The Dating Game
Those who are at the “dating stage” of life are not in an enviable position these days. Some feel tired of waiting, wondering, “Where is my other half?” Some are dating and don’t feel sure, “Is she/he the one?” Some have exited the dating scene heart-broken, feeling used, misunderstood or regretful of having done wrong things with the wrong person.
Dating is supposed to be fun, but the fun doesn’t seem to last.
- 42% of Australian marriages end in divorce.
- 53% fail in America.
- An astonishing 70% fail in Belgium!
We could say in a sense that those marriages failed at the dating stage, for if dating is supposed to work, we should have avoided marrying the wrong person or else we should have identified the most suitable lifelong partner to marry.
Is there much hope for singles? I believe that there is! God wants us to find love. “It is not good that man should be alone,” He declared in Genesis 2:18. “He who finds a wife finds a good thing, And obtains favor from the Lord,” wrote King Solomon in Proverbs 18:22. This is why I taught singles in our church – Discover Church – 2 hours on the topic of “What You Didn’t Know About Dating & Marriage” (streaming now available by popular request at Vimeo VOD).
There are at least 2 factors working against Christians trying to find a suitable marriage partner. FIrst, any culture that is producing 50% or more divorce rates should admit that it is no longer producing marriage material. Men are not being raised to be husbands, nor are women being raised to become wives. Much less are young ones being prepared to become wholesome, wise, selfless fathers and mothers.
Hedonistic entertainment, experimental education, nihilistic conversations, internet porn and fatherless homes all conspire to make a generation of non-marriageable humans. But that does not apply to every single. In every culture, there are exceptions.
To keep a successful marriage in these such cultures, one has to literally be “counter-culture“. Often that entails growing up “counter-culture“. If the culture says one way, you can assume the opposite is most likely true. When the culture claims there is no stereotype for a man and woman’s role, you’d be better off to believe that there is! When the culture claims there are more than 50 genders, you’d better doubt it! “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’” Jesus asked rhetorically in Matthew 19:4. Growing up in a Christian home, never skipping church, matriculating at a Christian school, going on missions, volunteering in ministry, all these counter-culture experiences contribute to your growing into the kind of a single person who’s ready to serve a partner in lifelong marriage.
The second factor working against Christian singles is that not many Scriptures can be found about dating. I believe this is by design (as I explain in “What You Didn’t Know About Dating & Marriage“). However, rather than examining what the Bible recommends to singles looking to get married, Christian denominations tend to react to whatever the world practices.
On the one hand, some Christian leaders take the stance that worldly dating is the main or only way young Christians should find a marriagable partner. On the other hand, some leaders adopt the opposite stance, as expressed by Joshua Harris who wrote a book called “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” (published in 1997). Years later Mr. Harris repented for his teaching on dating and reexamined his own views of “courtship”. Meanwhile, a generation of confused Christians was damaged from obeying a book, rather than obeying The Book (the Bible).
Because our denominations lack a Biblically-founded theology on courtship and dating, I decided to teach our church singles on “What You DIdn’t Know About Dating” and “Red Flags & Green Flags: Relationship Tips for Men & Women“. Since this subject is so relevant to our youth, we decided to release them as videos-on-demand, which mean you can stream them any time on any browser (Vimeo mobile app still does not allow purchasing VODs). You could use them to stir up conversation about things many youths will have never thought of before! You can also purchase them in the usual DVD format too.
These are tools of discipleship. I pray you will make full use of them in whatever church you go to.
As a parting gift, let me quote some of the things I taught our single men on how to grow as leaders. These “rules for my son” are quotes from Dr. Lesley Joseph.
1. Never shake a man’s hand sitting down.
2. Always smell good.
3. In a negotiation, never make the first offer.
4. Request the late check-out when traveling.
5. When entrusted with a secret, keep it.
6. Return a borrowed car with a full tank of gas
7. Play with passion or not at all
8. When shaking hands, grip firmly and look them in the eye
9. Don’t let a wishbone grow where a backbone should be.
10. You marry the girl, you marry her family.
11. A sport coat [sports jacket] is worth 1000 words
12. Try writing your own eulogy. Never stop revising.
13. Eat lunch with the new kid.
14. After writing an angry email, read it carefully. Then delete it.
15. Manners makes the man.
16. Stand up to Bullies. Protect those bullied.
17. Be confident and humble at the same time.
18. Call and visit your dad often. He misses you.
My hope for you is that you find love, get married, make babies, and bring them all to Discover Church (or your home church). We pastors are here to walk you through all the seasons of life. May you find most of them be filled with joy!
~Pastor Steve Cioccolanti, About.me
NEW! Video stream “Dating” seminar at Vimeo VOD.
Find “Dating” DVD series at Discover Bookshop.
Stream the JUSTICE series at Vimeo, too!
N.B. You cannot buy videos on demand (VODs) or subscriptions on the Vimeo mobile app yet. Only available on your browser from the vimeo website.