Tag Archive: dating

i’ve been wanting to get some different perspectives on this whole dating thing and so i asked my friend Terran if he would be able to write something on the one aspect of dating. And he said no. Something about having two children and a job or something… BUT what he did do for me [he is a super busy dude and i suspected he wouldn’t have time so this is great] is send me a link to a preach he did on the topic which i have heard before and which is very much worth listening to if you have the capacity and bandwidth and so on – so if you do then please head over here for a talk called “When sparks fly”

the talk was part of a series that Common Ground church in Rondebosch did and in fact, if you are able to i would encourage you to go and listen to the whole Sex in the City series which you can do over here.

let me know what u think… there’s some good stuff there.

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]

…continuing on the journeying of looking at how we date and how we could do better at it…

this specific thort is very couple specific so for those who need to hear it, you REALLY need to hear it, whereas there are probably a whole bunch of people who don’t [but you know people who do!] but i do think it is a healthy thing to give a quick look to.

so the moment happens, you look across that crowded room and see that person – “the one” – and your heart does all that strange stuff and the whole world fades and there is just that person [slow motion baywatch beach running may occur as you move towards each other and interact and she/he actually speaks to you… or it may not… i dunno, it’s been a while]

and thru some miracle this person feels the same way and says yes when you ask them out on a date and again when you ask them to date [there’s a difference] and it’s a really amazing thing and time and feeling and so on.

the one problem that occurs with some couples is that they continue on in that state and forget to push the button that allows the rest of the world to come back into focus. you know the type – i call them klingons – not because they are the enemies of the Star Ship Enterprise, but because they simply just cling….on…. to each other, all the time.

we’re talking about exclusive couples who become a couple and then pretty much distance themselves from everyone else or else interact with people but only ever as a couple.

it may sound and seem pretty nice, but i don’t believe it’s healthy. what is healthy is for a couple to have friends, both as individuals and as the couple, and also to have some separate interests.

community is so vital for a healthy relationship and one of the things Christ-followers do or should have going for them is a sort of instant community when it comes to church [or cell group/youth] and so it makes a lot of sense to make the most of that. also klingon couples are generally not a lot of fun to be around. they are so self-absorbed that they alienate all those around them and so people end up wanting to spend less time with them which just reinforces the whole klingon thing.

so what i am saying is if you are in a relationship then…

[1] be around other people – don’t sit exclusively in your relationship and only spend time with that person – you will damage all the friendships both of you had before and if – heaven forbid – you were to ever break up – you would be left without a support group of friends who love you who can gather around you and help it be okay.

[2] be clinged off when around other people – i imagine you spend enough time touching each other when you are alone so when you are with friends or in other social settings you don’t have to be holding hands or onto each other all the time – it really makes it difficult or uncomfortable for other people if you are constantly physically clinging on to each other – and make space for other people in terms of not just zoning in to your person – when you’re around other people, be around other people

[3] it is healthy to spend time not with your person – hang out with your friends while he/she hangs out with theirs – be involved in some activity/activities that don’t doesn’t involve your person – time spent apart will increase the incredibleness of time spent together but it is also a healthy situation in terms of personal growth and growth with your other significant people

so eliminate the klingon from your relationship and be in relationship in community – you and your person and the people around you will all benefit from it and the relationship is likely to be a lot stronger.

hokay so this is not so much a guest post as an article link but someone who has been reading and enjoying the dating series sent me this link to this dog whisperer episode [i have never seen dog whisperer, what, they run out of horses?] and it makes some pretty good points so worth a read…

click your mouse on this place to read it…

and the search for revolutionary dating methodology continues…

firstly some interesting thorts i read on my friend’s blog linked to that whole ‘Guys, Step up!’ mentality of the girls. Girls, this is not an excuse, but provides some understanding of the guys place in this whole thing…

“Telling a girl I liked her was about as difficult as trying to eat a tortoise whole. In my early 20s, internet-spawned relationships allowed me to keep this effectively concealed.

“the stupid thing is that all girls at church are taught to let guys pursue them, but we guys are never taught to pursue women!

I had to learn the hard way by hearing my female friends lament the lack of masculine decisiveness and confidence.” [http://lovesubverts.com/2011/03/christian-dating]

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i think one thing which put a proverbial spanner in the works – for both guys and girls – was the rise and increase of feminism or feministic mentality and i know this plays out differently in different cultures and contexts – but suddenly there was a lot of confusion as to the guys role in the whole dating thing – what he was and wasn’t allowed to do [without causing offence]

i’m going to give my opinion here and would dig for the ladies to jump in and confirm or denounce as necessary…

but for me it’s the whole acronymic concept of Joy that i learnt as a kid – Jesus first, then Others, lastly Yourself – we’ve already looked at the Jesus first bit, so let’s move on to the Others bit which i will sum up as Serving One Another in Love

i explain it like this – if i look after my needs and the beautiful Val looks after her needs then both of our needs are met. but if i start serving her and lifting her up and she starts serving me and lifting me up then we still both end up with our needs met, BUT with the added addition of Relationship – incredibly simple concept but profound in action

Jesus demonstrates this in John 13 when He washes the disciples feet and it is described this way: “He now showed them the full extent of His love” – He was about to go to the cross for them and yet it says of His serving them by foot-washing that it was a demonstration of the full extent of His love.

i love the fact that Val lets me open car doors for her (i think she likes it) and carry her stuff and make her coffee in bed every morning, and i dig it as well when she finds creative ways to serve me in Love. It strengthens our relationship and brings us closer together. And the defining characteristic is the “i choose to” part of the serving – it is not an obligation or an expectation but a major part of the Love-ing concept.

i think guys can practice this outside of relationship – not to gain brownie points or to flirt or anything, but simply start serving the girls around you in Love. Open doors, offer to carry things, compliment them [and let’s get creative and find things to compliment on that aren’t simply outward beauty – how ’bout we turn that whole thing upside-down?]. The more you practice it outside of relationship, the better you are likely to be at it and the more naturally it will happen inside of relationship. Plus you’ll be modelling a worthwhile concept to those around you.

…and the discussion continues seeking out a Christ-following version of dating and relationships that is more effective than the model we have simply been borrowing from the world – beginning with a renewing of your mind and refusing to conform any longer to the pattern of this world.

it has been incredible seeing the dialogue happening on the “Stand Up!” notes the last day so please keep it up – i suspect this one will bring a lot of comment as well and it is most welcome.

Somebody asked the question – what if we have already crossed the line physically with someone or some ones?

There are two very important points to hear on this one:

[1] God is full of grace and love and that is freely available when we take responsibility for our past and when we confess our sins and invite Him to bring freedom, restore purity and grant forgiveness. “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.” [Romans 8.1] So if you are living with condemnation and guilt, then something is definitely wrong. Go to God. Deal with it with Him, and move on.

[2] Having said that, the church often gets it wrong in terms of our definition and understanding of God’s grace and Love because at no time does it cancel out His justice. Love and justice always work together along side each other. But in the name of niceness (rather than Truth) the church has created this concept of “Second Virginity” which is the idea that when you confess your sins you can become a virgin again. It is a nice concept, but it is just not true. Once you have had sex with someone, your virginity is gone and that is a consequence you need to live with. God forgives and restores and will deal with all condemnation and guilt, but you cannot be made a virgin again.

There is a big difference between sin and consequences. I am reminded of one of my friends who slept with her boyfriend and got pregnant. Does God forgive her sin if she asks Him to? Absolutely. Did God remove the consequences? Not at all. She has a son – who is an amazing kid, we’re not disputing that [Romans 8.31 reminds us that God can bring good out of all situations] – but at that moment all her dreams and ideas for her life and situation changed completely. She can be forgiven the sin, but some of the consequences stick around.

So if you have crossed the line physically and messed up there is hope for you in terms of forgiveness and grace and being able to let go of condemnation and guilt. If it is your current dating person then it is important that you speak about it directly and put things in place that will protect you from the temptation to mess up there again. Having accountability with an outside Jesus-following person who is of the same gender as you is a highly recommendable thing.

And i have to say it again but this topic of dating better requires an absolute renewing of our minds. We need to think differently. We need to enter into dating relationships with an awareness of the dangers of sexual attraction/temptation and have some principles in place to protect us from going there.

loving the discussion we’ve got happening around this topic – but you really should check this one out – wow, great post, very vulnerable and out there – guys and girls should read this – lots of truth…

On dating and daring part I – click here to read

On dating and daring part II – click here to read

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