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No one "dated" in the world of the Bible, but there are plenty of Biblical principles that help us navigate these relationships in our lives.

Am I doing the right thing?

Postby icecold » Tue Jun 30, 2015 4:02 pm

So recently I told this guy that I like him and he likes me as well. We have been friends for 2 years and I go to a Christian school. We hang out in groups of friends and hug but nothing more. I know that hugging can be sinful in if our lust is involved but lately about the whole relationship I have been uneasy. We want to date our senior year and he's great. I know he doesn't just want to be in a relationship for what he can get from me because he has even said "If I'm distracting you from God we can break this off right now." and other things like me confessing struggles of priorities to where he's even bluntly stating "Yeah, you need to make sure your priorities are straight." It hurt to hear that but in the best way possible. So, you might be wondering why I am rambling then. I don't know if I'm hearing directly from God about this relationship because my feelings are biased and I'm not sure if we're on the same levels spiritually. I don't want to say good bye because I do truly love with him, not like him, love him. What do you have to say?/What should I do? Are there any verses or any wisdom you can share with me to ease the unrest?
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Re: Am I doing the right thing?

Postby jimwalton » Tue Jun 30, 2015 4:27 pm

Well, a little more information would be helpful, but I'd be glad to talk. I'm hearing that you love him, and you want to continue the relationship, and it sounds like you are both Christians. It sounds as if he's great, he really cares for you and cares about you. But you haven't really made it clear why you're uneasy about the relationship, except that you're not on the same level spiritually. Tell me a little more. What is it about the relationship that makes you uneasy, and where you'd like me to "share any wisdom" with you?
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Re: Am I doing the right thing?

Postby icecold » Wed Jul 01, 2015 10:49 am

I just feel as if he doesn't always act out what he's saying. I'm not sure if i'm just seeing it that way or if it's actually true. I want him to encourage me in the Lord as well which he's done in words but not verses. I don't know if i'm just treating him like he should be giving me what Jesus does but I've evaluated that and it doesn't seem that way to me. I know only Christ will fulfill so I don't seek other humans for the fulfillment that Christ only gives me. I also think that we don't always have the best Skype talks sometimes, although, we know that when we're talking about things we shouldn't be, we realize, apologize, and break it off. I'm just in a state of confusion right now. I'm not completely sure if this is making any sense. I am also going to be a Junior in High School so maybe I cannot fathom the situation. I don't know why I feel uneasy but I do. It might be because I have never actually had a relationship like this (and when I did it was not pleasing to God) and I'm not sure how it should go. I know it shouldn't be perfect, but if it isn't perfect (in terms of holiness) then what should it be. What should it look like? How should I go about this situation? I'm not even dating him yet though it feels like it.
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Re: Am I doing the right thing?

Postby icecold » Wed Jul 01, 2015 11:01 am

Also I have been told by my Mom to "not think too much about the situation" or get into it too much because "we'll just see where it goes." She's a follower of Jesus as well. It can seem like an insult to me though because I really think that I do want to marry him. It feels strong to me. And I don't just want to date for no purpose because that's not what dating should ever be (though it is approached like that often). He want to go away to an academy where he will train and become a navy seal. I realize what this entails and know I will have to trust God a lot (as well with the fact that I don't know everything about it because I haven't fully encountered the situation yet other than when he went to boot camp for 2 weeks) but the way my Mom has approached the situation is "Well, he'll be going off to the academy somewhere and you'll be at college." That hurts me strongly. I know he will be gone and I realize that it will be VERY hard being in a long distance relationship but not impossible. I trust the Lord and it seems as if he is a potential spouse.
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Re: Am I doing the right thing?

Postby jimwalton » Wed Jul 01, 2015 7:20 pm

You know, it sounds like you have your head on straight, and I respect you for what you're saying. You're trying to think it through and do it right, which is the wise course. One of the things that you said I really like: You don't want to date him for no purpose. I agree with you that dating should be purposeful. It should have several purposes:
* to give you a chance to express your feelings towards someone in time spent, having fun, and sharing what you feel inside
* to learn how to get along with guys. Guys are very different from girls, and it's true that we really need to learn how to be with a guy or girl and have a productive relationship. (Unfortunately, some people aren't too good at the "productive relationship" part.)
* to figure out what kind of a person we want to marry. We have to figure out whether we like 'em smart, fun, godly, energetic, quiet, caring, thoughtful, risk-taking, responsible or wild. Thankfully we don't have to choose just one, but dating gives a chance to experiment, explore, and learn.

So it's true that dating has a purpose to it. Too often and too easily the purpose turns into making out with each other, but I'll gout on a limb here and say that some physical expression is part of what we have to learn, too. In the way we hold hands or put arms around, hug, or kiss, we start learning how to express ourselves and our love in physical ways. It's tough to hold responsible limits when we go down that road, but it's all part of the dating picture: expression under control. We learn to talk, to listen, to care, to love, to share feelings and thoughts, and we learn what kind of person we like to be with.

What your mom says is true: it's possible also to overthink all of this. We can get so wrapped up in analysis that we miss some of the enjoyment of just being together. Everything has its place. There is a time and a season to every purpose under heaven.

You said that sometimes your Skype conversations don't go so well. That's true in any relationship. There are ups and downs, fun and problems, good communication and misunderstanding, hurts and forgivenesses. That's more of what dating is teaching you: how to be that kind of person, and what you want the person on the other side to be like.

Now, if you feel he doesn't always act out what he's saying, well, it depends on the degree of that whether it's an issue or not. Nobody like a hypocrite, but none of us is perfect or perfectly consistent either. It's a matter of degrees, but also in what areas. If it's in important areas, then it's more important. It's something to watch.

Navy Seals is an extremely difficult and demanding life, with lots of pressure and risks. I'm sure you've thought about it, but there's a high price to pay to be in a relationship with a Seal.

You asked for my advice, so I'll give you a little, and with any hope, it's wise advice.

1. You wonder if you're hearing from God directly and accurately about the relationship. I'll tell you as straight as I can: that's so difficult it's almost impossible. Our emotions get so wrapped up, and our hearts and our minds get all aflutter, and we get confused and hurt and happy and desiring and questioning and excited and angry and... It's really thorny to hear God's voice with any accuracy through all of that. While we pray and talk to God and listen for Him (which we may not hear with clarity), a good course is that of wisdom: Keep your head on straight, pursue God's best, be the kind of person you want to be and that God wants you to be, enjoy the relationship, don't let your love be blind, and learn to love somebody else. As your are faithful, God will be faithful, even if you don't hear his direct voice about the relationship.

2. Don't expect him to give you what Jesus does, and don't think that Jesus will necessarily fill that place for you. Our relationship with God is different from our relationship with people. Adam was in the Garden of Eden with God, and walked with God, but God still said, "Hm, this isn't good for him to be alone." Wait a minuteā€”I thought it was he and God, tight with each other. It was, but there was still a place for a human relationship that was different than what he had with God. And when God gave Eve to him, he said, "Now we're talking." It wasn't that God wasn't good enough. So my advice is don't think that God can fill all of what you need from another person, or that another person can fill all of what you need from God. Give to humans what belongs to humans, and to God what belongs to God.

3. Relationships govern our spiritual lives as much as our spiritual lives govern our relationships. We tend to become like the persons we hang out with, and so a dating relationship is formative and influential. Choose wisely, because he can drag you down or build you up, and you can drag him down or build him up. Pick a dating partner that builds you, and that you can build into. It has to go both ways, or somebody's losing out.

4. Lust is a tyrant. People's spiritual lives can be easily undone by the demands of lust. It doesn't mean we can't express ourselves physically, but it's very difficult to stop, to control, and it's almost impossible to go backwards. Always be vigilant and responsible...and godly.

5. Last thing, then I'll let you go. Just like the rest of life, our earthly relationships are about Jesus. Ephesians 5.21-33 are very clear about that, but there are other Scriptures too. Our relationships should reflect Him. Treat him in a godly way, and expect to be treated in a godly way. Serve him in love (Eph. 5.22-24), and expect him to serve you in love (Eph. 5.25-30). Act with integrity. If it's not a relationship that makes you a better person, where you feel free, and you can be vulnerable but safe, where you can make him a better person, and where God is at the center of it all, then it's not for you.

It's a fantastic thing to find a relationship that does all these things. Not everyone finds it. But you can try, and you can seek it, because many do. After all, you want the best marriage EVER, and the way to prepare for that is during your dating years.

I'll be glad to talk to you more about this as you wish. Maybe I've given you enough to now. I'll let you decide.
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