Friday, February 28, 2014

An Ounce of Prevention: '10 Behaviors That Keep You Single'


I checked this out last night (Paul C. Bruson wrote it). It's a good thing to keep handy if you're in that "I can't believe I'm still single!" space:

You Hold On to Someone Who Isn't Available

There are many reasons someone may not be available to date. Is he separated or married? Perhaps he is living with his girlfriend? If you hold on to such a person, fully knowing you are shared with someone else, you illustrate the lowest form of self-love and that won't get you where you want to go.

You Don't Believe Him When He Tells You the Truth

Many times, men will directly tell you their outlook on the relationship. They’ll say things like, “I’m not interested in anything serious” or “I don’t see myself being married.” If you hear anything similar, don’t think you’re the one person who can and will change his perspective. Trust me, you can’t; you won’t. Moreover, you’ll just end up wasting your time and resources. You only have power to change yourself.

Being a Toxic Date
Toxic dates are the ones who complain all the time. They are the ones who always blame you. They may always turn things around to make it someone else’s fault. They overreact to bad events. If all of this sounds familiar, "they" could be you. Toxic people are a huge energy drain. No matter how outwardly attractive or successful someone is, toxicity just ain’t sexy.

You Don't Believe in Love

If you truly think you are destined to live life alone or you are of the thought that Michelle Obama married the “last good man on earth,” you’ll be right. Why? Because our belief is our reality.

You Do Nothing Differently

My favorite question to ask prospective clients is: “How many dates have you gone on in the last two years?” Most answer “zero.” (FYI - The average single in the U.S. has not been on one date in the last two years). Then my second question is always, “Are you happy with your number?” Most say "no". My final question is always, “What are you doing differently to change it?” Most say “nothing.” The bottom line is that in every aspect of our life (dating included) we can’t do the same old thing and expect different results.

You Take Bad Advice from Friends and Family

I have written a full chapter on this in my book. Your friends are not relationship experts. Your loved ones often give bad advice. It’s well meaning, but awful, dating advice because they aren’t objective. Plus, they aren’t therapists or dating experts.

You Commit Too Soon

A top dating mistake that I see my clients make often is going from casually dating someone to exclusively dating that someone within a short period of time. This is a widespread issue. In 2012, the average U.S. couple became exclusive within just five dates. This is much too soon. Why, because it takes time to observe their values and it you also don’t know someone until you have witnessed them in a time of adversity.

You're Lowering Your Standards to Compete

If you are concerned that because there are “so many women” vying for the man you are interested in you must “compete” and do things not within your value structure (like have sex earlier than planned), stop it. The moment you bend on your boundaries is the moment you begin to bully yourself.

You're Adhering to Ultimatums

Love is not selfish. Love doesn’t come with strings attached. If you have to give in to get him, get out.

Being List Obsessed

Do you chase after preferences? (You know, like he must be 6-foot tall and have perfect teeth?) We all have preferences and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. The problem is when we don’t secure our own needs first. These are what I call in my book, “your relationship vitals” (values, personality type, non-starters, and attraction traits) and become obsessed with them opposed to what’s on a list of frills.

Hmph. 'Nuf said. ;-)



Thursday, February 27, 2014

On Fire: 'Is "He" Ready. To Love YOU. Forever?'


So, what do y'all know about that old school Tevin Campbell?

Yeah. I'm gonna be honest. I'm still trying to understand where he's going with the verses in that song (LOL)...but that's so not the point for this message. As I was getting ready to head out last night, this song came on and what rang, LOUDLY, was the chorus. Most specifically:

"I'm love you...forever."




Three parts. And in that order.

Unfortunately, there are so many of us who desire to hear "I love you" from a guy that we don't even look for what should come before and after it. Indeed, when it comes time to be in a committed covenant relationship, it's not enough for someone to love us. It needs to be someone who is ready to do it forever.

Ready means "completely prepared or in fit condition for immediate action or use".

Forever means "without ever ending; eternally" and "continually; incessantly; always".

If a man can't say that (and you can't say it back), either he's not the right one or it's not the right time (Ecclesiastes 3, Acts 1:7-Message). Readiness and forever, in a marriage, go hand in hand with "I love you".

An article that I checked out this morning that helps to illustrate this resolve pretty well is on a website entitled The Holymess of Marriage (cute). It's entitled "How Do You Know You're Ready for Marriage?" and it's written by one half of a married couple. It's straight copy and paste:

One of our blog readers sent in the following question:

How do you know when you're ready to get married to the person you're dating? When is the "right" time?

There are simple answers for this question and also complicated ones. Bear with me.

Simple answers:

1. You're ready if both you and your significant other both want to get married. This seems silly but many times couples tie the knot when one or the other isn't quite sure if they're ready to take this step, but feel pressured by the other person, by their age, or by a fear that they might not find anyone else to marry.

2. You're ready as long as both of you have a realistic understanding that marriage really is "for better or worse." This commitment means that you'll feel great when things are better....but you'll definitely feel like escaping when things are worse. Most people within their first year of marriage find themselves thinking, "Oh holy crap, what did I get myself into?" If you understand that this feeling is normal and that marriage means sticking it out through the "worse" times when it would be easier and less painful to leave, I'd say you're ready.

3. Having a good relationship with God really helps. Jake and I feel that it's a pre-requisite. You'd have to make up your own mind, but since you asked, we'll tell ya what we think! Marriage takes extreme acts of unselfishness on a nearly constant basis. Having a divine source of strength, love, and unselfishness from which to draw is something we feel necessary to keep marriages together.

Many times Christians (and non-Christians) agonize over finding the right time to marry or if they're ready for marriage. We feel this agonizing is unnecessary. The more complicated answer to your another question.

When is it the wrong time or when are you not ready for marriage?

1. Many people want God to give them a clear, resounding, and specific "yes" about marriage or about a potential spouse. This doesn't happen a lot. If you're walking in relationship with God, you have the freedom and God-given wisdom to choose your spouse. More often, people hear a "no" from God and don't like it. You're not ready for marriage if you're feeling like God's told you no to marriage, no to a specific person, or that He wants you to wait. A wise couple trusts the no's from God because while it's painful to turn away from a relationship, it might be more painful to push onwards with something that He knows isn't best for you. And believe me, you will know when God says "no"....He's usually pretty darn loud and persistent about it!

2. You're probably not ready if trusted family members and friends are cautioning you that marriage to this person is not a good idea. The chances of people in love listening to this advice are slim, but really they should! Your close friends and family have your best interests at heart. If they express concern about marriage for you right now or marriage to your current boyfriend/ might want to pay attention. Listen to their concerns and ask yourself if maybe they have some valid and realistic points.

3. If your life goals are incompatible, it's not wise to marry.
I'm talking about really obvious things like one of you wants an open marriage, while the other expects fidelity. One of you feels called to be a missionary in Africa, while the other strongly wants to live in a suburb in Idaho. One of you wants children and the other firmly does not want children. These things are deal-breakers.

4. If the relationship is at all abusive, you're not ready to marry. This includes sexual, physical, verbal, and mental abuse. God does not want you to be treated less than the wonderful person He made you. If you experience any type of abuse, do not marry or continue in a relationship unless the person struggling with abusive behavior has gotten significant professional help and has demonstrated healing and changed behavior for a good amount of time. Even then, exert caution.

5. You're not ready to marry if you don't have the same religious beliefs. This really offends many people. It's not PC. But I really believe it's wise. It's not about being intolerant. It's about realizing that one's religious beliefs seriously contribute to how one thinks about morality, lifestyle, money, child-rearing, and so forth. Opposing beliefs on any of those things can really tear apart a marriage. I'm not saying you should not date people with different faiths or no faith at all....but really think long and hard about what it would look like to marry someone with another faith. Faith should be your first love and your shared foundation for marriage.

Hope this helps! - Melissa

Good stuff. I do feel led (Luke 12:12) to expound on 1, 3 and 5 on the second half...just a bit.

1) I actually don't fully agree with Melissa's resolve that you won't hear as clear of a "yes" as you will a "no". The thing is, you have to be open to all of the ways God may convey the yes. Scripture is one (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Messengers are another (Proverbs 25:13). Signs and wonders are another (Daniel 4:2-3). Prayer and fasting are another (Matthew 17:20-21). Dreams are another (Numbers 12:6, Joel 2:28). Discernment tells me that marriage is *waaaaaaaay* too important for you not to get a clear "yea" or "nay". And here's the thing: When the answer is "yes" or "no" or even "wait", you will usually receive confirmation. For instance, if prayer and fasting reveals "yes", a messenger may come to confirm it. Or if the Word has told you "no", you might receive signs to confirm it as well.

3) I continue to be amazed by how many wives *complain* (Philippians 2:14) about their husband's calling/career/job. Do not be so eager to get married that you don't do some serious pondering (Proverbs 4:26) about whether or not you are willing to support the fulfillment of "his" purpose (Psalm 20:4). You are there to *help him*---not nag him or make him feel guilty about doing what he was put on this earth to do.

5) I'm not going to go with the word *religious* because honestly, I once read/heard that there are 390 denominations within Christianity (I'm so rolling my eyes about that...getting to Christ should be a lot more *simplified*) and all of them believe they have all of the answers. Instead, I'll say make sure that you both honor the order of the Godhead---God as the Father, Christ as our Savior and the Holy Spirit who dwells with us now and that they agree as one (I John 5:8); that you both respect the Bible as being Word of God (John 1:1) and that you both build/base your life values on those two things. AND THAT A MARRIAGE COUNSELOR CAN CONFIRM IT (Proverbs 24:6).

Marriage is to be a lifetime commitment.

You both need to be ready.

You both need to love each other.

And you both need to be willing to do it...forever.



Wednesday, February 26, 2014

An Ounce of Prevention: 'Surviving Long Distance Relationships: 10 Tips to Keep You Close'


There are some folks who have asked me what I think about long distance relationships. Well, according to a study that I checked out, reportedly, there's not much of a difference between them and relationships where both people live in the same city:

In an era when job opportunities are limited, professionals pursuing a career are often tempted to move to another city. But if your significant other can’t—or isn’t willing—to pick up and move with you, what happens to the relationship? Can long-distance romances really work?

Newly published research suggests the answer is absolutely yes.

“Contrary to popular belief, young unmarried people in long-distance dating relationships do not report lower relationship quality than those in geographically close relationships,” reports a research team led by Queen’s University psychologistEmma Dargie. In fact, the researchers add, couples who live far apart “often report better functioning in a number of areas.”

Their study featured 474 females and 243 males in long-distance relationships, and 314 females and 111 males who lived near their significant others. Recruited “from an Ontario university, the local community, and throughout North America,” participants had all been in a relationship for at least three months at the time of the survey. None were married or living together.

They filled out a series of questionnaires regarding intimacy, commitment, communication, sexual satisfaction (or lack thereof), and psychological distress. Those in long-distance relationships also noted how far apart they lived and how frequently they saw one another.

The key result: The researchers found few differences between those who lived nearby and far apart. “The two types of couples were doing equally well,” writes University of Utah psychologist Karen Blair, one of the paper’s authors.

OK. Did anybody catch that these findings were based on relationships that are *three months old*? Honestly, the study confirms my own thoughts about long distance relationships in the sense that when you're dating and getting to know one another, if you're trying to do it with healthy physical boundaries, long distance relationships can be a good thing because you're seeking to know the individual without sex being so much of an issue.


The people I know who dated long distance, got engaged long distance and then got married? Yeah...that's a bit different. It's basically like being in a perpetual honeymoon phase, getting married and then experiencing a huge (HUGE) reality check. That's because no matter how much you talk on the phone or email or Skype, in order to be sure that this is the person you want to spend the rest of your life with, it's important that you spend some time dealing in one another's physical space: good, bad and ugly (relatively speaking).

In fact, there are two *now divorced* couples I know who dated long distance. During that time, it was like a movie: wining and dining, great conversations, always excited to see one another (because they only saw each other once a month). But then when they got married, *reality set in* (Ecclesiastes 7:18-Message) of the day to day and they realized that relationships aren't just about showing your best side but also making sure that you can *mutually tolerate* some of the worst too.


My counsel on it is if you are dating someone long distance and it's getting to a point where you're discussing marriage, it needs to be brought up just how you're going to spend more physical time with one another. *Before getting married*. And yes, that is a gamble, being that it would require someone to uproot their life. And perhaps that is the disadvantage to long distance relationships: it tends to have high risks without a lot of guarantees.

Yet if you happen to be someone who is currently considering a long distance relationship or you're in the beginning stages of one, I did check out an article that could prove to be beneficial: "Surviving Long Distance Relationships: 10 Tips to Keep You Close":

Venturing into the unknown, with excitement and hope.

A few years ago, I met an American girl studying in my hometown, a small village in South Wales.

I remember her exuberance for life, as she walked along the road saying, “Hello,” to strangers, she wouldn’t stop smiling. She was on her own adventure.

It doesn’t matter whether I believe in fate or any path that’s ‘meant to be’—I have no answers to those assumptions. All I know is that my eyes opened with excitement.

Three years later, Jamie is my wife, and we are half way through a visa application to live together in the United States.

It has not always been easy.

I want to help mentally prepare those of you who are embarking on a similar journey. I thought I would share with you some bare-bones tips and advice from what I have learned through this time—the blind leaps, the wayward roadblocks and the all-out explosions of this choice of living.

Here are my top 10 tips for surviving a long distance relationship:

1. Bask in the scope of your decision.

You are about to embark on an adventure that people write songs, poems and books about. The romance of a message in a bottle is what you are going to create. The seas and lands between you are going to pull at your strengths and weaknesses unlike any other relationship you have had before. This is raw; this is living.

Attempt to keep a mindset semi-detached to the situation. Take time to step back and realize what you both are doing. Be proud of yourself for being the kind of person who is willing to take the chance. This is a grand definition of character. Bask in that.

2. Realize how amazing you have it.

First and foremost, if you have found somebody you love and who loves you back—you are one of the lucky ones. Don’t get caught up in the technicalities straight away. If you have found somebody, a rarity, that compliments your every aspiration, make this the priority.

The intricacies can be mapped out as you explore your new world.

3. Communicate daily.

Whenever possible—strive to talk everyday.

We have never been in a better position to indulge in a long distance relationship. The Internet has really changed the world we live in for the better. It means distances aren’t dictated by their physical truths. Today, I can sit at a computer and talk face to face with Jamie in real time. I can send free text messages through email. I can instantly send photographs and videos.  I can map out a virtual photo-album.  With a click, I can book a last minute flight in seconds.

And this is just the beginning. With inventions like 3D printing and Google Glass, the future of time spent apart will make us closer still.

4. Honesty must be ripe.

    “Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth.”
    ~ Henry David Thoreau

If you’re going to survive this kind of relationship, this quote should be your mantra.

You see, I believe that truth is love. Or, to put it another way, love, without truth, can’t be love.

You have to be honest with each other. You have to make every effort not to waste each other’s time in this one short life. This is a huge dedication; this isn’t just some weekend fling. It is going to take sacrifice on many levels. You will need to readjust how you spend your time—you’ll spend hundreds of hours, if not thousands, on flights, you’ll miss nights out with friends, you’ll miss family occasions and you’ll probably take off a few years from your life, as a result of all the stresses that go hand-in-hand (though, this isn’t bound just to long distance relationships, of course!)

It’s easy, just respect each other enough to be truthful. Live your life in a way that merits easy honesty. Bottom line, folks—be excellent to each other!

5. See the adventure in everything.

When Jamie first left, I said good-bye at the airport, not knowing what the future would hold. How amazing is possibility? Really, think about it—everything can happen.

On this occasion, I was flying out from Heathrow toward a land that much of my childhood heroes were from. Like many others, I have been raised on a plethora of American culture, from films to books to music.

To the traveler, the ‘everyday mundane’ is magical. Landing at the Newark airport amongst a million lit homes at midnight, passing strangers with accents so familiar, and rolling a quarter into an airport pay-phone…magic!

6. Know your traits: demons and angels.

Be honest with each other, and be honest with yourself.

This kind of relationship will test your nature and temperament. You’ll have all the usual issues; only they will be magnified. You may go a little crazy over-thinking situations; I know I have. Alone, at night, thoughts stab in the dark. You are a few thousand miles away and in a different time zone. Your lover is living in a different day.

You have to overcome these demons.

The best way to do this is to draw strength from them. Rectify feelings of jealousy by making an even bigger attempt to be together. Use your unyielding conviction to overcome all of your obstacles. Counterbalance each demon with an angel.

7. Travel.

The most important thing for me has been having a date in mind to look forward to when I know that I will be seeing her again.

It doesn’t matter if it’s eight months down the line—you’ll know it is eight months down the line.

It’s expensive, but it’s the adventure once again. The adventure begins when you are sitting at your desk or wherever you earn your bread, when your mind is focused on the prize at the end of the line, when you are saving. Each step makes the next step more worthwhile.

Make your togetherness the priority.

8. Make the big decisions.
If you are coming to the point whereby you want to make the next leap, it’s time to make the big decisions.

Who is willing to move where? Will you both move somewhere new? When can you realistically be together? Are there children involved? What of work? What of money? What of marriage?

These practicalities seem like hefty casualties of the free-living adventure, but I assure you they are not. They are all part of the process of excitement.

Be on top of things. Be creative. Decorate roadblocks.

9. Make the most of your time apart.

You will have long pangs of time alone. Just because you cannot be with the one you love at that very moment doesn’t mean your life must be put on hold. On the contrary—now is the time to invest in you. Not only will it make time flow by faster, but it will build your mental character, too.

How about a free college course? There are 725 of them here. Start a yoga class. Learn a martial art. Learn a new language, perhaps your partner’s native tongue? Start a business. Start a blog. Write a book. Put on a charity fundraiser. Start a book exchange.

Set your goals and ease your way through the hard times apart.

10. Time will be cruel, but your reward will be luxurious.

Finally, I want to tell you of the most painful day of my life.

Just over a year ago, Jamie fell into serious pain; a kidney stone had infected her blood. I read that survival rates for such an infection were questionable at best. Medical complications and new discoveries on top of that brought about a wave of invasive emergency surgeries—the whole thing seemed to happen so fast that I became lost in limbo.

I was on the other side of the world while the woman who I want to spend the rest of my life with lay on an operating table. All I could do was wait for a phone call to come through to tell me if she was still alive—every slow second dragged me to the next.

I have never felt more fraught or helpless.

That day, time was cruel.

Now, I want to tell you about July 29th, 2012: we had spent the previous two weeks casually viewing wedding rings. On July 29th, I had the secret of a ring in my pocket—that night she agreed to be my wife.

The next day, in a last minute collection of friends and family, brought together with the promise of an impromptu wedding day, we made our vows together.

That was the last day I spent on American soil. I had to fly out minutes after the ceremony, but I knew what we had done, and I knew what was able to come next…

That day, time was luxurious.

The next time I land there, we’ll walk to our new home together.

I wish you all the luck you deserve in your own worldwide adventure!

Gotta love how a man pen's his own love story!

If I were to add a tip, it would be this:

BONUS: Do not seriously involve yourself in a long distance relationship without your closest friends, preferably including a married couple, knowing so that they can help you to look at things "from the outside in". A part of the reason is for the sake of your safety if you happen to meet someone online. Another part of the reason is to keep your discernment sharp so that you won't let a potential romance override your common sense. And then, if you see the potential of marriage in the future---*and so does the guy*---also speak with a marriage counselor. They can give you some helpful tips on how to decipher if you're in something good or you're headed towards making a grave mistake.

Bottom line...

The question isn't if a long distance relationship can work...


If it's meant to work for you.

It's quite the investment of time *and money*.

Stay prayerful. Before and during.



Tuesday, February 25, 2014

An Ounce of Prevention: 'Why Men Prefer to Keep It Simple'


I know there are two "Quotes of the Day" posts (under this) this week. I sensed that there needed to be. Some real gems are in both. And as I was doing some praying for the "On Fire" women this morning, "impatient" (IMPATIENT) is what came to mind. So, I will work on a piece on that when I finish a couple of other deadlines.

In the meantime, I "happened upon" (Proverbs 16:33-AMP) a website with the name And That's Why You're Still Single (cute) and I must admit that I dig this particular article. It's a bit of an "ouch" but as my mother used to say pretty often "Surgery hurts but it cures":

A man and woman meet at a party. They become Facebook friends, occasionally trading wall posts or messages. After a few months the woman suggests to the man that they meet for a drink. She suggested a time and a few possible meeting places. He countered with a different time and location. She replied and agreed to the location, and asked to keep things at the time she suggested due to a previous engagement. He never replied. She went ahead and went to the location they originally decided upon at the time she suggested. He never showed. She contacted him, asking if she had gotten the nights mixed up. No response.  She followed up once more a week later and asked if he wanted to try again. He replied and told her he wasn’t interested in meeting up, and thanked her in advance for understanding. The woman was confused, wondering how someone could go from one point to the other like that and then stand her up. Her friend told her that she didn’t buy that he never wanted to meet her in the first place, as he suggested a time and a place. The friend also felt his response was condescending and dismissive.

Okay. Let’s break this one down point by point.

1. This man did not stand her up – As we were discussing recently in an earlier post this week, unless the two of you verbalize an understanding or agreed upon time and location, consider the date tentative at best. He never replied to her request to keep it at the original time she suggested because he never was all that interested in meeting up. When a man doesn’t reply, that’s your answer.

2. His response, while abrupt and with a sting, was honest - We can say we want honesty. We can even demand it.  But we can’t control the delivery. Nor can we can control how we feel once we get it.  Personally, I much prefer a direct approach than something flowery. I once had a man use a Winston Churchill quote with me as he delivered his truth. “I am always ready to learn although I do not always like to be taught.” As pretentious and douchey as that is, it was an appropriate quote.  We want to hear the reason why someone doesn’t want us. At least we say we do. And then we hear it and it bites. Ultimately, though, it unburdens us.

3. We’re right when we say that it makes no sense that someone go from point A to Point B so quickly and unceremoniously – They don’t. That’s because they were always at Point B. Someone can agree to meet up with absolutely no genuine interest in you. Maybe they’re bored or have time to kill. Or maybe they plan on canceling last minute. Just because someone accepts an invitation doesn’t mean they feel or sense what we feel or sense.When you find yourself wondering why or how someone could go from hot to cold, it’s because they were probably already cold. Why did they do this or say that? Who knows. What matters is the final outcome. There’s your answer.

4. When someone is rejecting you, you are being dismissed - If it feels dismissive, that’s because it is. There isn’t really any easy way to say it. Where men are concerned, at least, there is no softening up the inevitable blow to the gut. That’s why they deliver such news rather bluntly. They are talking to you they way people talk to them and they way they talk to other men. It’s quicker. More merciful. Which, frankly, I prefer.

5. Keep it simple, stupid - That’s the motto most men adhere to. The main reason why men keep it brief is this: they know some women have a tendency to over analyze and read things in to their words. By keeping it succinct and to the point, there’s less of a chance of that.   So while it feels like they are being abrupt, they’re really just trying to be precise so as to avoid confusion. Guys, if you want something to be over with little extended conversation, keep it short and sweet and to the point. You are not doing us favors by writing prose or manifestos. In fact, you’re completely contradicting yourself when you do so. The other problem with writing too much is that you can end up overwhelming her with details and information that leave her completely confused, which will only lead to more questions from her. There’s a point where the brain just shuts down and can no longer process all the things being thrown its way.

Yep. Just because you cast a guy to have a leading role in your romantic comedy, don't be mad when he would prefer to be an extra---off camera. (LOL) Life is short. Be realistic *before* being romantic.

"It’s best to stay in touch with both sides of an issue. A person who fears God deals responsibly with all of reality, not just a piece of it."---Ecclesiastes 7:18(Message)




"On Fire": QUOTES OF THE DAY,quotes,message,phone,relationship,working-ef2adea73e3398d55c719fb33bf7dbe6_h.jpg

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.