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How Should a Christian Date? | Eric Demeter

Building Relationships / Dr. Gary Chapman
The Truth Network Radio
July 23, 2022 1:00 am

How Should a Christian Date? | Eric Demeter

Building Relationships / Dr. Gary Chapman

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July 23, 2022 1:00 am

No matter what you may have heard, God didn’t mandate a divine way to date. On this summer best-of Building Relationshipswith Dr. Gary Chapman, Eric Demeter says the issue is not as complicated as you may think. But there are principles from the Bible that deal with your dating life. Don’t miss a practical conversation for singles on this edition of Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman.

Featured resource: How Should A Christian Date?

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Anything worth doing, whether it's going to school, finding your calling, all that takes work. And it probably will take a few days at least for you to meet that right person. But again, God wants to empower you with His grace and partner with you in that search. Welcome to Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, author of The New York Times bestseller, "The 5 Love Languages" . Today our guest says you can toss the rule book about Christian dating out the window. It's not as complicated as we've made it to be. So says Eric Demeter, who has written our featured resource today, How Should a Christian Date?

You can find it at FiveLoveLanguages.com. This is a special summer best-of broadcast at Building Relationships. And Gary, when we open the phone lines each month, this is one of the recurring questions that you are asked by a lot of listeners. Absolutely, Chris.

A lot of singles listen to the program, and they have questions about dating as well as other relationships. So I'm excited about our conversation today with Eric. Well, let me introduce him.

Eric Demeter, D-E-M-E-T-E-R, is a relationship and conflict resolution specialist with Advanced Studies in Mediation, Peacemaking, and Negotiation from the Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver and Peacemaker Ministries. He's currently a missionary with Youth with a Mission, or YWAM, based in Athens, Greece, where he disciples young people from the Middle East and teaches conflict resolution and healthy relationships to YWAM staff and missionary students. His experience is growing up, listening to heavy metal, working alongside ex-convicts, and being raised in the Roman Catholic tradition give him the ability to connect well with people of diverse belief systems.

You're going to hear that today. He considers every reader a friend and challenges everyone to become more like Christ in everything they do. So if you go to FiveLoveLanguages.com, you'll see our featured resource, How Should a Christian Date? It's Not as Complicated as You Think.

You can find it at FiveLoveLanguages.com. Well, Eric, welcome to Building Relationships. Thanks so much for having me. Now you have a wide range of life experiences, as Chris just shared. Tell us a little about yourself and why this topic is something you're so passionate about. Yeah, you know, I had a mentor, a wonderful mentor, said that he passed away at an early age, but he was a professor of family therapy, and he took me under his wing in 2000, 2001, and he just poured into me, was really helpful in my healing process, taught me how to date well, taught me how to communicate well. His passion for relationships was contagious, so I think that that affected me a lot, and I saw when I became a Christian at 21, I looked at Christian dating, and I was a Christian dater myself, and I saw that there were some gaps. I read some really, really good books, and I saw that I could also contribute to the conversation with my unique experience.

Well, you know, many of us are familiar with YWAM, and as Chris said, you spend a lot of your time in Athens, Greece, and you spend some time here in the States, so we're just delighted that we can have this conversation with you today. You know, just speak a word to Christian singles who are out there. I think a lot of them sometimes feel like they're left out when they go to church, that the pastors preach on marriage and parenting, don't usually have sermons to single adults, so just say a word of encouragement to them. Yeah, that you're a whole person, whether you're married or not. You can be just as mature and complete being single as you are married. Sometimes the church touts marriage as the be-all and end-all, and you've sort of arrived in life, but just because you're married doesn't make you mature.

It just makes you married, so you can lead as fulfilling of a life and serve God, love people, love, you know, your friends, your family, and lead a really rich life, whether you're single or decide to get married. Yeah, well, you mentioned earlier that you've read a lot of books on dating and from a Christian perspective, but what have we gotten wrong, typically, about dating from the Christian world perspective? I want to speak into that. At the same time, I have to be very humble in my criticism because I'm part of that Christian single dating crowd. I think one of the things that we do, though, is we over-spiritualize our language. We kind of use God at times, you know, so instead of just saying, hey, I like you, would you want to go out on a date? And I've heard of some people, instead of using that clearer question, say stuff like, God told me this and God told me that, I see that God might have spoken to you, and that's great. And I never want to, you know, challenge how someone heard from God because maybe they did, but the thing is that that kind of spiritual, over-spiritual language is not helpful in dating, so we need to be clear and we need to speak from our heart because I don't know really any woman that wants to hear, God told me to ask you out.

I think that woman would say, well, that's great that God thinks that, but what do you think? Because it probably communicates, I didn't really want to do this, but God told me to do it. Yeah, yeah, and when we break up, you know, sometimes we play the God card and say, you know, God didn't give me peace about you, or God said that I'm not going to marry you again, maybe he, maybe God did, but people want to know what, what do you think?

And so we sort of use God as a hook to get what we want and we can use him as an escape hatch when we want out. Yep, so you don't believe that God has given us ten commandments of dating? You know, I like to say that God didn't invent dating, that we did, our culture did, but he definitely still cares about how we get there, he cares about the process. I mean, God created marriage and he loves marriage, he loves relationships, and he uses dating for better or for worse to get people married. But yeah, the Bible primarily focuses on marriage and who to look for in a spouse, and I talk about how to actually date, and I think God gives us a big yard, you know, if you think of like a big yard, God gives us a lot of options and different ways to date, different ways to meet people, but there is a fence, and that's God's moral boundary. So I think that within that fence, within God's vest, within the scriptural mandates, we are free to try different ways of dating and see what what works for us.

Yeah. Why do you think there's so much confusion about dating in the Christian world? That's a good question. I think that there's a lack of teaching. I haven't heard many sermons on singleness and on dating. I've heard maybe one or two on singleness from, you know, up front, from the pulpit. I've heard one or two, but not any on dating, and I think that the church has such an opportunity to invest in the lives of singles, and those two are dating, so I think we need some good teaching, some good preaching.

Often churches, they definitely care about marriages, they care about when couples get engaged, but I think that they enter the relationship too late, so I think that they need to enter in and disciple singles who are dating before their reach engagement. Thanks for joining us for Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, author of the New York Times bestseller "The 5 Love Languages" . If you'd like to know more about our guest or learn your love language, go to our website, fivelovelanguages.com. Today Eric Dameter is helping singles. Our featured resource is his book, How Should a Christian Date? It's not as complicated as you think. Find out more at our website, fivelovelanguages.com.

That's fivelovelanguages.com. Eric, you mentioned earlier that dating is a cultural thing. That is, it's not found in all cultures of the world.

We have, of course, in the Western world. What do you think is the value of dating, or what is the purpose of dating from your perspective or a Christian perspective? Yeah, I think that the value is that you get to know someone in, hopefully, a safe environment, and you get to go on different dates, and that helps you choose. I mean, if we were raised in a culture where prearranged marriages was the norm, then I think we would do it, you know, totally, totally different.

They actually commit first, as opposed to we sort of have a slow, you know, a slow burn. So there are pluses and minuses to both, and I would say that the main benefit of dating is you get to build that that friendship with someone and learn about them before you actually commit for marriage. And that learning can be true even if the dating relationship does not lead to marriage, right? Yeah, all healthy dating is beneficial. You can learn a lot about yourself, about what you value. So even if the relationship doesn't make it to marriage done in the right way, you will be at a good place and be ready for that next person. And hopefully, it won't take too many dates. It will probably take some, but leaving a dating relationship well will prepare you for the next one.

Yeah. How is your book different from some of the other dating books that are out there? Well, for one, I wasn't a Christian until I was 21. So I dated outside the church, and then when I became a Christian, I dated inside the church.

So I feel that God's given me the ability through His grace to speak to new Christians, you know, and to even speak to those outside the church, but also being a Christian now for over 20 years that I can speak to those that have been following Jesus for quite a while. Yeah, and there's many good dating books. Your book, Five Love Languages, I quote that in my book, so that's an amazing one. I go into not just who to date. You know, a lot of dating books talk about, oh, these are the red flags, you know, these are the things to watch out for, this is what the Bible says about sex.

Those are all great. I talk about those things, but I just don't talk about who to date. I talk about how to date. Well, why is it important that Christians get dating right? Well, we want to glorify God, you know, in everything that we do.

You know, 1 Corinthians 10, where Paul is saying that, so whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, you can glorify God. So whether your dating is messy, and often it is or imperfect, we can glorify God. Practically, we can save ourselves pain. I like to say, you know, you don't have to commit all your own mistakes, because I made plenty of them for you. You can't remove all of the pain in dating.

There will always be risk, but there are things that we can do to save ourselves pain, and there are things that we can do that can make it easier. What do you think are some of the things that especially Christian daters end up getting wrong? Well, I'm going to say something that might be controversial, that two strong Christians don't necessarily form a good relationship, and that's the mentality that things must work. You know, that I'm a solid Christian, they're a solid Christian, and that some way that that equals a good relationship. But I like to say a relationship is a relationship, so it's how you relate.

And just because they follow Jesus and you follow Jesus, of course that's the foundation that you definitely want to start with, but that doesn't equal a good relationship. I mean, I talk about a cheesecake, you know, in my book, and with the right ingredients baked in the oven, you have an amazing cheesecake. But I like wasabi, too.

But wasabi is a great ingredient, but it goes well on sushi, not on cheesecake. So you can have two strong Christians that don't necessarily form a life-giving relationship. Yeah. In other words, you can have the same commitment to Christ, but there's a lot of other aspects to life under his control, obviously, but that if we're going to have good relationships, those things are important also. So you say in your book that we don't always have to call it a date. You don't have to use that word in order to go out on what we think of as a date.

Why do you make that point? Well, I like to talk about the nuance of dating, because there are gray areas. One reason is that different cultures mean, you know, understand dating to be different. I know in Greece that the evangelical couples, they don't announce that they're quote dating until they're engaged, because to say you're dating means that you're actually having sex. So it's like, yeah, that's definitely not what I mean and what most people mean when they ask someone on a date, but you know, there's definitely a cultural context. Practically, too, a lot of guys feel pressure.

Maybe they're in a Christian community where, hey, if you ask that person out, you better have a good idea that you're going to marry them, and I think that that pressure can keep guys from actually going out on dates. So I say that there's a soft start date and then there's a hard start date. So a hard start date, that's the clear. Do you want to go out? I like you. Would you like to join me on a date Friday night? That's clear.

That's unambiguous, and at least in the United States and most of Canada, that is going to be clear. But if you feel pressure, or let's say that a woman likes a guy, she doesn't want to pursue him, and she doesn't want to, you know, ask out a guy, I think that she can initiate with a guy, maybe inviting him to a movie night, or a game night, or you know, going on a hike. And soft starts can give women a way to feel empowered in their love life when asking out a guy directly would would be uncouth. Yeah, you know, interesting, Gary, because Andrea invited me out on our first, it wasn't a date, it was, you want to play tennis? She knew that I played tennis, and she was four years older than me, and so she was interested, and I was interested, but I was, I was not, you know, I didn't have the courage to ask a four years older person out, and she said, hey, you want to go play tennis? And that kind of freed up the relationship then to move forward, but I think she felt guilty about that, you know, years later when Elizabeth Elliott talked about, you know, you cannot do this, you cannot, and there's a lot of that strong stuff that comes with some of the teaching in the church, not, not anything against Elizabeth Elliott, but she was very strongly against a woman saying anything to a man to initiate, and I like that, that term that you use, Eric, it's, it's a soft opening so that it allows the, the couple to then decide, do we want to go further with this?

That's what you're saying, right? Exactly, and I would say that, that women don't have to feel guilty, that most good guys, once you invite them to tennis once, twice, you know, or a few times that they're gonna pick up what you're throwing down, you know, I would say that there's a difference between initiating with a guy and pursuing him, and I had a friend and she really liked this guy for, man, two or three years, and I asked her, I said, well, have, have you, you know, asked him to do anything? Have, have you told him how you feel?

And, and she said, no, no, no, I don't want to pursue him. I'm like, just initiating is not pursuing, and if a guy doesn't pursue after a few soft start tries, then it's, it's probably not the right one for you. Yeah, I like the idea what you're calling soft start, because that gives you a chance, both of you, a chance to get to know each other a little better, and in some kind of social setting that both of you enjoy doing, and as you said, two or three of those kind of get-togethers, and, and chances are it either leads to dating, or it doesn't lead to dating, but you could have a longer friendship with a person like that, that doesn't have romantic overtones, it's just that we're friends. Yeah, and that's great, and you have to decide in your mind, are, are you spending time with this person because there is more, there is potential for, for marriage, and, and if there's not, then okay, well then that is, and that's fine too. My only criteria for a date is that you're curious for the possibility of marriage, and if you have no, if, if there's no spark, if there's no chance that, that you'll be married, then yeah, absolutely stay friends, but if there's a, you know, slight interest, if there's even an inkling for the possibility of, of marriage, then by all means, go on some dates.

Yeah. How does, how does the dating experience relate to ultimately having a good marriage? What part does that dating segment play in having a good marriage? Yeah, I think that marriage and dating are very different and similar at the, at the same time, but I do believe that like, you know, when you get married on that day, that's, that's not the beginning of your relationship. You probably dated for a year or two, two or three, you know, so, so my thing is, is those, those patterns, let's say you have a healthy pattern of communication, you're, you're, you're open, you're honest, you can be vulnerable, you can deal with conflict, right? All those patterns will naturally carry over to marriage, and the same is true with the negative patterns. If you keep fighting, you know, about the same things, if you don't see eye-to-eye on some core values, those patterns will also carry over in, in the marriage. Yeah, and one of the purposes of dating would be to decide not to marry, right? Exactly, I mean, yeah, a closed door is, you know, you can, you know, you, you can chalk that off to posterity and you can move on.

Yeah. What would you tell someone who's just beginning the dating process, they, they haven't dated before, perhaps at all, they just heard a lot about this, they're thinking about it, they're at the stage of life that they would like to begin building a dating relationship, what would you say to them? Definitely pray, you know, and to invite God into your love life. Even though dating is a cultural thing, God cares about how we find a mate and to date and to get married, so, so definitely pray, and I would say if you're new, try different ways, see what works for you, maybe try to go on some blind dates or try on, try online dating, or is there somebody at church, someone in your Bible study that you're like, huh, that person, yeah, yeah, I could, you know, I can maybe see that. Yeah, so try different ways, and I think one of the most important things is to look for a friend that, you know, attraction is good and, you know, do you want to be sexually attracted to the person that you marry, but I think that feelings will go up and feelings will go down, so at the end of the day you want to marry a friend, so I would say to that new dater, look for a friend.

Yeah. What would you say to someone who has been hurt a lot, several dating experiences, all of them ended in pain, and they're just not sure that they even want to, they even want to date again. They're just gonna wait and let God drop somebody down from heaven. What would you say to that person? Oh, I would say I am, I'm sorry dating is an imperfect way, and yes, there are many people who have been through the wringer. I had a broken engagement, and one is enough for a lifetime, so I would say, and this has helped me in my own life, is to take your time, that you're not in a hurry, people deal with grief on their own timeline and in different ways, and take time and then let God heal your heart. Secondly, I would say that don't compare your journey with someone else's, you know, your journey is your journey, and maybe take a break from social media, but just know that God has you in the palm of His hand, you know, all the good ones aren't already taken, and trust that in that right time that you will meet that right person. Thanks for joining us for Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, author of the New York Times bestseller, "The 5 Love Languages" . Today we're learning about dating and the Christian. Our guest is Eric Demeter, author of How Should a Christian Date? It's not as complicated as you think. We have a link for you at 5lovelanguages.com.

That's 5lovelanguages.com. Eric, you mentioned a minute ago that your book, the difference between your book and a lot of the other dating books, which are good, is you really focus on how to date, so is that like you teach us which restaurants to go to, or you don't follow us around after we buy your book, right? Well, when I say, you know what, for first dates, make it a low pressure date. You know, you probably don't want to get dressed up in your best gown and your suit on that first date.

Those can make it seem kind of uptight, lots of pressure, so I would say make it a first date coffee, you know, make it a walk and just make it low pressure. And there is also stages to relationships, you know, which are basically progressions of intimacy. So there's friendship, there is non-exclusive dating, which is optional, there is exclusive dating, there is engagement, there is marriage.

So you go through this process, these five stages, so I take you through each one and help people know when it's time to transition from one stage to the next. What are some stories? Can you give us a story or two of people who've experienced positive dating and things ended up well? Yeah, you know, I have been collecting dating stories for a long time and I love it how people end up together and get married and have healthy marriages, even from crazy dating stories. I mean, but they don't have to be crazy. My friends, I have a friend, a couple, and they barely dated and they were basically, for him it was their first, like really his first girlfriend, and they dated and they got married and they got two great kids.

So it doesn't have to be hard. But I have another friend, the opposite extreme, who went on a hundred, over a hundred first dates. And I think his wife, but then he met his wife at, I think at date 103 or 106. And you know, you would think by that point he would have given up, but he just, you know, kept on meeting people. And I asked him, I said, do you look back on your life and wish you would have dated less? And he said, Eric, no, because that's my journey and I may have never met my wife unless I, you know, I didn't meet all these other people first.

So God does it amazingly ways, you know, in amazing ways. And just one more couple, I wouldn't recommend this, but they broke up and got back together ten times. Whoa. You think you have to break up three or four, you throw in the towel and say, no, this is not the one, but for whatever reason, that's what it took.

And from what I know, they have a great marriage today. Yeah. You would think that before the tenth time you would decide either yay or nay, right? One of the things I like about the book, you list twelve Christian dating myths.

Take us through some of those. One of them is you'll meet someone when you stop looking. This is kind of the reverse psychology approach that is the proverbial ostrich with his, you know, head in the sand and you're not gonna date and you're gonna just let God do it all.

And the thing about God is He's good. And sometimes, yeah, you just randomly meet that person. I mean, God can introduce you to people in a number of different ways.

My mentor used to say, Eric, you could meet your wife at the gas station. But the problem is oftentimes, most of the time, God wants to partner with us in our search. So anything worth doing, whether it's going to school, finding your calling, whether it's playing the piano, all that takes work. And it probably will take a few dates at least for you to meet that right person. But again, God wants to empower you with His grace and partner with you in that search. One of the myths of Christian dating is that you have to know exactly what you want before you go out on a date. And we talked a little bit about this earlier, but that just creates a lot of pressure.

Again, I say that your only litmus test for whether you should go on a date is if you're curious about the possibility of marriage someday. So you want to have that, and you don't have to know exactly what you want. So you're saying they don't need to make a list of, the person I marry has to be a Michigan State University fan, they have to be so tall and so short, they have to have blonde hair and blue eyes? Yeah, you know, if you want, I have a friend, and she had over a hundred items on her list. You know what the crazy thing about that is? She found a guy that checked every single thing on that list.

I know, it's crazy. But the thing is, they have a great marriage, but they still have issues like every other marriage. So even if you check all hundred items, chances are, you know, you will have the same problems as a lot of couples do. There are no relationships that do not have conflicts, because we're different. We're humans, and humans think differently, humans feel differently.

Give us a couple of other myths before we move on. Yeah, I would say that one is that a lot of choice is going to help you get married, and there's been a lot of research on the psychology of choice. One of the studies is about at a grocery store that they set up two tables of jams, you know, one with 24 and I think the other one with six, and the one with 24 jams, and all these different choices of jams, that more people showed up at the table that they had more choice, but it was actually people that had less choice that were more satisfied with their choice. So this to me gives people hope, like if you're from a small community, if you have only a small pool of options, you can have just as good of marriage, you know, even with your choices of two or three people versus, you know, you're part of a, you know, 10,000 member church, and you have a lot of choices. I'd be a good example of that one, Eric, because I married a gal that I had known my whole life. I went to the same church. I dated her best girlfriend when I was in high school, and she broke up with me when I went off to college, and two or three years later I went back to the church. I was at home on a holiday, and I saw Carolyn, who later became my wife. I've known her forever, and I thought, wow, how did I miss her?

Yeah. So you might find your spouse in a small church somewhere, but I also wanted to ask about online dating, because you mentioned that earlier, and I know that that's become more and more feasible, and many people are involved in that. What are the advantages of that, and what might be some of the red flags that would be waving? Yeah, it has advantages, is that it can widen your circle. So you can date people from Zimbabwe to New Zealand, you know. So in in that case it is good, and in some ways you get to know someone better, and you get to see answers to questions before you go out on dates. So you sometimes there's a spot to put in what, you know, tell me about your faith, or tell me if you want to have kids, you know.

Would you relocate? So those are good things to know, and maybe some deal-breakers that may be helpful to you to make better choices. But I think that the biggest thing is just widens your pool, and it's just another way, it's another tool that God can use to bring people together.

Disadvantages? People sometimes, well, they can get overwhelmed with choice, and secondly, they chat for too long and they don't meet the person. So that experiential, that in-person knowledge, that's the best knowledge that you need. So people, they'll get in trouble when they chat for two or three months, and then they show up and they meet the person, you know, like, hey, you're not who I thought you were. They may look different, they may sound different, they, you know, they may not just be the kind of person that, you know, you thought they were. So my rule with internet dating is to meet fast and to date slow. Yeah, and don't assume that if you have an attraction online that you would have the same attraction in person, right? Yeah, yeah, because you think you know things about people, and I heard that people can fall in love even without meeting, and I say, uh, you definitely, definitely need to meet them. Yeah.

Sooner than later. Absolutely, and I would encourage people, yeah, you can certainly meet someone online, but there ought to be considerable time together when you're seeing each other in the real world before you make the decision to marry. Yeah, because you don't have shared communities, and that's the great thing about dating someone, like, you met your wife at church. There was a shared group of friends, you know, so when you're clashing to unrelated cultures or groups, you know, just because it's not just about the person, you have their group, their friends, their pastor, their church, so you definitely want to take your time. This is Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, author of the New York Times bestseller, "The 5 Love Languages" . Our featured resource today is Eric Demeter's practical book, How Should a Christian Date? It's not as complicated as you think.

You can find out more at fivelovelanguages.com. So, Eric, sometimes there's an individual that would like to date you. They may even ask you for a date. How do you, in a Christian way, let them know that you're not interested in dating them? Yeah, if it's a woman who's being asked out and she's not interested, I would maybe pay them a compliment first, like, oh, thank you so much for asking, or you could say, hey, I really appreciate the courage that it took to ask, just because it does, you know, it's unnerving for a guy to be direct. So when he does, I feel like maybe a small compliment would help ease it, but then also to make sure that you are clear.

So maybe say, thank you so much for asking, that took a lot of courage, but I don't, you know, but I see us as only being friends. And if they insist with, well, God told me... Well, I had a friend and a guy approached her several years ago and said that exact thing, God told me that we are going to be married, and her response was actually very gracious. She said, okay, let me, you know, I don't think so, but let me pray about it. And she did, and she went back and she prayed, and she said, know what, you know, God's not speaking to me in the same way, and he left in a huff.

I'm like, you know what, that's just a sign of some spiritual immaturity. Yeah, on the other hand now, maybe you've dated someone for a bit, and maybe they are more interested than you are in this relationship, and you feel like it's time to break up. You realize it's not going to marriage. Is there a good way to break up with someone?

Oh, there is no perfect way, but you can ease it. I think it depends on how much time you've dated. If it was a year, it will probably take one conversation, if not, you know, two.

It will take a while. If it's been three or four dates, you could simply say, you know what, thank you for giving me a chance to get to know you, but I don't see this going to marriage. You know, because that's the thing, like, you don't want to date forever, so as soon as you know that you're not going to marry someone, that's the right time to pull the plug. So you want to be gentle, you want to be gracious, but you want to be clear.

What if you're on the other side of it? I remember I had dated, as I said, my wife, my present wife's best girlfriend for three years in high school, and when I went off to college, I got a Dear John letter, you know, and she said, it's a long ways from Chicago to North Carolina, and I think we should each go our separate ways. Well, I was, I was heartbroken, because I quote, I had all these love feelings for her. So what if you're on that side of it, and someone's breaking up with you, how do you, how do you process the pain and work through that? Yeah, that is, that is tough, you know, dating and really, relationships definitely pull on our heartstrings. I would say to take your time to grieve well, and everyone grieves a little bit differently. Some people are ready to jump back on the horse, you know, and to find a new date, and other people need months or even a, you know, year. It all depends on, on how serious the relationship was. After one breakup, I actually emailed, there was a woman who said that, you know, we had been dating, and she said she came to the conclusion that we were not to be together, and that was really hard, but I actually emailed her, and I asked her what I could do, do better, and I meant it, not to get back together with, with her, but just to say, hey, going forward, is there anything that you saw in me that, that I could improve upon?

And boy, did she tell me. So I read that, and it was, and it was hard, it was hard to hear, so I don't know if I'm a glutton for punishment or what, but no, I, I just wanted to know, like, where I could grow, and so I think that you can mine a lot of gems being broken up with. It's not always easy, but I think looking back, most of the things that we learn come through some sort of a painful event. Yeah, you know, sometimes you can look back and realize it was good. At the time I went through that, I was, I prayed that God would change her mind, you know, I wrote her a letter to try to help God out, you know, but looking back on it, you know, I'm glad she broke up with me, because I wouldn't be married to my wife if that were not the case, so. Amen.

Yeah, we don't always see it at the time, you know, but bring God into it. Now you, you had a broken engagement, actually, that must have been really hard. Did you initiate that, or did she? It was kind of her, kind of both, both of us. I was dragging my feet for a long time.

We got engaged, and for whatever reason, I couldn't set the date, and she, you know, had waited long, long enough, and it was fair for her to move on. I felt like that was the right thing, too, but yeah, I learned a lot through that. Wouldn't wish it upon anyone, and I pray for every, for everyone listening that, you know, you won't have to go through that, but if you do, or, or if you have, you know, just like God, His, His, His grace will, will be there for you, and it, and it was for me, and took a while, but I think I am healed from that.

Yeah. Eric, what about another area that I think everybody struggles with to some degree, and that's the whole issue of sexual temptation, or sexual purity for Christians before marriage. What's your perspective there, and what words would you say to couples who are listening? Yeah, I would say that, man, we need to talk about sex, and, you know, God loves sex. He created sex for, within marriage, and, you know, there's this whole purity prosperity gospel, saying that, well, you know, if I wait to have sex, like, if I save myself for marriage, then one, God is gonna bring me that perfect man or woman, and two, we're gonna have an amazing marriage, and an amazing sex life.

I think, well, that could be the case, and, but who are you really doing it for? Like, are you doing it for God, or are you doing it to try to earn something from God? So I think that Christians get in trouble when they want to grow, when they want to do something, trying to get something out of God, rather than doing it because we love Jesus. But I think that actual purity starts on the inside, that purity is actually a wholeheartedness towards God, that it is a laser-like focus to follow Jesus. So we, you know, as much as we want to teach God's best, we want to teach how Scripture says to wait for marriage, we also need to teach that God cares about our heart, and it's actually our relationship with Christ that will prevent us from going further. So you just don't want to get in the trap of the Pharisees who did all the right things, right? The Pharisees followed all of the law, but you know what?

They forgot to be the right person. And I think if we focus on our relationship with Christ, a wholeheartedness, and giving our whole heart to Jesus, that sexual purity will arise out of that. I think that's a good perspective. We have to recognize that when anything God says, you know, don't do this or do this, you know, it's because he loves us.

And we're in a love relationship with God, and we recognize that. So, well, Eric, of course there's lots, lots more we could talk about, but our time is gone. So let me just thank you for two things. Number one, for writing this book, because I think it's going to help a lot of singles. And secondly, I want to thank you for being with us today and discussing some of these issues. So God bless you and what you're doing.

Thanks so much for having me, and God bless you too. You know, we talk a lot about marriage and parenting here on the program. It is so refreshing to hear Eric Demeter's perspective on dating. And if you want to find out more, go to the website 5lovelanguages.com. We have a link to the book, How Should a Christian Date? It's not as complicated as you think.

5lovelanguages.com. Next week, another Summer Best Of program. And if you've ever struggled with self-doubt, you're not alone. Some help and hope is coming up in one week right here. A big thank you today to our production team of Steve Wick and Janice Todd, Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman is a production of Moody Radio in association with Moody Publishers, a ministry of Moody Bible Institute. Thanks for listening.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-20 11:17:20 / 2023-03-20 11:33:53 / 17

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