Okay, knowing all that you know today. And that's a lot. Would you still date the people that you dated in the past?
No, never. What? Oh my goodness, I had so many bad choices.
It's so nice. And the sad thing is they're probably thinking the same thing about me. I'm Ann Wilson. And I'm Dave Wilson.
And you can find us at FamilyLifeToday.com or on our Family Life app. This is Family Life Today. No, I would not have dated the people I dated. Because you had the wrong motives, the wrong actions. What was it? Wrong motives. Wrong motives. Wrong motives. I was interested in the wrong things. And I wasn't thinking about character.
I was thinking about me and selfishness. So yeah, I would do it all completely different. Me too. I would have done it all different and I wouldn't have dated the same people. But you would have dated me. I would have totally dated you. That was your first right choice.
And the same for me too. So we have J.P. Pakluta with us who wrote a great book called Outdated about dating and singleness. We already talked about why date and you said the purpose is? Yeah, it's a path to a promise. Finding a spouse. And so yeah, it's to find a spouse to get married to. That's the intention of a dating relationship. Yeah, so dating will not fulfill you and a spouse will not fulfill you. I think before you date, you need to think about that to make sure you have a grip on that. That this is not going to satisfy me.
Right. And so the second part of the book is who we date. And I love, you know, you build these on lies. And here's what you say, the myth of lies. The one you said the lie is you have to find the one person made for you who is created around the same time you were. And they are out there lost in the world of eight billion people. I like this, you guys.
I think that sounds really sweet. Well, that's a lie. The truth is you have a relatively small group of people to choose from and you don't need to search high and low.
And you also have many more options than just one. OK, you got to talk about this because there's good news and better news. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, so let's just kill the one.
One idea, because that puts pressure on you. If you're trying to find the needle in the haystack, there's one person that was created around the same time that you are, that somewhere in the world that you have to find them. First of all, it's a mathematical impossibility.
You need to know that right there. We're not even there's not one man for every woman. So there's there's some real challenges to that. Secondly, you don't have to look high and low throughout the world. Right. There's a reason that as we look in history that there was a time in the 50s that you most people would marry someone that was born within a five mile radius from them. That's changed rapidly with the invention of the Internet.
And we're more wired into other cultures and other places than we've ever been. So this idea of the one is it's a bad idea. And it's it's unnecessary to think about it that way.
It's not like any of those things. Am I the one for her? Like, let me ask this. Is there someone out there more compatible for Monica than I? Hundreds of thousands of men would be a better match based on some personality test for her than I. But she's the one for me because she's the one that I committed my life to. I said, hey, I entered into a covenant before God with.
That makes her the one. But the crazy thing is, Dave, people don't know what they're doing. They don't know what they're looking for.
If you asked young people, hey, what are you looking for? Like, how are you going to know when you found something? They say, well, you just know when you know. They're going to say, well, I guess I'll feel something I've never felt before. And I've never been this happy.
This must be the one. Yeah. I'm going to get to this. I'm going to experience some level of happiness. And that sets you up for more disappointment than just about anything. But you would never interview for a job that way, like not knowing what the job is. And hey, I'm just kind of looking for a candidate that I'm looking for. That I like, that I have some chemistry with, right?
You would never do that. And so you need to start by thinking, okay, what is the job, marriage? What does it require? And so what am I looking for? If I'm a woman, I'm looking for someone who would be an amazing husband and an amazing father. If I'm a man, I'm looking for someone who would be a great wife and a great mom. So I begin to think, what character qualities am I looking for in someone who would be a great wife and a great mom so that I can know when I find it? Like when my wife sends me to the grocery store, she's very, very specific, right? Like if I bring home generic anything, I'm in trouble.
She wants, you know, Mrs. Baird's seven wheat honey, something with gluten free, whatever. And I've got to find that piece, like that loaf of bread. Like I got to find that. And I have a list and it helps me. That's how I know when I found it. I look at it and then I compare it to my list. And then when it matches the list, it's like, oh, I found it. That's how single people should approach dating. It's like, hey, I'm looking for someone.
I need to know what character qualities they have. So when I find it, I'm like, oh, I found it. But then they say, well, what if I found it and I'm not attracted to them? Like physically attracted. Yeah. Yeah. Or what if we don't feel chemistry? We've had people ask us this a lot.
Yeah. And I would say there's a place for that. Like attraction helps you attract. But Proverbs 31 30 says beauty is fleeting. Charms deceitful and beauty is fleeting.
A woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. So if you hold that and most of the world does hold that as the highest criteria that you're looking for, you're investing in the most fleeting, perishing asset. Like that's the one that goes away the fastest. Right.
And so you don't want to just base an entire marriage on that external. I'll tell you a quick story. I was in biology class. School was never my thing. I wasn't great at it.
I really needed to make an A on this project in biology. And the teacher was pairing us up. Okay. So she was putting us together. And I noticed that she was putting a guy with a girl. And I had the biggest crush on this girl. We'll call her Kelly Kapowski. Kelly from Saved by the Bell. I had a big crush on her. And I'm sitting there and I'm praying.
I don't even have a faith at this time. But Lord, please, please let her say Jonathan and Kelly. Jonathan Kelly. And she says, Jonathan and Kelly. And I was like, Lord, thank you so much. You've heard my prayers.
You've heard my cries today. And I was so excited because I was attracted to Kelly. Well, the project, what we were going to do is dissect a frog. And Kelly wasn't any good at that. And I needed a good grade.
I needed an A on this project. She didn't want to touch the frog. She didn't want to get near the frog. Like I had chose my partner based on the wrong character qualities because I didn't consider the assignment. But the reality, like Monica is beautiful. By the grace of God, he's given me this amazing woman.
I'll tell you, like when a kid is sick and throwing up at two thirty in the morning and I've gone in the room and they didn't make it to the trash can and their room looks and smells like the inside of a Six Flags trash can. I mean, it's just terrible. Her beauty's not helping me. Like, I don't need a trophy wife. I need someone to go to war with at that time. And it's not the way that she looks that that's going to really be beneficial at that two thirty in the morning assignment.
And if that's all she has to offer, then we're going to be in a real bind. And just like me in biology. And obviously, at the same time, you're not going to say the single person who right now is looking at you going, OK, dude, easy for you to say you've got a beautiful wife. I've sat on stage with Ann and said to single people, you know, physical track.
And they look at me like, look at look at who's sitting beside you. You can say that after. So should there be some physical attraction?
Is it zero matter or is it matter a little bit? Yeah, you don't have to be a martyr for sure. So I'm not saying, hey, find the ugliest person that nobody else is interested in and marry them. And God has given us entire book, which I think is a lot about our relationship with him. But he makes provision for this throughout the scripture. We see that he's made us emotional beings. He's given us eyes. He's made us attracted in some ways. And I think that causes us to engage in the relationship. But don't rely on that. Don't let that be the foundation of the relationship. And yet I look at Dave and I think, man, you look at me and think, yes, I'm the most handsome guy ever was the word she said.
Lonely. Did you have to bring that up? I'm still I'm still hurt for you. I think we're going to edit that out.
I don't think that's making it. I look at you and I think I was so attracted to you physically when we met. But she said when past tense. And I was and I still am. And we've been married 40 years. And so I've watched you. I've watched your hair fall out. You're more attractive to me than you ever have been, because I keep seeing your character. I keep seeing who you are.
I see how you serve our family and serve our sons. That that's what makes you so attractive to me. And it's not that at the beginning I wasn't attractive. I thought you were amazing.
And I still think you are. But I would just add this in response to what what Ann said and what you're saying, J.P., went on our first date. I mean, our first day was a tennis. We hit a tennis ball around. So I could say we fell in love. We actually talked the whole time and we didn't play tennis. OK, so so that's what our first date.
But I'm thinking of the Finley Reservoir. Yes. So we go out on sort of like an official date. And I think you're still dating another guy at the time. So it was it was like, you know, behind. What's he doing now? It's a long story.
He ended up playing two weeks for the Detroit Lions and came to the Bible study that I led. Praise God. And I said, you can't come in this house.
You didn't say praise God. I should have said welcome in, John. But I said, no, you're anyway, long story.
But no, on our first date, we sit by this reservoir. And I remember asking her and I'm 22, going into my senior year in college, thinking I'm going to play football. You hadn't even had your birthday. You were 21 and I was 18.
Yeah. And she was just coming out of high school. So it's really a high school senior, almost a senior in college. And I remember just looking across.
I can see it like it's yesterday, 40 some years ago. And said, what do you want to do with your life? Thinking an 18 year old high school senior doesn't know yet.
But, you know, what's she going to answer? And I had dated many girls. I'm not acting like I'm some big playboy. But you were.
But I had many different dates and never had I heard an answer even close to this. She just looks at me with this strong, not a doubt. There was no way she's answering what she thinks I want. She's like, she's thought about this.
She knows. She's like, oh, I'm going to serve Jesus. Wherever he wants me to go, I'm going to do whatever he wants me to do. I'm going to reach the world for Christ. He's the greatest.
I just can't wait to extend the kingdom of God. Yeah. I remember sitting there looking over there going, she's doing this with or without me. She's not even thinking about me.
She's on a mission. And I remember it was the first time in my life I'm like, that's the kind of person you want to marry. And I knew that night that this could go somewhere because it was first time in a dating relationship I had intention of marriage.
I'm not going to waste my time anymore. You know, and if if this is compatible, we're going to go there. So I knew right then and there. Well, it's funny because you that same night you had just said, I'm going to I'm going to serve Jesus. He's I want him to use me. And I remember thinking that guy's going somewhere with God.
Yeah. Not not in this successful business. I didn't even know what it would look like in your career. But I thought, I don't I want to be with him. I want to be with him because he's going to change the world for Christ. And that was so different from any other relationships that we had had.
It's not what Monica and I said. No, I mean, we just weren't we weren't following Jesus. I mean, he was Jesus. Jesus was an idea in the back seat that we would fight about every now and then. And I became a Christian when while we were dating, I became a Christian and had an intentional conversation with her. We both trusted upon the gospel, his death and resurrection for the forgiveness of our sins and everything in our life changed after that. But it was it was different than than the way that you guys kind of came together and dated. And so then when we became a Christian, it was like, man, we pulled the parking brake on all the physical stuff. You know, we cut out the sin. The Holy Spirit kind of came in and cleaned us.
And I was like, well, this is really difficult. We should get married. We were married.
I mean, shortly thereafter, truly. But in premarital counseling, the pastor said something to me. We met with this pastor and he said, hey, you guys, we were kind of processing an argument.
We got in. And he said, you guys need to stop pursuing each other and start pursuing Christ together. And he drew this line. He says, like, when you pursue each other, you guys miss each other.
There's these manic highs and manic lows. And and then he drew this triangle kind of going to the cross. He said, but when you pursue Christ together, you're going to get closer and closer and closer. And I sat there and I looked at that pastor and I just thought, that's the dumbest thing I've ever heard in my life. Did you learn that in seminary?
That's really cute. But I look back on that. And it was prophetic. That's deep. I mean, it's what happened.
Yeah. Like when we started pursuing Jesus together, it's it's we continue to grow closer and closer and closer together. And so much of the drama felt off, fell off because we had this common interest that would carry us. I mean, at first we got together and we like, yeah, we liked, you know, the beach and we liked comedy clubs.
But today she no longer likes the beach or comedy clubs. And if that's what our relationship was built on, we'd have nothing left. But we still both love Jesus and we're still moving closer to him. Talk to the person who's dating someone that that the person that's listening is like, I want Jesus. I'm following him and I'm dating this person.
I think they're a Christian, you know, but I'm kind of pulling them along. Talk to them. Let me let me give you some things to inspect.
Right. So you're dating, you're dating for a path as a promise. You're trying to figure out if they would be a great husband or a great father or great wife or great mother. And you're like, well, what do I look at? First Timothy 4-12 says, Do not let anyone look down on you because you're young, but set an example for believers in your speech, in your conduct, in your love, in your faith, in your purity.
And this isn't a dating verse, but it does give you five great things to inspect. So look at their what comes out of their mouth. Jesus says, what comes out of your mouth reveals your heart. So if you want to know what's in their heart, look at what they say and not just to you, because they're dating you, they're interviewing for the job. Look at how they treat the server at the restaurant or how they treat someone that can do nothing else for them, how they treat the mailman. What comes out of their mouth when they talk to their parents or someone who frustrates them? What comes out of the mouth? Do they use their words to build up or do they use their words to tear down, to gossip, to lie, to further deceit, to curse? How do they use their words? Hey, before you keep going, I want to just want to remind parents, listen to this and use this as you teach your children.
This is great parenting for your teenage daughters and sons who may want to date. So you already talked about speech. Yeah.
And so conduct setting example for believers in conduct. How do they act? Are they given to anger? Right. Are they are they self-controlled or do they have something else that controls them? Are they are they given to drunkenness?
Are they living for the party? Right. How how what controls their emotions? And so you kind of observing their emotional quotient and their action. Consider what they love.
That's the next word. Love. What are the affections of their heart? Do they love Jesus? Do they spend time at the church? They'd love to serve or do they love a team and nothing's wrong with loving a team.
But does that team does that obsession mark their life more than anything else that you can use it as comparison? I wish you loved Jesus like that. Or I wish you loved me like that and Jesus even more. You can kind of begin to see what holds what idols their their heart holds and then and then consider their faith. Right.
And that's not a check the box. They memorized a verse and they own a Bible. That's like, do they believe in God when everything is shaken like the Psalm says? Will will will they still stand on the solid rock of Jesus Christ, like they believe in him and that faith marks their life. They're living by it, not by sight, but they they're living for another world. They're living as though they're going to die and go to heaven and be with God forever and ever and ever and ever. And then a really clear telltale is, do they honor the marriage covenant with purity? Because the person who will put their hand somewhere other than a ring box.
Right. It is telling you something. They're saying, I'm willing to go outside of marriage for intimacy. That's what they're communicating to you. If they will do that with you when they're not married to you. They're saying, I don't value the marriage covenant enough to hold it sacred and to carry you into it. I'm willing to go outside of it. So when you marry them and you make that covenant with them and they go outside of it, don't be surprised.
They told you they would. So JP, talk about the red flags that singles should be aware of as they're pursuing a relationship. What kind of things are those? I think the biggest red flag is that someone not having a committed relationship with Jesus. And so you want to marry somebody who's well married to Christ.
And I know that sounds so Christian cliche, but it's it is of utmost importance in marriage. I take about two thousand questions. I do something called Friday Q&A and I'll take about two thousand questions and I'll answer about a hundred of them every Friday. And I see most of them.
Right. There's so many. But as I go through them, I'll see most of the questions. And there's so many in there of just, you know, my my spouse is not a Christian. I really thought they would become one. What do I do?
I feel so trapped. I don't know. And I just always want to put that out there for single people to see that that that this this idea of missionary dating, dating someone so that they would become a Christian is a bad idea and unbiblical. I mean, it's it's forbidden in the scripture or thinking they'll change them.
Yeah, that's right. And that even marrying someone thinking you'll change them like this and the Holy Spirit changes people. He sanctifies us. And so you want to marry someone who the Holy Spirit has because they'll continue to conform them to the image and character of Jesus. But marrying them hoping they change is a bad strategy. You know, someone that's given to anger. This is a red flag. Someone that has a track record of unfaithfulness. They is someone who is stuck in sexual sin or sexual addiction every Friday. Someone asked me, hey, my boyfriend's addicted to porn. What should I do? And I just rephrased the question back to him. I say, hey, you're telling me you're dating someone who is a serial adulterer.
What do you think you should do? Right. You're telling me Jesus says in Matthew five that they are committing adultery. And so how would you feel if they were regularly sleeping around?
Would that change the way that you look at this struggle? And it's not like that person is damaged goods because I am that person. But you want to help them find freedom. You want to help them find healing. You know, go go through a recovery ministry, send them into a small group with other people of the same sex that they can, you know, get prayer for for healing and confess their sin to. But let them heal through that. I think if they're not involved in a church, that's a red flag. Like I want you.
If you love Jesus, I want you dating someone who's thriving in the local body. They're serving there. They're using their gifts of their members there. They're under authority there. That's a big one, too. If they rebel against authority like that's cute when you're seven.
It's not cute when you're twenty seven. OK, so it's not cool to be an adult and and to think that you have to go against every authority that you're under. And so the authorities that you're under, obviously government is one local authorities, police, those kinds of things. But also your employer, the scripture speaks to this, submitting to, you know, your employer that authority.
And then also your local church that you would be under the authority of leaders in the church. And so those are the three authorities that I think you want to check for as you're dating someone. And and just a red flag is their their friends. You know, the you are the average of your five closest friends. And so who do they hang out with?
And people ask all the time. Well, what if their friends don't like me? You know, what if their family doesn't like me? Just keep in mind that especially when it comes to family, you're marrying them, too. And so I would work to resolve that conflict, to understand, to sit down and listen, do not avoid it. And and if you don't like their friends, they're they're going to become their their closest friends.
So it's it's a real mystery to me that you would really love them, but not like the five closest people that they hang out with, their friend group. And and that's going to tell you something about the discernment of an individual is who they hang out with. So those are some that come to mind.
Those are good. I have a few, too. Oh, you're going to add a few because we've talked about this, too. I think someone who won't apologize or admit that they have done wrong or yes, it's a total pride issue. Someone who isn't willing to look at their past or to talk about their past, who's not willing to go back and say, these are some of the things that happened to me.
Not that those can't be fixed, but just a willingness. And then the other thing that I had was someone who's not willing to engage in conflict. If they're like, no, I'm not going to talk about it, that they're going to carry that into your relationship.
And so unresolved issues will just become this wall of unresolved issues that pretty soon you can't even talk about anything. It's the number one determiner of marriage success, communication and conflict resolution. And so, yeah, you want to work through that. People, single people ask me all the time, how do I prepare for marriage? I'm like, get a roommate, you know, a really dysfunctional one that doesn't do the dishes because that will help you with marriage. And so, no, I hate, I like to live alone. I don't want to live with somebody like you're going to hate marriage because there's someone always there like a shadow.
You know, you're not going to enjoy marriage if you don't like living with somebody else. Well, here's the question for you. If you see these red flags, maybe not all of them, but at least enough to be concerned and you don't break up because I've seen that over and over. It's like, here's the red flags. They acknowledge, yep, he's got them or she's got them. And they just stay. Why? Yeah. Well, I thought you were going to say, what do I do?
And I was going to say, because people ask that on Friday Q&A. So, you know, hey, there's red flags in my relationship. What do I do? And I always just write the script for them. I say, you go up to them and you say, I'm so glad that I dated you because it has allowed me to realize that.
Insert the red flag, right? Communicate that clearly to them. And I've learned that that is not something that I want in a spouse. And so I don't think we should date further. And you look deep in their eyes and you say that truth.
And it's the most loving thing that you can do. Why do they continue to date? A lot of times because the relationship's physical and, you know, being physical in a relationship, a dating relationship will keep you in the wrong relationship too long and it will keep you away from the right relationship.
And so some people are hearing that right now and you know, I'm talking about you and I'm just telling you, God loves you. He's crazy about you and he has better for you. He hasn't wanted you to date someone for four years, you know, five years, six years.
Right. If we were talking about how to date, I would say for as short as possible, like go into the to the dating relationship knowing what do I hope to find out? Like, what do I want to learn about this person and how do I how long do I need to learn it? And what environments would help me learn it to find out if they would be a great spouse? And that's that's what dating with intentionality looks like is I'm trying to determine if they would be a great spouse.
But they stay in that dead end relationship because they're they're dating for fun. Well, I when I was 18 years old, it was the I had given my life to Jesus at 16. But at 18 is the time that I said, God, I give you everything. I'm going to go wherever you call me. I'm going to do whatever you want. I'll say what I like. I'm all in.
I'm all yours. Right before we started dating. Yeah. And so in my head, I knew that I needed to break up with this guy. I knew it. And I knew it, too. And I didn't even know her. And Dave and I were just starting to talk then.
And I remember saying to him, I feel like God wants me to break up with him because it's not going anywhere spiritually. And I said, but he's such a good guy. Yeah.
He's just great. And he treats me so well. And the next part I said is that I'm afraid that I won't find anyone better. Yeah. So fear was keeping me in it.
And here's what this wise Dave Wilson said to me. Yeah, we were talking. He said, oh, God is so much bigger than that. Yeah. If you break up with him, you don't think God has somebody that's even better for you? Yeah.
They might be real close to you right in front of you right now. And you really weren't even thinking of dating me at that point. Not then, no. But you really did say that, like, you don't want to miss the best that God has.
Somebody has gone after it. And then we were married nine months later. J.P., you defined my dating relationship before.
And exactly. Because when I asked you the question, you know, why do people stay with somebody that sees all these red flags? It was me. Yeah. And I've seen thousands since. But I dated this girl. I would have I had several I bet this happened eight or nine times.
Walk up to me and say, you should not be with her. Yeah. And your mom said it, too. My mom said it. Friends said it.
I was at a New Year's Eve fraternity party on a campus. And a dude that's a total stranger walks up to me at this crazy house with all these people and says, I don't know what you see in her. I know you've been with her four years.
She is not who you think. And he walks away. And I remember thinking, who are you? Get out of my face. And why did I stay?
It was physical. Can I say something right there? Yeah. You want the opposite of that, too. Like in Song of Solomon says their friends and family praise their love more than wine, more than the party, more than the wedding, more than the dress, more than the cake. You want people around you in agreement like, man, this just makes sense, especially if the people around you are God's people and really exclusively if they're God's people, if people who have the spirit of God, that's what an arranged marriage is like. That's that's, you know, biblically. That's the only example we have of dating was arranged marriages, which is not dating, but people bringing people together. And so in modern time, I'm a fan of arranged marriage when it's your friends and family saying, hey, this just makes sense.
Not not arranged marriage, like you meet each other at the altar, but everyone around you in agreement, like we are so in agreement with what God is doing here. Yeah. And that did happen with Ann. Yeah. I love it. And can I ask you a question? Yeah. Did you did you say, hey, God, God wants me to break up with you to that guy? No. Yeah. Praise God. Because that's what everybody says.
So to the listeners, just public service announcement. Do not blame your breakup on God. Own it. Own it.
Yeah, that's good. Some wise counsel on how to break up, how not to break up. Dave and Ann Wilson and Jonathan precluded today really talking today about how critical it is to be looking for the right thing when you're considering a potential marriage partner. You know, the culture points us to a lot of superficial attributes, whether it's appearance or wealth or job stability. What we really need to be looking for are values, character.
How committed is a person to following Jesus? Those are the more important considerations. Jonathan has written about this in his book Outdated, which is a book that we've got in our Family Life Today Resource Center. You can order the book from us online at familylifetoday.com or you can call to order at 1-800-FL-TODAY. Again, the book is called Outdated.
Find love that lasts when dating has changed and we live in a time when the whole idea of dating has changed. Order Jonathan's book online at familylifetoday.com or call to order your copy at 1-800-358-6329. That's 1-800-F as in family, L as in life, and then the word today. You know, our goal with conversations like this is to provide you with wise, practical, godly counsel on the issues that matter most to all of us, issues related to marriage and family, issues related to relationships. We want these programs to be conversations you can pass along to others, people you know who might be dealing with these specific issues. And you make all of what we do here at Family Life Today possible as a listener when you donate to support the ongoing work of this ministry. Family Life Today is listener supported. Your donations made today's program possible and what we do in the future going forward is entirely dependent on listeners like you saying, I believe in this work and I want to see it continue and grow. Today, if you're able to help support Family Life Today with a donation, we'd love to send you a copy of Ron Hutchcraft's book, Hope When Your Heart Is Breaking. We talked with Ron this week about grief and loss and pain and how to find hope in the middle of that. Ron's book is our thank you gift this week when you donate to advance the work of Family Life Today and help us reach more couples more often.
You can donate online at FamilyLifeToday.com or you can call to donate at 1-800-FL today. Thanks in advance for your support. We look forward to hearing from you. And we hope you can join us again tomorrow when Jonathan Pacluta will be back to talk about how contentment is not found in finding the right person or dating the right way.
It's found in trusting Christ in your singleness or in your dating relationships. I hope you can join us for that. On behalf of our hosts, Dave and Anne Wilson, I'm Bob Lapine. We'll see you back next time for another edition of Family Life Today. Family Life Today is a production of Family Life, a crew ministry helping you pursue the relationships that matter most.
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