Tuesday, August 18, 2015
An Ounce of Prevention: 'Dating Mistakes. And Hurdles.'
This is a busy writing day...
But I did want to share some points from a couple of articles that I read this morning.
One is an article entitled "10 Worst Mistakes Christians Make While Dating". I'm going to mostly just share the list; other than a few exceptions (click on the link for all of it):
Being desperate for a relationship.
Being too picky.
Not developing healthy friendships with the opposite sex.
Letting other people control your relationship. Church friends usually mean well, but some people don't know how to stay out of other people's business. They will engage in what I call "prophetic meddling" by dropping hints, manipulating you to go out with someone or pushing you to marry someone you don't even want to be with. And while the gift of prophecy is valuable, you should never let personal prophecies steer your decisions about marriage. Let God personally guide you in this very personal area of life.
Ignoring proper boundaries.
Missionary dating. Never start a romantic relationship with a guy or girl who is not a believer. Christians who do this usually justify it with the old "I know I can change him/her" line. But the opposite happens: The unbeliever changes you—after he or she has broken your heart, compromised your morals or damaged your faith.
Lack of healthy confidence.
Expecting the person you are dating to "fix" you.
Spiritual stalking. I've met guys in church who drive by girls' houses regularly, monitor their moves and troll their Facebook pages. That's creepy. If you have to sneak around like a private detective to get a date, you need a new strategy. If a woman tells you she is not interested in going out with you, honor her request and move on. Don't develop an unhealthy obsession. And never, never, never tell a girl: "God told me you will be my wife." That's manipulative and could fall under the category of sexual harassment.
Not discerning a spiritual predator. One single female friend of mine said she went out with a man who did a financial seminar at her church. Because the guy was invited to speak from a pulpit she assumed he was a man of character, but he tried to get her into bed with him on the first date. It became quickly obvious he was an imposter. Beware of wolves. You must walk in the Spirit if you want to protect your purity and save yourself for the right person.
Good stuff. GOD. STUFF.
Another article is entitled "4 Hurdles to Getting Married: And How to Leap over Them". It's from one of my favorite Jewish websites (Matthew 2:2, Mark 15:2) so as a heads up, there is a bit of Jewish references/Hebrew words in it.
Here are the hurdles (excerpts again):
Hurdle #1: The List [here the author refers to nixing the list and creating "a ladder" instead]:
Here are The Ladder Five Criteria:
*Good character traits: kind, considerate, honest, not stingy, not arrogant, and does not routinely put down individuals and groups
*You enjoy spending time together
*Similar (but not identical) religious level
*The ability or plan to earn a living (which doesn’t have to be six figures)
Hurdle #2: The Objective Assessment
The most important life skill to acquire is: Focusing on the positive. In Hebrew, it’s called hakarat hatov, recognizing the good, which is usually translated as “gratitude.” In positive psychology, hundreds of studies have shown that gratitude is the key to happiness, a well-functioning immune system, and marital harmony.
Most people who go on dates assume the role of The Assessor. “She has this nice quality, but I don’t like that about her…” “He’s strong in A,B, and C, but he’s really weak in D, E, and F.”
D, E, and F become the hurdles to the chuppah [a canopy where a Jewish wedding ceremony takes place]. Although everyone understands that s/he will marry a flawed person, because all people are flawed, the more one focuses on the flaws, the more marriage recedes into the distance.
The way to jump over this hurdle is to learn the skill of focusing on the positive.
Hurdle #3: The Fantasy
Everyone over the age of 20 was raised on fantasies of, “They lived happily ever after.” No matter how sensible and realistic you are, the hope for a trouble-free life probably persists deep in your heart. So even if you really like the woman you are dating, her difficult parents, who are likely to create future problems, may scare you off. Even if the man you are dating is wonderful, his low earning potential, which is bound to make you strapped financially when you have children, may end the match. Why should you commit to a life likely to have problems?
The answer is: All lives have problems! God, who created the world, set it up this way because only by facing and overcoming challenges does a person grow spiritually and thus fulfill his/her purpose in this world.
Hurdle #4: The Goldilocks Self-Image Problem
A healthy self-image, one that Goldilocks would deem, “just right,” is indispensible to getting married – and staying married. True self-esteem has three components:
*To know that your essential identity is that you are a Divine soul, ever perfect and ever pure, connected to God and beloved by God.
*A daily examination of your actions where you validate yourself for the good that you do, and do teshuvah for your wrong actions, in a proportion of 4 to 1.
*The commitment to continually work on yourself (through a class in Mussar – Jewish self-improvement – or a self-help group), so although you are not perfect, you see yourself as a “work in progress,” or “an unfinished masterpiece.”
The daily examination of your deeds is particularly important for striking the balance between a self-image that is too big or too small. As Rebbetzin Tziporah Heller says: “If you want to know who you are, look at what you do.”
A lot of us wonder why dating is not going as smoothly as we'd like...
Hopefully, these articles provide a bit of assistance on how to make things easier. And more productive.
You know what they say: To get what you've always had, do what you've always done...
Here's to DATING. DIFFERENTLY.