Saturday, October 29, 2005

Girls we need your help PART 2

Thanks to all of you ladies who commented on my previous post entitled "girls, we need your help." Your comments were much appreciated and very insightful. I've actually had guys come up and thank me for provoking this wisdom from you and also expressing what many of us have a hard time understanding. I was not speaking for myself only.

[Before I get further into this, I'd like to mention to any married readers that this is mainly an appeal towards single readers, and since I know many married couples, I'd love for you to please leave comments from an "off the market" point of view that you feel may be helpful. ]

A comment on the aforementioned post brought up the question: "how can women guard guys' hearts?" This question has been quite a topic in my life as I've seen many close male friends of mine get their hopes up and tell me all about girls that were giving them the "signs," only to see them downtrodden later and hopeless about dating. So let's start by defining what kind of girl typically finds herself in this situation. It is my theory that it is usually one of two types:

1. The type of girl that is so attention starved and needy for male presence that she leads guys on left and right, (most often, these are the "damsel in distress" girls who suddenly become helpless whenever a guy's around)
2. The kind of girl that is genuinely just friendly, but unintentionally draws guys in. It is this group of girls whom I now address...


**Please understand that, much like was discussed on the previous post, if a guy develops a crush on you, he will be most obvious, usually, because we guys just aren't as good at "giving hints" as we are about being straightforward. If he begins to give you any special attention that is atypical of how he treats other girls (i.e. offering to get you coffee or pick you up lunch, going out of his way to walk you somewhere, offering little acts of service, etc) then there is a good chance that he has some kind of hopes, not necessarily for marriage (don't freak out here) but at least to get to know you better, perhaps thinking it may lead to a relationship. Being aware of this, it's important that you don't think that because he's doing these things, that he's just "being nice." Most guys don't have time to waste being THAT "nice".

So how do you prevent yourself from the awkward situation of having to tell him you don't care about him that way? One obvious strategy is to read the "signs" he gives you, and if you feel like he's beginning to offer you his heart, don't accept it. I know too many guys who are just a big disappointment when it comes to guarding their own hearts, and they "fall in love with every girl who gives them the slightest bit of attention" (quote from Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind). You can't really help it when this kind of thing happens; that's more a matter of immaturity on the guy's part. You can, however, usually see it coming a mile away.

It is also important that you realize that not all (and probably not even most) guys are like this. There are those instances when a guy is simply a friend of yours, and the next thing you know, he has a crush on you. What's the best way to approach this? I offer to you a non-exhaustive list of a few steps that can be taken to prevent the breaking of hearts, and could be applied to almost any kind of guy, whether he be the hopeless romantic or the "just friend" turned accidental crush (this list may grow as I think of more).

Steps to prevent having to break a heart (for girls):
1. Don't spend time alone with the guy who's interested in you (if you're not interested in him), under ANY circumstance.
2. Don't be the one who invites him to do stuff with a group of people, (and especially not alone) - find someone else to do it.
3. If he starts to act like you two have a special bond - play it off as though he's being humorous.
4. Don't talk about relationships with him. DON'T!
5. Accept compliments with "thanks" and leave it. Nothing more.
6. If he offers to go out of his way to do nice things (special attention) for you, don't accept it.


Keep in mind that in being careful of your own actions, you are also protecting your integrity and image, because most guys aren't romantically attracted to a girl who has a lot of guys around her all the time. Another thing to keep in mind is that it's best to give the guy the benefit of the doubt if you're not sure whether he's interested. If he's being ambiguous, continue on as though nothing were different, or you may insult him by rejecting him when he hasn't made any advances. (**The reason for this precaution mentioned above)

Finally, it's not your job to guard a guy's heart. It's his own job. A guy who is no good at guarding his own heart is not able to be a good spiritual leader in a relationship. It's your job not to take it into your own hands.

41 Comments:

Blogger curious servant said...

I stumbled across this blog, and find the discussion here interesting, but I can't help but wonder if you know of the meaning behind the blog's title. If you do, please forgive me.

My first thought is that you named your blog after the usage of the word meaning that it is very noisy.

But the word was coined by Milton in his book "Paradise Lost". It means "All Demons" and was the capitol of Hell.

trange title. Of course I know people often use words without thinking of their riginal meaning, and perhaps that is fine. I heard my pastor use that word in a sermon in the context of too much noise.

Sat Oct 29, 08:30:00 PM  
Blogger Jeannine said...

thanks jonathan for the long awaited post! i'm surprised it isn't ridden with comments already.

i've recently been in a dilemma where a good friend of mine started taking an interest in me. the feelings were not mutual...a few weeks ago i did a lot of the things you're suggesting here and feel like i let him know without making our friendship awkward.

and side note to curious servant: if you read jonathan's blog, i'm sure you could see that he wouldn't just flip open the dictionary and find the coolest sounding word to use for a blog title as if he were a high schooler selecting the name for his garage band. he's a little more thoughtful than that...and i'll leave it at that.

Sat Oct 29, 11:23:00 PM  
Blogger Bradley said...

this world "screams" with all it's might of the curse...the verse which goes with the blog should explian (at least to those who understand the verse in it's larger theological context); nah.meen?

Sun Oct 30, 12:03:00 AM  
Blogger Jonathan said...

Curious:

Thanks for asking about my blog title - I specifically named it this for its meaning. Have you looked at the "theme verse" on the top of the front page or the very first post I wrote?

Dictionary.com's definition: "a state of extreme confusion and disorder"

This is the last definition listed, but I also chose this title based on the ancient Koine Greek (which I've been studying) - Daemonion for Demon and yes, Pan for all - this was inspired by Ephesians 6:12. There are all sorts of evil spirits that reside among the earth and have power in it for a time, until Christ's triumphant return.

Thank you for inquiring about this.

Sun Oct 30, 12:09:00 AM  
Blogger Jonathan said...

And Jeannine - thanks for the vote of confidence ;)

Sun Oct 30, 12:11:00 AM  
Blogger Amy said...

I like when you say "It is your job not to take it into your own hands"- you are right! It isn't our responsibility- Phil. 4 tells us that the peace of God will guard our hearts and our minds in Christ Jesus- if our hearts and minds are focused on the Lord- we won't be heartbroken because we know the Lord's plans are the best for us- and singleness might be the best gift we could receive! Being married or just dating someone is not the best thing for us right now if we aren't married or dating- if it were then then Lord would have us dating/married.

I like your list of things we can do and I think it goes both ways- A guy should follow the same guidelines.

A question... you say:
"Being aware of this (guys doing nice things for girls), it's important that you don't think that because he's doing these things, that he's just "being nice." Most guys don't have time to waste being THAT "nice"."

Is that really true? I agree that most guys show they are interested in a girl this way- however, is that fair? Guys can't expect a girl to 'read his signs' and by accepting the nice things he does for her -the guy then assumes she is interested. We don't have the responsibility of responding to you guys until you do the initiating- like initiate something that can't be misunderstood. Normally buying a girl coffee can be misunderstood as a friend thing... but sitting down and telling a girl that he is interested in getting to know her better really can't be misunderstood. I don't mean a proposal- but if you are interested in girl- tell her. And that way you can know how she feels too. If she says- "yeah that would be great!" Then go for it! But if she says, "You know, I really don't think this is a good idea"- then you know the truth and you don't have to keep wondering and you save yourself a heartbreak. Isn't the truth better than assumptions? Be intentional- either in a friendship or in getting to know a girl for more than that.

I also like when you say "Another thing to keep in mind is that it's best to give the guy the benefit of the doubt if you're not sure whether he's interested." We shouldn't assume a guy is interested until he says so. (My 9th grade Geometry teacher told me what we are if we Assume...) I know that is hard- but I think that would really save a lot of heartbreaks.

I too have watched my friends be heartbroken over a guy/girl... sometimes for good reason. I think we all have to remember that the person you are dating belongs to someone else... it could be you but if you are just dating him/her then you don't get that responsibility/privilege just yet- not until you are married- or made the commitment to marriage.

On a different note...I have enjoyed reading your blog- I am glad I stumbbled accross it! I went to the movies last night to see "Flight Plan" and an advertisement for 'Elizabethtown' came up and said it was "Coming Soon"... so soon I will know what all the fuss is about-whenever it finally arrives here!

Sun Oct 30, 10:31:00 AM  
Blogger Jonathan said...

Amy - I just saw E-town again last night, and let me just mention that (if you know Southern culture, or even more importantly, who our beloved Paula Deen from Savannah is) there is the sweetest picture of The South in a minor character, "Aunt Dora". It's Paula Deen, my favorite Southern Belle (well, second favorite).

To address your questions: Occasionally there are female friends in a guy's life that he will go out of his way for - this is a good picture of genuine brotherly love. I have female friends that I will occasionally do random nice things for like that. I was more addressing when a guy is going out of his way a lot if not all the time, in order to impress/serve/care for a girl he likes. It will be obvious that he is developing an interest because he will take her well-being into his concern more specially than he does for other girls. Yes this is fair. He shouldn't treat every girl like this. However, guys must remember that they must continue being very focused in their pursuit of the woman they love, even after they marry, just as Christ continues to pursue us after salvation, drawing us close to God.

If a guy is simply caring for a girl's well-being because he wants a wife, then when that end goal is achieved, he may no longer feel that he needs to enact the means by which he achieved that goal. So make sure that if you enter into a courting/dating relationship with a guy, that the way he pursues you is out of honest concern for you and your well-being, and for God's glory, and not just because he's looking for someone. Signs you can watch for to be careful of this? Perhaps that will be the next post I spend a lot of time contemplating...

I would like to mention also that when i said "give him the benefit of the doubt" I was referring to a guy who does the random act of kindness for the girl, exemplifying genuine brotherly love. I was not talking about the guy who is focused on pursuing her and devotes his efforts to this pursuit.

Sun Oct 30, 02:16:00 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Jonathan... thanks for this post -- finally! I wanted to make a little side point about the "steps" you listed. I generally think that if two friends of the opposite sex have had the DTR and it's come out on the buddy side and not the romance side, it's a little safer for them to show their brotherly/ sisterly affection for each other. Obviously they still need to be careful to guard their reputations, but if it's clear that they aren't compatible, don't have romantic feelings for each other, etc., they can feel a little more freedom. For example: I have a couple of dear guy friends at home who would never dream of letting me pay for my own Coke or movie ticket but still have only friendly intentions toward me.

Does that make sense?

I think your advice is terrific -- especially about NOT talking about relationships with him. Ugh.

And now I am grounding myself from blogs until I get my paper written. See you in 2009 or so.

Sun Oct 30, 02:53:00 PM  
Blogger bethy31 said...

I think a lot of the confusion (on both sides) stems from a fear of rejection. Men are afraid to express interest or ask a girl out because they might get rejected and women are afraid of responding to pseudo-signals because they are afraid they might be rejected. (of course interest is assumed in both instances)

I'm not a big fan of all this pressure that has been put on dating. First of all, women need to remember that sometimes a date is just a date to figure out if there will be more of a relationship. Not every first date leads to the altar. Take some of the pressure off people. There's also nothing wrong with a guy getting to know a girl in group settings as long as he is not illiciting undue affection while being undecided on his intent. Nothing wrong with seeing how she interacts with other people and getting a good feeling as to whether you'd like to go on a date with her. You can at least figure that out in a group with a few friendly, but not too pointed, conversations. If you do step up to the plate (and you aren't a guy who asks every girl out) and ask her out and she says no then at least you tried. I think most girls would respect a sincere, thoughtful invitation and would not make you feel bad for the offer.

Ultimately, our worth comes from God. If someone does not want to go out with us, it is not a reflection of our worth but a reflection of our compatibility with a person. If you want to date and eventually be married, treat people as you would want to be treated - prayerful, respectful and intentional.

One thing I will say - from another post I read - ladies, if you make fun of someone behind their back for being intentional and asking you out (just because you don't like him or didn't like his approach), don't complain that men aren't stepping up to the plate...because they are...

Guys, please don't be the creepy guy who asks every cute single girl out or has 100 best girl friends. It doesn't make a girl feel special or chosen when it seems you haven't been particularly prayerful or considerate.

Finally, as if this was my blog and I need to write a novella, consider others better than yourselves and walk in a spirit of humility. God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble...in every situation, even dating!

I seriously love writing to a bunch of young adults I don't see on a daily basis (other than Morgan and Bonnie)...SBTS rocks!

Sun Oct 30, 05:14:00 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

Can I hear an AMEN for arranged marriages?!? Okay- so maybe not- but wouldn't that make dating so much easier... not as much fun but easier!!

Jonathan- thanks for your insights-I appreciate the time you give to comment back and clarify/answer questions.

I too enjoy reading everyone's thoughts and opinions- I am in a country where I don't get to have these types of conversations very often... it is fun to read and discuss things going on 'in the real world' with people my age... in English.

Sun Oct 30, 07:37:00 PM  
Blogger Bradley said...

Well, so many wise things have been said here.

I agree with you Bethy. Rejection is the major reason why guy's aren't more intentional and less ambiguous about their interest in a girl. Also, rejection is hard for girls. Who wants to say, "Sorry, I'm not interested," or, "No." Who likes to hurt another's feelings or dash their hopes against the rocks?

Fear of being rejected and fear of rejecting is, I think, the source of various problems in communication.

One more thing: If a guy who is not good friends with you call's you up and asks you if you wan't to "hang out" sometime (*****without any other qualifications), it would be safe to assume that he is interested. Is that not obvious? If you say "I'd love to," realize your feeding his hope (even though "hopes" at that point may not be very developed).

If we could learn to be less ambiguous things might be more dramatic, but at least they would be more clear. Besides, it's good to conquer your fears (being rejected used to be my absolute worst fear, and I actually rejoiced after my first rejection because it took away a lot of the fear).

Anyway, this could be applied accross the board too. We need to be less "beat around the bushy" in our communication in general--stop worrying about what people might think of you if you call it like you see it or speak your mind. NAHMSAYIN'?

Mon Oct 31, 01:36:00 AM  
Blogger Bobby said...

There is a lot of good advice in these various comments. The problem with "rules" and "lists" is that no two individuals are exactly alike, and no two relationship dynamics are exactly the same. You can read a lot of things in books that seem wise, and ARE wise, in many circumstances. But the more you live, the more people you meet, and the more situations you go through, the more you realize that nothing beats honest communication -- and this applies across the board to every kind of relationship you have.

Mon Oct 31, 10:17:00 AM  
Blogger Bobby said...

I just thought of something else. As far as the line between friendship and romance goes -- emotions can definitely blur, and things can get tricky. But ask yourself this. What if your friend of the opposite sex fell in love and got married? How good a friend would you be to her (and more importantly, to her spouse) then? If your answer is, "I don't think I could take it," or "I'd imagine I'd want to drift apart," then I'd say that you're not really a friend now. You need to have a long, honest talk with her about your feelings, and hers, and consider whether the nature of the relationship needs to change, or even end.

Mon Oct 31, 11:52:00 AM  
Blogger Jonathan said...

I agree with you that each individual situation is unique, which is why I was hesitant about putting this post up - I hate legalism about "dating rules" and that kind of thing, which is why I made sure to mention that I was providing a "non-exhaustive" list. Also, I realize that there are exceptions to just about every generalization when it comes to dating. Thank you for pointing this out.

Mon Oct 31, 01:59:00 PM  
Blogger Scooter said...

All of you may boo me off the stage (metaphorically) since I'm happily married, but I thought I'd just throw in my two cents.

I'm just so glad that I don't have to deal with the single life anymore. While it does have its advantages, I was just never really "into" that scene. It seems too exhausting.

I've always told single people this (I've told Jonathan quite a few times) - Following rules or making the process of dating/falling in love mathematical will almost never work. Love is something that occurs naturally and develops naturally. If you are meant to be with someone (romantically, that is), and I think that most people are, then you will meet that person. And for those people who claim that love/relationships/marriage is hard, I say posh! It's not. If it's meant to be, then it will happen, and it will happen naturally. When you find your "soulmate" (I believe in them, but the word just sounds too greeting card for me), you won't need rules or lists of dos and don'ts. It will seem like you've known this person forever.

You don't have to look for love (but that doesn't mean you should go crawl under a rock and wait for it). It will find you when you're ready.

And, as I've often told Jonathan, it usually finds you as soon as you stop looking for it.

Mon Oct 31, 05:16:00 PM  
Blogger Baconlover said...

Booooo! Get off the stage, Scooter!

Just kidding. I totally agree, but I tend to be biased since I married to the Scoot-meister.

Love isn't hard - to me, it's one of the easiest things in my life. It's so easy to be in love with Scott, and it's been that way since we met. I totally wasn't looking for a boyfriend when I met him - I wanted to spend my college days single and meeting lots of people, and then I met Scott the fourth day we were at college. I even tried to deny that I liked him for almost a month, and during that time, I convinced myself that we were just friends. But then, when he mentioned that he might be interested in someone else, I realized that I was in love with him, and I just had to tell him how I felt, and it turns out, he was completely in love with me. He just thought I wasn't interested. But it happened, and it will for all of you single people out there.

I like what Bobby said about being friends with someone (or thinking you are) and then asking yourself whether or not you'd care if your friend got married or met someone else. If you realize you'd probably be heartbroken or uncomfortable if your friend met someone else, then chances are, your feelings are more than just friendly. Asking myself how I felt when Scott mentioned dating another girl made me realize that I liked him.

But on to heartbreaks and guarding hearts, etc. Now that I'm married, I don't avoid friendships with guys. I think it's completely fine to be friends with members of the opposite sex, whether you're single, dating, or married. I think all people can enrich our lives, and some of my best friends are guys I've known forever. and true, it's possible that somewhere along the way a guy I was friends with became interested, but I highly doubt I broke any hearts because I was always honest about my relationship with Scott.

Bottom line, don't worry yourself to death about dating "rules" or "guidelines." Just be open to people and let everyone in and you'll be fully enriched by them. And who cares if your heart gets trampled a bit? That's what'll make you stronger!

Mon Oct 31, 05:30:00 PM  
Blogger Allie Riedy said...

Good topic...I was wondering...what if someone you hardly know at all starts pursuing you, and you aren't SURE if you could see yourself with them or not? What if they are totally sure, and you're just kind of "going along for the ride" because they seem like someone it could work out with. Is this playing with their mind/not guarding their heart? It seems like it would be easier with someone you've known for awhile because then you would know for sure how you felt about them. Hmmm...maybe I agree with Bradlee, that complete honesty from the get go would be more dramatic but more clear.

Mon Oct 31, 06:32:00 PM  
Blogger j.wo said...

Thanks, Jonathan, again for your input. After musing over this blog over night, I think that you make some really insightful/good points.

I appreciate getting some perspective from "the other side," as it's hard to know, at times, how men tend to operate. I know you have to take each guy individually, but I think this blog reminds me to 1) guard my OWN heart viciously, and 2) guard (as much as it is my responsibility) the hearts of my Christian brethren, as I would want them to look out for me (like you, bro!).

:)

Keep deep thinkin', Jonathan. You make it FUN to blog!

Me

Mon Oct 31, 07:36:00 PM  
Blogger Jonathan said...

J.Wo - get back to work girl! Just kidding... ahhh the office days (aka the blogging days) :)

Mon Oct 31, 07:47:00 PM  
Blogger j.wo said...

Hey, you! Post something else!

I'm bored...

:)

Mon Oct 31, 08:59:00 PM  
Blogger Bradley said...

Allie,

Pursuit is not official unless there has been a DTR in which both parties have clarified their desires and intentions. If a guy is calling you all the time, taking you out all the time (or spending lots of time, time, time with you) but there hasn't been a DTR, you should take the initiative (although it really is the man's responsibility to make all that clear) to begin defining the relationship (for example, if it's all moving to fast, to make a request for boundaries so that the relationship doesn't get burned out prematurely).

In other words, your situation should never occur. If the guy is sure he wants to pursue you, and you aren't as sure as he is--be blunt about it, let him know (gently in wisdom). This will help him guard his heart.

So maybe I should've answered your question like this: yes, you would be leading him on if he was pursuing you with certainty, and you don't express your level of uncertainty, but just "go along for the ride" (as if you were just as certain as he was). At least, if I understand you question, I think that's my answer.

Mon Oct 31, 11:35:00 PM  
Blogger Bradley said...

WOE JACK! Jen, is that you? Great Picture--just as I predicted!!!!!!!!!

Mon Oct 31, 11:35:00 PM  
Blogger j.wo said...

Yeah, it's me. Don and Lees made me put it up. Thanks. :) BTW - I am SO glad you read my EVER profound post today. I knew that of all who saw it, YOU would derive from it the most pleasure. :)

God bless, bro!

Tue Nov 01, 01:28:00 AM  
Blogger bethy31 said...

I don't think you should 'look for love' because there seems to be a lack of contentment in that way of looking at things. However, I do have to say that most of my friends were not in some place of cosmic zen when they met their spouses (although they'd like you to think that in retrospect)...it always cracks me up to hear that "love finds you when you stop looking" or "when you are content with the Lord, He will bring your mate"...do we really think love or the Lord can be manipulated that way?

Granted, I definitely believe the person who is confident in their worth as a child of God and comfortable with their 'status' (lack of a better worth) in life - married/single/parent/child/employed/unemployed/minister/businessman tends to be more attractive to just about everyone.

Tue Nov 01, 08:40:00 AM  
Blogger Jonathan said...

Thank you Bethany. That's exactly what I was thinking. I get so sick of being told that if I was truly "content in the Lord" or would "stop looking" that I would suddenly find someone. I'm confident with exactly where I am because I believe in God's sovereignty. At the same time, I believe that He's given me a desire for a wife. I don't think there's anything wrong with longing for the day when I meet her.

Tue Nov 01, 10:54:00 AM  
Blogger Scooter said...

[waving hands in front of your eyes]

Stop looking... stop looking...

Tue Nov 01, 11:03:00 AM  
Blogger Jonathan said...

[waving magnifying glass in front of Scott's eyes]

never...never....

Tue Nov 01, 11:04:00 AM  
Blogger Donna said...

This is a little late - I just found this post!! Well, here are my two cents:

I agree with Amy - directness is the best way to do it. The guy can initiate this conversation when he has settled in his heart about the girl and not just making an emotional decision about hanging around her.

If a guy is intentional about pursuing a girl, then he should let her know. If he is still figuring out how he feels about her, he should not be giving her special attention and confusing her with mixed messages.

Girls want the guys to lead. But we have to know that you are leading so we can follow - clearly define what you are seeking in the relationship (the dreaded DTR talk puts both people on even footing with emotions and expectations).

I can tell you from personal experience that if the man has settled in his heart about the girl after observing her and respecting her in friendship, he should talk to her and then they can decide about whether to move forward or not. No games, no ambiguity. It's a huge risk for the guys, but if you know this woman and consider her quality, isn't she worth the risk?

And Beth makes a good point - guys that ask out every available "cute" girl are not attractive. If anything it makes worthwhile girls wary of even considering you.

All right- back to work. Let the opposition begin. :)

Tue Nov 01, 11:57:00 AM  
Blogger j.wo said...

What opposition, D? I think you make good points...

:)

Tue Nov 01, 07:17:00 PM  
Blogger Donna said...

Well, at least J.Wo's on my side... and she's from the block, so don't be fooled by the rocks that she's got.

:)

Tue Nov 01, 10:07:00 PM  
Blogger Donna said...

PS: Jonathan, I didn't tell you before but I think the "nobody likes me" photo is hilarious.

Tue Nov 01, 10:27:00 PM  
Blogger The Flying Dutchman said...

From the sidelines:
Another married guy here. All this confusion is exactly why we in our church (which consists almost exclusively of home-schooling families) are trying to de-emphasize dating as much as we possibly can. Recreational dating many times leads to the hurt of one or both of the dating parties. We are instead placing emphasis on courtship. Dating is not allowed in most families at the church. Fun group activities are encouraged but one-on-one dates are not.

The main problem with dating as we see it is that it involves a fantasy. The man is on his best behavior, he is well dressed and smells good. The woman looks absolutely smashing and is completely interested in everything he says. Lots of money is spent trying to impress. This just isn't reality.

Courtship involves a purposeful search for a lifelong soulmate. More often than not the young man is courting the young woman's parents. Showing his interest in her and her family by helping out, joining in family activities, spending time alone with her father so that the young man's character can be judged. A loving father can tell who is going to take care of and love his daughter.

The same goes for the young lady and the young man's family. His mother can judge how well the prospective bride will take care of her darling baby boy.

Well, I could go on at length about this but then that's what my blog is for! We now return you to Jonathon's blog. :-)

Tue Nov 01, 10:33:00 PM  
Blogger Jonathan said...

Thank you Dutchman, that is very sound advice. I already am prepared to be very selective and careful when choosing a life mate, because I know how important it is. I do not "date recreationally" but rather am intentional (as everyone has been emphasizing) when I am interested in someone. I know the importance of getting to know and acquiring the approval of the father (and mother) of any girl I'm interested in.

I appreciate your reminder though, because sometimes I worry that i may just be too old fashioned for today's world and limiting myself severely. Dutchman, your comments are encouraging and always welcome. Please share your wisdom with us more often.

Wed Nov 02, 02:40:00 AM  
Blogger Scooter said...

I don't know. Dating someone's parents sounds a little creepy to me. I fell in love with Sara for who she was (as she did with me), and I got to know (and love) her family through her, not the other way around. And I think that patriarchal approval of the suitor stuff went out went arranged marriage.

Wed Nov 02, 08:59:00 AM  
Blogger bethy31 said...

And frankly the courting idea doesn't really work when you live 1,000 miles from your parents..

I've also wondered, how does that work when your children grow up and move away? It works in high school but we're all 20 and 30 somethings who live away from home. Are these kids getting married before college or are they staying at home until they marry? I don't know.

Wed Nov 02, 10:39:00 AM  
Blogger Donna said...

I can tell you in my situation, it takes some degree of intentionality.

My parents live about an hour from where Jason and I go to school, but my father is on the road as a truck driver 80% of the week. Jason has been VERY intentional about getting in contact with my dad by phone semi-regularly, meeting my parents, and he is even going tomorrow to spend time helping my dad lay down some tile at their house (without me).

Jason's parents live in Florida (several hours away), and I have met them/spent time with them before we were in a relationship. I have begun to keep semi-regular email correspondence with his mom and we are making plans to go down there for Christmas, God willing.

It has not been easy to get our parents involved in our relationship (we have had/still have particularly difficult challenges with my family), but the benefits of having parents on board has been very beneficial. I genuinely appreciate the amount of effort that Jason has put out to spend time with my family and show respect to them. It makes me feel very respected and valued -- and it shows me that his interest in me is more than a self-focused emotionally driven impulse. It is a well-thought out, prayed over, and committed response to the Lord's prompting... and my respect for him and his leading is firm. May God be glorified in our lives, wherever He chooses to lead.

That's just my experience.. take it for what it's worth. There is no set formula for successful relationships, except that Christ must be the center.

Thu Nov 03, 10:01:00 PM  
Blogger Baconlover said...

I am so, so glad Scott pursued me and not my parents. True, if he hadn't formed a relationship with my parents before he proposed, things could have gotten awkward, but I know my parents would have been completely freaked out if Scott had tried to get their approval before dating me. My parents would've thought he was creepy and trying to stalk me or something. In fact, they probably would have told him that he couldn't date me, based completely on the fact that he asked approval in the first place. My parents are Christian and in many ways very conservative, but they also know that they don't own me and they haven't made decisions for me since I was a teenager.

Now all you guys and girls out there thinking that "courtship" and old fashioned dating rules are the right way to go, I'm not trying to say it's wrong for everybody, but I am saying that it's outdated and creepy, not to mention patriarchally oppressive and mysogynistic. Girls are strong and can think for themselves - they can make their own decisions about who to date and marry.

My parents didn't find out I was dating Scott until we were boyfriend/ girlfriend and they didn't know I was engaged to Scott until after he proposed and the ring was on my finger. And I'm glad. I wanted to be the first to know he wanted to date me and three years later that he wanted to marry me, and after I knew those things, then I was able to share the news with them. In my opinion, that's how things should be.

Thu Nov 10, 07:40:00 PM  
Blogger Jonathan said...

"I'm not trying to say it's wrong for everybody, but I am saying that it's outdated and creepy, not to mention patriarchally oppressive and mysogynistic."

In other words, if it's not wrong for you, you're an outdated, creepy, partriarchally oppressive mysogynist.

Basically, it is wrong for everyone.

Thu Nov 10, 07:54:00 PM  
Blogger Bradley said...

good point Jonathan

YOOAIN'JUSSAYDAT!!

In addition: unless there is an objective standard we can rely on--outside ourselves--there can be no such thing as "wrong" in the first place, only preference.

DASS.WIE.WEBELEEBIN.AH.BIBLE...NAMSAYINCUZIN?

Thu Nov 10, 08:52:00 PM  
Blogger Baconlover said...

Jonathan,

I'm not trying to offend or criticize you. I love you.

Sat Nov 12, 12:38:00 AM  
Blogger Baconlover said...

Ron Burgandy, you know?

You know, I can play a little jazz flute. And Scott and I are trying this new thing - jogging, or maybe it's pronounced yogging, I don't know. Apparently, it's just running.

Sat Nov 12, 12:40:00 AM  

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