9 ways to date God’s way

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Ahhh dating.  Simultaneously the best and worst thing.  So fun, so nerve-wracking, at times so confusing, at times so disappointing, at times so filled with hope and promise… It’s so much trial and error, but there is so much to be learned in that time looking for Mr. Right.

What dating has taught me:

1. Give EVERY relationship to God from the beginning – even before you meet up on date #1.  Ask God if this is the right or wrong move.  Ask God what He wants you to learn.  Ask Him to make it perfectly clear whether to continue seeing the guy or not.  Then… you’ve gotta OBEY.  Trust God that if it’s not him, it’s somebody better.  Even somebody that you think seems “perfect” for you won’t come close to the one God’s made just for you.  Trust Him.  He knows every guy’s heart better than we ever will, and the best part of this is they can’t fool God like they may be able to fool us (1 Samuel 16: 7).  I don’t know about you guys, but I’ve met a lot of phonies, and even been blind enough to date them.  For years.  Madness!  If we trust Him, we can avoid a lot of unnecessary heartbreak.  After finding the right man to date, the battle becomes keeping God in the center of the relationship AND your life, rather than the man you’re dating.  For me, this is something that I constantly have to keep in check.  When things did/do get off balance, I find that Ethan and I fight more, which makes sense, since I am expecting him to fill parts of my heart that he can’t.  This is a common struggle, don’t be ashamed of it, be aware of it and work to counter-act it with your man and with God!

2. Give yourself time to get to know yourself in Christ first, then worry about finding Mr. Right.  I know this is not the easiest thing.  I actually hadn’t spent much time single UNTIL I decided to follow Jesus.  I feared being alone because I wasn’t sure who I was without a boyfriend.  That goes away!  That time to transform, grow in your faith, and (in my case) re-grow your spine to be firm in your expectations and morals is so crucial to finding the man God’s designed for you.  My good friend enlightened me to this fact when she put it into words one night.  She had recently broken up with a boyfriend that was holding her back spiritually.  He was tempting her to drink and pushing for sex when she told him she didn’t want either anymore.  After the breakup, she felt lonely and hated thinking about how long she may have to wait for the right man.  Then she realized that she was still really struggling with serious temptations and doubts and hadn’t yet grown firm enough in her faith to meet the type of man she was looking for and be the right woman for him.  The man she wants to find is strong in his faith, straight in his ways, and leading a life pleasing to God.  She had to be firm in those regards herself, first.  This was extremely encouraging and freeing for her.

3. When you are single and feel lonely, ask God to show you how much He loves you.  We are romantic creatures.  We want to be wooed, we want to be thought of, we want to be pursued and fought for, we want little gifts – whether in the form of a bouquet or a kiss on the forehead.  We want to know that we are loved, desired, and cherished.  GOD WILL DO THAT.  He created us that way, He IS that way.  We’re made in His image.  God will pull your heart strings in a way that He knows you will enjoy.  He wants to be delighted in just like we do, He loves doing this kind of stuff!!  For me, it’s gifts in nature.  A beautiful sunset.  A beautiful bug.  A warm breeze that smells like roses.  Keep your eyes open after you ask, He will deliver.

4. Let go of obsessing over beauty.  Nothing is more beautiful than a woman who shines God’s light from the inside, out.  Nothing compares to a woman who is confident in the fact that she was beautifully and perfectly made.  Beloved of the Creator Himself.  A masterpiece in who she is.  There really is a warmth and light that shines from those women.  This all comes from #2 and 3 up there.

5. Dress to meet a man of good morals.  Skanky clothes attract scum bags.  Skanky clothes repel men of God.  You don’t want to be lusted after, you want to be sought after.  You want to be respected, so you gotta show the world that you respect yourself and expect respect.  It is hard to associate a ton of cleavage with a high level of self-respect.  Flaunting our bodies means we’re okay with being ogled like a piece of meat and the source of perverted thoughts for anybody in the room.  This also gives the impression of a promiscuous woman, which is not what a man of Christ is looking for.  I actually wore (and still wear) a big cross necklace to ward off any scum bags or guys that are intimidated by a strong faith.  Like I’ve said before, I asked Ethan what he thought of God on our first date, and he later told me that he expected to be questioned about it because of that necklace.

6. Expect to be treated like a lady.  Expect he pays (at least for a while).  Expect to be taken care of.  Expect that he respects your boundaries.  If he doesn’t, he’s a boy, not a man.

7. No “project boyfriends.”  I recently realized that every guy I dated until my fiance, I wanted to (and thought I could) change.  This does not work.  You cannot change who a person is and you cannot change a boy into a man.  He’s gotta do that on his own. My example for this would be boyfriend #4, my daughter’s father.  When we got pregnant, I expected the smoking weed and hanging out with friends more than me to stop.  I expected he would step up, work more, and be the provider.  He didn’t.  When our daughter was born, I expected it all again.  He didn’t.  When I broke up with him, I expected he’d do it all then.  He didn’t. It’s been years, and I think he has made great strides, but he had to do all of that by himself.  He had to choose it.  If it is forced on them, there is resentment and rebellion and fights.  If you are trying to change him, and that change is essential to your happiness together (whether it’s his religious beliefs, a characteristic, or his actions), he’s most likely not the right man.  At least not at present.  Only God has the power to really transform peoples’ hearts and they have to seek Him first.

8. You should never date without keeping the future in mind.  I remember the worst argument my mom and I ever had.  It was over some jerk boyfriend I was dating when I was 17.  He was 19, barely worked, didn’t have a car, wasn’t going to school, drank a ton, partied more, and looked like a punk hobo.  He’s the one that cheated on me.  My mom said something like “Are you  serious?  Would you really marry somebody like him someday?  Just bending over backwards all the time working while he sits on his butt at home?” to which I yelled back “I’M NOT INTERESTED IN MARRIAGE AND NO, I DON’T WANT TO MARRY HIM.”  I wish I could go back in time and slap some sense into myself.  Think about it – to face temptation, invest time, invest emotions and open your heart… for nothing?  For fun?  Not much fun in the end, really… Don’t date just to date, and don’t date just so you’re not alone.  It doesn’t lead to anything good.

9. Don’t give them your body until you’re married.  Our bodies are a gift from our Creator, and they should be kept until a man has sworn himself in marriage to us before God and all of our family and friends.  There are reasons why God made sex for marriage.  9 ways Ethan and I beat sexual temptation here.

For more on #3, I highly recommend the book “Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman’s Soul” by John and Stasi Eldredge.  It goes deep into the hearts of women and how we can heal and cope with the help of God.  It is such a powerful book.  There are some really interesting revelations in there – like how God made us after man, and therefore we are the pinnacle of His creation.  Really uplifting and eye opening!  Also there’s more in there for #4 – about how Satan fell because of his own obsession with his beauty.  It talks about how he targets beauty and women out of jealousy in the world today.  Plus John (Stasi’s husband) writes parts of it too, giving the male perspective which is also helpful and enlightening!

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Why sex is for marriage ONLY & 8 benefits of waiting.

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This topic sparks such a passion in me.  I know all too well the consequences of sex before marriage.  Now that I am in a relationship that has NOTHING to do with sex (yes, we have been dating almost 2 years, engaged for the last year, and have NOT had sex), I see the blessings and benefits in waiting for marriage.  Now it is clear to me that God made sex to be for marriage only, and I want to share what He’s taught me so far.

Before I had found and committed myself to following Jesus, I didn’t really see sex before marriage as a problem.  If we are have all these sexual urges and desires, it must not be a bad thing… right?  It was completely normal in my high school, actually.  I remember the pressure I felt to have sex with each boy I dated.  I wanted to experience it, yes, but the biggest reason was this: I hoped that once I gave them what they wanted, they would give me what I wanted – a loving, committed, romantic, thoughtful, ready-for-the-long-haul man.  I also wanted to give my boyfriend a reason to stay and hoped that our relationship would grow stronger.

This never works.  In fact, often times, when it’s not with THE man God has picked out for you, it works completely opposite.  I have a lot of proof of this being the case.  Boyfriend #1 of 2 years got bored with me and we grew apart, boyfriend #2 of a few months cheated on me with some girl on myspace, boyfriend #3 of 1 year called me only out of desperation to hang out with somebody (literally I was the last person he wanted to hang out with), and boyfriend #4 of 2 years broke up with me after I found Christ and told him I didn’t want to have sex unless we were married.

I have another example.  My wonderful and beautiful Aunt.  She was cheated on and got divorced when I was a child.  It must be about 10 years later and she found a great guy.  Christian, funny, nice, just a great fit for her.  My whole family loves this guy.  She made the decision to sleep with him at some point.  My aunt very badly wants to marry him, but he’s got some financial issues that could hurt her in the near future.  She’s been trying to get him to come up with a money plan to get himself back on track so they can move forward… but he hasn’t.  Think about it, what’s the rush?  He’s got my aunt sleeping in his bed every few days, he’s got his bachelor pad the rest of the time, he’s free to spend his time and money as he pleases, and he doesn’t have to answer to anybody. He’s got the best of all worlds from a guy’s perspective!!

Having sex complicates and destroys outside of marriage (James 1:13-15).  When sex is brought to the table, often times,  guys lose motivation to step up and get serious.  They aren’t as concerned with getting married as women are.  They’ve got everything they want for the most part, why complicate or change it? Being with all of the boys of my past and hearing the testimonies of family and friends have taught me all about the negative consequences of sex before marriage and have basically proven this theory.

Other reasons to not have sex before marriage:

First and foremost, outside of marriage, it is a sin.  God is the Creator of sex, therefore He knows best.  He says that sex should ONLY be between a married man and woman.  The sex between a married couple is blessed by God, God is all about it, He fully supports it, He is psyched when a married couple gets to fully enjoy the blessings of sex.  Sexual intimacy between a married man and woman is sacred, and having that lust for each other is an important part of a healthy marriage, hence the entire book of Songs of Solomon.  BUT just because we have the urges and desires, just because God made us sexual creatures, does not make sex whenever we want, with whomever we want, excusable or acceptable.  God didn’t design it this way, He instructs us not to do it (for all of these reasons and more), we should listen.

There’s also unplanned pregnancy, which is something I’ve experienced.  Children are a blessing, and their lives are precious and irreplaceable.  The love I have for my daughter opened my eyes to a whole new level of love that is impossible to compare.  She’s brought me more happiness than I could have ever imagined.  But guys, having a child before you’re with the right man and before you’re ready is so hard.  College is hard enough, add an infant or toddler in the mix and it is hard x 100 because you’ve got less sleep and less time to actually work at it and money is VERY tight (if you’re fortunate enough to have the money at all with tuition nowadays).  Babies are expensive!!  Relationships are more complicated – you’re not just dating for you, you’re dating to find the right man for your child.  Your day revolves around your baby.  Your money revolves around your baby.  Your sleep revolves around your baby.  Your social life revolves around your baby.  When the child is with somebody that you’ve decided not to be with it’s complicated and full of hard situations and conversations.  If you ever do find yourself in this position, please message me personally.  I would love to talk to you and help any way I can.

Then there’s STDs.  Those can be lethal for both the carrier and their future children.

And there’s the tendency to try too hard to make it work and give far too many chances.  We are biologically engineered to have one sexual partner.  There is a chemical in our brain that is released during sex, oxytocin.  It bonds us emotionally with our partner.  This bond makes us want to stay with that person, and therefore makes it difficult to accept when a relationship is unhealthy and ready to be ended, and therefore, deeper heartbreak when it does.  Every time we have sex with somebody and don’t stay with that person, it’s like a scab being ripped off of a wound.  It scars and scars and scars until eventually the effect that chemical has on the brain, meaning the bond itself, is weakened.  This means that the more sex you have with anybody but your spouse, the weaker that chemical/emotional bond with them will be.  If you want more on this, read “Bringing Up Girls” by Dr. James Dobson.  He has a whole chapter about it.

Being with my fiance, however, has been completely different from all of my past relationships.  It has been extremely enlightening in showing me the blessings to be had in waiting.  Here are some things I’ve learned:

1. If you don’t want to have sex before marriage, get that out on the table ASAP.  This is a very important topic for you both to agree on – meaning he needs to respect you and be on board.  I know it’s scary, believe me, I was terrified, but establishing this early on makes that pressure and fear of handling it disappear.   Afterward, I felt so empowered and strong in Christ for standing firm in what I believe in. If he doesn’t agree or fights you on it, and you wish to grow in your faith, he’s not the right guy.  He’ll only lead you down a bad path, and he definitely doesn’t deserve you or your body (Romans 12:1).

2. There are men out there that will respect this choice and help you through struggles.  It’s important to you, it’s important to God, you WILL find a man that will respect your boundaries and even become a rock in this battle.

3. After boundaries are established and consistently respected, that line becomes easier not to cross.  Ethan and I have not been perfect, and trust me, NOTHING good comes from roaming hands.  We leave each other on a bad note – unhappy, frustrated, and knowing that we aren’t staying true to what God wants for us.  Ironically, it also often leads to a fight, bitterness, frustration, and feelings of being unsatisfied.  But in one of our darkest valleys where we couldn’t see God at work in our lives, we actually talked about having sex.  We had been waiting over a year and a half.  We’d known for a long time, beyond a doubt, that we were meant to be together and we’d already been engaged 7 months.  The only thing stopping us was money.  We’d been waiting for enough money to come to support ourselves, were working our butts off, and fighting this purity battle, all to no avail.  However, after venting about this and talking about just doing it, we both felt terrified and guilty.  Neither of us wanted to cross that line now.  God had totally convicted our hearts.  Neither of us want any trace of guilt on our first night together, and the thought of blowing it after fighting temptation so long, really scared both of us.  Even when we were feeling weak in our walk with Christ, God came back strong by giving us that fear and guilt (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).

4. God blesses couples that wait for marriage. PROFOUNDLY.  Not only will your relationship with each other become more deep and meaningful, but so will your walk with Christ.  Then as you go, your relationship will compliment and strengthen your relationship with Christ, and your relationship with Christ will strengthen your relationship with your man.

5. Your relationship will be built on a love that is real, substantial, and stable.  You will be falling in love with your man for who he is alone, and he will be falling in love with you for who you are alone.  No sex to cloud judgement and feelings.  Just raw chemistry and happiness in each others’ company.  You will be so emotionally and spiritually connected with him that the sex to be had within your marriage will be like the cherry on top.  The final finishing touch to seal the deal and deepen the bond of marriage.

6. The period of waiting for sex teaches you how to control your lust.  This time will greatly strengthen your trust in each other.  If you can resist the temptation to fool around with the man you love, you can resist any other bro easily.  Ethan and I have even used this time to control our lustful thoughts and keep them only for each other – something we are all called to do, but is often forgotten and ignored (Matt 5:28, Colossians 3:5, Job 31:1, “Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul” - 1 Peter 2:11).  9 ways Ethan and I fight sexual temptations here.

7. You become very good communicators.  When there’s no sex, you talk.  A lot.  That is a very good thing.  Ethan and I have broken down some serious walls over these last 2 years.  You become best friends, knowing each other better than anybody, trusting each other with extremely personal information, trusting each other when vulnerabilities and flaws in your character are exposed… It is an intimacy that sex could never achieve.  And better communication means more productive “fighting.”  The issues will be easier to resolve because you will be comfortable and open with each other at that point, so you will both be able to express your emotions and needs better.

8.  You’re fighting for (and earning) amazing sex for your future marriage.  Imagine your first night together after waiting, fighting temptation together, growing in faith together, knowing the deep emotional and spiritual love you’ve grown together, and finally getting to have guilt-free and BLESSED sex.  Sex blessed by God Himself.  That’s… powerful!  Plus, the odds that you’ll feel self-conscious knowing how deeply he loves you and that he’ll love you that way forever, are very slim.

For all those with a past: it is never too late to make the decision to pursue purity.  Christ died for our sins, His grace is sufficient.  All you have to do is commit and repent.  Leave the old ways behind and follow Jesus’ plan for your life (Ephesians 4:22-24), you will find a joy that lasts and endures even through hardship.  God Himself promises this!!