Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Dancing in the Minefields (5 Practical Tips for Christian Dating)

Four and a half years is a long time. Especially when you're dating (that's right, dating) the same person. Admitting to being crazy about each other in our sophomore year of high school seemed like a great idea at the time. Except that we're meant to be.

Seriously though, I love my guy. He's more than I ever could have asked for in a boyfriend and future husband. But just dating is hard. Most people get bored with each other after a few months, much less a few years.

So how do we do it?

I've been asked this more times than I can count. I guess it's because Jacob and I are somewhat of an anomaly, since we also haven't kissed yet -- yeah, that's a real thing. So I suppose we could write the book on the subject.

Well, here's 5 things we've survived on over the last four and a half years:

1. Date Night
A well-meaning person once told me that Jacob and I shouldn't have date night because we'll get too close and that is sure to lead to things we shouldn't be doing. Right. Things like talking, getting to know each other, and investing in our relationship. Actually dating the person you're dating is important, people. And going to parties, church, or school together doesn't count. Grabbing dinner doesn't have to mean you end up alone together at your apartment.

2. Choices
We choose each other all over again every day. It seems like a weird concept, but every day I wake up and say, "Yep. He's still the guy for me and he's still my best friend." I don't like to let myself get too used him because that's when we become bored with a beautiful, God-breathed relationship.

3. Laugh
No one makes me laugh like Jacob does and that's because no one knows me like he does. You see, to make someone laugh is to connect with a deeper part of him/her. You've got to understand what they like, don't like, and how to make that funny for that person in particular. The way I see it, the more you can laugh with someone, the better off you both are. Plus, taking yourself too seriously is entirely overrated.

4. Share
When we first started dating, he and I were actually pretty different. I liked country music, he liked rock. I loved sweet tea, he preferred to mix all the different types of juices he could find in the house. Over time, we've learned to share these things with one another and are finding that our likes are converging. I've become an avid movie watcher and he has started to read more. I've been more upfront about what I'm feeling and he's been more patient with me.

5. Prayer
We've also had people tell us that praying together produces intimacy that we aren't ready for. Well, they were right about one thing -- prayer does produce intimacy, but in such a way that you become bonded together for the cause of Christ. When you pray together, your relationship becomes something more than just the two of you. You're (theoretically) asking God to do as He pleases with you together and even if you aren't, you're inviting Him in and I promise, He'll do what He pleases anyway. God specializes in making something out of nothing, and I can tell you that if you will present your relationship to Him, He will use whatever story comes out of it for His ultimate glory.

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Sunday, June 1, 2014


When I think of denial, I think of college letters, credit cards and that awful hotline many of you may have either given out or (God forbid) received sometime between the ages 12 and 16. I also think of this picture:

I haven't decided if that's sacrilegious or not yet, but either way, it's hilarious. 

My pastor put it differently this morning. We're doing a series called "Forgotten God" (Francis Chan's book title but not the same material) about the Holy Spirit. He talked about how the Holy Spirit is indeed a person of God, much like your mind, spirit, and physical body are three separate entities but still 100% you. When we deny one part, we deny all parts. 

He went on to describe various ways in which we deny the Holy Spirit. One of those ways was believing He's there and willing and able to act, move, and heal but refusing to walk it out. As soon as he said that, it dawned on me in that movie theater seat: 

That's my problem. 

God is reshaping, reforming, and refocusing me. My life looks less like mine every day and praise Him for that. In Jesus' name I am tired of not being so hopelessly in love with my Savior that I can't just do what He says. By not immediately obeying the movings of God in my life I am denying that He is who He says He is.

Last time I checked, I was a child of God. Not an adult or even a sassy teenager. I am God's kid and always will be. I guess it's time I start obeying without question. I hear that it usually leads to more peace, more freedom, and more love.

Like what you're reading? Follow me on Twitter at @smashley355