems here that can help you as you look to contribute to a healthy and thriving marriage and i hope you will find them useful and if so, please feel free to share and pass on…

Arguing Well

The Defining of Love

Small Intentional Sacrifices

Verbal Blessing

Halting the Movement of the Sun


Choosing This Day

Saying It

When my “yes” sounds like a “NO!”

doing the next right thing [Dalene Reyburn]

my beautiful wife Valerie [tbV] wrote a couple of thoughts on how to love your man better and so i thought these would be good to include here as they have a distinctly different flavour:

How to love your man better – “Just love him…”

How to love your man better – “Respond to his character”

How to love your man better – “Be Nice”

i want to briefly look at the whole concept of ‘the One’ which i used to refer to as my Neo girl ala the Matrix… is there that one specific person that God has hand picked for me to date and marry?

and i think the answer is no! …except when it is yes!

hm? well i think it links to the concepts of general will and specific will. a lot of the stuff in the Bible is God’s general will for us and applies to everyone – stuff like Love God, Love people; and Look after those in need; and Forgive people; and Go and Make Disciples of all mankind… that stuff is a command to everyone and so all of us need to be making sure it is happening in our lives.

then you get specific will – God tells Abram to sacrifice his son on the mountain [and then intervenes before he can]; God sends Jonah to Ninevah; a faithful guy called Jabez prays a prayer and God blesses him; God calls Moses to lead His people out of Egypt towards the promised land. Specific will for specific people – instructions that were only for them to obey.

and so when it comes to finding your husband/wife i really believe that generally it is linked to specific will – God gives a list of principles – choose someone that loves Me first, keep yourselves pure til marriage, find someone who will serve you as you serve them – but He doesn’t hand pick a ‘the One’ for you

we can put so much pressure on ourselves with that kind of thinking – because linked with free will, if there is a ‘the One’ for me and i somehow screw it up or miss my chance, does that mean i have to settle for number two? It really doesn’t make a lot of sense and I don’t believe it’s Gods way.

rather my understanding is that there are a bunch of “definitely not the Ones” [easy to spot through different religion or values or vision] and some “not the One right nows”

and then there are a number of “Possibly the Ones” and of those, the one who i choose and who chooses me back and who i grow in relationship and end up one day becoming engaged to and making a public commitment in front of God, family and friends on our marriage day, BECOMES MY “THE ONE.”

that is really how i see it. The beautiful Val is my ‘the One’ not because she was the only option and if I’d missed her and she’d missed me we would both have had to settle for second best. But because we made a commitment to each other based on a relationship that grew between us and so we both grew into each others “the One.”

the reason i said “no” except when it is “yes” at the beginning is that there are a few stories in the Bible where there is general will involved with relationships. Especially in the Old Testament God very specifically links up some people with other people. and so i do believe there are certain times when God can and does get specifically involved and tell two people they are right for each other, but i certain believe it is the exception rather than the rule.

i think one of the most exciting and dangerous and messy and heart-breaking and amazing and heart-inflating things in life is that God leaves it largely up to us. Yes, He cares a lot about who we marry and spend our lives with and how we treat them and how we live together and the respect we have for each other and those around us. But He lets us try. And get it wrong. And hurt each other. And get it right. And find each other. And discover and build and grow together and learn to love. And so on.

and i think one of the themes and threads that has been going around within the discussions that have been taking place on this dating blog is how the greatest responsibility and opportunity we have as individuals is to be the best ‘the One’ we can be as opposed to merely seeking for the best we can get.

“I’m talking ’bout the man in the mirror. I’m asking him to change his ways. And no message could have been any clearer. If you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and make the change.” [M. Jackson]

[For some other helpful thoughts on different aspects of Dating, click here]


there is a trend that happens specifically in christian contexts (altho i am sure there are equivalent secular contexts that promote the same thing – like actors making a movie together for example) which contributes to a lot of debris in relationships WHICH COULD EASILY BE AVOIDED

the mathematical equation reads something like ‘bunch of christian guys’ + ‘bunch of christian girls’ added to short-term intense spiritual space [holiday club, weekend camp, mission trip] = ‘he/she is the one’alism’ = ‘relationship’

i’ve been there. it happens. because you are ‘forced together’ with a bunch of people in a situation which highlights their positive side [playing with kids, leading a small group, reaching out to the poor] it is VERY EASY TO BE ATTRACTED to someone in the group, altho in a lot of case the attraction is purely context-related and not person-related

and so you see an attractive girl and spend as much of the mission trip trying to spend time alongside her and you feel like you’ve found ‘the one’ and you have to be with her and so at the end of the weekend or week you ask her out and SUDDENLY YOU’RE DATING… and a few weeks goes by and the butterflies head north for the summer and suddenly you realise actually you don’t know this person…

[a spanner is thrown into the works if you have rushed into PHYSICAL STUFF (whatever level – holding hands, kissing, more) because then you might decide actually this person is not the one for you, but you have already entered A LEVEL OF INTIMACY on some level (physically, emotionally, spiritually) and it becomes much harder to break up with them]

now this doesn’t only occur on the weekend or week trips/event but they often intensify or speed up the process – i think ONE OF THE FUNDAMENTAL FLAWS with the dating system we currently use is that we rush into relationships WITH PEOPLE WE DON’T REALLY KNOW AT ALL.

and yes, a huge part of being in a relationship with someone is getting to know them, but IT MAKES A LOT MORE SENSE TO SPEND SOME TIME (possibly in group situations so there is less pressure on the two of you) WITH THE PERSON GETTING TO KNOW THEM before asking them out. what this will do in some cases is eliminate a bunch of people as possibilities simply by taking the step of getting to know them – not necessarily cos they are bad people, but purely because you will be able to pick up that you are NOT WELL SUITED AS A COUPLE.

for example, if i am a complete outdoors nut – surfing, climbing, jet skiing – and i meet a girl and she is a complete indoors person – computer geek, playstation province champion, crochet fundi – then there is a strong possibility we WON’T BE WELL SUITED because we are PASSIONATE ABOUT DIFFERENT THINGS – and so just by spending a little bit of time getting to know each other we can pick that up and be saved even entering a relationship that is in all likelihood not going to go anywhere

– both as an individual and in group settings – and at least get some idea of possibility of compatability – BEFORE YOU RUSH INTO A RELATIONSHIP blind simply based on some attraction that may be based on the context or your loneliness and ‘need’ for a person…

[click here to read the next part]

part two in my beautiful wife Valerie’s series on how to love your man better…


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