Dating - I DO - Not
by Skyler Powers
When you try something, and it fails time and time again, I suppose the only option left is to try something else. Some say the definition of insanity is to try the same thing over and over again expecting different results. Looking back, I must have been insane for a time, because that is exactly what I was doing.
It started when I was a young kid. My parents would ask if I thought a particular girl was cute. At first, I would give a scowl and declare "no." We all know why - girls have "cooties" (whatever those are)! Eventually, something weird happened, and I did begin to think girls were cute. In fact, I can recall giving/receiving my first kiss in the castle on the playground while in kindergarten. Now, before you get all upset, I am sure it was all in good fun. However, I wonder if we were only modeling what I was being taught.
Fast forward a few more years, and it was time to enter middle school. It was at this point that things began to shape up a bit. There were a few girls that caught my attention, and I guess I had theirs too. I was still being asked the same question - but my response had changed. From time to time I did have a girlfriend. We would go on "dates." Usually that consisted of going to a birthday party or walking to the convenient store. Nevertheless, it was during this period that having a girlfriend wasn't really about finding a suitable helpmeet; instead, it was about becoming friends with benefits. We would hold hands, kiss, and dance. Most of those relationships ended rather quickly, and we pursued the next option. So much for a model of success! Failure wasn't only the norm, it was an expectation! The most common advice - you should date, so you can get to know what kind of person you want to be with.
Unfortunately, this is not an uncommon scene in most of our lives. The next phase becomes even more heart wrenching and disappointing. In high school I had four girlfriends. Most of those relationships were longer in duration, and sadly more intimate. Even though I was striving to become a man of God who would change the world, I was being enticed to follow suite with the world instead of looking to God's Word for the standard. Consequently, I would look for a girl that had certain qualities that I liked, and that I was attracted to. Most times the girls were not incredibly strong Christians (Megan likes to say I was a "missionary dater"). Either way, I would ask God to come along side and bless the relationship. There is no doubt that I was more about my will than his in this area. Thankfully, God protected me from having sex with any of the girls (I had committed to that many years before), but we still went farther than we should have. In fact, there were many times when I knew I should not have been in the relationship, but because 1) it was easier to stay in it as a result of the time invested and/or 2) the "benefits" were enjoyable I would not end it as I knew I should. I would try my best to make things better by making vows (bad idea - "better not to make a vow than to make one and break it"), or try to start a resolution - it would usually end the same. We would make the commitment for a while, and end up doing the same old things. Once again, we modeled what was before us. I will admit, we should not have put ourselves in situations where we were alone or tempted, but unfortunately we did. Once the relationship(s) ended, many times my parents and/or mentors would express to me that they "never thought she was the right girl" for me. After the fact, I wish they would have been more vocal about it.
Eventually, this cycle was enough. After a break up in college, I decided there must be a better way - the best way -God's way. It was at this time in my life that God brought me to a book called Choosing God's Best. It was indeed a choice. We can follow suite with the world, or we can CHOOSE God! In fact, I think we should heed the words of Doug Philips, "Choose, don't settle." In this book, the author starts of by stating that "dating prepares us more for divorce than it does marriage." Obviously, he had my attention As I read, I discovered that God had already given us the perfect model for marriage. I went and looked at each scripture and statistic this author noted. Not only was I challenged, I was moved to change! I repented, and asked God to forgive my previous actions. I asked Him to show me his way. It was at this point in my life that I vowed to truly let God take over my relationships. I was done. I was broken. I needed to be repaired, restored, and renewed. So God did what only He can do. He took something that was broken, and made it new. He started working on my heart, and challenged me to let Him lead. That is where the most incredible story begins!!
Wow! I love hearing his heart! I praise God for his grace and mercy! I must admit that there are days when Satan tempts me with thoughts of Skyler being intimate with other girls. Although we have never shared all the details of our past relationships (we don't see the point as we have forgiven one another, and Satan does not need another foothold), some days my imagination gets the better of me, and I wonder if he ever thinks of those girls. I'm sure he feels the same about the intimacy I had with my past boyfriends. Regardless of the fact that God has forgiven us, and we have forgiven one another, sin has consequences! This was Skyler's experience with dating. I will be sharing mine next, followed by thoughts on courtship, our courtship story, how we plan to teach our children about dating/courtship, and advice/tips for young people wanting to change the way they go about relationships.
To go back and read Dating, Courtship, and Our Story: Part 1 (a few thoughts about dating) click here: