(First: I lied. I know I said I’d publish a follow-up to the Titus 2 post but I totally forgot and then didn’t have time. I’ll try to get it wrapped up and published tomorrow. Sorry.)
In the Facebook comments from the last post, a friend summarized the advice columnist’s attempt at guiding the letter-writer thusly: “(1) grow up, (2) get to know her, (3) get married.” All excellent advice except for step two which is, alas, hopelessly vague. Twenty or thirty years ago, there wouldn’t have been any vagueness, because “get to know her” would have meant one thing: “ask her on a date.” Now? Not so much.
And that’s where the trouble lies. When you combine all the varying advice young single people have been given, what you end up with is a mire of confusion, mixed signals, indecision, and heartbreak. Seriously, how do you make a game plan out of that?
Here’s just a taste of the kind of advice I’ve received or heard over the last ten years or so:
Don’t date. Dating is bad; Joshua Harris said so and if a 19-year-old kid says something in a book (!!!) that got published (!!!!!), it’s probably true. Get to know people only in a big group. But it’s a bad sign if you “struggle” with too much attraction toward one person, because that’s lust and it’s bad, so go after someone you feel really ambivalent toward. Lack of attraction is HOLY, you guys.
Know beyond a shadow of a doubt whether he/she is “the one” before you make a move. Be friends first, probably for at least a year, for some reason involving “seasons of life.”
Guys, you don’t have to step up and take the lead until you’re officially dating, so don’t define the relationship until she breaks down crying in your car one day from pent-up frustration and disappointment. And then tell her that you’re just not in a season of life to be dating anyone. Because your life situation has to be perfect and complication-free before you can be in a relationship of any kind.
Ladies, allow your nurturing instinct free rein and make sure to be available to your guy friends around the clock, and definitely don’t limit your accessibility to a guy you’re interested in! It’s ok for “friends” to spend lots of one-on-one time together as long as they don’t call it “dating” — because dating is bad, remember? If you’re attracted to a guy, it means you should spend more time with him dropping hints. If you’re not attracted to him, that’s ok. You can still hang out with him all the time and tell him your guy troubles until someone better comes along.
Don’t move too fast or you’ll regret it. But if you struggle with sexual temptation in your months- or years-long pseudo-dating awkwardness stew of a relationship, you’ll probably be a social outcast and disqualify yourself from ministry forever.
So now, once and for all, let me make this as clear as possible. The best way to get to know someone…
You know what? Let Kanye break it down for you.