The Dating Subculture

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth! Tonight, I’d like to write something for a friend of mine who seems to have had some bad luck in the area of romance lately and as I discussed this with him, he asked me to write some problems on how our American culture approaches this.

One of the first things we noted together is that we place emphasis on feelings way too much. Feelings come and feelings go. For me and my wife, my main attribute that I have for her is devotion. That doesn’t deny feelings and those can be powerful when they come. Right now, she’s not feeling well and I have to keep my distance for my own health, but we had a moment where we did get close enough to stare into one another’s eyes. It was quite a touching moment.

When I talk to my in-laws, I can do nothing but express my devotion to their daughter over and over. They’ve said that usually I’m mild and easy-going, but if someone was to come after her in some way, that this Crouching Tiger would quickly turn into a Hidden Dragon.

It’s the truth. When I’m with her, I’m guarding her like a hawk and making sure no one mistreats her. The only disagreement we ever really have that we can’t resolve is the one about if we are in a dangerous situation, who will be the one to get hurt for who. Neither one of us wants to see the other get hurt at all.

What I’ve learned is best summed up in what a counselor friend told me. Emotions follow motions. Why should this be a surprise? We do it in our Christian walk every day. We don’t feel like doing something that we know Scripture commands us to do but once we do it, we end up feeling pretty good about things. The example he has given is working out at the gym. Getting the motivation to get there is hard, but once you get there, it’s easy.

When I am in class, I will often think back to how I want to go home and see my wife and I call her during the class break. As it stands, she’s sick right now and being a man to respect her as she doesn’t want me to get it and the doctor even approved of this, I’m sleeping on the couch for the time being. It was hard last night because my main desire was that I wanted to be with my wife.

Don’t look to your feelings first then. Instead, look to reality. The question I ask of my wife is if she helps me grow in personal holiness and if I help her do the same. I think others would say I do that for her and I do not want to be the one who comes and says this of her, though she would definitely say it.

For her with me however, my desire has greatly increased to be holy. I have seen ways of thinking in myself that need to change. As I was driving today, I had a green light and as I was going across, I had someone pull right out in front of me in my lane. Bothered a bit? Yeah. I wasn’t angry however. The old me before my wife came along would have been angry and I’d have been ranting about it the rest of the day.

I used to worry a lot more about my apologetics as well. I believe that is because in the past, that was where I got most of my validation and I could not accept an error then. Now, I get my validation as well from my wife and because of that, if I make a mistake in this field, I make a mistake.

Even after my bachelor party as I was walking with some friends back to our cars, I told them “Guys. Work on personal holiness now.” Just a few weeks ago at my church, I did a sermon on marriage and holiness. I emphasized how we need to return to the idea of holiness and what it means and maybe marriage will become a respectable institution again. Friends. If the world is clamoring for homosexual marriage now, that’s our fault. We dropped the ball on marriage and we have no one to blame but ourselves.

My own pastor after the wedding met with my wife and I to tell me how I’d changed since meeting her, something he’d been reluctant to share. He wanted to wait until the time. He told me I was more other-focused than I’d ever been before. I wasn’t spending time in my own world.

In fact, a friend of mine who attends church with me and happened to be my best man told me that the day after our wedding, a Sunday, my pastor referred to me in the sermon. My pastor had offered to pray with me at the wedding ten minutes before I walked down the aisle and asked how he could pray for me. My prayer was that I wanted to be more holy.

I don’t say this to lift up myself. I say this to lift up my wife. I say this to show the effect that she has had on me.

Also, love every day is a choice and that choice gets easier as time goes on. I make it a point with my wife for instance to not get angry. There are times she’s done things that she’d say I could have justifiably got angry with her over. I just pause and realize that wouldn’t do any good. She’s beating herself up enough. I’m not going to add to it. That doesn’t mean I can’t get firm at times. This isn’t done in hate or anger though. I will sometimes just tell her the way things are and that’s for her good. I always end by affirming my love for her and begin the same way. If I don’t, I at least hope I do.

I can even remember one time when my wife and I had an event and it doesn’t need to be said what it was, but I was upset and hurt and wondering why my wife could think the way she did. How could she not agree with my reasoning? It was around 10 at night that I was in bed going over this while she was asleep and then realized what we all knew I would.

I was wrong. She was right.

I do not kid you in saying that I stayed up until midnight until she woke up as I had been pacing around looking for some wisdom on the topic to deal with until I could talk to her. When she woke up, I talked to her and told her how I saw things anew and apologized and asked her forgiveness. She gave it, although she does say she probably just wanted to go back to sleep. When I gave my sermon on holiness, I referred to that and said that it was a recent night that that happened.

The reality was, it was the very night before that that had happened.

Love is a choice and anger is a choice. Disagreements will come, and how you handle them determines everything. My wife and I are still devoted to prayer and Scripture, though we haven’t been able to as much since she’s been sick lately. (And please people, do pray for my wife’s recovery)

Our culture instead thinks too much on what the other person can do for me. We should instead be thinking about what we can do for the other person. When we look at ourselves too much, we will become more prideful. I make it a point to look to my wife and before I could criticize on anything, I would want to see if the deficiency lies with me first. Is this a lack of holiness on my part? I will give her the benefit of the doubt, something a friend of mine noted. He said that whatever she does, I will bend over backwards to try to understand where she’s coming from.

I would say I am more devoted now to my wife than I ever have been before and ten years from now, I will look back and think “Psssh! I thought I was devoted then?! That can’t compare to now!”

Our dating culture I believe will work best when we stop looking for the truth of a good relationship within ourselves and look for it from the outside. By all means, seek the counsel of wise Christians, which I did. I talked to a number of people before I proposed to my wife, and some of them had a very hard time keeping it a secret. I also had good friends, like my best man, who knew where this was going very early on and the advice of several who saw this was and is a match made in Heaven.

My wife helps me grow as an apologist, as a man, and most importantly, as a disciple of Jesus Christ. To her, I am grateful and I give my love.

Support Deeper Waters on Patreon!