Monday, February 24, 2014

An Ounce of Prevention: 'Unequally Yoked: 4 Reasons We Engage in “Project Dating”'


Since this is the second article in a 24-hour period that references "unequally yoked", I feel led to post the Scripture. I'm sensing someone on here must need the reminder:

"You are not the same as those who do not believe. So do not join yourselves to them. Good and bad do not belong together. Light and darkness cannot share together. How can Christ and Belial, the devil, have any agreement? What can a believer have together with a nonbeliever? The temple of God cannot have any agreement with idols, and we are the temple of the living God. As God said: 'I will live with them and walk with them. And I will be their God, and they will be my people.'

'Leave those people, and be separate, says the Lord. Touch nothing that is unclean, and I will accept you.' Isaiah 52:11; Ezekiel 20:34, 41

'I will be your father, and you will be my sons and daughters says the Lord Almighty.'"---2 Corinthians 6:14-18(NCV)

You know, back in my "I keep not listening to God and as a direct result, I'm inadvertantly adding chapters to my book" days, I dated a Muslim. It is their belief that a Muslim man is permitted (albeit begrudgingly) to marry a non-Muslim woman BUT a Muslim woman is not allowed to marry a non-Muslim man? Why? Because they too honor leadership/submission in marriage and they believe that it is easier for a Muslim man to convert a non-Muslim woman than vice versa.

Something to think about as women, isn't it? I mean, if "he" is not a Christian and you're supposed to submit to him (because you are a Christian which means you are to honor the principles either way), you do put yourself at a *high risk* of faltering in your faith. Besides, how can you expect a man to love you as Christ loved the Church (Ephesians 5:22-33) when he has no real concept of who Christ is?

That said...

I liked this article on Paul C. Brunson's website that a guest blogger penned on "Project Dating". If you've never heard of that before or you'd like some clarity on what it really means, keep reading...

I’m a project dater.

I’ve noticed this was a consistent behavior that can no longer be ignored. By “projects,” I mean dating guys who can be considered major works-in-progress…fixer uppers, if you will.

Before you remind me of my glass house, let me clarify a bit…It’s understandable for people to have questions about their passion, purpose and whether or not they’re living their best life.  We’re all wandering around this Earth colliding with one another as we venture along our personal journey.

However, I’m taking it a step further. I’m referring to those who have absolutely no plan, no passion, no desire, no insight – nothing. Nada. Yet, they want the material wealth that’s typically associated with monetizing a talent or that comes with just putting in plain ‘ole hard work.

Let’s talk about dating people with all the possibility but little probability of materializing those dreams. Not the man that needs time to execute a plan but the woman that fails to realize a plan is even needed: people who wind up being more of a project than a partner. After watching friends and probing family, I’ve discovered several others are guilty of this same behavior, too.  While not easy to admit, consistent “project dating” (because there should be a universal term for it) says more about you than the other person .

After listening, questioning, analyzing and finally accepting, here are the 4 reasons I concluded why some of us are serial project daters.

Before assuming this post isn’t applicable to you, take a step back and look long and hard at your relationships. You might just find a hint of truth.

1. Craving Control

Someone who is a major work in progress equates to an incredibly vulnerable person. Plain and simple. Whether its financial (significant debt or minimal income), professional (no job or largely dead-end jobs), educational (limited training with few transferable skills), or situational (no residence and/or no car), the area that’s deficient in this person’s life is usually an area of strength for the project dater.

While “opposites attract” tends to be an appealing notion, dating someone because you feel a sense of control over them is not productive and lacks longterm viability.

There’s already a twisted tendency to be possessive in dating. When coupled with significant disparities in the aforementioned areas, you’re bound to have a combative and toxic dynamic. Control-fueled project daters enjoy the sense of power and position of strength this relationship offers. Initially, these project daters will appreciate their partner’s vulnerability. But, as the disparities become more obvious, so will the levels of resentment and indifference.

2. Boredom
Sometimes you just need something to do, right? There’s nothing good on television, it’s taking longer than expected to finish writing that second novel, and snow’s on the ground so the gym is a no-go. Project dating may be the perfect remedy for a case of extreme boredom. Instead of focusing on your goals and mission, sometimes it’s easier and a more appealing use of time to point out someone else’s shortcomings.

Having to face the reality of what’s not so perfect in one’s own life is a challenge most of us aren’t willing to face. Enter the best distraction of all – a new “project.” While in these relationships, its difficult to recognize the signs. However, once things have ended, clarity and hindsight come knocking and you see how much valuable time was spent trying to “help” someone else fix their problems instead of focusing on your own.

3. Ego Tripping (or, Pity)

A few years ago, I admitted to dating an ex-boyfriend because I felt sorry for him. No joke. I’d spent months debating friends about open-mindedness and not requiring an MBA or an AMEX from the opposite sex. So, when he approached me, I decided to give it a try. I quickly realized how misaligned the pairing was – not merely because he wasn’t formally educated or financially stable – but because I failed to see him as a partner and instead treated him like charity work.

Pity made it difficult for me to walk away and my ego wouldn’t accept the possibility of him leaving me. I always saw his life benefitting from my presence as if I was the Great Messiah rescuing him from a life of nothingness. If you don’t respect your partner and if you struggle to see the value they bring to the relationship, it’s destined to fail.

4. Insecurity

Habitually dating a major work-in-progress speaks to feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt. When you project date with this lens, you become attracted to weaknesses and deficiencies in the other person. Not to always to exert control, but because it validates your insecurities. Their shortcomings make you feel more comfortable accepting your own. You have to believe you’re valuable, worthy, and enough before you can fully connect with someone else.

We are who we are and we know what we know. If all romantic entanglements in your past include having someone  largely dependent upon you for their basic needs, the pattern has been set. It’s been said that habits are formed in roughly twenty-one days. If project dating is the norm for you, it’ll take just as long to break the cycle and start entering healthy, balanced relationships. No man or woman wants to be controlled or pitied. And, accomplishing your personal life goals will prove far more successful than passing the time pointing out (or enabling) weaknesses in the life of another.

Will you commit to ending your unhealthy addiction to Project Dating today?

Renita Bryant penned that. Claps all around.

We're not called to "missionary date". We're called to be good witnesses.




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