Wednesday, June 6, 2012

I Kissed Dating Hello

In the late 90s Josh Harris' "I Kissed Dating Goodbye" came out. This book took the conservative Christian community--especially the homeschool community--by storm. My mom gave me this book when I was thirteen. I skimmed it quickly because as a late blooming teenager I didn't really see how any of it applied to me. I was not going to date, I was going to court. Got it. Could I please go roller blading around the neighborhood now? If I ran into a boy I'd be sure to not make prolonged eye contact until his intentions were clear.

Sarcasm aside, it wasn't uncommon to hear young Christian homeschool teens asking each other, "is your family doing dating or courting?" Daters were looked down upon, courters were revered for their higher standards. It was never explicitly said, but somehow we all knew to answer "we're going to court, of course!" We weren't heathens, after all!

"Guarding your heart" was the phrase used when proceeding into a relationship with the opposite sex. (Oops...meant to type gender and not the "s" word.) We assumed that by following these standards and "guarding our hearts" we'd be guaranteed the perfect man and a perfect marriage. Again, it was never said, but somehow I came away with that assumption.

Here's the problem with that assumption: there are no perfect men (or women) and no perfect marriage. Assuming a particular method of dating/courting will grant you either of these is setting yourself up for disappointment. I know plenty of girls who obeyed the letter of the "I Kissed Dating Goodbye" law who are in their thirties and still single. I know plenty of girls who had a perfect courtship and their marriage still has problems. Obedience doesn't guarantee reward. Tough lesson. (Some of these are man made laws. Obeying God's law always leads to reward, just not necessarily on this side of eternity. See Hebrews 11.)

So, here's my final opinion more than ten years after perusing IKDG: dating is not evil. There is this unspoken idea in courting that you have to be CERTAIN the person you are going to court is the one you will marry before you proceed. I believe you should date purposefully. But you don't have to know for sure that someone is "the one" before you make a move. If you DO know for certain, great! But having that as a prerequisite is not realistic in most situations.

In a nutshell, I think this is what you should keep in mind when approaching a relationship:

Step one: mutual attraction (well, hopefully it's mutual).
Step two: guy pursues and communicates intentions.
Step three: establish values and set your boundaries. Have accountability. (Hopefully both sides will already have accountability people in their lives.)
Step four: Have fun, get to know each other and find out if this person is meant to be your 'til death! If not, move on. If so, huzzah!

This is neither dating nor courting, but a little combination of both. "Dourting," if you will. In fact, I think I'm going to write a book called "Dourt your way to the Alter." I smell a best seller.

Psalm 73:26

Monday, June 4, 2012

There's a Man in my Pants!

A few months ago I received the most amazing advice on how to get a husband. After one of my shows a middle age lady came up to me and posed the following question:

"I know you joke about being single in your act, but is getting married something you want?"

"Sure, when I meet the right guy," I responded.

"No," she said firmly. "If you're serious about wanting to get a husband, here's what you need to do. You need to get a pair of men's pants and hang them on the end of your bed. Then you pray to God every night to fill those pants with the perfect man." 

I almost started laughing, but there was no hint of joking in her voice.

Oh my, I realized. She's serious! And she wasn't finished.

"But you're tall," she added thoughtfully. "So you want to hang a big pair of pants so you get a tall man."

"My dad is tall," I interjected. "Can I just use a pair of his pants?"

"Oh no, sweetie. That's a little weird," she said, looking mortified.

Good! I was wondering where the bar for "weird" was. It definitely had been raised in this conversation. And she still wasn't finished.

"Go to Goodwill and pick up a pair of pants there," she finished.

"I don't want a used man!" I thought to myself. My thoughts were interrupted, though, as she continued talking.

"That's what I did when I was ready to get married. I hung those pants up, prayed, and then I joined Christian Mingle and found my husband!"

There were so many crazy wise cracks going through my head. I got the sense this wasn't the kind of person who would take teasing. (It's much less rude, and requires less of a spine, to blog about it later.) Instead I smiled and said, "thank you for the advice."

"Please let me know how it goes!" she said.

"I will be sure to let you know when I have a man in my pants," I said. Oops. It didn't sound like that in my head.

Later I relayed the whole thing to my friend who was with me. We decided I shouldn't rush into hanging just any pair of pants. Based on this logic, the kind of pants I hang will be indicative of the man who fills them.

Did I want to hang scrubs and get a doctor? Designer pants and get a lawyer or businessman? If I hung up an Ironman suit would I get Robert Downey Jr.?

I still haven't decided. I think I'll just keep praying that God will provide me with the right guy at the right time. And with the right pants.

I haven't hung the pants, but that conversation did get me thinking about starting a new dating website. I will call it I am too scared to google it to see if it's taken.

What crazy advice have you received for finding a spouse? And, did it work?