Dating Against the Flow
When my grandpa got married, 65% of couples were married between the ages of 18 and 32.
Today, only 26% are getting married in that gap.
Turn on the television, open up any magazine, or flip on almost any song from your favorite Pandora playlist and you will come across a misinterpreted view of relationships. If we buy in, old school values are trumped by hook ups and flings. Today commitment is expressed through cohabitation. Marriage is… something our parents did.
But some people can’t help but scratch their heads. Is this working? Or is this kind of dating going to result in more ex’s than Taylor Swift?
I guess that depends on whose advice you’re following.
Society has given us 4 simple steps that lead to deep, intimate, sizzling, sexy relationships:
- Find the right person. Dress sexy, go to the club, fill your cup and look for someone else sexy with a drink in their hand. Hook up, and if you’re “compatible”… see them again.
- Fall in love. You can’t explain it, but they are so hot you can’t stop thinking about them. Sex is amazing! Kinda fun to hang out with them as well.
- Place your hopes and dreams in them. Just like in the movies, love overrides every other decision. It’s like a fairy tale… just without that “happily every after” part.
- If you fail, repeat steps 1, 2, and 3. If something begins to break down, just start over.
Sadly, this isn’t working. Perhaps it’s worth taking a peek at some “old school” advice that goes against the flow of modern day courting. What does modern day courting look like with Christ at the center?
Step #1: Become the Right Person
Some teenagers seek intimate relationships in order to fill the void they have in their own lives. God designed sex and intimacy as a way to bring Him honor and glory, not as a way to fill our own voids.
Instead of looking for love, we must realize that love has already found us. God loves us as no one else can. Loving someone is not easy, and the idea of just finding the right person in order to have a great relationship is a lie.
Step #2: Walk in Love
This is so much deeper than taking long strolls on the beach or wandering hand-in-hand through the mall. Walking in love means that we love others the exact way Christ loves us – full of grace, mercy, and compassion (Philippians 2 in action). It’s not about what you can get, it’s about what you can give.
Give this a try. Let God’s love sweep you off your feet so much that you walk through your day treating others better than yourself, and looking to the interests of others (Philippians 2:3,4). This is far more attractive than anyone out on the dance floor in a nightclub.
Step #3: Place your Hope and Trust in Your Heavenly Father
We do not need to rely on ‘Prince Charming’ to rescue us. We can place hope and trust in the fact that Christ has already rescued us from our own chaos! His love is more than we need to fill every void and hole in our hearts. So live a life demonstrating our trust in him, starting with honoring our bodies (I Corinthians 6).
Step #4: If failure occurs (and it will) we must repeat steps 1, 2, and 3.
Sometimes dating relationships will fail. People will let us down. It’s normal. But we have a relationship with someone who will never abandon us. (Deut. 31:6)
Relationships are like houses—they’re only as good as their foundation. Build your relationship on a relationship with Christ, and you’ve built on a rock that cannot be moved.
Sadly, many people will go with the flow and settle for sizzle rather than stable. They will get a little bit of love from someone, move on, and grab at a little more love from someone different. We will never grasp the complete concept of love until we understand the love Christ has already poured out on us!
Parents, are you modeling this with your kids?
Sadly, many of us have empowered pop culture to teach our teenagers, and many young people believe the lie. But it’s not too late to tell them the truth about the foundation of God’s love in our courting relationships.
Are you teaching your kids to date against the flow?
Jonathan McKee is the author of over twenty books including the brand new The Bullying Breakthrough; The Teen’s Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices; If I Had a Parenting Do Over; and the Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket. He speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for parents on his website TheSource4Parents.com. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.