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Stop dating and see the big picture

Gary Black has six kids of his own and has ministered to young people for about twenty years.  He has seen how messed up kids can become when they get caught up in the dating system and he blogged about it.  Having raised five children, Karen and I also have seen how dating is a broken …
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes
Gary Black has six kids of his own and has ministered to young people for about twenty years.  He has seen how messed up kids can become when they get caught up in the dating system and he blogged about it.  Having raised five children, Karen and I also have seen how dating is a broken system. 
Consider: It exposes young people to temptations and emotional turmoil when marriage is never a consideration. It gives them experience in frequent failure and the consequent flushing of relationships.  It puts pressure on young people and sends them through unnecessary ups and downs.  It interrupts a process of emotional development, isolating young people from the perspective and wisdom they need. And it subjects young people to decisions about sex that they are unprepared to make. 
On this last point, I like what Kim Martin said when she responded to Gary’s blog:

I wish I had this standard set before me when I was growing up. Instead, I had this stupid idea that if it wasn’t intercourse it wasn’t sex. How ridiculous the lies are that we believe.

Even into adulthood, I have struggled with not giving my heart away. I never learned how to protect myself. As soon as a guy gave me a little attention and made me feel wanted, I put my heart on a platter. Of course, it always came back chewed up and spit out.

I still struggle with what it looks like get to know somebody in a healthy way. I think I set myself up to avoid it out of fear of repeating past patterns.

I really wish somebody had taken the time to teach me how to guard my heart, before I made all those bad choices.

Comments (11)

  • So good to see this subject raised. If I could go back 20 odd years and knew what I know now I would have stayed clear of the dating scene.I would have kept my eyes on Jesus and if He wanted me to get married He would have made sure the ideal guy for me would have come along. If He didnt want me to get married then I would have been happy doing HIS will and not my own and trust that His plans are better than mine.

    I would encourage any young person to do the same and in doing so they will save themselves a lot of hurt, a lot of repenting and a lot of damage.

    Seek Gods kingdom 1st above all else, and that includes finding a partner.Many dont realise that until they lay down THEIR desire for a partner before God then actually they are placing an idol before Him.

    For all those young people out there TRUST HIM. He loves you and if His plans are that you should get married let Him find your partner. He knows exactly who will love you just as you are.

  • Dating sets up a destructive pattern: emotional connections that stir physical desires that cannot be righteously fulfilled, which fuels failure, break-up, depression and deep regret. The dating / break-up combo are like mini-marriages / divorces. Is it any wonder why that the divorce rate among Christians is 50%+? Do yourself a great favor: don’t date. Wait and trust your Father to pick your life-mate.

  • It amazes me every time Corey and I tell “Our Story” about how our first “date” wasn’t until after we were engaged… about how we were simply friends until God put us together and confirmed it a billion times… every time we tell the story all the single girls in the room go “If only I could have a story like that!” My response is always – If you DON’T have a story like that something is wrong!!! These girls are amazed that God could put two people together in a way that is undoubtedly Him, but never think God wants to do that for them as well! *sigh* the lies this culture tells…

  • This is a very interesting subject.
    We want to protect our children’s and our own hearts from brokeness. However, many times what is broken already happened before we began dating and unless we become the common denominator in failed relationships, we can not begin to see what we need to overcome and give it to God. And further, I wonder if we then gain the experience and wisdom to become who God intended, touching the lives of those He intended in the way he intended. I don’t know that I would be fully prepared to really know how to completely love my husband, if I wasn’t painfully (but restored thru Jesus) aware of how not to love. Love does not control…it gently guides, teaches and forgives unconditionally. Thank You Father God for loving me in everyway I needed to be. That love that restores….Amen.

    Sure it would be nice if we could all be raised in a protective bubble only knowing the love of God until that day he sent the perfect mate…But this is unrealistic, the first love we know comes from the people around us and people, no matter how well intended, make errors, errors that can cause a childs view to be distorted. God, in His time and in His way corrects them…what we need to do is Trust in Him…allowing Him to grow us into the mighty individuals he intended. We can’t be mighty unless we know Him and Are Overcomers. Thank you Jesus for Raising me up …Amen.

  • this is interesting and SO true! I think that’s why dating your husband/wife on a regular basis is SO needed!!!

    (found you through the Facebook Blog Network)

  • This has sparked off some really interesting discussions in our house! Never heard this challenge before and it has a lot going for it.

    Looking back at my teenage years and experiences, and my husband’s, and many of our friends, we find this trail of failure and emotional expenditure has been costly not just at the time, but in the way it has affected us in our marriage. It has set up expectations of unfaithfulness or the inability to stick around and see things through.

    We are chewing this one very much! Looking at our 7 year old son, I think I will be in no hurry to suggest he finds himself a girlfriend as the years pass by just because that’s what everyone else is doing.

    Interestingly though, when I didn’t do the whole boyfriend thing in my 16-17 yr period but was at college with a friend I had known all my life, she and I were accused of being lesbians simply because we didn’t have boyfriends. At the time, it made you want to go out and get a man just to prove it wasn’t true!

    Both choices bring pressures – to date or not to date. But I think there is a lot of wisdom in keeping out of the dating circle for as long as possible. Thanks for this – very interesting challenge.

    lol Cxx

  • good input here, people.

    our oldest is 25 and youngest is 18. in general they’ve had a lot more stability in their lives as a result of the “go slow” approach. it takes a while to figure out who you are and where God is taking you. young people who hitch up to others without figuring that out make a big mistake.

  • Hi Seth.

    I just read this in a hurry, so if anything crucial slipped my mind: please forgive me. Anyway: I think dating someone is a beautiful thing. If you apply this attitude towards other fields in life I afraid you’ll one day realize you forgot to live.

    – Frode

  • Frode,

    Of course it is! It’s all a question of timing, learning wisdom, and setting appropriate boundaries. Most people are not thinking this way. Wisdom is something that comes with much conversation and experience.

  • Life can be hard. It’s even harder as a teenager. There are so many challenges and unknowns that need to be processed as a young person, not to mention the emotional and psychological changes that bring challenges of their own. When you add the complications of a serious dating relationship things get even more muddled. When you add the dynamics of sexual activity to a relationship it becomes even more complex….it’s a train wreck waiting to happen.

    If I knew then what I know now…..

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.

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