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The playing field today

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SeekingChange
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Re: The playing field today

Post by SeekingChange »

I find this interesting as I have some kids in this range, it makes me thankful for the place we are, and that they aren't facing this teaching or culture. Maybe some young people need to step away from the overly religious.
God can change what people do, behavioral patterns that have been in play for decades. He can change what we do to cope, to find comfort, to survive conflict, to count. Rahab had done a same old thing for years... and then she did something new.
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Re: The playing field today

Post by Deleted User 1388 »

LBD wrote: Thu Jan 21, 2021 6:51 pm “Talking”...but most can’t have a discussion without a device to do it with. Sad.
Yeah, this is how bad things have gotten @ LBD. Kids do not know how to have a tough face to face conversation. As many know I coach both boys and girls soccer in high school. Occasionally, a boy or a girl decides to "quit" the team. Guess how they "tell" me? Email. Never face to face. I agree, sad. These kids cannot advocate for themselves through texts and emails the rest of their lives. Face to face is a skill that should be taught if not in homes then churches, schools and other places. It's a lost art on this generation.
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Re: The playing field today

Post by MrEden »

DoveGray wrote:Serious question - was dating really like that for people here? I, unfortunately, found it to be the opposite. I graduated from high school in 94 and university in 98. In my experience, a woman absolutely could not go out with different people or she'd be branded a whore. I used to read the high school books from the Betsy-Tacy series (a largely autobiographical series set around 1910) and feel envious because it was expected that the young women in that time and place should strive to not be exclusive.

I would have loved to have had the freedom to accept an invitation to a movie without it seeming like a pre-engagement. What my social circle did was so unhealthy. It kept me from trying different guys and seeing what style would be the best fit for me. It would have kept me from a third date from the guy who became my abuser
I was married in the early 80's, so most of my dating was done in the late 70's. It was much as LBD described:
LBD wrote:I swapped dates with a buddy more than once. My wife used to brag about how many guys she went on date with in the same week.
I attended both Christian and secular institutions and dated at both. You absolutely could go on a date without it feeling like a pre-engagement. I am still friends with some girls I dated. If anything, you had the opposite problem -- you have had a casual relationship, and you are starting to think that this person has potential as a marriage partner. How do you let the person know that you are interested in them in that way? If the interest isn't mutual, you still wanted to maintain the friendship.

Dove, interesting you mention the 1910. I have recordings of my grandmother, born in 1900, relating her dating experiences. It really wasn't that much different than what I did. A guy would ask her out, typically to a church party. He would pick her up in a horse and buggy. They would go to the party, and he would bring her home. There was no expectation of anything leading to marriage at first. A humorous aside -- someone played a joke on them once -- they fed the horse wet grain, which causes great flatulence. Of course all of the vehicles back then were of the front-engine configuration 🤣.
DoveGray wrote:...a woman absolutely could not go out with different people or she'd be branded a whore.
Dove, perhaps a difference between the '70s and the '90s is that in the '70s, there was no assumption that a girl would be having sex with whoever she went out with. Sure, it happened. It was common on secular campuses, but rare on Christian campuses. When I say it was common on secular campuses, it still was not the majority by any means. Is it possible that during the '90s, women were freer with their bodies and the assumption was that she was putting out?

Another change that I think is bad is that people are starting to date at a much later age. It seems that Christians in particular frown on their 14-year-old daughters going out on dates. It used to be typical for barely post-pubescent teenagers to go on dates and their parents had to drive them. It might be a church function where the whole family would attend anyway. But it was a bona-fide date. The guy would ask the girl if she would go with him. She said yes or no. If she said yes, they would hang out together for the entire event.

As Harris pointed out, there are a lot of pitfalls to child dating, potential for broken hearts, etc. Obviously some strong parental guidance is needed. But I don't think any 14-year-old really thinks that they will end up marrying someone they are dating at that stage in their life. That isn't the purpose of dating at that age. It is to learn about the opposite sex and about yourself, and develop social skills. A very early stage of preparation for marriage if you will.

Wife was 16 when we met. I had no idea that I would end up married to her. She was a foreign student, and marriage was the last thing on my mind at that time -- to her or anyone else. So you never know how God will lead.

Even when you get to the age and stage where you want to get married, I still don't think that dating should be limited strictly to what are viewed as potential marriage partners. Sure, your time is limited and hopefully you are in a situation where there are more people available to date than you would ever have time to date. You will be more selective than you were when you were 14. But who wants to deal with the stress of "we might be getting married" on your first date with someone?
-Link+Zelda wrote:Let us be clear on this--Josh Harris has renounced that book, separated from his wife, and no longer considers himself a Christian. No one should be using that as an example.
And that's the problem. Had he renounced the book but not his faith, people might rethink their dating customs. But since he renounced his book and his faith, he has no credibility, and his renunciation of the book is meaningless. Christians aren't going to renounce their faith because Harris did, and they aren't likely to think any further and consider that they might want to rethink their dating practices. As LBD said, they still see their rejection of traditional dating as part of their faith.
-Link+Zelda wrote:...one wasn't allowed to date unless your intent before the first date was to marry, with very short dating periods before engagement (3 months or less), and I believe also a short engagement
I agree with short engagements in a sense. if you are spiritually and emotionally ready to have sex, then get married and have at it. Do not wait until you can afford a $50,000 wedding and honeymoon to a distant and exotic place. But I really can't see developing that level of emotional attraction to someone in three months.
I think part of the thought was that if the two individuals were both committed Christians, then things would work out no matter who you paired with! As you can imagine, lots of hurt and damage caused by that approach.
I couldn't agree more. "Chemistry" definitely is a factor. And we now know that when we used the term "chemistry" to refer to that magical attraction that sometimes happens between a man and a woman, we were being more literal then we knew. You marry the first person who comes along that is a good Christian and doesn't look half-bad or even drop-dead gorgeous, and wonder why sexual attraction wanes after a few years. Heck, it is pretty much assumed that the initial sexual infatuation will fade.

But it isn't necessarily so. In the book Why Men Want Sex and Woman Need Love, researchers Barbara and Allan Pease state that the initial limerence does not die out in about 5% of couples. Wife and I have had our share of problems lately, but we great chemistry. Sex is good even when everything else is bad. We have never been tempted by anyone else. One big reason I want this marriage to work is because I really don't want to give up sex with her, or do it with anyone else.

So LBD, suggestions: I don't have any good ones other than the online thing. But what has he got to lose if he were to approach a girl, invite her to a dinner and movie, and simply tell her that he is not pursuing marriage with her. Explain as best as he can using the language of their subculture that this a "date." He is not "courting" her. What has she got to lose? If they both enjoy it, then they can do it again sometime. If they don't, then no harm no foul.

Since the people he hangs out with are mostly from the same congregation, he really should look further. When I was in secular college, each major denomination had their own student union. Girls invited me to some of their functions and it was good. I was not part of a popular denomination, so was part of Intervarsity Christian Fellowship. It was probably larger than any of the denominational groups. They are still around. Of course the same stifling atmosphere may exist outside his current group, or he could have the opposite problem -- they may be too liberal and not share his traditional views on premarital sex etc.

Anyway, all the best to him.
Last edited by MrEden on Fri Jan 22, 2021 2:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The playing field today

Post by DoveGrey »

MrEden wrote: Fri Jan 22, 2021 8:10 am
Dove, perhaps a difference between the '70s and the '90s is that in the '70s, there was no assumption that a girl would be having sex with whoever she went out with. Sure, it happened. It was common on secular campuses, but rare on Christian campuses. When I say it was common on secular campuses, it still was not the majority by any means. Is it possible that during the '90s, women were freer with their bodies and the assumption was that she was putting out?
This is something that I hadn't thought of, but it makes sense. There was an assumption that sex was happening. When I started dating, he was 18 and I was 16. We dated for 4 months until he left for university. It was innocent, but I know people assumed I had slept with him. If I had started dating someone even shortly afterward, I can't imagine what the gossip would have been.

I had always wondered when the shift happened from casual dating to pre-engagement dating. It makes sense that it was somewhere in the 80s. Teen sex was so common by the 90s. And it's children trying to navigate adult relationships. I'm so grateful both of my children have decided to avoid those pitfalls. It wasn't without a couple of bad experiences, but they've both decided to keep those friend groups going until they're older.

I get what you mean about turning a casual friendship into something more. My husband and I were in that situation. How do you cross that bridge? My husband, being a physical touch LL guy who isn't good at verbal communication, just up and kissed me one day. I still marvel at his boldness. That certainly would have been the end of a beautiful friendship if I hadn't welcomed that kiss. I'm glad he took the risk, though. I've never wanted a kiss more in my life.
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Re: The playing field today

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This thread ended up really discouraging. Are there any newlyweds on here who can tell how they managed this frustrating cultural issue? Right now I just feel doomed to singleness by having no way to get to know any women well enough to know if I'd ever want to be more than friends.
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Re: The playing field today

Post by SeekingChange »

@Router, not all churches or (non-) denominations are like this. Maybe you need to move out of the overly-religious circles you are in. But honestly, how much do you believe in the power and purpose of God? He has a plan for you, and He'll guide you and bring to you what you need to fulfill it, and I believe that means the right spouse. Keep your eyes focused on Him, not on the "news" and "men" around you.
God can change what people do, behavioral patterns that have been in play for decades. He can change what we do to cope, to find comfort, to survive conflict, to count. Rahab had done a same old thing for years... and then she did something new.
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Re: The playing field today

Post by Link+Zelda »

SeekingChange wrote: Sat Jan 23, 2021 6:05 am @Router, not all churches or (non-) denominations are like this. Maybe you need to move out of the overly-religious circles you are in.
Definitely agree with this. Most of the people who suffered from the effects of this approach in my church got married within a couple years after moving away. That even includes the ones that I found personally odd! I honestly think that churches that don't have big college (or high school) ministries might be the way to go, as they won't "overmanage" what they have.
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Re: The playing field today

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WirelessRouter wrote: Fri Jan 22, 2021 9:16 pm This thread ended up really discouraging. Are there any newlyweds on here who can tell how they managed this frustrating cultural issue? Right now I just feel doomed to singleness by having no way to get to know any women well enough to know if I'd ever want to be more than friends.
@WR - DW & I met online on a Christian website. I went on a lot of dates and passed on a lot more for 9 years (actually about 7 years since I waited for two after my divorce was final). I took breaks from dating on occasion to focus on me, work and kids but during that time, I dated about 5 women steadily for 3-4 months before ending things for a variety of reasons before I met my wife-to-be.

Here's my observations and comments:
-pursue God so much He has to put someone in your path who'll knock you over, someone who is pursuing Jesus like you that you meet at His feet
-know who you are
-Keep becoming the most attractive person (inner character) you can be
-know what you want and what you will and won't compromise on (better to be single and alone than married and "alone"...and still sexually frustrated)
-have fun on a date and figure out how you can be a blessing to the person
-avoid getting physically involved because it'll short circuit the process of dating communication (I was never going to kiss any of my dates unless they were "material worth introducing to my children" and I was ready to do so, meaning I was saw serious potential of marriage...I only kissed one other beside my wife-to-be and they broke it off and ghosted me)
-if/when someone breaks your heart, take time to rest and heal
Last edited by newwifenewlife on Sat Jan 23, 2021 11:16 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The playing field today

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Our son, who just turned 30, had an interesting take on this.

When he was a teen he hung out with groups. This was fun and safe.

When he was 22 and started to think about being married, he started to date. Most of the girls he went out with once, one twice. He said he didn't want to have more dates with someone he knew he was not going to marry.

When he found one he liked, he knew it, and he went all in. They spent a lot of time together, and they talked about everything. They will celebrate their 7th anniversary shortly and have a great marriage (and that from me, who has a rather high standard for such things!)

Of course, my son grew up with two marriage ministers for parents. He heard the horror stories (on-line folks, not the ones we dealt with IRL) so his eyes were wide open. He understood the dangers better than most, and he also knew how great a good marriage could be. He also knew that we were all about marriage when he thought it was right. That turned out to be fairly young, and for him that was good.
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Re: The playing field today

Post by LBD »

Judging by some of the discussions, there may be some misunderstanding of the group dynamics my kiddos are navigating. First, there are no “rules” being followed, at least not written or stated ones. It is just the culture that has developed. I do think it has trickled down some from their current campus ministerial staff,
yet he’s only been there about 6 years. As far as I can tell, it partly comes from an honest effort to be inclusive and “friendly” to all comers. The group probably is made up 75% of church members and the other 25% is a mixed bag. I think the main restrictions come from the girls and their commitment to friendship with each other. They are all afraid of alienating their friends through a male relationship within the group. But there is the idea of date = matrimony. I’m trying to urge my daughter to break that unwritten rule and set a new precedent. But there is no church rule or teaching that has installed this thought process, or is there anything keeping them from dating. In fact, a few have and there are a few couples there, it’s just not prevalent. But I think there is an undertone of “we’re not just here to get married”that seems to be embraced with a vengeance. Unlike years go when a lot of girls were there just to obtain their MRS degree.

My wife was part of this same group 30 years ago, and she dated several of the guys there. In fact I was the first one outside that group she dated.


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