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Dating Tips For Today's Singles

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly
The Truth Network Radio
February 2, 2022 5:00 am

Dating Tips For Today's Singles

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly

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February 2, 2022 5:00 am

Jonathan Pokluda and Lisa Anderson, host of the Boundless Show, discuss the importance of single Christians pursuing dating in God’s way. This conversation will offer encouragement to parents of young adults who are hoping to see their son or daughter get married. The duo also offers amazing insights on how marriage isn’t about living “happily ever after,” but is rather an opportunity to become more like Jesus.

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I think the perfect date is having just a really good conversation over coffee. Probably a fall festival.

You have a lot of activities. There's a lot of things you can do, but you're still talking and is not like going to a movie.

Anything that is outdoors and reveals character and allows for good conversation and laughter going to a concert and singing along with the music together just sounds perfect.

Driving in a car listening to good music and then watching the stars.

Whether you're married or not, you probably have some idea of what a perfect date would be. Maybe you've had a few of those, or you're looking forward to some perfect dates in the near future.

I will welcome to today's episode of Focus on the Family will be exploring the world of dating today and will examine some of the current challenges and offer some hope your host is focused president and other Jim Daly and I'm John Fuller, Jen, I have such great memories of when Jean and I began dating and I'm sure many of the parents listening right now can say the same thing that excitement about getting to know someone you're attracted to, and those early feelings of love and now we find ourselves watching it happen all over again with our young adults Trenton Troy, you know, so it's exciting. It's an exciting time and you know I get it. Not everybody's going to get married, but the majority of people probably will. I've also got some data here that I just saw the other day for ages 25 to 50. In 1970 only 9% of that group was not married, 25 to 50 and then today it's 35% are not married and that represents about 39 million people so there's you know there's something going on where people aren't desiring at the same rate to get married as as they once did, but today we can explore that. How to cultivate a healthy dating relationship how to move toward marriage, which is a good thing this is. This can be a troubling conversation and topic for parents who have raised their kids as Christians we have expectations we have standards were thinking. You can do better than the cultures offering, but it's a difficult conversation half well in you know, again, we don't want to raise marriage up as an idol and you know when I was young I thought maybe I would go through life single I will mention that commitment to the Lord that I met Jean sorry don't think I could do that and that's the way it should be. And though I'm looking forward to our company and we recognize not all single adults are to be married, but the majority likely will at some point want to do what you did with Jean.

We have two great guests who really unpacked this topic. Lisa Anderson is back with us. She's our colleague here at focus and heads up Focus on the Family's boundless effort which includes a podcasting broadcasting website more for single adults to help them grow in their relationships and their relationship with God as well. We also have Jonathan JP preclude F will call you JP. I guess the long way here.

He's worked in young adult ministry for years is the pastor of Harris Creek Baptist Church in Waco Texas and has a book that will be covering today is called outdated find love that lasts when dating has changed. Lisa and JP welcome page. Thank you guys have the that's always find her so much energy in those single adults.

I was her. There's all kinds of energy right absolute sense and be back with you as well. Very good.

Let's get into it in your book JP with in your work frankly with young adults that were some your observations about the dating culture. I've been married 35 years Helen 37. It has changed all-natural and generous heart you know with my boys 21 and 19. It can be hard for me to come again. What's happening is like wow it's not the same thing yet. Let me just say this if you're listening and you're single you desire marriage. If you are in a relationship or if you are the parents of someone that you desire marriage for or their dating. Maybe you like your significant other, maybe you don't.

I hope you'll listen in and find something helpful here because it has changed our my children. There's a really good chance you're going to meet their spouse through an app that technology now plays a role in this.

Whether we like it or not it's here to stay. It's not going anywhere and we become more segmented and so people are looking to the church wanting the church to help them find a spouse and everybody kept on their hands out in a people are getting married later, they getting married less and marriages are lasting and so that's really why this book outdated was born so that we could give people a roadmap some help treat a biblical worldview on this topic that shows up nowhere in the Bible so nowhere in Scripture Genesis to Revelation. Will you find the word dating because it didn't exist.

Dating is only about 120 years old and most people don't realize that that as we do this thing that is completely commonplace now that it is. It's a new idea and I'm not trying to kiss it goodbye if you will, but I am trying to say hey let's work in some biblical ideas to help us here. Well, I know that serious what you just said that boy in my experience meeting Jean. I'm glad I was born that hundred 20 is amazing. It is as it was really fulfilling for us and I think we did a good job, Jean and I contained all his appetites and all those things and really felt like honor the Lord through it and it was a good thing Lisa. Let me give you a swing at what I asked JP in terms what you hear back from boundless readers and listeners about their thoughts on marriage, the dating culture what you hear.

I really think there is a lot of frustration Jen because it's enough that if you talk to our parents or grandparents. It was this idea of like it was just a natural progression of dating like you think of the average church you went to youth group then you went to the college group and then the next thing was like the young married screw so you just got married in your peers did to you and it was just kind of the thing you did but now it's kinda like some people go to college some people down. Then you can be in a small group and it might be for people who are believers and write Harleys or you know what they're just so many things that are likes segmented and it's no longer assumptive as this is what I do because I'm now 23. Clearly I'm just good to be dating looking for someone getting married and for those that want to get married. They do get frustrated because finding someone who wants the same thing and is pursuing it in the same way like holy Grail in one of the things as parent now with kids and that dating age range and this is probably a more toward the younger adult as I say this yet. We have our experiences parents right. That's what we did and I can just hear the conversation with the 21-year-old whose not found that dating relationship that are not found that someone would buy 20 x 21. I Artie met your dad and this is already happening, what your problem and I think we as parents have to be careful not to project our experience of you know, 20, 30 years ago on to our kids because it is different and it ends many ways it's unfair, even as you pray for your children and so was it at an early age and praying. I pray for their spouse. What they don't get married and we forget that the Scripture calls singleness a gift. Paul says that first routines chapter 7 and he's actually plagiarizing the words of Jesus in Matthew 19 where he says there are some who are celibate for the sake of the kingdom.

Not everyone can accept this but those who can, should, by the way Paul single Jesus also single the end and we have this idea from that comes from you, and I think Jerry Maguire back in the day this. You complete me, which really sends a signal to singles that you're not whole that your you're just 1/2 a person and you, Jesus, certainly the most complete human being that is ever lived. As God you know he wasn't incomplete. He was 1/2 a person and so were not trying to find a soulmate or starcrossed lover or all of these ideas that actually come into our culture from Greek mythology and we don't realize that and so absolutely I don't. Lisa and I talked a lot about that before. Let me be moved to some of the data that's a little concerning our flesh. It's a very concerning some statistics and surveys are showing that within the Christian community. So not talk about the world but the Christian community.

Research shows that 47% of young evangelicals are saying they would live together before marriage. Gonna try it out.

47% and I guess the right questions.

Why are Christians compromising in this way and falling for it. I think the other data point is about half of those that lived together end up not getting married, and that's double trouble. I think that the welders lost the statistics out there, one that I looked at was even much more than half and the success rate of cohabitation, one that I'll share a is about 2% and so that's crazy. You are in and you can find statistics that venture off that a little bit but think about if 100 people live together. A significant portion of them are not going to get married and then another significant portion of those that get married end in divorce, and so this whole try before you buy is not working and it's like there's a God and he has these, you know, ideals, and these desires for us in and they actually work out for our good. And so I think as we begin to apply those work will find life not as a promise. Certainly, hardships can happen in this fallen world. But as we pursue the things that he desires for us. He's the one that invented marriage.

You know he he invented relationships he made them male and female heat. He knows how this works better than anyone else. And so as we as we look to him. I think then we we find the path together cohabitation. It's a real issue and I think is just the way that we think where there's a spirit of selfishness in the air and I don't want to commit. Why commit if I can just have a roommate and I can have the friends with benefits I can get that you know clinical benefits of marriage without the commitment but it doesn't go well well and I think that's where you know, for women, Jen.

It's very easy for women to choose to settle on this front because for them the assumption as if I choose to live with this guy, it's going to drive him towards commitment and what happens is exactly the opposite. They think that if they just bide their time weighted out build more connection with this guy that he's gonna stay but then what we find is you know all of a sudden they're sharing a renter. Maybe in some cases sharing a mortgage then there sharing the dog and then eventually they might share a kid or two, and at that point they might be in a really bad toxic relationship, but it's so hard to extricate themselves from that that they just stay in it and just waited out and end up in a really bad situation, sometimes for years because they just realize well I paid my dues.

I put my time and I guess I'm just gonna leave it the status quo. Cohabitation will keep you in the wrong relationship too long and it will keep you from the right relationship with your Lisa.

Let me also ask that you have a comment from a boundless listener that illustrates the pain and confusion that many Christian families are dealing with. Because of this cohabitation share there, and then explain how you address this topic with your boundless listener yeah I mean all kind of I summarize it here. We had a listener right in who was talking about her brother who was dating someone and I their mom was allowing brother and his girlfriend to sleep together when they visited and she's like I think my mom is a Christian and I'm not comfortable with this but I don't want to drive my brother away, but do I confront my mom is a you can see where it gets muddy and this is where also when were wondering like what are you know how do we apply Christian principles to everyday life and does she honor her mom and exits her mom's house and so it really became a very sticky situation and work through that so interesting. I would think that would be a different scenario where the mom and dad were engaged and worried you know you can stay here, but got stay in different rooms and all that kind of thing and it's the child, sibling say that I don't think this is cool. Yeah, it's almost a weird case of like, you know, young adult children parenting their in-person role reversal that were seen that a lot JP the challenges that many single adults face with dating today are part of your journey. This is your testimony and I'm sure it's you know that old adage that you were passion is born out of your pain. You speak from that experience. When you say don't make the same mistakes that I made.

Explain how you view dating before you were Christian. What age did you become a Christian. It was an adventure. It was this it was the minutes of dating for me and I'll go back to something you said earlier we talked about you and your wife dating and really being benefit to you, but we'll have to define that word now because it means so many different prices. Different people rights for a lot of people when they hear dating they think oh it's this emotional experience.

That's what it was for Monica night or even before I met Monica, the manic highs in the manic close going on the adventure. Kind of like the bachelor, the bachelorette, if you will, let's go experience all the things together and I call myself a Christian. I was raised in the church, but really I wasn't making any decision that was rooted in Christ or God's word and then I was at a club 20 years ago when someone invited me to church us at the back row hung over smell like smoke from the night before and ended up given my life to Jesus and I really had to realize that I wasn't a Christian to become one and when that happened, everything changed.

I set Monica my my girlfriend at the time we set down the gist of what do you believe about God. We had fought about faith. Up until now, but she said I believe that Jesus died for my sins and raised from the dead. I believe that to. Let's build on that and oh by the way, I think we need to stop the physical stuff it. It seems like that's not God's desire, and so we pulled the parking brake on that that was really challenging as you can imagine, so the nose like we should probably get married and so shortly thereafter we got married but I will say I've never met than a lot of marriage counseling letter pre-marriage counseling. I've never met someone with marriage problems they've always been single people, problems that they've brought into marriage and the mayor just does it giant magnifying glass on it and that was my story so that there was no pornography.

I was a sex addict certainly addicted to pornography as I needed to go through a season of healing before I brought someone into my problems and challenges and so now as I look back I think you know there is a way to date. Like you said let you experience Jim that's really God honoring that is is a method that I think a lot of times he blesses with a healthy marriage. Not an easy marriage but a healthy marriage and so that is your right of an my passion is born out of that.

Let me you know I had difficulties in high school and early college you know the Lord really spoke to my heart about the right way to go, and I remember after Gina nice first date. I shook her hand, as I just said to myself I'm not going any further. The irony of ironies is that with that is one of things that caught Jean's attention and make a great handshake and is very sincere. I didn't do it for any other matter I just knew if I if I do anything else, it's gonna take us down the wrong path and you know that the thing about that men even if your 1920 21. You gotta be a man. At that point can and demonstrate what this is going to grow into and don't fall into the trap. It's hard yeah it's difficult been there but you gotta find a way to make your commitment to Christ first and then the relationship second and that's just the way it is. Lisa, there can be a lot of confusion about dating because men and women have different goals maybe expectations. I think today were being told they were there not so different. Women are wanting physical intimacy as much as men I mean that's what's being said right explain why it's important for single adults to be more intentional in their dating yeah I think it's very easy to get caught up in just the clutter of what you assume relationships are what you want them to be. So you have many options of you know we we see people quote on quote hanging out. We see people hooking up we see people dating intentionally or what I would call biblical dating of really moving along a progression or trajectory of of what would be a great way to get to know someone, but no one has really annoy pipes jokingly say to boundless listeners be awesome if we could open up the Bible and look for first and second dating and just get all of our instructions out there, but the fact is that doesn't exist and so as a result, we have to script some principles of what it means to honor someone as a brother or sister in Christ, and until you are married to this person that is all they are and so there and obviously like as you start dating or expressing interest in someone you're going to do that hopefully be very explicit about that, like I'm interested in you.

But the fact is now with all the mightiness in our culture were actually having to give that kind of instruction to young adults of like this is what it looks like to actually ask someone out. This is what it looks like to not just get caught up in what I call a friend relationship of using this person for connection for affection for attention and so we really have to be a lot more in young adults are here for it. I mean, they're coming like please help me navigate the space.

Help me figure this out because I don't know what I'm doing in my you know my parents are either like telling me not to get in a relationship with her pushing me towards a relationship in itself. They just want some clarity. Let me let me ask you this the kind of the group gathering. I think trip Troy. At least my observation. I'm sure I don't know everything but the observation that I have is that they they did lean into kind of the guys and the girls coming going out together and like to pack up about 8 to 10, and that felt comfortable as parents to Jean and I again I don't know that all the behavior was perfect but what about the concept for a particularly teenagers in a Christian home to parents saying, you know that's an area that seems right for 1617 we go out with a bunch of friends and learning to be comfortable around the opposite sex. I mean that's that's what they're learning right in it. I would say this year that I think dating the way the world does. It is really the enemy of marriage for men. So if we reframe it as hanging out with other followers of Jesus, other Christians, and you start to observe people when you think you know what there's something special about that. You begin to come to feel your heart moving toward them and what you and you know about them because you've hung out for season and they really are following Jesus. So now, let's redefine dating as in a way that I think is God honoring is a path to a promise is a path to a promise. So when I enter into a committed relationship with them anymore, not dating other people really all I'm trying to do is is identify are they who I think they are or would they make a good husband would they make a good wife would they make a good father would that be a good mother. Do they have these character qualities there and just try and identify that. Honestly, as quickly and effectively as I can. Assuming that I met at an age where I'm ready for marriage.

Prior to that, like Lisa said it's brother and sister relationships were hanging out were having fun. You know, guarding your heart, which I know sounds archaic because it is a couple thousand years old still very effective today. Very good formula is learned. Did we get this idea that we should just all be dating any age, any state which I mean all it's going to do is set you up for a lot of heart ache and more.

You know, a downward spiral or getting caught into a vortex of sexual activity or whatever him him like night. I have friends of mine you know with 13-year-olds that there like go get a boyfriend mean a boyfriend at school and I'm like what you talking about ending in you.

I really believe that dating is for the purpose of finding a marriage partner can you do that intentionally you do it well you do in community and your unit have a lot better chance of finding that person successfully. Let me ask you JP. You have an acrostic that I actually sent to my son today because I thought it so good. This idea of cross and what each element. CR OSS means in the dating relationship.

Yeah, I think, just as you consider who you're looking for and and that list and I am not against lists. Just make sure that your list aligns with God's list for you are looking for what he would have you look at you want to find someone who is controlled, self-control is a fruit of the spirit you want to find someone who is responsible.

As they're moving to the adult season of life. It's hard and there are bills and there are challenges that come with just being an adult so you want to find someone who's responsible someone who is who is obedient. They are submissive to authority. They are under the control of the Holy Spirit.

They know God's word. They live according to what it says they're serving if someone does not enjoy serving they're going to hate marriage and then I would just say someone who is steady. It's not the manic highs in the manner close that the world would tell you dating is that Monica and I experienced it really is. There's a steadiness in a lot of ways. And though in this is not a popular opinion, but in a lot of ways you want to boring marriage and what I have boring marriages.

It would make a good reality show. It's not the stuff getting thrown against the wall and were yelling expletives at each other and you know in the were crying in the were making up its steady so controlled, responsible, obedient, serving steady that's the acrostic of cross it's really good. I think that's great JP right at the end here want to close with your perspective about the fairytale ending that many singles dream about that if they only get there. It's all good to be bless you and really you're just strap and then for the next level of what can attention your greatest disappointments come from expectations and I would say the most concentrated form of expectations are the highest platform from which we fall is entitlement. And so I think when you go into the world you feel entitled to marriage in you and you feel entitled to a fun marriage that's easy. I'm telling you it's doesn't exist. It's not out there you can have a lot of fun, but it requires a lot of work and a lot of sacrifice and so will we hear Disney telling us is this idea of happily ever after in the problem with that is is it's actually we don't know we don't know what's in store. We don't know if it's infertility we don't know what is can it be like to have very apparent that the challenges in the weightiness of life really what we did in marriages. We found a partner to help us carry some of that and at times that partners going to be a part of what we carry is is going to be there going to be a part of the challenges in this life and so with the Scripture tells us is is no one is married in heaven except for everyone is married in heaven were married to Jesus. We are the bride of Christ, his church, and so marriages this metaphor, it's not just a metaphor but it is first a metaphor.

So in Ephesians 5, Paul is saying husbands, wives Jesus church husbands, wives Jesus church husbands, wives Jesus church to show us something that marriage showcases the Savior when we lay our lives down for one another when husbands lay their lives down for Wise's wife submit to that kind of leadership.

And I know that seems like in an old-fashioned idea, but it starts out that passage starts out husband-and-wife submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Will we live like that the world is saying man. There is something different about them.

I want to get to know their God, and that's the true happily ever after that we can live in eternity with God because of what he's done for us through his son Jesus Christ.

I'm like bursting out of my seat writer.

You couldn't say it any better today. I mean that that is right on. And that's what we fight for each and everyday lease that you get a shot at really hitting on boundless and trying to accomplish.

Yeah, I just wanted to say one thing to that gym and that is yeah if as a single person if marriage is the ultimate prize. Then Paul and Jesus and I have the lamest lives ever Were not any what what is there and so that's where I say no we will all stand before the Lord as single individuals you know and ready to enter heaven and what second look like and so for me I'm encouraged that you know single people that get married there in a trade one set of joys and sorrows for another set of joys and sorrows so it's not like there's first and second class citizens are that whole deal. So I am just excited that at boundless. We have the opportunity to be a community for folks who are hopeful for marriage. Some who maybe want to remain single, but ultimately are walking out their faith in a way, hopefully in community and in a way where they are pursuing Christ and wanting to honor him now, and whether or not they get married and we just have the opportunity to root for them and provide them advice and resources along the way. That's great, John. Give details that are connected boundless.

In a moment, but that Lisa JP thank you so much for being with us. Thank you so angry at my aunts really really good and I hope you'll get a copy of JP's book outdated find love that lasts when dating has changed, to snag a couple copies for my voice and make sure that they have it and I want to recommend that you get a copy and if you can make a gift of Focus on the Family be a part of the ministry will send you a copy of the book as our way of saying thank you for being a partner and man. I think this is one of the most important things important jobs we have as parents is to help our kids navigate our young adult kids navigate this area is right.

I'm so glad we had this conversation and as Jim said, get a copy of this book. When you get in touch. Donate.

As you can or numbers 800 the letter a in the word family 800-232-6459 or the link is in the episode notes and at our website where link over to the boundless show podcast in the website, and please do a favor and let any single adults in your sphere know about this terrific outreach and make plans to join us tomorrow for an insightful conversation with Dr. Gary Chapman about knowing your child's lovely sometime soon and every child, there's an emotional love, the love tank is full. The child grows up emotionally healthy. The Loctite is empty and the child feels like they don't look on behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team. Thanks for joining us today for Focus on the Family I'm John Fuller inviting him back as we once again help you and your family thrive in Christ. Is it possible to love your spouse without expecting anything in return. Focus on the Family were excited about season five of the Leffingwell podcast. I'm John Fuller and I'll be joined by my friends and colleagues, Dr. Greg Smalley and his wife Erin as we discussed practical ways you can show love and appreciation to your will find the Leffingwell podcast had Focus on the that's

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