So how do you go about your life if you don’t plan on staying single? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.
Okay. I’ve written about life for the singles. What about those who do plan to marry? For that, dating in our culture is a necessary action. Now some might prefer a different name like courting or something of that sort. By dating, I simply mean getting to spend regular time with a person of the opposite sex that you are considering as a candidate for marriage.
I also think that you should really not consider dating until you’re old enough or near old enough to be getting married. A lot of young girls especially want to date early, but it’s my opinion that starting too early in our culture could also lead to the possibility of sex which for the Christian, is taboo until marriage.
Also, I want to make it clear that I am not condemning physical interaction before marriage. I think couples should. I don’t really care for the first kiss at the altar movement. That’s denying our physical attraction way too much and will lead to too big a rush. How do you go straight from first kiss to all-out sex?
Of course, in the dating relationship, one should be careful. When one looks at the twelve steps of intimacy I really don’t think it’s wise to move beyond #8. Allie and I certainly didn’t in our dating relationship. Why? Once you get to a certain state of passion, it’s incredibly difficult to put the brakes on. Yeah. It might sound like a shock to some of us but those hormones can very easily overpower reason.
Of course, enjoy the physical that you can enjoy for the time being. We certainly did that as well. There’s a funny story about our first date. Allie and I went to the Georgia Aquarium on our first date and came back to her house, where she lived with her parents, to watch Beauty and the Beast that evening.
We were downstairs in the living room together on the couch watching with Allie snuggling up against me. Her parents’ bedroom and her younger brother’s were upstairs. Her brother was thinking of coming down and getting a snack but her parents said we were down there and he might not want to go down. He didn’t. Of course, we weren’t doing anything immoral, but we were a really cute couple together, and still are I contend.
So here are some tips for purity in this time period and other important tips.
First off, I think it’s extremely important that you honor and respect the parents entirely. When I went to meet Allie it was “Mr. Licona” and “Mrs. Licona” until they gave me permission to go by a first name basis.
When I took Allie to meet my parents, they lived in a different state which meant I had to take Allie out of state over night. I sent an email to Mike and let him know about what I was doing, why I was doing it (Allie needed to meet my parents), what the sleeping arrangements would be, and how I would take the utmost care of his daughter.
There was no problem with my request then.
In fact, when it came time to propose, and this is something I wish more men would do more often, I made sure to call Mike and Debbie first and tell them what my plans were and let it be known that “I want to marry your daughter, but I don’t want to go forward with this unless I have your blessing.” They readily gave it. It is a decision I am sure they have never regretted. It doesn’t mean I’ve been the perfect son-in-law. I haven’t been. It simply means they know I always try to have Allie’s best interests at heart.
More on engagement later.
Second, try to not put yourself in tempting situations. Yes, they will come up naturally. If you don’t think you’re going to be tempted sexually, you’re just fooling yourself. It is going to happen. It is not a sin to be tempted. It is normal and in fact healthy. It is a problem if you’re not tempted!
If your brakes were to come off, it would be much much harder to be able to stop again. Sex changes both parties. The changes are not just physical but psychological and hormonal as well. You have already formed a bond with that person. For more on that, I recommend listening to Dr. Freda Bush who was on my show. That link can be found here.
Third, I also recommend you don’t go to the movies on a first date. Movies are fine for a later date, but for that first date, you two don’t need to stare at a screen like that. You need to be watching each other the most and talking to each other and learning how you relate to one another.
Fourth, I actually don’t recommend praying together in person. Praying is a very intimate activity and that could lead to further wanting to continue that intimacy. Allie and I took care of this by praying on the phone.
Fifth, this brings us to the phone. Make the most use of it. In our dating time, we would often spend hours on the phone staying up till the late hours of the evening, sometimes not getting to bed until 1 A.M. or so. Can I remember a single thing we talked about? Not one. We were just talking, and that was fine. (Note: Communication is great once you get married as well. Never stop it.)
Sixth, I also recommend watching how you treat your other friends in this time and listen to their advice. Also, try to not exclude them still. I was pleased to surround myself with friends at my wedding and have them be an active part of my life. Even today, I try to keep in touch with them.
Different friends could respond differently. I remember it was hard for me watching my friends get married before I was. If it was the same for some of mine, I don’t know about that. I do know they have been supportive and have noted the greater happiness that I do have in my life since marriage. I also try to spend some time with them and invest in them and encourage them.
It was exceptionally fortunate that things worked out for my roommate. While we din’t have a “roommate agreement” such as on The Big Bang Theory, we did have matters worked out that we split the bills for living together evenly. Unfortunately, we didn’t have a clause of “If one of us happens to get married” and as people who know Allie and I know, it all happened very fast! I especially remember my roommate messaging me while at work saying he’d been offered another place to live and he figured since he was reading the tea leaves right, Allie and I wouldn’t want him to be around when he got hitched. I told him instead he wouldn’t want to be around. (He has been a great friend to both of us as well, including being my best man and giving the best wedding toast I have ever heard.)
In fact, I am told that for him and another one of our good mutual friends, when I had returned from the first date the talk was “We’d better go ahead and prepare the wedding chapel.”
For friends, if you know someone who is getting married, if you think it’s a good relationship, I do encourage celebrating with them. It’s important for them to know that you highly value their good even if you know that your relationship with them is going to be different from now on, and it most certainly will. Every single friend in the world has to take a backseat to the marriage relationship.
Also, in these relationships, men need to be the ones to take the lead. The man should be doing the asking and should be making arrangements and paying for dates. To this day in fact, I still go and open the car door for Allie and get her in first. There is no excuse for not being a gentleman. Get that fact in your heads men. Always be a gentleman.
Mainly, the dating time is a time to get to know the other person and learn good communication with them. Get to know the family as well. This will be your family as well and you need to establish a good relationship with them. There will be times of disagreement. It happens. In fact, my in-laws and my parents both know that if I think that they’re wrong with something about Allie, I let them know. Of course, they always have Allie’s best at heart as well, but that does not mean that it’s done in the best way. I contend that in fact this shows everyone my devotion to my wife.
When Allie and I were engaged, there was a time that her mother and her and I were in Knoxville together to visit my mother for something and we stopped at a pizzeria before we each went our own way. Her Mom made it clear that when the time came that I had to stand up for Allie to my own mother (Who by the way, loves my wife dearly so don’t be thinking otherwise. Both of my parents would die for my wife if they had to), that I would do it immediately.
I hope I have demonstrated that.
People who know us know that I call Allie my Princess. That is still a name I call her to this day. Remember men when you’re dating that before that woman is your Princess, she is someone else’s. Her parents have both treasured her and since I hold Christians should only date Christians, she is a child of the King as well. Treat her accordingly.
Overall, have fun and enjoy yourself and if you decide to propose, well I guess we’ll have to write more on that later. Right?