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Last year, during this time, I had all of my close friends who were single.

Now, they are ALL in relationships. Not just casual..but down-right-serious relationships. Marriage, trips, ‘I Love You’s’ etc.

To be honest I am so incredibly happy for them. I couldn’t imagine a better thing in life for them, they all deserve where they are. But there’s one thing that really irritates the hellz bellz out of me…their fear.

Their fear you ask?

“Michelle, can you please not tell anyone that we are dating, yet.”

What is up with this? I have had every single one of my Christian friends swear me into secrecy that I can’t tell anyone that they are dating when they first start out. In fact, many times my friends dated exclusively for at least one if not two months before letting people know that ANYTHING was going on. What would people think? How fast would the news travel? Who would be upset? What would people say?

“Michelle, can you please not tell people that we are doing more than kissing..but we’re not having sex.”

I have had so many discussions with friends, single and not, about intimacy of the physical kind. It’s amazing to me, because there really isn’t anything out there in the Christian world that has provided me much help in deciphering how to go about having a physical relationship with a partner without feeling the immense guilt from the Church. I know that there are passages about maintaining celebacy…and then there’s Songs of Solomon. I think that pressure to maintain, whatever level of physical limitations, within a Christian relationship is one of the areas that really scares Christian couples.

Personally I don’t care. I don’t. I don’t care if you’re going to wait til your married to kiss (I would ask why not, but I’ll respect you) and I don’t care if you’re having sex (I’ll ask if you it’s actually what you want to do and if you’re ready for the consequences of it). At the end of the day, it isn’t up to me to judge. What is up to, is to insure that you are maintaining a relationship with God, your partner and your own faith that insures that you’re comfortable and respectful of where you are.

“Michelle, we are going away…but don’t worry we have separate beds. I am just so worried what people would think.”

I think it’s interesting that my adult friends have to justify to me that they have separate beds. Of course, sharing a bed can lead to ‘bad’ things and decisions that may not be the best..however you define this. The thing that annoys me is that the fear that some of my friends have is that if people knew that they were going away and they didn’t announce, literally, that they had separate beds that their morals would be in question. Why do we assume this? Why can’t we trust people’s boundaries and decisions?

Being the single girl in the midst of a hurricane of serious Christian relationships has been fascinating. I feel like I have become the secret/sound board for things which I find trivial and useless in forging an open, honest, discussion about healthy formations of relationships. I have realised that what you see in many Christian relationships are show in public and held-back because people are so incredibly afraid of being affectionate, open and honest. It’s hush-hush “because I don’t want to be judged by people” for our decisions.

I don’t think it’s anyone’s business to judge someone’s relationships choices. I do think it’s normal and healthy to ask if the relationship is following someone’s personal boundaries, faith dimension and respect for themselves. I do think it’s good to remind people of their walk with faith in their relationships, because I think that it ensures that people are respecting their foundation.

But to judge….that’s not my job.

~Farm Girl

I should say that I am a new Christian, or as I would be labeled within the community, I have opinions and I have not lived a ‘Christian Lifestyle’ prior to becoming a Christian. I have lived with my partner, have had sex, have done naughty things, have lied, have said the Lord’s name in vain.

However, I feel as though becoming a Christian has been one of the most FREEING and CONFINING things I have EVER committed myself to.

One of my biggest gripes and ‘soap box inducing’ is relationship ‘guidelines’ in the Church. I find things like this, very confining: (this is an e-mail I recieved that was part of a mature adult group I belong to)

Honouring Jesus, Your Date, and Yourself!

Dating Tips to Grow a Strong Relationship!

  • Pray –Spend time asking God to help you honour Him and your date.
  • Talk a lot –Get to know someone by talking to them about a wide variety of topics.
  • Let’s be friends! – The person you are dating could be someone else’s future mate.
  • Pray in groups – don’t pray together alone as a couple too early in your relationship.
  • Choose to not kiss – Avoids unnecessary stimulation,
  • Avoid physical contact or being alone

Christian dating is not a subject heavily taught on in the church so we thought we would offer some tried and tested advice courtesy of Christian life advisor for those who are in this season in their lives

My response to this was:

Apparently as a mature Christian women, if I want to date I shouldn’t kiss. I am offended not only as a woman, but as a Christian because it pre-supposes that I have no control or commitment to my faith.

It is NOT one person’s place to put blanket ‘rules’ on what should and shouldn’t happen between two consenting adults. In fact, I think that it’s incredibly dangerous and pompous. I was highly offended by the advice (and I have included the whole of what was written) because I think that it makes a sweeping generalisation that all Christians can’t control themselves. That all dating Christians will give into temptation.

Yes, some of them do/have/will do.

What annoys me the most is that NOTHING was written about the idea of discussing why we give into temptation. Ways of being intimate with someone that maintains the Biblical teachings (which are also debateable for some) and what it is like to discover and enjoy the dating/intimacy/sex/relationship experience.

Instead, just incredibly conservative, confining, stagnent guidelines.

After posting my comment I had people weigh in on their thoughts as responses. Some had abstained from kissing their partners, other atheists, others reformed from past experiences. I spoke to friends who, in my opinion are in some of the MOST healthy relationships I have EVER seen (kissing included), and their response was ‘well, I have gone against those rules already’. I mean, COME ON…to put such standards on people negates all of the fabulous relationships out there.

What I think that these type of condemnations do, is take away the beauty of the evolving relationship. The connection. The physical touch. The intensity. The passion. The boundaries. The needed communication. It puts a normal and progressive process between two people into boxes that are so tight, either people conform out of the immense guilt they would feel, rebel because they feel oppressed or walk away from their faith.

Although, perhaps there are people who need to check their physical endeavours with others (I have been there)…it wasn’t conversations with friends who told me I was doing terrible things and needed to go cold turkey. RATHER, it was friends who gave me their opinons, how they overcome temptation and found a happy ground. It was open, honest, non-judging/confining discussion.

I detest that these types of things are being sent out to hundreds or already stagnant Christians daters who are struggling to sort out how to date…as yet more guidelines to shut out the natural flirtation and progression of relationships.

I am not saying got shag or even get naked.

But a kiss…I think I can control myself.

~Farm Girl

I don’t want this whole blog to be about relationships…but I feel like it’s become that due to some of the interactions in my life.

I have NEVER EVER been in a place before whereby dating/marriage/finding ‘the one’ is SO important and relevant in conversation etc. Usually it’s weight. Since becoming a Christian there have become some BLARING realities of the xian world in regards to males/females/dating/hanging out…etc.

1. Sitting next to a guy or girl….can make people think that you’re dating.
2. Walking in together or out other….can make people think that you’re dating.
3. If you go out with too many guys…you maybe labeled a hussy.
4. If you go out with too many girls…you maybe pulled aside and told to ‘pull your head in’
5. If you ask someone to go out to coffee as friends…you may get a response back saying ‘thanks, but you’re not my type of girl.’
6. You may hear in a sermon that ‘Christian men need to step it up and ask girls out’ from a bloke…you may think ‘yeah that’s right…but why would they when they might have to present a ring after one outing.’
7. You may have a friend tell you that after hanging out one day, their partner is telling people they’re dating…and you freak out cause that’s way to fast for you.

I don’t get it.
Why is this?
Do Christians have NOTHING better to talk about than who is going out to coffee/dinner and/or walking in together and/or sitting next to each other?

We are creating a culture of such high expectations and anxiety it’s no wonder that women are sitting on one side of the fence becoming so enraged by not being asked that they sharpen their pencils and make their ‘lists’ longer and more detailed.

It’s no surprise that men sit and decide to pull away from women, because frankly ‘aint no man gonna wanna put himself in a situations that a) he’s gonna get called out b) it means ‘da da dada’ c) where he knows he won’t reach it.

I used to get UBER annoyed by all of this crap that floats around in the xian dating world. I actually find it overwhelmingly toxic, apathetic and not focused on what we Christians are meant to be doing.

So, you know what?
Go ask that guy/girl out to coffee and develop a friendship with no expectations except to learn more about yourself, what you want out of life, and find a good place for coffee.

Really…coffee shouldn’t have to equal marraige

~Farm Girl

I have written about dating and Christianity. However, I was talking with one of my friends today via skype. I love skype.

The thing which I still wanted to talk about is the notion of ‘THE ONE’ and ‘THE CHECKLIST’

I have walked through so much of my life with a check-list.

  • Tall
  • Smart
  • Intelligent
  • Sophisticated
  • Can make my laugh
  • Good shoes
  • Good dancer
  • Nice teeth
  • Nice hands
  • Doesn’t walk funny
  • Wants to be a Dad
  • Someone I could see myself with
  • Doesn’t eat funny
  • Fit
  • Attractive
  • Someone I could take to see my grandparents
  • Knows how to dress
  • Smells good
  • Isn’t a Mama’s Boy
  • …..

I am not here to say through all of our ‘check lists’ out the window. However I am going to bring up a couple of things which it think suck Christians and Non-Christians into the ‘frustrated single’ ‘I can’t find anyone’ ‘I have given up’ ‘I have dating’ mind-frame

Having expectations that aren’t necessary

I have a friend who I go ‘He’s a great guy.’ To which they respond ‘He’s not really my type, he’s not attractive/hot enough’. Coming from a girl who has had major body issues, I cringe when they say that. I get that being physically attracted to someone is important, but what about the idea of falling for someone for who they are? I think that we put up ‘MUST HAVE’S’ and forget about the true, formative, foundational MUST HAVES.

Shared faith, no kids, committed to family, makes you laugh.

What if we just shrunk our lists down to five things, what would they be?

I think that the five things that you need to focus are things that stand the test of wrinkles, lost jobs, family tragedies. They are the foundational MUST HAVES.

Looking for ‘The One’ and shutting people

Yeah, I won’t go out with them, because I know that they are not ‘The One’. Really? Do you actually know that they aren’t the one? How do you know?

I often think of this when I think of Jesus and his teaching. Jesus talked, spoke, taught those who were marginalized. Never turning away from those who needed to be loved on, never undermining people because they weren’t initially good enough.

Matthew 22:37-39
Jesus replied: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind’ // This is the first and greatest commandment. // And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself'”

I am not saying that you should go out to coffee with creeps. What I am saying is keep your heart open, treat people with respect and quit thinking the coffee equates marriage. Shutting people out on a principle list that is so long that no one can fit it. Remember the good friends that you have, they may not have even been people that you liked and/or thought that you were going to like.

One of my dear friends, who is a short Asian woman, was someone when I first met her thought to myself: Oh, she’s a crazy Bible thumping Christian, there’s NO WAY that we’re going to get along. Low and behold she was the one who showed me my faith. She is the reason I am Christian. We have talked before about how we both almost shut each other out, because we didn’t think that there was going to be any connection, but we just learned to be open with each other and are now amazing friends.

The same thing has happened with guys for me. Albeit my ex was not someone who did much for me overall, the attraction was NOT because he was handsome. It was his intelligence, wit, thirst for life. It was who he was. It was the transcending values, initially, that attracted me to him.

How many people have you thought: ‘Oh, he isn’t the one, so there’s no use in going further?’

I get that there are people whome you’re NEVER going to work out with. But there are a lot of people out there that perhaps we could all keep our hearts a little bit more open to. To actually get to know them as human beings.

Hiding behind PERFECT

For me, this is for me. I feel like I need to be perfect before I can date. I need to be educated, smart, intelligent, thin, beautiful, funny, sending the right signals…changing for what I think that he wants? That used to be me. You see God’s grace is amazing, the beauty that you have right now, is one that has been instilled in your forever, it’s God’s Grace. As I have written before, you are beautiful in God’s eyes. Filled with his grace and purpose. Whenever I feel like I am not enough and/or not connecting and/or it just isn’t going my way—I bring myself back to God’s love. At the end of the day, that is where I should be living my life through.

Philippians 4:4-7
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! // Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. // Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, be prayer, and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. // And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

1 John 12-13
God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. // We know that we live in him and he in us, because he has given us his spirit.

Not enjoying the ‘butterfly stage’

Who said flirting is bad? So, you bat your eye lashes, make a smart-ass comment back, wink, get a tinge suggestive. I once had someone say to me ‘Don’t just try and define things from the beginning, just enjoy the stage that it’s in.’ I think that many of us, especially as we get older, rob the courtship of butterflies. We want to know RIGHT NOW if this is going somewhere. The butterflies are awesome. How fun is it to see them and think ‘wonder what they’re thinking?’ or get the cold hands or racing heart. I mean really, it means that you’re alive.

Just enjoy it.

Making a move

This is my last and final thing. Make a move. I have heard so many times that people sit in idle ‘friend’ stage forever. I am not one that is good at this. But I do think that there’s something to be said about making a move. Rmemeber dinner, coffee, run, movie outing doesn’t mean that you’re getting married. Rather, it’s just a friendly gesture to get to know someone.

At the end of it all, it’s about the following

  • 5 foundational and transcending values/beliefs that someone MUST have
  • Enjoying the courtship
  • Being open to people
  • Loving yourself, because you are God’s image
  • Making a move and taking the pressure off

Who knows…you may just find THE ONE!

~Farm Girl

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