Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Dating: Technique

All too soon, it was time to move indoors for a caffeine boost to tide us through the rest of the work day. Having looked at Target and Timing, we considered how one might start a dating relationship.

The right way to start a dating relationship is a just a subset of the right way to live life. The general principle is to love your neighbour, which includes the Target of your venture. Other-person-centredness is the command of God, the design within which we are to find happiness and the cornerstone of the community that Christ's blood enables us to live in.

One aspect of loving our neighbour is helping them live in a right relationship with God, under God's rule. This means aiding and encouraging them to faith and godliness rather than putting out stumbling blocks for them to trip over.

Right. So a walkthrough might go something like this:
So you see this girl. You're attracted to her. And it's difficult to be clearheaded about not rushing into asking her out on a date.

But remember the general principle. It is your responsibility to love her and care for her by going about it rationally and biblically, not in blind pagan lust.

Absolute Purity
First off, treat everyone with absolute purity (1 Timothy 5:2). The girls in church are not potentials. They are not wares in a shop for you to feast your eyes on and consider with intent to purchase. They are first and foremost your sisters and you are to think of them as such with pure love.

Friendship and Fellowship
Establish a friendship. Relate to her as you relate to any other sister. Afterall, she is not your potential girlfriend. She is a sister like all others. Encourage her to focus and depend on God like you would any other sister.

It is not true that a romantic, exclusive relationship will enable you to get to know her better. It may be more emotionally exciting but the emotional excitement merely blinds you to the illusion and infatuation of being too close too fast. Objectivity is required in making godly loving decisions and much can be known and deduced about her in group settings.

Remember that the point of friendship is not to acquire a girlfriend who will later become your wife. The point of companionship and fellowship in the body of Christ is to build each other up in love and good deeds, teaching and rebuking, encouraging and correcting each other so that we grow together in love for each other and knowledge of him.

If that is the point and the primary purpose for being in a group, then you should not flirt from DG to DG, bible study group to bible study group, social circle to social circle, looking for one where the pickings are good. That would be a disgusting display of self-centredness and mercenary lack of love for your church family and a glaring testimony of your idolatry of marriage.

If you are lonely, identity and comfort is to be found in God first, then in the family God gave you, the Christian community Christ died for.

[A word to the wise, said Cappucino Cad: flirting from flower-bed to flower-bed whiffs of desperation and alerts the lasses that you view them merely as objects of your lust. Even if the sweetest of them attempts to be understanding of your urgent need to find a wife, your actions bespeaks of your untrustworthiness and instability. Who is to say that your lust will stop once you find a wife? Perhaps you may be doing your rounds of the flower-beds again after a few years. Lust is not stopped by marriage, but by repenting of it.]

No Cleavage Please
As a brother to your sisters-in-Christ, you are not to show your cleavage to them. Girls are apparently wired different and common understanding has it that they are stimulated by emotional connection and by warm touch and are excited by being pursued. Doing or saying anything that stimulates them in that way would therefore be as vulgar a come-hither signal as having a bosomy girl rub her aforementioned bosom in your face, then say with great consternation when confronted,"But I was just being friendly!"

Late night talks and intimate sharing in the name of counselling and caring for one another must be done with wisdom. Singling one girl out of an entire group to talk with throughout an outing or constantly asking a girl out one-on-one is showing male cleavage.

Some guys try to limit the damage by alternating between warm closeness and cold distance. Unfortunately, that's apparently the equivalent of a girl flashing her boobs at you every once in a while.

Then there are other guys who attempt to do more gentle damage control by reminding the girl every now and then that they aren't interested in her in "that way" and implying that she is being ungodly and unreasonable in assuming that they were. I'd think that'd be the same as a girl baring loads of cleavage then accusing you of being ungodly and unreasonable by having a physical reaction.

Girls are wired differently and are stimulated by different things. The cause and effect may be illogical to you but that is how they function. The kind and loving thing to do is to take their differences into account when you interact with them and not continue doing whatever you want, however you want.

Not Even a Hint
Even if you are genuinely interested, avoid saying and doing things that express your feelings toward her. This includes flirting, dropping hints of the depth of your emotions, encouraging people to talk about you or treat you as a couple. [Friends, teasing a girl and a boy who are not dating about their suspected couplehood is very not helpful to everyone.]

Target and Timing zun
In time, if she proves to be a Target and the Timing is zun, then wait for what? Go and ask already lah! Wait someone take. Can kiasu a bit anot?!

What is this "scared spoil our friendship" business? If you both talk about it and she disagrees that this is the best way to go for both of you, then you are two mature people who can go on being friends without any awkwardness. She has to trust that that is the end of your venture for now and if she is squeamish about it thereafter, maybe she isn't the Target you thought she was, so your attempt was useful anyway.

If you're actually scared of being rejected, heart-broken and disappointed and having to leave that social circle. Then you'll have to consider why: have you made marriage your life goal so that any "defeat" makes you bitter and downcast? Has marriage become your idol? Then perhaps you are not ready for marriage. You should spend your time on God who matters more than any human can and should matter.

[We all agreed quite sian to flog dead horse but should say that conversely: married men and single girls, don't pressure the single guys lah. If the guy doesn't get off his butt, he's just not that interested lor. As The Marxx suggests, it could well be for ungodly reasons. I have never known a guy who didn't swing into serious action when he was really interested. But pressure a guy to go when he's not ready and it's tears and recriminations all around in the end.]

Successful Dating
If she agrees to start a dating relationship, what would you consider a successful one? Although dating is done with the intention of marriage and finding out if the other is suitable as a marriage partner, the success of a dating relationship should not be defined by whether or not there is a marriage proposal, a diamond engagement ring and a nice church wedding.

Possibly, a successful dating relationship is defined by how godly and loving your conduct was in the relationship and whether you ultimately made a wise, God-fearing decision about marriage.

In dating, as in every other aspect of your Christian life, do nothing out of selfish ambition, do nothing that follows the ways of this world. Instead, do everything according to God's grace, in holiness, always watching out for her and in your thoughts, motives, words and deeds, doing what is best for her godliness and growth.

That's a bit waffley. So loads of "courtship" books try to nail down specifics (a popular bugbear is sexual sin) by listing down regulations:
"Don't hold hands."
"Don't lie in bed together."
"Don't park your car in a secluded spot."
However, like the Colossians' "Do not taste!" "Do not touch!" rules (Colossians 2:20-23), these regulations have an appearance of wisdom, but lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.

The problem lies not in our lack of willpower or slack discipline. The problem lies in our old sinful selves still insisting on following the ways of the world and our lusts of the flesh.

You don't need a list of "do's" and "don't's". Rather, set your heart and mind on things above. Put to death everything of the earthly nature and clothe yourself in virtue (Colossians 3:1-17). Waffley. But it's a holistic approach to life. In fact, it should be part and parcel of your life, not a list of rules and regulations.

Boon Yong once suggested that your conduct during dating should be such that if she gets married, but not to you, her future husband will be able to thank you in his wedding speech for taking care of her.

Target and/or Timing buay zun
If Target and/or Timing buay zun, then donch care lor.

You are complete in Christ as a single. You are as happy and satisfied as you can be. Marriage will not make you more complete nor happier nor more satisfied. Marriage is an unnecessary appendage to your wholeness, your fullness, your value and your contentment and joy. All that is already found in God. In any case, marriage is only temporary (it only lasts as long as you live in this life). Invest and store up on the eternal things!

Your view of love must not continue to be distorted by the world's view of romantic love. Finding romantic love is not your highest calling and snagging a girlfriend/wife cannot be your life's goal.

As with everything else, we understand love by looking at God. God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). And God's ideal for love is not romantic/erotic love between sexual partners. Said Jesus:
Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:13)
True love for another person is the sacrificial love that is to be found between friends. So stop looking for love in the wrong places!


Then we legged it back to the office double-time!

Dating: Target
Dating: Timing

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At February 16, 2009 1:27 am , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's JOshua Harris on "What I've Learnt Since I Kissed Dating Goodbye"


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