March 28, 2012

Because I Haven't Perfected The Art of Relationships

So I'd like to take a minute to clear the air here today. My so called dating/relationship/guy advice should always be take with a grain of salt. What I have to say is not the word of God, and therefore it's not always true or correct.

Not gonna lie, but I find it odd how what I have to say on this topic is the one I get the most feedback on be it comments, e-mails, Facebook/Twitter messages, or the fact that they're the most viewed posts. It's odd because it's not like I have a ton of "experience" with guys. (Side note: When I say "experience" I'm talking about general interactions and relationships with guys not anything sexual here. Figured I should clear up that as well. Purity is the way to go.) And the little I do have I can't sit here and say it's been incredibly positive.

I just think that if people are going to be reading and taking into account what I write on the matter, that they should know that I still haven't "figured" or "perfected" this whole thing. Reasons as to why this is...
  1. I have one sister, no brothers, and grew up in a family with strong women [and I mean that in a good way]. It's been great because I've had good examples of godly women, but on the flip side of things I haven't had great examples of godly men within the context of my family... which complicates things on various levels.
  2. Because I didn't have brothers, for me, "friendships" with guys in general tend to have blurry lines, and sometimes are just outright confusing for me to navigate... which probably explains why I don't have a ton of "friendships" with guys in general or am selective about them. It has it's pros and cons like most things in life.
  3. I don't take Christian dating books so literal [and neither should you]. This honestly drives me crazy. I'm not saying you shouldn't read them or that there's nothing to glean from them (and I've read a lot of them), but they're just tools. They're not the Bible and shouldn't be elevated as high as some people like to make them. You can do everything by the book and a relationship can still not lead to marriage. I've talked to girls who've had courtships that didn't lead to marriage. There are no hard and fast formulas for relationships and God works through various avenues to bring relationships about. Are there boundaries? Absolutely. For example, scripture makes it very clear that sex is only to be shared in marriage. That's not debatable. But to have rules, regulations, and clauses on everything in a relationship seems suffocating and convoluted to me. We need to just seek Christ and wisdom, then let the rest unfold with time.
  4. I don't think finding a spouse online or matchmaking is sinful. I was e-mailed a question asking about this and it seems as good of a time as any to respond. I know many great couples who found each other via the Internet. Now I will say that there needs to be a precautions with this as it's really easy for people to pretend online, but I think it can be another avenue God can use to bring people together. One thing I think internet sites such as E-Harmony actually do well is they ask the important questions (i.e. what are various views on politics, religion, etc.) right off the bat that often can be awkward to ask when you're first starting to date a person. So I think people who use these kind of venues usually are more intentional because both parties are seriously looking for a spouse. I also don't think there's anything wrong with having godly friends, family, or mentors whom you trust to set you up or introduce you to meet someone whom they legitimately think you share a lot in common with. So... No, I don't think "networking" online or amongst your friends and family to meet and possibly find your future spouse is sinful. Again, I think these are just a couple of ways God may bring two people together.
  5. I have my fair share of days where I'm just totally discouraged, disappointed, angry, and hurt by men in general and think they're stupid and a bunch of other things I'm not going to write here. Is that wrong of me and sinful? To a degree, yes, and I'm repenting and working on those things, but some of it is righteous anger.  
  6. Most of the time I feel totally unqualified to say anything about any of this. (Did I fail to mention that yet?)
  7. Some days I don't want to get married because I feel like I've already lived through one bad marriage even though I haven't ever been married (those of you who've been in that boat know what I'm referring to here)... but the days I do want to get married and have kids far outweigh those moments... yeah. There's that whole paradox thing showing up.
  8. I'm pretty much convinced that the trouble with my generation isn't "falling in love," but knowing how to stay "in love." We see love as this fleeting emotion, when in reality love is more of an action and commitment towards another person. Not that romantic, lovey-dovey emotions are wrong, because let's admit it, they're pretty awesome, but that's a pretty weak foundation to build a relationship upon.
  9. I'm not against people dating, but I don't like how people are so flippant/careless/lack intention in their relationships. We need to stop floating around in la-la land and grow-up, both us women and men. Be genuine, be purposeful, be committed, and seal the deal. Guys especially need to get that last part. I feel like married women quickly forget about how slow men can be at times. They grab a girls attention, affections, and heart and then... it's like they freeze up or something. I don't remember which pastor said it, but he was talking about how a guy chasing a girl is like a dog chasing a toy truck. As soon as they catch it they don't know what to do with it. Perhaps that's a bad analogy and I apologize if it offends anybody, but the point of it was guys need to seal the deal when they find a godly girl to marry. In other words, quit wasting time and get down to business. If you're not looking to get married then you shouldn't be dating or trying to win a girls affections in the first place. You're just toying with her heart and emotions which is unkind and it shows you know very little about how a woman's heart works.
  10. I'll be honest, at times I too buy into the lies that a lot of single girls do. I'm not good enough. God is holding out on me. My standards are too high. I'm too much and over the top for a guy. More reasons to cling to grace and truth.
  11. I've seriously contemplated moving to Alaska since statistically speaking there's like a 6:1 ratio of men to women up there. But I'm not really a fan of the cold which kinda dampens the idea...
  12. I'm not 100% totally sold on the idea of "the one." You know, the idea that there's one particular person out there in the world only for you. As far as I'm aware none of the church fathers ever talked about this ideology, nor do I hear many pastors talk about it... so I just don't know.
  13. I too have cried my eyes out over a boy or two myself, so trust me I know what that feels like.
  14. Most of the advice we get on dating and relationships should be coming from godly, married women, not single girls such as myself for the obvious reason: those women actually have a man of their own.
  15. ...because I haven't been on a date or in an "official" relationship in three years. After seeing that written down I feel super lame and come off sounding... desperate, which if that were true I probably wouldn't want you to know that. Yeah...
  16. I'm prone to being cynical, despite the fact that I still watch sappy Hallmark movies, Disney Princess movies, and Jane Austen films. Another paradox.
  17. I think every relationship goes through trials and bumps along the way. When the right relationship comes along, not everything will be a breeze or smooth sailing. I wrote about this in back in the Ruth series here.
  18. I feel like if I'm going to keep writing on such things I should probably get some legit feedback from guys so I don't feel like I'm just guessing or going off on my own thinking all the time, because I could totally be wrong in some of the things I think and say.
Yep. Glad I got that out there. So if you're still going to take any of my advice on guys or relationships,  just know that not everything I have to say is necessarily right. And if any of it is, it's due to me having to stumble around a bit [or watch others close to me make mistakes and stumble] and having God redeem or lead us through those things. In many ways He still is. 

This will most likely be one of those posts I'll try and forget I ever wrote. I seem to be in "rant" mode this week... which I shall try to avoid for the rest of the week.
Now if you'll excuse me, I need a refill on my coffee.

7 comments :

  1. Have you read preparing to be his help meet?
    I have read the married one (created to be his help meet, but not the preparing one. It is really good and as any book written by a human it isn't 100% correct but I think it has great advice about preparing yourself to be a wife (or in my case, being a wife). side note: my best friend read it a month before she met her husband and was married less than 8 months later. ;)

    Do not be discouraged. Coming from a young married wife, prepare yourself under God as much as you can. Spend time with him, let him pour into you, serve him, etc. because when you get married it becomes way harder to do so. Once married, you will have to balance that time with a third person as well. I've talk to many young wife friends of mine and that seems to be a struggle between us all. Keep trusting God and He will orchestrate the meeting of your husband at the perfect time when he sees fit.

    ReplyDelete
  2. first i want to say that i absolutely love you and your blog.

    second i want to say that even if you don't have all the experience in the world with boys, you present a godly outlook on relationships and i think that people really appreciate that.

    and third, sometimes i get a little depressed at how my last two relationships turned out, since i was the one that got left instead of the one leaving. and that really bites. but it made me resolve that i don't want to keep on dating just to date, i want a serious relationship and i have been praying for my future guy and myself because i asked Jesus to make my next boyfriend be my last one. i know that God has someone planned for me, who will be perfect beyond my wildest dreams. this isn't to say that i believe in the idea of 'the one' because i think that if he were to die that there could be someone else out there for me, you know? but i do get excited thinking about the future, and that is something that it took me a while to figure out.

    i don't know if you needed to know that, haha, but i needed to get it off my chest.

    ReplyDelete
  3. #3 + #14 + #17: Amen to THAT!

    I also like #12 because it compliments #8. There are many guys out there. In fact, I've dated two or three before meeting the guy I'm courting (only one of those was 'godly') and I knew it would NOT work out with any of them because I couldn't see myself HONESTLY LOVING them like God intends. I always joke with L about how he is dating 'the one' (he's never dated before) and I'm dating 'the last'. However, he is 'the one' in many ways! The one guy I've ever courted, never kissed, prayed with (something that should be done in God's timing by the way!!! way too intimate) & have sought God with. He's also 'the one' who makes me feel the most amazing emotions &/or the most anger sometimes.

    The One for me is Jesus. And if L came along to reflect Jesus the most in a relationship context then, that makes him 'the one' for me.

    That's the way I look at it.

    Another thing, too, is that God doesn't call everyone to marriage. Within the church we actually put marriage callings over single ones when Biblical, Paul praised those who had a calling over their lives to be single and fully devoted to the work of ministry. We must seek God to answer that question first before we engage in dating relationships.

    Natalie, I always value your opinions because I can relate to all of them. I feel in my heart that you are being prepared for marriage and that God has something especially planned for that. I'm so proud of you for sharing your thoughts on this single-hood journey; it's blessing a lot of people... You're certainly blessing me right in this moment.

    And trust me, you never really arrive when it comes to dating/marriage. You're further along in the road but the storms, trials & lessons don't stop coming. There are some days I look back to my single days and say "I had it really good back then" and it's true! But I would've never grown nearly as much as I have without this relationship I'm in. It's been part of my sanctification process!

    In essence, I just wanna say I appreciate you a lot. And keep pressing on, hoping in your heart for what you can't see right now. And be selfless. Love the boys who hurt you & forgive them as soon as you feel their sting. If you nail that down, everything else will be a piece of cake.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Breanne: Actually that's the second time you've hinted at me picking up that book, and I've got it on my list to read by the end of the summer, so I will be looking into that for sure! =) And as always I value your advice and encouragement!

    Natalie: Yes! We should be excited about our future spouses and I would love it if the next man is the final one and that's what I'm hoping for =)

    Ashley: WOW! Thanks for all the feedback!!! You win at having the longest comment ever (lol) ;D You bring up many great points as well, and have encouraged me more than you know today!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Girl, I really love what you write about this. I think it's not talked about a whole lot in the blogger world and it is encouraging to know there are other beautiful young women seeking God's best in this area of their lives. It is good to share what you are doing to prepare for such an important part of life. I felt like the only one who cared very much when I was single and waiting, so I KNOW you are an encouragement to other young women! PS: LOVE #17. I'm the same way!

    ReplyDelete
  6. guys should definitely be chiming in. that'd be cool. lol.

    hahah, love how this is a rant...i'm all for rants. :)

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for leaving me your thoughts, comments, and encouragements! =) I do monitor every comment I get so that I can comment back as much as possible.

Any comments I personally deem as inappropriate or disrespectful (and any spam) will be trashed.