I woke up this morning, went for a jog and was trying to come up with a topic to discuss today (I’ve set my mind on writing a new post everyday because I know the time will soon come when I won’t have the opportunity to do so). Nothing really stuck in my mind but when I was praying, it occurred to me to talk about dating. Now, a number of people I know think that I need to go live in the 19th century because my philosophy on dating is extremely archaic. To be fair, I understand where they’re coming from but the truth of the matter is that it’s working for me; I haven’t met “the one” yet but I have peace of mind while I’m waiting and that’s something you cannot buy in the market. Some of you may be irritated and maybe even shocked by what I’m about to say (which is kinda understandable) but I actually don’t believe in dating; at least what the world defines as dating these days.
When Joshua Harris released the latest edition of his book, “Why I Kissed Dating Good-bye”, he mentioned in the author’s note that most people reacted negatively to his book. This isn’t surprising considering what the entertainment industry has flooded our brains with; a certain concept of love that we all want to attain but only lives in those love songs and on those movie screens. We are so engrossed with the messages they convey that we don’t think to look beyond the images they create and into the lives of the people who create them. It’s a self-evident truth that the divorce rates in the entertainment industry have become the butt of one joke too many. Even in our society, the number of divorce cases among younger couples is steadily rising. It means something is wrong somewhere and I personally believe it has a lot to do with dating.
My first issue with dating is that it is often purposeless. You can be someone’s boyfriend or girlfriend just for the fun of it. There is no thought as to whether or not there is a future with that person and even if there has been such thought, there are cases where people still remain together when there is no future. If after you hang out with someone in a scenario you have both established is more than friendship (which often isn’t the case and I’ll get back to this later) and you know after a some time that the two of you are not compatible, why would you want to allow that situation remain the way it is? I can understand that you may have developed feelings for the person but you need to start looking beyond what you feel like doing and start thinking about doing what’s good for you. It’s like working out; I personally don’t like it and would do away with it of I could but I have to consider what’s good for me, hunker down and do it. Climbing the scale and appreciating the numbers, looking good in that dress and being healthy are all good for me.
Abeg, don’t think that I am preaching down to you. My own dating history has been comical in terms of the kind of characters I have encountered but I won’t talk much about this, it’s a topic for another post. I will say that I have dated someone who I knew I had no future with. We were never officially in a relationship but we had both developed feelings for each other and had no interest whatsoever in ending things. God had to tell me clearly to end things with him because my relationship with my future spouse was at stake. It was hard, but I asked God for the grace to do what was right and He made it available. So people, if you are in a relationship with someone that you know has no future, help yourself. Trust me, it’s much better being by yourself than carrying the headache of being in a non-functional, stagnant relationship (which is what it is once the euphoria wears off).
The second issue I have with dating is the ambiguity of the rules. All that “he said this, but what does it really mean?” or “he’s holding my hand, does that mean he really likes me?” I’m speaking to the ladies now. My darlings, we always know when we are in a situation that isn’t working. I remember a little over two years ago, when I was seeing this guy (who turned out to be engaged already) and I asked a friend at the time, “do you think he likes me?”. She said “if you have to ask whether a guy likes you, then you already know the answer to the question”. That was like an “aha” moment for me. These questioning situations tend to happen when both parties have not declared their intentions (set a purpose) and decided how to go about achieving these intentions (setting the rules of the game). Without laying these foundations, what ensues is chaos.
The last issue I have with dating that I will discuss (there are many more, but I don’t want to bore you) is the fact that it advocates intimacy without commitment. I will say right off the bat that I do not believe in having sex before marriage, that’s a given. No matter how you slice it, it’s not scriptural and the bible will never ever change to accommodate new age thinking. But even more than sex, there’s other stuff like making out, heavy petting, etc. Now, I’m speaking to the ladies again, you know that we are not built like men. I don’t care if you want to shout from the roof till you’re blue in the face that you can just get down with a guy without getting emotionally attached, that’s a downright lie. Often times, we become intimate with guys because we want them to like us or we want to express our feelings for them; that’s how we’re built. There are cases where it starts out with you trying to sort out your “conjy” but this usually results in you developing feelings for whoever you’re getting down with. Women, we are wired to be givers, giving our bodies is one of the ways we show love but we need to ensure that this is done in the correct context. That’s how it can be fully enjoyed and that’s how we protect our hearts. If that young man has not made a commitment to you in the presence of God and in front of friends and family, he has no right whatsoever to your body.
Now I know that the next question on most minds is “Are you saying that we are not meant to kiss or touch or be with the person we like/love?” My answer to that is that your body is the temple of God. Jesus paid the ultimate price with His blood and He ransomed you, He paid the price for you and as long as you have accepted Him as your Lord and Saviour, you belong to Him. Imagine how you would feel if you paid a significant amount of money to get something that was the most precious thing in the world to you and someone who doesn’t even appreciate it comes and starts putting their dirty hands on it. For goodness’ sake you don’t even know where those hands have been. I’m sure you would be enraged (to put it mildly). Now if it’s a case where the person is attracted to that wonderful thing that you have and respectfully observes and investigates that most prized possession of yours, you would allow the person to have limited access to it once you know that the person appreciates that possession of yours. You might even allow that person to share what you have once the person makes a commitment to care for that thing with his/her life. So my answer to that question is this, you know what you should and shouldn’t do. It’s like the “do you think he likes me?” questions. The truth is that some couples can kiss and stop at kissing, they are not spiritually affected and they can handle kissing. There are also other couples that make the decision not to kiss until they get married; Eric and Leslie Ludy, Cornelius and Heather Lindsey. These are not people who lived in ancient times nor are they of the older generation. I know Leslie Ludy was about 18 when she married in 1991 and Heather Lindsey is in her early 30s and has been married for about three years. It can be done people, even in today’s world.
I’ve talked about why I don’t believe in dating and I’m sure some of you are wondering what I do belive in? I believe that finding your spouse ought to be done in four stages; purposeful friendship, courtship, engagement and marriage. I’m not against having friends that are of the opposite sex but I have found in my experience that it is extremely important to create boundaries in such relationships so that you don’t find yourself developing feelings for someone who was only interested in a platonic friendship with you. Purposeful friendship and platonic friendship are two completely different things and it is in our best interests not to confuse them. Purposeful friendship is when you start to hang out more with this person (preferably in groups) to see if this person has the qualities that you are looking for in a mate. I believe it becomes courtship when you have both decided that you are ready to make a commitment in the form of marriage but you want to check with your mentors and the people who know you best and want the best for you. It is very possible that you are looking at this person through rose-coloured glasses so you need these people to confirm your decision. Engagement is when you have both decided with the blessings of God, close friends and family to marry (and the young man puts a ring on her finger :-)) and marriage is when that commitment is made before God.
I made the decision to no longer pursue the world’s version of dating about a year ago and I can honestly say that I have had a wonderful peace since. All that crap of “he didn’t call, what does that mean?” or, “well he never said he likes, all he did was to ask for my phone number, take me out and try to kiss me on the first date” is no longer a part of my life (yes that really did happen to me, have I come a lone way or what?). I am only interested in the person God has designed for me and the only acceptable way to be found by my mate (yes ladies, we are meant to be found we are not meant to do the finding) is to sort it out at the feet of my Master in prayer. At this point in my life, I am only interested in what God wants for me. If I go and put my heart somewhere He didn’t send me and kata-kata bursts, God and I will be doing face-me-I-face-you because when I am looking to Him to solve the problem, He is looking at me asking me what I went to find there in the first place.
Alright peeps, that’s it from me today. I’m quite sure that this post will ruffle more than a few feathers but I actually look forward to hearing your opinions and answering any questions that you have. Even if you don’t agree with me, please let me know what your thoughts are and we can have a fruitful discussion of the topic. I hope this speaks to someone and please remember that my views are shared in love.
P.S. I hope that this post doesn’t mess with any valentine’s day plans. But even if you suspect that guy/girl is about to give you Blackberry 10 for val’s day and you know you have no future with him/her, abeg break up with them and their BB 10. It’s the right thing to do.