Thursday, October 28, 2010

They Do Not Listen to Friends and Family

Mistake #17

Isabel was a sweet and quiet girl, yet she was not shy.  She wasn’t a flirt with every guy, but she knew how to flirt enough to get a guy's attention.  She could take on any task and get it done well a day before the deadline.  People admired her competence and quiet confidence. 
Like so many girls the problem was not getting a man interested in her, but what happened after he was interested.  In time it became clear to the people who loved Isabel that this was not the guy for her, but because she hardly hung out with these people without her boyfriend, they never had a chance to tell her what they were seeing.  If they were bold enough to make an opportunity to warn her, Isabel was majorly offended.  How could they say this about her boyfriend?  What right did they have?! 
Proverbs 15:22 (NIV) says, “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.” 
The truth is we need to utilize our family and friends for the wisdom and life experience they have.   We need friends who love and follow after God to help us to make wise decisions about who we continue to date and eventually marry.  Girls often underutilize their families.  Here are ways to take advantage of the wisdom you have in the people who care about you most:
·         Spend time around other people together.  If you decide to continue dating someone, it should not be uncommon for the two of you to hang out with other people including friends and family.  This is a good opportunity for them to meet this person and later share with you what is great about this guy and what might be areas of concern. It is also helpful for you to see how he treats and interacts with other people.  If he is dating you, he is likely treating you like royalty, but you want to see how he is with other people.  As a side note, it is especially helpful to see him in a situation with people he can gain nothing from.  How he treats “the least of these” (Matthew 25:40) such as the poor, young, old, socially awkward, etc. will tell you volumes about his character.
·         Listen to happy couples.  If you have people in your life who are in good marriages, they are the perfect people to get feedback from on what they think about this guy.
·         Listen to your parents.  Your parents love you like no one else and have lived longer and seen more than you.  You should take every bit of wisdom from them you can.  We know that some of you have parents who have values you don’t agree with.  We are not saying you are bound to do what they say (assuming you are an adult), but you do have to honor them by listening to them respectfully.   After you have heard them, pray and ask God to reveal to you what is truth in what they have said.

Many people are hesitant to bring someone they are only casually dating around friends and family because of how their friends and family may behave.  If this is the case, go to these people ahead of time and let them know that you value their opinion about the kind of man you should date and marry because they love and know you better than anyone else.  This being the case, you need them to be casual and act like it is no big deal for you to bring a guy around.  Why would it be, you are a woman in demand and go out with lots of different guys?!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

They Worry About What Other People Think

Mistake #16

As a personal trainer at a gym, Fatima gets attention from men.  In the process of writing this blog she was part of a focus group where she commented, “The thing is, if you go on one date with a single guy who is part of our 5,000 member church, then soon people are asking ‘so, when is the wedding?’”  The other girls agreed.  They talked for a long time about how they feel like they have to KNOW they are interested in a guy before they go on a casual date because of the assumptions of the people around them.  Their parents will be too excited, everyone will be questioning them and the other guys will consider them off the market.  Enough excuses!  Forget about what other people think.  It’s not important.  Here are your guidelines.
·         Get it right in your mind.  There is NOTHING wrong with a casual cup of coffee.  There is NOTHING wrong with a guy buying you dinner.  There is NOTHING wrong with accepting dates from 3 different guys over the same weekend!  If you keep it casual and fun then there is NOTHING wrong with going on one, three even twelve dates with the same guy and deciding that you don’t want to further pursue a deeper relationship. This is a fun stage!  Getting to know new people is exciting and great practice for the moment when Mr. Right finally comes around!  Enjoy it!
·         Prepare your responses.  Now, you have to get ready for those crazy comments from the loving (and sometimes just nosey) audience members who feel the need to comment on every area of your intriguing and interesting life!  When they offer advice just respond with a genuine smile and warm tone, “Thanks.  I’ll keep that in mind.”  And the truth is that the advice may be good.  If they make a comment, with an insinuating tone, like, “I hear you are dating Mikey.”  Just say, “Well, we had a casual cup of coffee (or a casual dinner) but it’s nothing serious.”  Smile and move the conversation on.  Play it cool and they will too!  If they make condemning remarks just let it slide and forget about it.  It’s not worth worrying about. 

Remember:   Just have fun!!!  Forget about what other people are thinking.  Forget about their comments.  Enjoy this time!  

Sunday, October 17, 2010

They Do Not Expect Respect

Mistake #15

Mirabelle naturally related well to guys.  She was rarely without a boyfriend and once she had a boyfriend she was all in.  They spent most of their free time together and she seldom did things with just her girlfriends or the clubs she was involved in.  If he wasn’t doing it, she wasn’t doing it.  On top of that, she would put up with more and more lack of respect.  Sometimes he said he was going to pick her up at 6 and did not show until 7:30.  Other times he made plans with her, but when the guys planned something better he canceled.  Sometimes he even went through doors first and did not hold the door for her.  If they spent time together, she had to make the plans. 

Of course, there are deeper issues as to why a girl puts up with this treatment.  Maybe this kind of behavior was what was modeled at home, or maybe she doesn’t think she can do any better.  If this is you, we recommend you start a Bible study on who you are as a child of God.  (See Appendix C.)
Here are some practical things to do to gently demonstrate that you expect respect:
1.      Be less available.  We discuss this in Chapter 2.  If Mirabelle puts the principles in place that we talk about in Chapter 2, many of these issues will quickly be resolved.
2.      Make new plans.  If it is 30 minutes after he was supposed to pick you up and he hasn’t called, make new plans and go do them.  When he asks you about it, you can graciously (not sarcastically) explain that when he didn’t show up, you figured you had gotten the day wrong and had made new plans.  If he tracks you down in your new plans and wants you to go on the date with him, stick with the new plans and say, “I’d love to hang out sometime but I’ve already made other plans!”  You will rarely encounter this situation though if you are following the “Be Where You Are” principle explained in Chapter 2.
3.      Drop him and move on.  If he drops plans with you for something that is less than once in a lifetime, you need to move on.  He doesn’t really like you enough for you to waste your heart on him.  It’s possible that time will pass and he will realize he has made a mistake.  If that is the case, make him start at the beginning with you and win you all over again.  In the meantime, you need to move on.  For great ideas on how to get over him refer to Appendix A.
4.      Let him serve you.  If you want a man who holds doors for you, you need to stop, wait and let him open it.  Sit in the car and wait for him to come open your door for you.  It won’t take him long to get out of the car and realize that you are still sitting in the car waiting for him to open your door.  If something is heavy, ask him to carry it for you.  If he offers to help you with something, let him.  Men want to be a knight in shining armor and you want a gentleman, so give him the opportunity to act like one and let him be chivalrous. 
5.      Stop making plans.  If he wants to be with you, he will do something about it.  He will pick up a phone and call, or he will stop by and see you and ask for a date.  If he doesn’t do something to make plans with you, you can move on without letting your heart get any more involved with this person.  

Sunday, October 10, 2010

They Talk About the Future Too Soon

Mistake #14

Kate was a detail person.  She liked to have everything planned out well in advance with several contingency plans.  This was one of her greatest gifts.  It served her well in school and her jobs.  People knew they could trust her to do things right.  When it came to dating, Kate also liked to have things nice and tidy.  Once she finally decided she liked someone, she just about had the wedding date and reception seating arrangement planned.  She wasn’t foolish enough to tell her crush this, but the thoughts were there.  If she did end up dating someone, within a few weeks she couldn’t restrain herself from hinting about the future.  Kate had it together and guys really liked her, but her relationships never lasted more than few months, because inadvertently, she made guys feel like they were getting their foot caught in a steel trap that wouldn’t let go.

Girls, I am not telling you not to think about the future.  You can’t help but think about the future, especially if you are considering adding someone in particular to your future.  What I am saying is don’t dwell on the future.  Don’t camp out there.  Don’t spend all your time with your girlfriends talking about it.  Be intentional about occupying your mind with other things.

There are two reasons for this:

·         Reason #1: You set yourself up to be hurt by getting your heart set on a particular future prematurely.  Obviously, there is a time to think about the future, but remember to wait for the right time.  “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven. . .a time to embrace and a time to refrain, . . .a time to be silent and a time to speak,” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-7)  If he is not bringing up the future, it’s not time yet.  It’s fun to be wanted, so let yourself be pursued!  Christ pursues his bride, the Church; let your Mr. Right pursue you.

·         Reason #2: If you talk about the future before he is ready, you will scare him off.  My dog loves to walk close to me, but the moment I put a leash on him he pulls to get off.  He wants to walk next to me by his choice instead of feeling tied to me.  I know I shouldn’t compare guys to dogs, but the reality is that it is easy for them to feel the walls closing in on them when a girl starts mentioning the future before he is ready.  When the walls start closing in, guys will bail before they get trapped. 

It is hard to stop planning for the future.  Here are some tips to help.

1.      Take every thought captive.  It is a choice you make whether or not to dwell on those thoughts.  When you find your mind wandering to the future prematurely, redirect your mind to something else.  
2.      Meditate on a Bible verse.  Some of my best verse memory times have come from being intentional about not dwelling on something in particular.
3.      Refrain from talking about future specifics with him until you are engaged. 
·         If he brings it up, you may talk about your specific future as an individual and his specific future as an individual. 
For example:
o   “If I get married one day, I want to be able to work from home and stay with my kids.”
o   “When I have a family I want to take annual vacations.”
o   “I’ve always wanted to live in Europe.” 

·         You may not talk about a shared future. 
Don’t say:
o   “When we get married, I want to stay home with our babies.”
o   “I can’t wait to go on family vacations with you every summer.”
o   “We should go to Europe and scope out the perfect location for our dream home.”  
Enjoy getting to know someone and being pursued.  You can’t enjoy the present if you are consumed with the future.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

They Commit Too Soon

Mistake #13

As the president of her sorority, Claire was a gorgeous girl who had plenty of attention from guys.  She was caring, always wore a smile and because of this everyone considered her a friend.  Once she met a guy she liked, she was all his.  They hung out every day, talked on the phone until they were about to fall asleep at night and he was all she could talk and think about.  Soon, they had the Define The Relationship (DTR) talk when they decided that they were going to date exclusively.  After a few months (or a couple of years) they decided that one no longer felt the same way about the other and they split up with broken hearts.  Why were so many hearts broken in Claire’s life?  She committed to relationships too soon!

This is such a common mistake.  You meet the man of your dreams and want to get to know him and you want him to know you.  You say “Yes” to all of his invitations because you have so much fun with him and the attention he gives you feels so good!  You become emotionally attached to him quickly because you share so many of your hopes and dreams with him.  Our mentor, Mark Robinson who has served as Collegiate Minister to thousands of college students, called it Serial Monogamy.  Girls move from one very serious relationship to another.  Christian girls are particularly prone to this mistake because they don’t want to give any piece of their heart away to a guy that they might not marry.  So they convince themselves that this may be Mr. Right!  And they let their guards down.  Here are some guidelines to follow to avoid making this mistake:

·         Slow down.  Have fun!!!  Take your time getting to know him.  You don’t need to rush.  Don’t be quick to define the relationship.  Just enjoy the carefree, fun time that come with dating casually! 
·         Be slow to reveal you heart.  Study the They Reveal Too Much Too Soon post.  These are some of the best guidelines in this blog.  Remember: if he just happens to be the guy you choose to marry, then you have the rest of your lives to get to know each other!  You don’t have to do it in the first week.
·         Do not spend too much time with him.  Remember, you are a busy girl in high demand by so many interesting people!  You have a busy schedule filled with enriching activities!  You have time in your schedule to hang out once in awhile but you won’t clear your schedule to fit him in.  Remember, be a challenge.  
o   First Month: You should see him no more than twice per week.
o   Second and Third Month: You should not hang out with him more than three times per week.
o   Fourth month and beyond: After the third month, if you are still very interested in him, your family and friends are in agreement (see Mistake 17) and if HE BRINGS IT UP FIRST, defining the relationship as exclusive is acceptable.  (Note: If he really likes you he will WANT to define the relationship.  You should never, ever, ever bring this topic up.  Defining the relationship is a way for him to tell other guys to keep their hands off of you.  If he doesn’t want to define the relationship, he is keeping his options open.  Therefore, you need to keep your options open as well.)  Please, enter an exclusive relationship with extreme caution.  After you are exclusive do not see him more than 4 day per week.
o   Engagement:  After you are engaged, you may see him up to 5 days per week.  We recommend never seeing him more than 5 days per week until you are married.  You need a few days apart from each other to be able to evaluate the relationship clearly, keep up your relationships with your friends and family and maintain your identity as an individual.  He needs to marry you to have complete and unlimited access to you.
·         Use caution when getting physical!  Again, be a challenge.  Keep in mind, if people see you holding hands they will assume you are together and you will be considered off of the market.  Other guys will not approach you.  By withholding touch you have the power in the relationship.  He will always wonder, “Will she let me hold her hand tonight?  Should I make my move?”  Absolutely no kissing before you are exclusive.  As we discussed in the They Kiss Too Soon entry, kissing leads to commitment by default.  You want to make the decision to enter into an exclusive relationship with a clear head.  You don’t want your emotions, resulting from your physical relationship, to cloud this huge decision.   

Remember:  Have a great time without the pressure and limitations of a relationship.  The stage of casual dating is really fun!  Enjoy it!