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Before You Ask Them Out: Shelby Abbott

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
The Truth Network Radio
March 4, 2024 5:15 am

Before You Ask Them Out: Shelby Abbott

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

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March 4, 2024 5:15 am

Got a date soon?.... Have you decided what you're going to wear, who's paying? So many things to consider. Shelby walks you through it with tips on communication, the single life, and sex! Don't forget to grab Shelby's book, "I Am A Tool: To Help with Your Dating Life," for some extra tips on asking them out!"

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Listen to more on Real Life Loading...

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Every Donation Makes an Impact Find Out How You Can Help!

Don't forget to grab Shelby's book, "I Am A Tool: To Help with Your Dating Life," for some extra tips on asking them out!

Join the Robbins in exploring five crucial conversations on finances, sex, God, family, and the future in our brand-new Preparing for Marriage study!

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Hey, before we get started with today's program, I'm Shelby Abbott and we are rapidly approaching Easter and one of the things that I have done with my family is go through Family Life's resurrection eggs with them.

If you're wondering what that is, you're like, I have no idea what that means. Well, it's a carton of 12 plastic eggs. Each one has little items inside that are different every single day for the kids to open.

There's little notes that help you understand what the significance of that item is. There's a book to guide you through the process to help your kids have fun, but also focus on the real meaning of what we're celebrating when it comes to Easter. And we want to send you, I guess, a carton of them this week as our thanks to you when you become a monthly financial partner to help support and make the ministry of family life possible. You can go online to and you find the donate now button at the top of the page. Or you can feel free to give us a call at 800-F as in family, L as in life, and then the word today.

You can also send your donation by mail to Family Life, 100 Lakehart Drive, Orlando, Florida, 32832. It's going to be a blast if you go through this with your family and Happy Easter. If your idea of asking a girl out is swiping on an app or sending a text message to her that says, hey, want to hang out sometime? I think you seriously need to rethink your strategy. You might be going, who in the world asks a girl out face to face these days? And my response would be you. Welcome to Family Life Today, where we want to help you pursue the relationships that matter most. I'm Shelby Abbott and your hosts are Dave and Ann Wilson. You can find us at

This is Family Life Today. All right, sort of an exciting day. I'm very excited today. Why are you excited? You're sounding too excited now. Because we have the Shelby Abbott with us today.

Yeah. Shelby, welcome. Thank you for having me. Once again, I love being with you guys. I was telling you earlier, you guys feel like family. It's so easy to be with you. It's so comfortable being with you guys. I love it.

We feel the same, Shelby. Yeah, it feels like you're, I was going to say son, but no, I'm going to say brother or cousin because we don't want to be that old. Younger uncle maybe? I don't know. Yeah, younger uncle. Something like that. The reason we have you on today is many of our listeners know this and some may not even know, but you host a podcast with Family Life called Real Life Loading.

That's right. And it's a podcast for a little younger demographic than, well, give us an idea. What age? Yeah, we're shooting for 18 to 28 or 30 year olds, somewhere around there, just post high school all the way up through perhaps maybe even getting married and starting a family. So a lot happens in that timeframe, that 10 year window. Many people find themselves, they understand what they're going to do career wise. Maybe they get married and start a family. There's just so much that happens and so many of the decisions they make end up forming and shaping the rest of their future. So it's a perfect time to try to reach people and communicate the truth of the gospel to them to help them set up a framework for the rest of their lives.

Obviously you're tapping in right where they're living. And so today we get to listen to a podcast you already recorded and aired about dating. Tell us a little bit what we're going to listen to and then we'll listen to it and then we'll talk to you about it. You know, I found that dating was this hugely relevant topic to almost everybody in this target age group. And I was working with a young college student at one point and he was one of these guys that was just incredible in so many different ways spiritually. He had all the spiritual disciplines in order. He was sharing his faith, reading his Bible, praying really well. But I found that as I was talking with him, he was completely inept with how to deal with the opposite sex.

He had no idea how to have a conversation with a girl or make wise decisions. And I thought to myself, if this guy is getting it wrong, how many people are actually, uh, you know, kind of following in his footsteps or maybe even worse. And so I wanted to craft something specifically that would help this generation learn how to date well. And so I ended up putting that all down on paper, writing a book called I am a tool to help with your dating life.

And so I created a seminar out of this book and that's what you're going to hear now. So this is the first three principles that I talk about from this seminar that I created from my book talking about the subjects of sex, communication, and service. Jesus is described in the New Testament as the friend of sinners. And I think all of us are sexual sinners, all of us. So if you've compromised in this area in any way in the past, know that Jesus welcomes you with open and loving arms. If you're a Christian, you are forgiven and new as a sexual sinner.

So I want to start there before going any further. It could seem when talking about this subject like a bunch of boundaries and perimeters that could quickly spill over into shame and regret. But there is no place for shame and regret in the kingdom of God. In Christ, you're not defined by your failings. You're defined by His grace. So let's have the proper perspective on the fact that we're all failures in this area and that Christ offers full and complete forgiveness.

He is, as I said, the friend of sinners. Now, that being said, what the world will tell you when it comes to sex is sex kind of really has no consequences, at least consequences that can't be fixed really quickly. Sex is the end goal of an evening or the end goal of the relationship in general.

That's kind of the peak of it. Sex is not a beginning of something. If you're serious about your relationship, you should be having sex. In fact, there's something seriously wrong with you if you're not sexually active. That's what the world tells you. It's all about you.

Get it when you can, wherever you can, says the culture, because it's the ultimate barometer of whether or not your relationship is actually a relationship. But here's the truth. God has designed sex to be enjoyed within the context of marriage.

Why? Because there's no walk of shame for married couples. No one's going to grab their clothes and leave in the morning. But anything outside of married sex leads to destruction and it leads to brokenness. Every compromise that you make sexually now is in effect a swipe of the credit card, meaning you get now, but you pay later. And somebody will have to pay in the future.

That person might be you or it might be your future spouse. There are memories, hurts, comparisons, emotional entanglements, physical consequences, and psychological residue that lingers for years when you have sex with someone. And all of that will turn up again in the future.

It will come out again. Now again, when I say this kind of stuff, there could be a lot of like guilt and shame. Again, if you've compromised in the past, you are a new creation. Look at 2 Corinthians 5 verse 17.

You are clean in his eyes and his opinion, that's the only one that counts. So if you're a virgin and you haven't compromised, praise God. If you've stumbled and you've crossed the line, God forgives and offers healing. Either way, God is good and he gets the glory. But let's be intentional about not making quick sexual compromises because it can lead to destruction. Why?

Because God has designed it in a very specific way. So that's sex. Number two, communication. 1 Corinthians 13 11 is one of my favorite verses to share with people because it says this, when I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child.

When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. Now, why am I saying this in connection to communication? There are a lot of people when it comes to romance in the context of communication that play games with one another, meaning they'll say one thing, but they actually mean another. They'll direct message you, but then they ghost you for seemingly no reason. There's manipulation that people use to get what they want or get a reaction or inspire jealousy out of you, whatever.

And here's my point. Little boys and little girls send mixed messages and play games. Healthy communication is the antidote to the poison of manipulation and games. When we're clear and uninterested in messing around with another person's heart, it builds vulnerability, trust, honesty, and eventually a strong bond with another human being. If the person you're messaging back and forth with is clearly someone who's playing you or trying to keep you on the line, but doesn't really follow through, cut them loose and block them. You deserve better than someone who is deceitful and a game player. Don't be with someone who refuses to give up their childish ways. It's not worth your time or emotional energy.

I've had many people who have said this to come and thank me later, and I think you will too. All right, number three, service. There are these vile little creatures that live in the forest and in sometimes God forbid a yard that will attach themselves to a deer or a dog or Lord help me, a human being. And they're called ticks. Ticks are these things that attach themselves and they suck blood. They're parasites. They take and take and take and give nothing back other than disease.

I hate ticks. Similarly, there are a lot of relationships that are based on being basically ticks. When they enter into a romantic relationship, they take for their own satisfaction. And the relationship, for lack of a better phrase, sucks.

That's my dad joke. Okay, so we don't want to be ticks in a relationship. We don't want to take, take, take and give nothing back. We are designed to be people of service. We want to look to the example of Jesus, the life-giving spirit.

Matthew 20 talks about laying down his life. We want to pour into one another and care for people who are dating. We want to think intentionally about what I can do for them. How can I encourage them? How can I build them up?

How can I breathe life into them? When you have this posture in a dating relationship, it'll set you up well for a possible future marriage, should God want that for you. But also, it'll set you up to be an all-around better human being. When you die to yourself, there is true life. Dying to yourself, that's where true life is actually found.

Our default in life is to think solely about ourselves. So it takes discipline to recalibrate our approach to dating someone and putting their needs ahead of our own. Serve the person you're dating. You're listening to Family Life Today and we're listening to a podcast by Shelby Abbott called Real Life Loading and man, that was great stuff. Shelby, I don't think there's anything like this in the secular world of giving us some really good instruction and help on dating.

Yes, there is. It's called The Bachelor. It's called The Bachelorette. But honestly, Shelby, I would have done anything to hear this message. It's so good.

It's so practical. And as a new believer, I was a new believer when I started dating, I had no idea what it looked like spiritually and as a believer to walk with God and to have some really healthy dating practices. Yes, I started with the subject of sex because it's so like everywhere and there's a lot of assumptions made about dating relationships that include sex.

And so I wanted to go after that first. And I found that the second one was communication and how so many problems can be solved in communication if you have healthy and good communication with the person that you're dating. We understand that in marriage, of course, but not many people dating understand that. And I found that nine times out of 10, whatever problem you have, it's like, well, if you would just communicate more intentionally, more clearly, that would fix this problem.

And then service is not what we think of when we get involved in a dating relationship. We're usually in it for me. Like, what can you do for me? How can you make me feel? I can serve me and my needs and my wants.

But if you flip that on its head as the gospel does with everything, you find that you're just so much more happy in a relationship. So I'm glad that it's encouraging to you. And I felt like I needed this book for me, too, when I was younger. I was kind of writing to myself in many ways. You know, it's interesting. When I came to Christ, I was a junior in college. And my first question to the guy who was actually a senior student who was discipling me, my first question, do you know what it was, Shelby?

Do I have to have stopped having sex with my girlfriend? Exactly. Yeah. I was like, what's God? What's the Bible say? I, nobody had ever clearly. All I did was I heard what the culture said, what you just explained. And that was the only thing I knew.

And I thought this, there might be a different perspective. And it was the first time somebody said, here's what God says. Here's why God says this. He wants the best for you. He's not trying to restrain.

He wants to protect you. And it was life changing. And what you just shared is going to be life changing. A lot of our listeners have kids. They have college age kids, teenage kids, and they're going to play that for them and it's going to change their life.

Shelby, where are we going in the second half? Yeah. So the other few things that I felt needed to be addressed when you're talking about this subject was what does it look like to be a good friend in your relationship? Not just a boyfriend or girlfriend, a good friend. And then I wanted to talk about social media and smartphones, how the digital world has affected dating, which it drastically has. And then as not really a side note, but just really talk about the importance of singleness, which is something that we gloss over quite a bit in the Christian world and communicate the value of singleness. As we're talking about this subject, it's kind of a sister subject that you need to address as well.

And so I really wanted to give some time to that as well. So friendship, social media, digital age, and singleness. Number four, friendship. Friendship, you might be thinking, what? Friendship? But yes.

Okay. If you're going to be a good boyfriend or girlfriend, you need to be a good friend first. Strong and godly friendship is the hinge on which the door of your relationship swings.

So make sure that hinge is sturdy and well attended to. If you set up your friendship well, it'll set you up well for a bright future that honors Christ. Do you actually want to be friends with the person you're dating? Strip away all the cuteness or physical attraction or whatever that you see on the outside. If you took that all away, would you still want to be friends with this person? That puppy love romance, the electricity that you feel at the beginning, that's a good thing. It's a very good thing.

Don't get me wrong, but it fades quickly. So make sure you actually want to be friends with the person you want to be your boyfriend or girlfriend. Okay, that's friendship.

Number five, I think it's important that we talk about the digital world and social media. Listen, it's tough for a guy to look a girl in the eye and ask her out on a date like face to face. It's really hard to do that. Just like it's hard for a girl to tell that guy that she has no desire to be more than friends with him if he might show interest to her in that moment.

That's like really cringe worthy. Face to face tension can be almost unbearable sometimes. So many, I dare to say most, opt for the initial stages of dating to take place behind the safety of their phone. And I'd say that this is probably a mistake.

Why? Because a precedent gets set that important communication between a couple is going to be dealt with in the easiest way possible. A way that brings the least amount of anxiety now, but in effect glosses over the realities of life. A couple, a dating couple shouldn't be in the habit of retreating to the safety of their phone in times when it's hard to handle the bumps of relationship friction. So let me pause here in the midst of all this and just talk to the men for a second. If you're a woman, you're listening to this, you can eavesdrop for the next few seconds.

Men, let me encourage you this. Have face to face conversations with women you're interested in. If your idea of asking a girl out is swiping on an app or sending a text message to her that says, hey, want to hang out sometime? I think you seriously need to rethink your strategy. Not that you can't meet a girl initially over a digital platform.

That's not what I'm saying. But in terms of this is how you start your dating relationship, I think you need to rethink your strategy. When you go out on a date with someone, when you go to pick her up, maybe don't drive up to her parking lot and text here, I'd say you need to get out of the car, walk up to her door, knock on the door. When the door opens, lean into the social awkwardness and anxiety you might feel of meeting her roommates or her family. Now, as I talk about all this, you might be going, oh my goodness, who in the world asks a girl out face to face these days?

I mean, who does that? And my response would be, ideally, you. Instead of succumbing to the social norms of passive digital relational interaction, why don't you set a different kind of standard of caring for a woman by actually communicating with her personally? Not only will you stand out as a man among boys, it will also communicate care, respect, and character in a world that devalues these admirable things in men. Again, that doesn't mean that you can't meet a woman through a digital platform. But when you take her out, engage in the face to face awkwardness that makes you stronger. So that's for the men. Now, I want to talk to the women as well. So men, you can eavesdrop on this. I'll be a lot easier on the women.

Trust me, it'll be a lot easier to go through. Ladies, there's a lot of ambiguity in the digital world, meaning you may not understand perfectly what someone means when they say something. And I think it can be dangerous to ascribe specific meaning to DMs or text messages when you don't know for sure what the intentions were of the one who sent them. So assuming a guy means something when he doesn't state it explicitly is probably an incorrect assumption, and it could end up hurting you. So be careful how you interpret.

Remember, everything that's typed through a phone or through a computer is edited. So the only real way to get to know someone in a deep and meaningful way is either face to face or maybe through something like FaceTime, where you can actually see and experience body language, conversation pauses, and socially awkward moments. A friend of mine, Carrie Armitraut, once said, social media and texting is helpful and good, but it should always be a springboard for relationships, not a substitute for relationships. Finally, number six, I think it's important when talking about relationships to engage in the conversation about singleness. Now, 1 Corinthians 7 verses 6 through 9 talks about the gift, the quote unquote gift of singleness. And I remember when I was single, we used to joke about wanting to return the gift of singleness. Like, no, I'm good.

I think I'll take something else. Now, eventually I did get married at the age of 29. And getting married helped me to look back and appreciate the singleness that I was constantly wishing was not around. I believed when I was single that singleness was a curse.

And I think when everything inside you screams for deep romantic connection with another person, it's hard to listen to anything else. I wanted when I was single to be loved. I wanted to be wanted by another human being.

Sometimes I would literally ask myself, what's the matter with you? Are you unlovable? Why doesn't anybody want to be with you?

Why won't anyone love you? But singleness is not a curse. If you're single, you're not half a person. You do not need to be fixed if you're single. You do not have a disease that needs to be cured if you're single. When you get out of college and you stay single for any significant amount of time, older people will start to try to connect you with quote unquote someone I think you'd like. So you and others around you might believe that singleness is a wound that prevents you from thriving as a person when in reality, singleness is potentially a great opportunity for you.

Why? A friend of mine, Matt Smethers, said the most fully human and complete person ever to live was single. Marriage is not ultimate. Jesus is ultimate.

Yes, Proverbs 18 22 says, if a man finds a wife, he finds a good thing. But that good thing was never meant to be the ultimate thing. The only truly satisfying relationship one can have is the ultimate connection with God through Jesus Christ.

He is the ultimate regardless of the state of your dating relationship. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. Revelation 22 13. He is before all things and in him all things hold together. Colossians 1 17.

No one will ever love you the way that Jesus does. You're listening to family life today. This is Ann and Dave Wilson. And we've been listening to Shelby Abbott.

He's actually with us right now. He's got a podcast called real life loading. And that was Shelby giving us pearls of wisdom, sex communication, serving one another. And that last man, Shelby, you nailed it. I mean, talk about singleness and really what where we find life is in Jesus.

That's the hope of real life loading. That's the hope of family life today to always point people back to the vertical to Jesus. And you did that so well. Thank you.

Any last thoughts? I mean, I'm thinking about a lot of single people listening to this, even married people. There's so much I'm not kidding. There was wisdom there that if people live it, it'll change their life and their legacy. Dating is not mentioned in the Bible because it's a cultural thing. But biblical principles and biblical thinking can be applied to dating, even though scripture isn't clearly laying it out for us on how to live. And ultimately, what I want people to understand is that you should probably spend less time looking for the right person and more time on becoming the right person. And that's what Jesus does for us. He helps us to become people who are really his more and more like into the image of his son and less obsessed with romance all the time, even though the book is about romance.

Basically communicate, why don't we become better Christians more and more like Jesus instead of trying to hunt down and find that perfect person. Yeah, and all I would say to end this is, listen to this podcast, share it. This will literally change. And yeah, I'll do what Shelby always does at the end of the broadcast.

You can get Shelby's book called I am a tool at I like the title. I'm a tool for your daily life. Yeah, it's tongue in cheek.

Yeah. Thanks, Shelby. Thanks for being with us.

I'll be with you guys, of course, as always. Okay, so today we've obviously been talking about dating quite a bit and to give us some guidance and encouragement for young men and women who are in that stream of life. But you know what? Often, a lot of times dating precedes getting engaged and getting married. And a lot of times there are couples who simply don't know how to navigate the waters that when you move from the dating world into the engagement world as you prepare for marriage. Well, I have very good news. Family Life has revamped and refreshed one of our best selling products for engaged couples as they are preparing for marriage.

And guess what it's called? Planning for marriage. This book focuses on five essential conversations about things like finance, sex, God, family, and the future. And David and Meg Robbins, David is our president at Family Life, him and his wife, offer some of their unique insight and help into this wonderful, wonderful resource to really just offer fun, romantic ways to study the scriptures that'll help you target areas of growth for your relationship. So if you know anyone who's engaged or getting ready to get engaged, this will be a great resource for them. So you can head over to Just look for the banner that says preparing for marriage and not everybody is in a boat where you're younger and getting married for the first time.

Some people are getting married for a second time because they've lost their spouse or there's been divorce, and they're looking to blend families for the first time. Now if you're preparing to blend a family, be sure to check out Ron Deal's book, Preparing to Blend. The subtitle of that is The Couple's Guide to Becoming a Smart Step Family. Again, you can find a copy of Ron's book, Preparing to Blend in the show notes. So speaking of preparing for marriage, how do you discover and unmask kind of these essential conversations you're supposed to have if you're getting engaged or if you are engaged and getting ready to get married? How do you figure out how to communicate well? How do you find resources to set up a strong foundation for the future? Well, David and Meg Robbins are going to be with us tomorrow to talk about all of that as they talk about preparing for marriage with David and Wilson. We hope you'll join us. I'm Shelby Abbott, and we'll see you back next time for another edition of Family Life Today. Family Life Today is a donor supported production of Family Life, a crew ministry helping you pursue the relationships that matter most.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-03-04 07:15:46 / 2024-03-04 07:26:31 / 11

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