Passion Defined

My Story For His Glory

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Dating (Part One)

Well, I started out with a really cool idea for a new topic, but I realized that there’s so much I have to say and it would never fit in one post! So, I decided to start a “series” about this issue because of everything that I have to say about dating and other related topics. I’ll be sharing with you where I’m coming from and where I stand on the controversial view of dating, specifically Christian dating. This first post will hopefully lay the necessary ground work for future posts and will begin a foundation that I can build upon in the days to come. Some may be long, others may be shorter, but please take the time to read them and tell me what you think! Please feel free to post questions or comments in response to these posts. It’s okay if you disagree with me, and I’d like to know why if you do! I know I’m young and don’t know everything, but God has put a burden on my heart to share about this issue. So, without further ado…

Part 1: I don’t date, plain and simple. Why not? What’s so wrong with dating? I’m so glad you asked! Here are the reasons why I, as a Christian, believe that dating is wrong and violates Biblical principles. First of all, dating violates the command found in Romans 12:2. Dating is a secular practice that isn’t something Christians should involve themselves in because it is conforming to the world, not to Christ. Romans 12:2 says, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (ESV) Dating is the world’s approach to cultivating relationships and it encourages certain things that oppose Scripture. When reading this verse in Romans, I can’t help but conclude that by adopting the cultural norm of dating, one essentially is conforming to the world, which Christ commands us not to do. Second, I believe dating is wrong because of certain Biblical principles that it violates. In Proverbs 4:23, we are told, “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.” Dating naturally increases a couples’ tendency to give their hearts to one another because of the emotional, mental and physical attraction that they have for each other. In a dating relationship, one can’t help but give his/her heart away because of the extra attention and time that is given to the other person in the relationship. Now granted, God made us to be relational people, and it is absolutely natural to have those feelings and attractions. I know I do! But I would argue that dating is not the appropriate context to be giving away a very important part of you: your heart. We are told to keep our hearts with all vigilance; we are to guard it diligently so that it may be fully devoted to Christ. Well, then when is the appropriate time? And what does it look like? The answer to that will be coming up in another post soon, so stay tuned! :) Okay, so we know that dating disregards Christ’s command to not be conformed to the world and also the command to guard your heart. What else? Well, dating undermines the authority and protection of the parents. One may argue that this can be avoided providing that the guy asks the girl’s father for permission to spend time with his daughter. Well true, but what goes on after that point? Sure, permission may be given, and the parents may be very involved in the situation, but once again we return to a heart issue (as mentioned above). A girl and a guy now have deep feelings for each other, and they are naturally going to form loyalties to each other that quite possibly will interfere with the relationships they have with their parents. There’s more than just mom and dad to try and please now; there’s that special “other.” Over and over again, as devotion grows between a guy and a girl, the couples’ actions and decisions tend to gravitate towards the desires or influence of the boyfriend/girlfriend, instead of the wishes of the parents. When this occurs, it violates the command found in Ephesians 6:1-3, where we are told to obey our parents and honor them.

These are some of the primary reasons why I believe dating is wrong. As Christians, we are not to accept secular methods and expectations and be conformed to the world, but we are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds “…that by testing [we] may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Also, dating leads people to give their hearts away to each other prematurely. Finally, it leads to the undermining of parental authority in the lives of their children. People may argue that dating is fun and that it’s perfectly fine for young people to engage in activities that bring pleasure and enjoyment. Well, as Christians, our lives aren’t about pleasure and selfishly seeking ways to have fun all the time. As innocent as people want to make dating seem, the dangers and negative consequences of dating overwhelm the “positives” that are commonly proposed.

One last thing that I want to address is a statement that may seem a little weird at first, but I think it holds a lot of validity, especially having considered the turn of history in the past several decades. Here is my statement: Dating has quite possibly done more damage to the marriages of American couples than any other factor. I say this because of the pattern that dating creates. Think about it. You find someone that just seems perfect! You get to know that person, grow to love him/her, and think things couldn’t be better. Then, tragedy strikes! You find someone that seems even better, or you’re dumped for any number of reasons by your “special” person. Heartbreak seems to crush you. “Could things get any worse?” you ask yourself. Then, there’s someone else…he or she is kinda cute! “Hmmm, I think I’ll get to know that person a little better,” you tell yourself. Before you know it, you’re back in business! Things are great, and your new boyfriend/girlfriend just couldn’t be better! Well, an ugly fight ends this one…now you’re back in the depths of despair! What happens next? Well, you probably guessed it…another person comes into the picture, and so on. Now obviously this isn’t always the case, but I’m not basing this on exceptions, I’m basing it on a general rule. This describes the typical pattern of dating relationships in some way, shape or form. This is so dangerous because it breeds a philosophy of a lack of commitment while stifling sensitivity to true sense of devotion and loyalty! The pervading mindset of today is that when things don’t seem to work out, just break up and find someone who fulfills your needs. People say, “Oh, they need to date so that they can find the right person! Breaking up and getting together is just part of the routine.” So what happens when you find the “right one,” get married, and then things don’t seem to be turning out too well? That philosophy is then carried into a marriage relationship. Having built a pattern of get-together-break-up through years of dating, people now feel justified in applying it to marriage because they are desensitized to what it truly means to be committed to someone. Divorce rates have sky-rocketed over the past decades, and it has been these past decades that dating has been the overriding mindset of Americans. I truly believe that because of the lack of commitment that dating fosters in the hearts and minds of society, much of the destruction that we have seen in marriages can be attributed to the dating relationships of previous years. Now, most, if not all of your parents (or you as a parent even) dated before marriage and dated his or her spouse prior to marriage. My parents did, and they have been married for over 20 years now and have a wonderful, loving marriage. (Praise be to God!) God brought them together in His perfect time, as I’m sure He did each of your parents as well. But that doesn’t hide the fact that my parents both experienced ravaged emotions and suffered from the heartache of prior dating relationships. When I talk to them about it, they both desperately wish that they had known of some other way, something that was different from the norm, something that would have enabled them freedom from the unnecessary pain they went through.

So is there something better? When is the right time to give your heart to the one you want to spend the rest of your life with? How do you find someone to marry if you don’t “date around” to find that person? These are legitimate questions, and I’m sure there are many more that you are asking right now. In the days to come, I hope to answer some of these questions. A lot of you probably know what I’m going to say, but that’s okay! This is an important issue, especially for young believers that are striving to shake the chains of cultural expectations and reach for something higher, something that brings us closer to the image of Jesus Christ. My prayer is that I can encourage you to do that by what I write. Like I said earlier, if you have questions or comments, please post and I will reply! I may not know all the answers, but I will commit to finding them if I don’t! Also, most of you have my email if you would prefer to ask questions that may require longer answers. Let me leave you with a statement that I pray will give some hope…Yes, there is something better, something greater, and something more fulfilling than dating! Stay tuned to hear about it! ;-)

God bless!

34 comments:

Daniel said...

Really good post brother, it also (and you kinda alluded to this) creates a misunderstanding of love. Love to the world is an emotion, is emotion part of love, most certainly, but they forget the part of love that is staying with that person even when they hurt you terribly. I'm looking forward to the rest :D

Daniel said...

Oh, and I don't know if you plan on talking about this, but something else is that dating creates a lot of time alone for the couple to be alone, which is incredibly unwise.

Joshua said...

Yes, that's very true. You bring up two very good points. Dating does involve an enourmous amount of time spent with your boyfriend/girlfriend, and that time alone with a person can lead to very damaging things. With attractions strong, couples are more prone to make rash decisions that lead to great regrets. Yes, I will probably be addressing this more fully in a later post, but thanks for bringing it up! I'm glad you mentioned it because to be honest, I forgot about that particular danger of dating! =)

Maiden of Purity said...

Wow!

Those words in that post sure didn't sound like a teenager, it was very powerful and amazing to see others in this dark world focusing on the same issues and believes. I absolutely agree with everything you said and I loved the fact of you also basing your words upon scripture. I have seen it happen to one of my friends, he dated and then he now is becoming a father and is feeling forced to marry. How sad, and yet, it's all his fault because he couldn't control his emotions and feelings. Although, like you said, feel free to ask any questions or comments, and I will ask since I don't have your email address. I have been wondering for many, many months and have received many different answers and opinions. Is it improper or inappropriate to hang around the opposite gender for a few minutes or so throughout the week? Lets say, with others around? Or to have, since I'm a girl, guy friends, or vise versa? I understand if you can't answer this, but it is just something that I had on my mind while reading your post.

Vanessa

Joshua said...

Yes, that is a sad situation with your friend! I have a cousin who dates and now she is pregnant. It's hard because it's absolutely wrong, but she's family!!! Anyway...

Great questions Vanessa, thanks for asking! Here are my thoughts...

I don't think it is inappropriate to have friends of the opposite gender. When you look in II Timothy 5, Paul gives instructions as to how people should interact with others. Paul wrote to Timothy and commanded him (as a young man) to treat the younger women as sisters, in all purity (II Tim. 5:2). The key thing to remember here is that the body of Christ is considered a family, and each person should be treated as such. Your brothers and sisters in your immediate family should be your best friends in the world and the body of Christ is associated with that kind of close family, so it would seem to me that we can indeed be friends with those of the opposite gender, and good friends at that. I have many very good "girl-friends" that have greatly encouraged me in my walk with the Lord and have been wonderful to develop friendships with and I think that's okay as long as the relationships are "...in all purity," as mentioned in II Timothy. Now, that kind of indirectly answers your question, so I will address it more specifically now: The key thing to remember, I would say, when "hanging out" with those of the opposite gender is to act in a way that is blameless and above reproach. Over and over in Scripture we see that as Christians, we have the responsibility to act in a way that brings glory and honor to the Name of Christ and to be blameless so that people don't have anything evil to say about us (Titus 2). Impressions are SO important and if you are constantly giving the impression that you spend your time with guys (or girls, whichever the case may be) any and every time you see them, then it gives a wrong appearance. My advice would be to watch the time spent solely with people of the opposite gender, and definitely try and avoid being alone with them at all costs! That really gives a bad impression! When you have a mixed group, that's all the better. Most of the interaction I have with girls is in mixed settings and I think it's great. For me, I probably have more consistent interaction with girls than guys just because I know more girls than guys, and I guess I've gotten used to that, so I guess one of the best words of advice that I can give is make sure you have others around. I talk one-on-one with girls at church, but it's in a group atmosphere. People are there to help hold me accountable. There is another issue that can come up, however, even if you are just spending time with guys/girls in group settings, and that issue deals with the heart. Think about this scenario: Say a guy has a huge crush on this girl but he is careful to only make sure he's "hanging out" with her when there are other friends or family around to aviod a wrong appearance. Well, that may solve the "appearance issue," but it doesn't solve the temptation. Romans 13:14 says, "But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires." If someone knows he/she has a serious attraction toward someone, then obviously it's not the best thing to be constantly hanging around them. Why make it harder on yourself? In this case, it wouldn't matter what kind of setting you were in, it would still make it difficult because you're putting yourself in a position to fulfill the desires of the flesh. Flee those temptations!
So to sum it all up, treat your friends in purity, strive to be blameless in the way you interact with them, and avoid placing yourself in postitions of temptation when it comes to interacting with those of the opposite gender.

Hope that was helpful! ;-)

Joshua said...

wow, i didn't realize how long my comment was!!! sorry 'bout that! hopefully it answered your questions though...

Allison said...

Joshua,
Surprisingly, I hadn't thought about some of the things you mentioned, such as dating being "conforming to the world" (though I considered it a cultural thing). Your points were good, and of course I agree with you!

Additionally, I like the points that Mr. Davis makes in his sermon "7 Bible Truths Violated by Christian Dating" (Vision Forum CD), some which were similar to yours.

One thing I also encourage girls in when it comes to this subject is that the type of "love" conveyed in almost all dating relationships (and same with infatuations) is a selfish (unbiblical) love, a feeling as previously stated. But I won't talk any more in case I steal what you'd like to say in future posts. ;)


Vanessa,
Joshua gave a great response to your question, but I also wanted to direct you to something that is a wonderful answer to your question.

I think that the Botkin sisters have excellent post that you might be interested in checking out entitled, Can Guys and Girls be "Just Friends".
http://visionarydaughters.com/2008/08/can-guys-and-girls-be-%e2%80%9cjust-friends%e2%80%9d
Obviously the standard set for your family as to what is appropriate will be determined by your dad. But just some food for thought. The Botkin sisters have a number of excellent posts under the category of girl/guy relationships. :)
Allison

Joshua said...

Yes, Allison brings up a very, VERY important point, and that is to seek the counsel of your parents and know what their standard is for you. I could tell you stuff all day long, but ultimately it is your dad that has the final say! Thanks Allison for mentioning that! :)

Maiden of Purity said...

Thanks a lot Joshua. Yup, your reply to my questions was very long, but very informative. I am very thankful that you took the time as well to answer back immediately. I also liked the fact of you pointing out the scripture. I have been praying, and seeking the Bible, but I never could fully find the specific wording. That made a lot of sense though. The II Timothy 5:2 really shot out to me while reading that, "doing all things in purity." That's great...I'm looking forward to your upcoming posts concerning this subject. You practically answered all of my questions clearly. It was always a wonder within me, and especially when I had other girls come up to me and tell me that me wanting to know or hang around a few guys was totally wrong! All of this right here is a very hard and quite touchy topic to touch because it can push some buttons for some and open up an entire new world for others. Personally myself, I like to discuss things like this, and am always reaching out the wisdom and advice of those older than me.

By the way, thanks for praying for Marc and I while being on our trip to Germany!

Thanks...Vanessa

Michelle said...

YES! Thank you for doing this blog post series....I'm really looking forward to reading more of your thoughts on this subject. This post was excellent and I totally agree.

Vanessa's question was a very good one! That is something I often wonder as well, so it was good to read your reply/answer to it.

I also have a question if you don't mind....
With me, having no brothers, it is definitely more difficult especially in the aspect of knowing how friendly is too friendly with guys. I know in your reply to Vanessa you said to treat guys as brothers in Christ. (or vise versa) But It's so hard for me to know that happy balance of being friendly to guys without seeming overly friendly. If I talked to a guy like I would a close girlfriend, I don't think that would be good. So, I always want to stay on the "safe side" and then I'm afraid I often come off as being rude or stuck up to the poor guy by trying to avoid them! Then, the next time I see the person, I try to be extra friendly b/c I felt bad about maybe being rude to them before! (make sense?!) So, all that to say, I'm still trying to find that happy balance. So, more specifically, do you have any suggestions as to what DOES come off as rude and stuck up, and also, what comes off as being overly friendly?

Well, I'm sure I have more questions that I would love to know an answer for since I don't have a brother to ask, but since I've already written a book, I will spare you from asking any more........(for now at least. ;)

Blessings!
~Michelle

P.S. To all the girls: I would highly recommend the book "Before you Meet Prince Charming" by Sara Malley. It is one of the best books I've read about purity, courtship and guarding your heart.

If you haven't read it already, please do! I don't usually recommend books so highly as I do with this one. :) I think you can get it from Amazon pretty reasonably priced when you buy it used.

Moriah said...

WOW, WOW, WOW! Awesome post, Joshua. I too have a cousin who has a baby, and I have cousins who think I'm weird because I believe what I believe, but I'm not here to believe what they believe just because they think I'm weird. (If that makes since)

Zac said...

I totally agree with you josh and as you know I don't date either. :)


What's interesting is back when the Puritans were coming to America they did not get married because they loved each other, but because they could work together. Love was built in the marriage over time. They did not place there focus on love but on the Lord and helping there family.

Now I am not saying that we don't need to love the person that we (when it is time) will marry. But that does not need to be in the for-front of our mind. What we need to think about is can I work well with this person? Does he/she believe the same things I do? Is he/she spending time with the Lord? But these questions should only be answered when we are ready to get married. In tell then we need to focus on serving our Lord and Savior.

So if love is not in the for-front of our mind then there should not be a dating scene in our life movie.

In typing this post I just got this great little idea thing.

If your life was made into a movie would you let others watch it and not be ashamed or would you be ashamed? Would you want the person God has for you to watch it? We need to live our life so as anyone could watch our movie and us not be ashamed.

Katie said...

Great post. I think I agreed with everything you said including your answer to Vanessa's question.
Fortunately for me I have a "bubble" when it comes to guys. But that can also come out as looking mean/rude.
I look forward to hearing what else you have to say!
~Katie

Joshua said...

Great question Michelle, and wow, that's a really tough one!!! I've thought about the same thing before too. How do I be friendly but not appear too friendly or too rude? I don't remember where exactly I read this (it was either in an article or book...) but a great thing to keep in mind is that the relationships we have with people of the opposite gender ought to built on honor. Let that mindset dictate your words and actions towards another person and remember that Jesus is always watching what you are doing. I think that is the key in this situation, because everyone is going to see things differently. One person may see something as WAY to "close" for two young people, but to another it may seem like they're really doing a good job with not appearing inappropriate in the way they are acting. The key is remembering that Jesus is always there and He's always watching. Ask yourself if you would say what you're about to say, or do what you're about to do, if you could see Jesus standing right there, because He is, whether you like it or not! Yes, you want to try and make sure that the way you're acting has no appearance of evil, but it may come to a point where you simply have to adhere to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. He will guide you if you're willing to let Him! Does that help? Essentially, I guess you can't always worry about what people will think, but what God will think, because people can easily get offended if they think you're being rude or if they think you're being to flirtatious, but the Lord knows your heart and the most you can do is strive to please Christ in what you do and say!

...As far as things that come across as rude or overly friendly, I haven't really thought about it much and I really haven't experienced anything like that that I can remember, so I don't know how much help I can be there! :-P If I can think of anything though, I'll be sure to let you know! ;-) Although, I WILL say that for some people, you may have to be kind of blunt and to-the-point if they are being was too forward, whether you come across as rude or not! Now, we need to be loving, but also need to let them know that we don't participate in certain kinds of behavior and why. I'm sure we've all had some situation kind of like that in our past!

Zac, that's a great illustration! I don't know...okay, I DO know that I wouldn't want my friends and/or my future wife to "watch the movie of my life" because at times there are scenes in there that go way beyond viewable ratings! It's hard to admit, but I'm just being honest... There are things I'd be ashamed to watch of myself even!!!

Daniel said...

Michelle,

I hope you don't mind if I chime in on your question. :D

It is indeed hard to be friends with a member of the opposite sex but not make it seem to them or others that you are being more than just "friendly". Obviously to begin with, certain things are going to give different messages to different people. This is something that we all just have to deal with. I don't know if you do or not but I would shy away from hugs except with guys you are really close with (and then perhaps even more so...) Not that it necesarily means anything but it is still better to keep body contact in general down to a minimum. Not to mention, side hugs are just incredibly awkward lol.

Also stay away from sharing really intimate things that you might share with your sister or another girl. Not to say that you can never tell those things to a guy but unless you have no one else to talk to or it just has to be shared, those kinds of things can start to create emotional bonds. I know you mentioned that already but I just threw that in there again.

At events and such keep from always spending time with just one guy, or always following him around. I undersatnd that at times you want to continue a conversation with the other person that you had not been able to complete before, or maybe you don't know anyone else. Thats fine, but if you find that you are always with that particular person repeatly maybe you need to change your approch to things.

Also you might try paying attention to how you react to things that are done or said. Before instantly reacting to something the way you normally take a quick second and try and figure out if that is appropraite for the situation and people around. I'm a really friendly person as I'm sure you know, and I found it really disturbing when one of my coworkers told me I flirted quite a bit at work. I certainly have not intended to do this but because I am friendly and the way the world views things, it was seen a flirting. I started watching what I said more, sometimes not saying anything or changing my response. I have wondered if I was appearing standoff-ish, but I would rather appear that way then seem like I was flirting. Was what I would say or do break God's law? No, but to those people who were around my actions were coming accross in a way that they were not. So some of it is just taloring things to the situation, and trust me when I was told I was flirting it was truly disturbing and I changed my actions fast.

Hope that helped some, if I come up with anything else I'll mention it. I also apoligize for terrible grammer and spelling, the comment box is giving me problems and I can't do much.

Michelle said...

Joshua, those were some great points! True, that we can't always worry about what people will think. Everyone is going to have different opinions of what's too friendly. But I would hope any of my friends that know me, would know I was never trying to come off as flirtatious (or rude) to anyone! But like you said, a great thing to keep in mind is to remember before you speak/act if you would say/do the same thing if Jesus was standing next to you.

And another thing you said that is true is... sometimes we may have to come across as blunt and to-the-point if the guy or girl is being way too forward or flirtations. I've had to come across as very blunt before and then I would feel bad that maybe I was too much like that. But the thing I have to remember is, I have to use wisdom, (and like you said,) let them know what they are saying or asking I don't approve of or is inappropriate.

And yes, the Holy Spirit will lead and guide us if we let Him.

Daniel, thanks! That was some helpful insight as well.

I actually didn't think giving a guy a quick side hug to say "hi" or "bye" was any big deal or problem......but I guess it's something we should be careful about as how we're coming across.

The other examples you gave I can totally see! I know some girls who are so flirtatious, they follow guys around all the time, sit by them every chance they get, and to me, that's so annoying and totally not appropriate! So like I said, I always try to stay on the "safe side" of not coming across that way, and almost to the point where it may be rude. So I've been trying lately, just to be myself and friendly with everyone but just not share something personal with a guy I would a close girlfriend or sister.

And like you said it's also..."taloring things to the situation."

Anyway, thank y'all for the advice and opinions! It was good to hear things from a guys perspective. Feel free to let me know if y'all think of anything else to say for the brotherless sisters. ;) lol

Zac said...

To me a "side hug" is like "ok she is just saying hi/bye"

Another thing you could do Michelle is when you feel as though you were overly-friendly or rude, ask one of your sisters what they think. If one of them were there anyway.

Marc said...

Great post Josh. I really agree with you on the whole issue. I also like the fact that we can ask questions and you will reply to them right here on your blog. I'm looking really forward to the upcoming posts. I can't wait to read more!!!

Caleb said...

Well, I wrote up an extremely long comment last week basically saying I completely agree and reinforcing what you have said, but it got deleted.

I completely agree, Josh. I really enjoyed reading this and look forward to reading more.

Katie said...

I can't imagine giving a guy a side hug. *shivers*
~Katie

Joshua said...

Like I've said before, one of the most important things about this whole issue is making sure that we are blameless in our actions. While I don't know that giving a guy/girl a "side hug" is necessarily wrong, it can very well give a wrong impression and probably isn't something that anyone should make a regular habit (with those of the opposite sex that is!) I don't want to be known as the guy who is always hugging girls when he sees them, 'cause then I look like I'm girl-crazy! We need to continually evaluate our actions to see if what we are doing is bringing honor to Christ. If it doesn't, then we should think about how we can change it. I personally don't have a problem with giving friends side hugs, but I'm not going to force it on anyone and I do respect the wishes of those who feel differntly than I do. We also need to show deference to those that may have different convictions in this area.

Michelle said...

Zac, yes, when my sisters are around, it's great to be able to ask them! :) Also, good to know from another guys perspective that it's not usually a big deal to give a quick side hug to say hi/bye.

Not that I would go completely out of my way to give a guy a hug, but if they're standing there with my other friends, that would be weird to just skip over them in my opinion.

I also respect those who don't agree with giving a guy/girl a hug and would in no way try to condemn that if that's your personsal conviction.

However, my personal conviction is that it's fine to side hug a guy/girl as long as your motives are pure and it's not an appearance of evil or stumbling block. When I do or say something, along with always asking the Lord if it would be honoring to him, I also try to think about my future husband one day. How would I feel if he said/did the same thing I was doing? For example, if my future husband gave girls a side hug I would have no problem with that as long as he wasn't going completely out of his way to do so, or wasn't doing it for the wrong motives.

I think the entire key, like Joshua said, is simply being blameless before the Lord.

Daniel said...

I don't think so but I just wanted to make it clear that I am not saying side hugs are wrong, you just have to be careful. I hope no one took that the wrong way...

Joshua said...

I don't think anyone took it wrong! ;-) You have a very good point and I'm very grateful that you brought it up!

Maiden of Purity said...

Hey, I got one more question, since this whole thing is dealing with the girl/guy...would it be wrong to email/write letters to the other gender? I know someone that does this, and I'm just wondering. I've been thinking about it because I know when I email, I use very long and detailed sentences, and if I was doing this with a guy, I think it would be kinda awkward, because guys are the opposite, short and kinda fast! And often girls will spiill out their entire heart without noticing it, and doing that to a guy is kinda wrong. So, what do you (Joshua), think. Or if anyone else has anything to say to this, feel free to do so!

Vanessa

Kristen L. said...

Ok, first things first: WOW! Josh, you have the gift of writting. God has blessed you and don't hide that gift.

Now that i've said that, i must also say that what all of you have posted has shown me a ton of wisdom that i really respect. Very few people my age (and a little older) feel the way i do. I'm not saying i agree with everything y'all said, but i can see that y'all have sincerely thought through every word you have typed.

I think God puts on our hearts different things in reverence to dating. Pray! He will show you what He thinks. This is hard for me because many times i feel like i can't hear Him. I think for me He talks through my parents. in fact, most of my thoughts on the whole "dating" thing comes through my parents' decisions. This is what i think, when in doubt, talk to your mom or dad. They know what love/infatuation/guy-girl relationships are like and they will be the most HONEST about things.

After talking to your parents and having a good foundation, talk to your REALLY close friends. See what their take on it is. Take some of their advice and apply it to your parents' advice. Also, ask those who are close to you to watch you when you are with the opposite gender. tell them to whatch for things that may come across as flirty or rude. Then when they tell you, listen.

I also am very friendly and do not mean to flirt. So i feel honored when people (who i know really well) tell me my actions may be inappropriate. It may irritate me at first, but in the end, i have more respect for them. And, i ask my mom if she thinks something is wrong. My mom grew up with all brothers and she has a pretty good guess on how guys take things. When i can't find the line between friendly and too friendly i always ask her to show it to me. She's really good at it.THis also teaches me to find that line without getting anywhere near it in the future. Aren't parents wonderful. You know God knew what he was doing when he developed the family tree.

As for the whole guy/girl friendships, my take on it is God has put both guys and gals in my life and i am going to take full advantage of that blessing. By advantage i mean that i will put that blessing to good work.

I am also brotherless, which at times is sad, but i feel truely blessed as well. I am stuck smackdab between two beautiful sisters who teach me through what they do and learn. However, there are times i wish i had an older brother to be my protector and so that i could have seen how to react around guys.

Thankfully, my dad has been a GREAT rolemodel and tried to teach us how to act around guys.
Also, thankfully, God placed guys in my life since i was a young child.

In fact, many of my best friends have been/are guys. Not that i'm guy crazy or anything but because those are the people close to my age.
My take on how to treat them: treat them like girls (just with less talking and being a little more cautious about what you say and not envading their space). A side hug to say hi or bye is great, but respect their bubble.
Well, i probably just repeated everything y'all said, but i just wanted to add my two-cents.

BTW, i am really excited for your next post. I feel like you left us on a cliff hanger.


Kristen
P.S. If someone says "penney for your thoughts" and you give them your two cents, aren't they a penney shy?

Daniel said...

Vanessa,

You have a very good question, and just to throw this out there, some people think that besides in-person, and MAYBE a little phone courtships should be carried out only through letters, not email or anything else, just thought I would throw that out there.

As for the structure of your sentecnes, use what feels comfortabel for you, most of us guys could use a little help on our english... :-p (grumbles at the comment box being idiotic) As a general, as has been discussed, communication in general should not be incredibly constant with the opposite sex. What that exactly means is between you, your parents and also the other person and their parents, it just depends.

I would limit letter writing to the opposet gender to a minimum. Now granted sometimes situations only allow that or something similer, but otherwise I would limit it. Letters seem to create more of an emotional bond, I think thats because it is something physical you are getting from the other person. So I would if you want to talk about it with your parents first, and with the other persons parents. I love writing and recieving letters, its really cool. :D But as I said I think it creates more of an emotional bond, or at least can, but as always consult your parents.

Hope that helped, and I apoligize again for the incredible grammer and spelling problems, the comment box is killing me.
Daniel

Joshua said...

Hey Vanessa, great question, and thanks Daniel for chiming in! ;-) My response to your question is also a question: What is your motive? I email girls quite often, but I have a specific purpose in mind. Sometimes I need to find out something, sometimes I'm planning a GROUP event and I'm coordinating stuff with another girl (emphasis on the word "group");-), and quite often I email good "girlfriends" about spiritual topics. I find that some of the most spiritually encouraging and refreshing conversations I have with girls are by emailing our thoughts about a particular issue. I don't think it's wrong to email guys/girls (whichever your case may be) as long as there is a particular purpose in mind. When it's just the "hey what's goin' on" kinda thing it might possibly lead to an inappropriate level of communication between a guy and a girl. I would agree with Daniel that there's a certain conotation with physical letter-writing that tends to be on the more emotional side, and so I would also caution use of this. Ultimately, with this issue though, I think it's something that needs to be discussed with your parents. They are the final authority in your life right now and they will know what's best for you! So I guess the main thing is making sure your motive is pure and that you are honoring your parents' wishes in regards to writing to other guys/girls.

Kristen, thanks so much for your response, and I especially love one thing about what you said: Over and over again you talked about going to your parents and talking with them, whether it's about a relationship or just how to act! Thank you for putting emphasis on this because we're all going to have differing opinions about issues like this, but as young people under the authority of our parents, we need to always go to them and talk about these things. Yes, look to your father as your rolemodel and protector. As young men AND young ladies, we can learn much from our fathers about these kinds of things. In Proverbs the phrase, "my son (daughter), give me your heart" is found over and over again, and normally the rest of the verses have to do with learning wisdom or instruction. God has placed fathers in our lives to teach us and train us, so we need to give our fathers and mothers our hearts so they can help raise us and teach us about things like this. Thanks for your thoughts! (funny P.S. by the way! :-P)

Joshua said...

Oh, and about writing detailed, elaborate sentences, where did you get the idea that guys are all short and to the point?!?! I know of at least one...ahem...that tends to write a little more than is typical for a guy when it comes to writing! ;-) For me personally, it wouldn't seem to strange to have a long, detailed email, depending on the content. I do the same thing in my writing! For some it may seem that way, so if I were to try and give some advice about this, I'd say just make sure you make your point and be happy with that! Most guys just want things short and to the point, so hey, less work for you! ;-)

Maiden of Purity said...

Thanks Joshua and Daniel. Y'all's input was really helpful. It made total sense and this whole issue and discussion over the guy/girl thing is not as I used to think it was. I used to have girls who were friends who were 3-5 years younger than myself which was totally fine, but they often would instill the thought within me that having a conversation or something with a guy was totally wrong! Thus, I was beginning to get brain washed with this, because it's normal for young girls to think this. As we all know, when we were younger having a friend as the other gender, that is for me, was always a little, ew! lol. Nevertheless, we all mature and get older and our life turns. I know that all this has to be done in moderation and with guidance and supervision, but we are all brothers and sisters in Christ, and fellowshiping with each other is fine. It took me awhile to figure this all out due to the fact of me always having the thought and feeling from others that it was totally wrong! I have really benefitted from this topic and conversation, and hearing it also from a guy's perspective is really interesting! ;) It was always the opposite. Now, there is a big difference between a guy and girl, but mixing both genders in a group is quite interesting, and having other brothers in Christ around at times is really fun. Being totally apart is also wrong, and the other extreme would be always around the other gender is insane as well. Ok, you probably already know all of this! :) Thanks!

P.S. Well, I might know that guys are kinda short and to the point in writing because I live with 4 of them! And yes, your point is also right, I don't know if they are all like that. Your blog writing and comment writing is pretty detailed and long...but when writing comments on my blog, it's short alright! :P

Vanessa

The Kisling's said...

Hey, I just found you blog...This post is amazing! The words in this post didn't sound like a teenager, it's amazing to see others in this world who have the same beliefs.

I also have a friend who dates and is pregnant, it is sad because she was taught differant. She now regrets dating.

My church teaches that dating is wrong, but most people I know (cousins, coworkers, etc) think not dating is really strange!

Looking forward to another post!
Marlene

Joshua said...

Hi everyone,
Thanks for all the wonderful comments! As you see, I have the "part two" posted now, so hopefully we will have just as much discussion for this post as well!

Megan said...

WOW! I am almost blown away by the wisdom and maturity of all the people who commented on this post, as well as the Joshua's original post. I agree with everything he typed in his post, and I'm happy to hear of other young people who also abide by those same standards when it comes to relationships with people of the opposite gender. I will email this link to my cousin, an unbeliever, who is an a not-so-good dating relationship right now, and hopefully get to hear how she responds to it.

May God richly bless you for your boldness to write about your faith and morals, Joshua.

Thank you for posting.

--Megan L.
Sachse, TX

Mrs P said...

Back last June, Kristen asked, "If someone says 'penney for your thoughts' and you give them your two cents, aren't they a penney shy?"

Speaking personally here, consider any comment I make on your blog a "Penney for your thoughts." But I don't know about that whole "Penney shy" business...

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