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Eric was still single. But both came to him separately and expressed emotional trauma and guilt over past memories. Eric expressed similar feelings. We all sat waiting for some sort of solution. We knew the reality of the story he told. Some of us had made the same mistake or watched it happen in the lives of our friends. We wanted something better. We wanted the pastor to tell us what we were supposed to do instead. But he gave no alternative that afternoon. Evidently the pastor thought the couples only mistake was giving in to temptation.
He seemed to think that Eric and Jenny should have had more respect for each other and more self-control. Although this pastor encouraged a different outcome--saving sex for marriage-- he didn't offer a different practice. Is this the answer? Head out on the same course as those who have fallen and hope that in the critical moment you'll be able to stay in control? Giving young people this kind of advice is like giving a person a cart that swerves and sending him into a store stocked with the world's most expensive Chinaware.
Despite the narrow aisles and glass shelves laden with delicate dishes, this person is expected to navigate the rows with a cart known to go off course? I don't think so. Yet this is exactly what we try in many of our relationships. We see the failed attempts around us, but we refuse to replace this "cart" called dating.
DEFECTIVE DATING Dating has built-in problems, and if we continue to date according to the system as it is today, we'll more than likely swerve into trouble. Eric and Jenny probably had good intentions, but they founded their relationship on our culture's defective attitudes and patterns for romance.
Unfortunately, even in their adulthood they continue to reap the consequences The following "seven habits of highly defective dating" are some of the "swerves" dating relationships often make. Perhaps you can relate to one or two of them. I know I can! Dating leads to intimacy but not necessarily to commitment. Jayme was a junior in high school; her boyfriend, Troy, was a senior.
Troy was everything Jayme ever wanted in a guy, and for eight months they were inseparable. But two months before Troy left for college, he abruptly announced that he didn't want to see Jayme anymore. Even though they'd never physically gone beyond a kiss, Jayme had completely given her heart and emotions to Troy.
Does Jayme's story sound familiar to you? Perhaps you've heard something similar from a friend, or maybe you've experienced it yourself. Like many dating relationships, Jayme and Troy's became intimate with little or no thought about commitment or how either of them would be affected when it ended.
We can blame Troy for being a jerk, but let's ask ourselves a question. What's really the point of most dating relationships? Often dating encourages intimacy for the sake of intimacy-- two people getting close to each other without any real intention of making a long-term commitment. Deepening intimacy without defining a level of commitment is plainly dangerous.
It's like going mountain climbing with a partner who isn't sure that she wants the responsibility of holding your rope. When you've climbed two thousand feet up a mountain face, you don't want to have a conversation about how she feels "tied down" by your relationship.
In the same way, many people experience deep hurt when they open themselves up emotionally and physically only to be abandoned by others who proclaim they're not ready for "serious commitment. But He has made the fulfillment of intimacy a byproduct of commitment-based love. You might say that intimacy between a man and a woman is the icing on the cake of a relationship headed toward marriage. They usually lack a purpose or clear destination. In most cases, especially in high school, dating is short term, serving the needs of the moment.
People date because they want to enjoy the emotional and even physical benefits of intimacy without the responsibility of real commitment.
In fact, that's what the original revolution of dating was all about. Dating hasn't been around forever. As I see it, dating is a product of our entertainment-driven, "disposable-everything" American culture. Long before Seventeen magazine ever gave teenagers tips on dating, people did things very differently.
At the turn of the twentieth century, a guy and girl became romantically involved only if they planned to marry. If a young man spent time at a girl's home, family and friends assumed that he intended to propose to her. But shifting attitudes in culture and the arrival of the automobile brought radical changes. The new "rules" allowed people to indulge in all the thrills of romantic love without having any intention of marriage.
Author Beth Bailey documents these changes in a book whose title, From Front Porch to Backseat, says everything about the difference in society's attitude when dating became the norm. Love and romance became things people could enjoy solely for their recreational value. Though much has changed since the s, the tendency of dating relationships to move toward intimacy without commitment remains very much the same. For Christians this negative swerve is at the root of dating's problems.
Intimacy without commitment awakens desires-- emotional and physical--that neither person can justly meet. In 1 Thessalonians KJV the Bible calls this "defrauding," ripping someone off by raising expectations but not delivering on the promise. Pastor Stephen Olford describes defrauding as "arousing a hunger we cannot righteously satisfy"--promising something we cannot or will not provide. Intimacy without commitment, like icing without cake, can be sweet, but it ends up making us sick.
Dating tends to skip the "friendship" stage of a relationship. Jack met Libby on a church-sponsored college retreat. Libby was a friendly girl with a reputation for taking her relationship with God seriously. Jack and Libby wound up chatting during a game of volleyball and seemed to really hit it off.
Jack wasn't interested in an intense relationship, but he wanted to get to know Libby better. Two days after the retreat he called her up and asked if she'd like to go out to a movie the next weekend. She said yes. Did Jack make the right move?
Well, he did in terms of scoring a date, but if he really wanted to build a friendship, he more than likely struck out. One-on-one dating has the tendency to move a guy and girl beyond friendship and toward romance too quickly. Have you ever known someone who worried about dating a long-time friend? People who make statements like that, whether or not they realize it, recognize that dating encourages romantic expectations. In a true friendship you don't feel pressured by knowing you "like" the other person or that he or she "likes" you back.
You feel free to be yourself and do things together without spending three hours in front of the mirror, making sure you look perfect.
Lewis describes friendship as two people walking side by side toward a common goal. Their mutual interest brings them together. Jack skipped this "commonality" stage by asking Libby out on a typical, no-brainer, dinner- and-movie date where their "coupleness" was the focus. In dating, romantic attraction is often the relationships cornerstone. The premise of dating is "I'm attracted to you; therefore, let's get to know each other.
Intimacy without commitment is defrauding. Intimacy without friendship is superficial. A relationship based only on physical attraction and romantic feelings will last only as long as the feelings last.
Dating often mistakes a physical relationship for love. Dave and Heidi didn't mean to make out with each other on their first date. Dave doesn't have "only one thing on his mind," and Heidi isn't "that kind of girl. They had gone to a concert together and afterward watched a video at Heidi's house. During the movie, Heidi made a joke about Dave's attempt at dancing during the concert. He started tickling her. Their playful wrestling suddenly stopped when they found themselves staring into each other's eyes as Dave was leaning over her on the living room floor.
They kissed. It was like something out of a movie. It felt so right. It may have felt right, but the early introduction of physical affection to their relationship added confusion. Dave and Heidi hadn't really gotten to know each other, but suddenly they felt close. As the relationship progressed, they found it difficult to remain objective. Whenever they'd try to evaluate the merits of their relationship, they'd immediately picture the intimacy and passion of their physical relationship.
But did they? Just because lips have met doesn't mean hearts have joined. And just because two bodies are drawn to each other doesn't mean two people are right for each other. A physical relationship doesn't equal love. When we consider that our culture as a whole regards the words "love" and "sex" as interchangeable, we shouldn't be surprised that many dating relationships mistake physical attraction and sexual intimacy for true love.
Sadly many Christian dating relationships reflect this false mindset. When we examine the progression of most relationships, we can clearly see how dating encourages this substitution. First, as we pointed out, dating does not always lead to lifelong commitment.
For this reason, many dating relationships begin with physical attraction; the underlying attitude is that a person's primary value comes from the way he or she looks and performs as a date. Even before a kiss has been given, the physical, sensual aspect of the relationship has taken priority. Next, the relationship often steamrolls toward intimacy. Because dating doesn't require commitment, the two people involved allow the needs and passions of the moment to take center stage. The couple doesn't look at each other as possible life partners or weigh the responsibilities of marriage.
Instead, they focus on the demands of the present. And with that mindset, the couple's physical relationship can easily become the focus. And if a guy and girl skip the friendship stage of their relationship, lust often becomes the common interest that brings the couple together.
As a result, they gauge the seriousness of their relationship by the level of their physical involvement. Two people who date each other want to feel that they're special to each other, and they can concretely express this through physical intimacy.
They begin to distinguish their "special relationship" through hand holding, kissing, and everything else that follows. For this reason, most people believe that going out with someone means physical involvement. Focusing on the physical is plainly sinful. God demands sexual purity. And He does this for our own good. Physical involvement can distort two peoples perspective of each other and lead to unwise choices.
God also knows we'll carry the memories of our past physical involvements into marriage. He doesn't want us to live with guilt and regret. Physical involvement can make two people feel close. But if many people in dating relationships really examined the focus of their relationships, they'd probably discover that all they have in common is lust. Dating often isolates a couple from other vital relationships.
While Garreth and Jenny were dating, they didn't need anyone else. Since it meant spending time with Jenny, Garreth had no problem giving up Wednesday night Bible study with the guys. Jenny didn't think twice about how little she talked to her younger sister and mother now that she was dating Garreth.
Nor did she realize that when she did talk to them, she always started her sentences with "Garreth this By its very definition, dating is about two people focusing on each other. Unfortunately, in most cases the rest of the world fades into the background. If you've ever felt like a third wheel hanging out with two friends who are dating each other, you know how true this is. Granted, of all dating's problems, this one is probably the easiest to fix.
Yet Christians still need to take it seriously. First, because when we allow one relationship to crowd out others, we lose perspective. In Proverbs we read, "Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed. Of course we make this same mistake in any number of non-romantic relationships. But we face this problem more often in dating relationships because these relationships involve our hearts and emotions. And because dating focuses on the plans of a couple, major issues related to marriage, family, and faith are likely at stake.
And if two people haven't defined their level of commitment, they're particularly at risk. You put yourself in a precarious position if you isolate yourself from the people who love and support you because you dive wholeheartedly into a romantic relationship not grounded in commitment.
In Passion and Purity, Elisabeth Elliot states, "Unless a man is prepared to ask a woman to be his wife, what right has he to claim her exclusive attention?
Unless she has been asked to marry him, why would a sensible woman promise any man her exclusive attention? When Garreth and Jenny mutually decided to stop dating, they were surprised to find their other friendships in disrepair. It's not that their other friends didn't like them; they hardly knew them anymore.
Neither had invested any time or effort in maintaining these friendships while they concentrated on their dating relationship. Perhaps you've done a similar thing. Or maybe you know the pain and frustration of being put on the back burner for the sake of a friend's boyfriend or girlfriend.
The exclusive attention so often expected in dating relationships has a tendency to steal people's passion for serving in the church and to isolate them from the friends who love them most, family members who know them best, and, sadly, even God, whose will is far more important than any romantic interest. Dating, in many cases, distracts young adults from their primary responsibility of preparing for the future.
We cannot live in the future, but neglecting our current obligations will disqualify us for tomorrows responsibilities.
Being distracted by love is not such a bad thing--unless God wants you to be doing something else. One of the saddest tendencies of dating is to distract young adults from developing their God-given abilities and skills. Christopher and Stephanie started dating when they were both fifteen years old.
In many ways, they had the model dating relationship. They never got involved physically, and when they broke up two years later, their breakup was amicable. So what harm was done? Will, none in the sense that they didn't get into trouble. But we can begin to see some problems when we look at what Christopher and Stephanie could have been doing instead. Maintaining a relationship takes a lot of time and energy. Christopher and Stephanie spent countless hours talking, writing, thinking, and often worrying about their relationship.
The energy they exerted stole from other pursuits. For Christopher, the relationship drained his enthusiasm for his hobby of computer programming and his involvement with the church's worship band. Though Stephanie doesn't hold it against Christopher, she rejected several opportunities to go on short-term missions because she didn't want to be away from him. Their relationship swallowed up time both of them could have spent developing skills and exploring new opportunities.
Dating may help you practice being a good boyfriend or girlfriend, but what are these skills really worth? Even if you're going out with the person you will one day marry, a preoccupation with being the perfect boyfriend or girlfriend now can actually hinder you from being the future husband or wife that person will one day need.
Dating can cause discontentment with God's gift of singleness. On my brother's third birthday, he received a beautiful blue bicycle. The miniature bike was brand-new, complete with training wheels, protective padding, and streamers. I thought he couldn't ask for a better first bike, and I couldn't wait to see his reaction. But to my chagrin my brother didn't seem impressed with the present.
When my dad pulled the bike out of its large cardboard box, my brother looked at it a moment, smiled, then began playing with the box. It took my family and me a few days to convince him that the real gift was the bike. I can't help but think that God views our infatuation with short-term dating relationships much as I did my brother's love for a worthless box. A string of uncommitted dating relationships is not the gift!
God gives us singleness--a season of our lives unmatched in its boundless opportunities for growth, learning, and service--and we view it as a chance to get bogged down in finding and keeping boyfriends and girlfriends. But we don't find the real beauty of singleness in pursuing romance with as many different people as we want.
We find the real beauty in using our freedom to serve God with abandon. Dating causes dissatisfaction because it encourages a wrong use of this freedom. God has placed a desire in most men and women for marriage.
Dating plays a role in fostering this dissatisfaction because it gives single people just enough intimacy to make them wish they had more. Instead of enjoying the unique qualities of singleness, dating causes people to focus on what they don't have.
Dating creates an artificial environment for evaluating another person's character. Although most dating relationships don't head toward marriage, some--especially those among older, college-age students --are motivated by marriage.
People who sincerely want to find out if someone is potential marriage material need to understand that typical dating actually hinders that process. Dating creates an artificial environment for two people to interact.
As a result, each person can easily convey an equally artificial image. In the driveway of our house we have a basketball hoop that we can adjust to different heights. When I lower the hoop three feet from its normal setting, I can look like a pretty good basketball player. Dunking is no problem. I glide across the pavement and slam the ball down every time. But my "skill" exists only because I've lowered the standards--I'm not playing in a real environment. Put me on a court with a ten-foot hoop, and I'm back to being a white boy who can't jump.
In a similar way, dating creates an artificial environment that doesn't demand a person to accurately portray his or her positive and negative characteristics. On a date, a person can charm his or her way into a date's heart. He drives a nice car and pays for everything; she looks great. But who cares? Being fun on a date doesn't say anything about a person's character or ability to be a good husband or wife.
Part of the reason dating is fun is that it gives us a break from real life. For this reason, when I'm married I plan to make a habit of dating my wife. In marriage, you need to take breaks from the stress of kids and work; you need to just get away for a bit.
But two people weighing the possibility of marriage need to make sure they don't just interact within the fun, romantic settings of dating. Their priority shouldn't be to get away from real life; they need a strong dose of objective reality! They need to see each other in the real-life settings of family and friends. They need to watch each other serving and working.
How does he interact with the people who know him best? How does she react when things don't go perfectly? When considering a potential mate, we need to find the answers to these kinds of questions--questions that dating won't answer. OLD HABITS DIE HARD The habits of highly defective dating reveal that we can't fix many of dating's problems by merely "dating right. And even those Christians who can avoid the major pitfalls of premarital sex and traumatic breakups often spend much of their energy wrestling with temptation.
If you've dated, this probably sounds familiar to you. I think that for too long we've approached relationships using the world's mind-set and values, and if you've tried it, you might agree with me that it just doesn't work.
Let's not waste any more time battling the swerving cart of dating. It's time for a new attitude. CHAPTER THREE Five Attitude Changes To Help You Avoid Defective Dating In the previous chapter, I outlined the seven habits of highly defective dating. Perhaps that chapter challenged the way you think about dating. If so, you're probably saying to yourself, "I can agree that dating has its problems. But what do I do now? How do Christians avoid defective dating? Easier said than done, right?
But in Ephesians NLT , Paul shows us how we can transform our lives:".. throw off your old evil nature and your former way of life, which is rotten through and through, full of lust and deception. Instead, there must be a spiritual renewal of your thoughts and attitudes. You must display a new person because you are a new person, created in God's likeness--righteous, holy and true.
In this chapter, I'd like to clearly state the perspective that I believe God wants us to have towards romance. We'll expand on these three areas in the next section, but for now the attitude changes described here give a glimpse of the practical alternative God offers those who want His best. Every relationship is an opportunity to model Christ's love. Bethany, an outgoing freshman at a Christian college, has a reputation as a bit of a flirt.
Unfortunately, much of her interaction with guys is fake--it focuses on attracting attention to herself and getting a reaction from whoever she currently likes. Bethany invests more energy in getting a guy to like her than she does in spurring him toward godliness. But when Bethany changes her perspective and realizes her friendships with guys are opportunities to love them as Christ does, she takes a degree turn from flirtatiousness to honest, sincere love that treats guys as brothers, not potential boyfriends.
Instead of viewing herself as the center of the universe with other people revolving around her, she can begin to look for ways to bless others. The world will know we follow Christ by the way we love others.
For this reason, we must practice love as God defines it--sincere, servant-hearted, and selfless--not the world's brand of selfish and sensual love based on what feels good. My unmarried years are a gift from God.
Michael is twenty-one years old and has an engaging personality that matches his good looks. As the intern for his church's youth ministry, he has more than enough opportunities to meet and get to know Christian girls. Although he realizes his potential for ministry as a single and doesn't feel rushed to get married, he has developed a pattern of dating one girl after another. Although Michael has done nothing immoral, his pattern of short-term dating potentially robs him of the flexibility, freedom, and focus of singleness.
He still operates from the old dating mind-set that he's incomplete without a girlfriend. But when Michael adopts a new attitude that views singleness as a gift, he learns to be content with friendship during the time God wants him to remain single. As a result, Michael can clear his life of the clutter that short-term relationships contribute to his life.
With this newly freed time and energy, Michael can pursue more effective ministry and deeper friendships with people of both genders. Until you realize God's gift of your singleness, you'll probably miss out on the incredible opportunities it holds. Perhaps even now you can think of an opportunity you could grasp if you let go of the dating mind-set.
As a single you have the freedom right now to explore, study, and tackle the world. No other time in your life will offer these chances. Intimacy is the reward of commitment--I don't need to pursue a romantic relationship before I'm ready for marriage.
Jenny is seventeen and has dated a boy from her church for over a year. They're both strong Christians, and they want to marry each other someday. The "someday" part is the problem--realistically, they can't get married for quite a few years. Both have specific things to accomplish for God before they can take that step.
The old attitude would say that intimacy feels good, so enjoy it now. But the new attitude recognizes that if two people can't make a commitment to each other, they don't have any business pursuing romance. Even though it isn't easy, Jenny tells her boyfriend that they need to limit the time and energy they invest in each other.
Trusting that God can bring them back together if He wills, they halt their progression of intimacy until they can match it with commitment. Though they struggle with the separation, missing the closeness they once enjoyed, they know in the long run--whether they marry each other or someone else--they've made the best choice for both of them. God has made each of us with a desire for intimacy, and He intends to fulfill it. While we're single He doesn't expect these longings to disappear, but I believe He asks us to have the patience to wait and, in the meantime, seek close relationships with family and deep, non-romantic relationships with brothers and sisters in the Lord.
This doesn't mean you have to marry the first person with whom you find both romance and intimacy. While I do know some people who have married the first person with whom they developed an intimate, romantic relationship, most of us won't follow this path.
But we can't use this reality as an excuse to pursue romance for its own sake. I believe this mind-set is misguided and selfish. If you're not ready to consider marriage or you're not truly interested in marrying a specific person, why encourage that person to need you or ask him or her to meet your needs emotionally or physically? I cannot "own" someone outside of marriage. In God's eyes two married people become one. And as you continue to mature, you'll often crave the oneness that comes from sharing life with someone.
Perhaps you feel that desire even now. Yet I believe that until we're ready to commit our lives in marriage, we have no right to treat anyone as if he or she belongs to us. Sarah and Philip are both seniors in high school and have gone out with each other for six months. Their relationship has reached a fairly serious level. In fact, for all intents and purposes, A new attitude they might as well be married.
They rarely do anything apart-- they monopolize each other's weekends, drive each others cars, and know each others families almost as well as their own. As well, their physical relationship is fairly serious. In fact, it's in a precarious position. Even though they haven't had sex, they constantly struggle with going too far. The old attitude says we can "play marriage" if we really love someone. Sarah and Philip realize they need to end their relationship as it now exists.
By staking a claim on each other, they've stifled their individual growth and needlessly consumed energy that they should have directed into service and preparation for the future. They've planned their lives around each other when they don't really know that they'll get married someday And in reality, if they are like most high school couples, each of them will probably marry someone else.
Even if Sarah and Philip had kept their physical relationship completely pure, they still would have made unwarranted claims on each other's spiritual and emotional life by continuing the relationship. If God wants them together in the future, their current decision to halt their involvement won't endanger His plan. Right now they need to obey God and break up a relationship that has them stealing from each other. Are you making unwarranted emotional, spiritual, or even physical claims on someone?
Ask God to show you whether you need to reevaluate a current relationship. I will avoid situations that could compromise the purity of my body or mind. Jessica, age sixteen, is a good girl who is unfortunately very naive.
If Jessica were honest, she'd admit that she likes the excitement of these situations. She thinks its very romantic, and it gives her a feeling of control over her boyfriend who, to be quite honest, will go as far in their physical relationship as Jessica will allow. But when Jessica takes on a new attitude, she sees that purity consists of more than remaining a virgin.
When she honestly examines her relationship with her boyfriend, she realizes that she has left the direction of purity. To get back on course she has to drastically change her lifestyle. First, she ends the relationship with her boyfriend because they focus on the physical aspect.
Then she commits to fleeing those settings that lend themselves to compromise. Where, when, and with whom you choose to spend your time reveals your true commitment to purity.
Do you need to examine your tendencies? If you do, make sure that you avoid placing yourself in settings that encourage temptation. I know that this new attitude challenges convention and even habits you may have already adopted. In its wild abandonment to obedience, the God-fashioned life leaves no room for pettiness, insincerity, wasted time, or selfishness. In short, it is a lifestyle that leaves no room for the seven habits of highly defective dating.
This may sound too difficult to you. But if you give it some A new attitude consideration, I think you might find it doable, even desirable. Because the Christian with his or her eyes on the goal of sincere and intelligent love will find throwing out the world's approach to relationships as no sacrifice. Rejecting the old attitude is the natural response to not only the evident problems in dating, but more important, to the high calling we've received from God.
He commands us to "throw off everything that hinders" and "run with perseverance the race marked out for us" Hebrews God wants us to win the race of life. The attitudes and practices of our culture's dating relationships are unnecessary baggage that weighs us down. Lifelong singleness? Friday nights at home watching videos with your cat? Choosing to quit the dating game doesn't mean rejecting friendship with the opposite sex, companionship, romance, or marriage. We still can pursue these things; we just choose to pursue them on God's terms and in His time.
Leaving dating behind is a side effect of God's primary desire for us to consume ourselves with seeking Him wholeheartedly. MAKING THE TRADE Many of the attitudes and practices of today's dating relationships conflict with the lifestyle of smart love God wants us to live.
Let me ask you some tough, soul- searching questions. Are you willing to break our culture's rules to experience God's best? Are you willing to give Him everything, committing yourself to Him with abandon? A simple story told by one of my favorite preachers, Ravi Zacharias, clearly illustrates the choice we face.
One day a boy who has a bag of marbles proposes a trade with a little girl who has a bag of candy. The girl gladly agrees. But while the boy gets out his marbles, he realizes that he can't bear to part with some of them. Rather dishonestly, he takes three of his best marbles and hides them under his pillow. The boy and girl make the trade, and the girl never knows he has cheated her. But that night while the girl lies fast asleep, the boy has no peace.
He's wide awake, pondering a question that nags him: "I wonder if she kept her best candy, too? We've held onto old attitudes, foolishly clutching a lifestyle that the world tells us will bring fulfillment. God asks us to hand them all over to Him. Where are you right now? Have you given God everything within you, or do you still hold your favorite marbles in your hands, including your attitude about dating? In the following chapters we'll examine our attitudes toward three heart issues--love, patience, and purity--that shape our approach to relationships.
As we seek to gain God's perspective, we'll discover that giving Him everything is well worth the trade. Jeff laughed loudly and accelerated the car as we went around a turn. My shock apparently energized him. Though he hardly seemed old enough to be driving, my sixteen-year-old friend was acting as my chauffeur during the summer weeks I spent at my grandmothers home in Ohio. Our parents had known each other since the couples were newlyweds; we had pictures playing together as preschoolers.
Jeff and his girlfriend, Gloria, had been going out for a while. If you didn't count the numerous times they had broken up then reconciled, they had dated for almost a year. Jeff had always remained vague about their level of physical involvement, but now they had obviously fully consummated their relationship.
Turning to me he grinned, winked mischievously, and said, "Man, oh, man. you had.. I mean you slept together? He wanted me to be impressed, to slap him on the back like one of his football teammates in the locker room and praise him for his "exploit.
It was really special. Maybe it doesn't meet your morals, but we felt that it was the right time to show our love. Since when were they mine? How many times have we talked about this? With each other? At church? Jeff, you know that wasn't right. For some reason the stoplight took forever to turn green. We sat silently as the turn signal clicked off and on. I looked out the window. Four years later, Jeff was going to college in Michigan. I've never been so in love.
My congratulations sounded hollow. I couldn't help it. I was thinking of Gloria. I hadn't seen her for a long time. What was she now? Three or four girlfriends back? Love, huh? THE FIRST KISS "How does Chinese sound? I'd only just met Eric and his wife, Leslie, but had already noted Eric's exuberance and excitement about everything--even my restaurant suggestion.
Eric and Leslie had stopped by to visit me during a drive through the Northwest. A friend in Colorado had told me about these newlyweds and the little book they had written. Their book told the story of how they had met and grown to love each other without following the typical pattern of dating. You'd be hard pressed to find two more romantic people. They adored each other, and it showed.
Eric rarely took his eyes off Leslie. Sitting in the passenger seat on the way to the restaurant, he slipped his hand behind the seat, and Leslie reached forward and clasped it. Holding hands when one person is sitting in the front seat and the other is in the back? I'd never seen that before. After dinner, while we cracked open our fortune cookies, I had a question. Leslie blushed.
Leslie and I decided very early in our relationship that we were going to refrain from physical contact until we were married. Our first kiss was at the altar. And, Josh, we know that kind of standard isn't for every couple. We didn't make that decision to be legalistic; it came from the heart.
Everyone, even our parents, told us we should kiss. But we both decided it was what we wanted to do. It was a way to show our love, to protect each other before we were married. I can't even begin to describe it.
Jeff and Gloria. Two couples that used the same word--love--to explain what motivated them to act in opposite ways. were both couples talking about the same thing? For Jeff and Gloria, love justified a night in a hotel room enjoying each other's bodies before marriage. For Eric and Leslie, love meant barely touching each other before they walked to the altar.
For Jeff and Gloria, love was impatient and demanded compromise. For Eric and Leslie, love fueled integrity and gave them the patience needed to wait. One word. Two definitions. IN LOVE WITH LOVE I am, by my own admission, a hopeless romantic. If such a thing is possible, I am in love with being in love. There's nothing else quite like it, and if you've experienced it, you know what I mean. Being in love is a patchwork of a thousand indescribable moments. Nervous energy runs through your body whenever you think of that special person, which is every waking minute.
You lose interest in the dull chores of eating, sleeping, and thinking rationally. You discover that every love song on the radio was written for you. It seems that someone has removed blinders from your eyes, and you can see the world full of wonder and mystery and happiness. I love love. But I've come to realize that I don't really know looking up "love" in God's dictionary much about it. Oh, I can tell you all about the warm, fuzzy side of love.
I can throw myself into romance with all the passion of Romeo, but in God's school of true love, I'm afraid I'm still in kindergarten. To me and other romantics who share a "love for love," God wants to give a higher, grander view.
He wants to deepen our understanding. Romance can thrill us to our core, but it's only a small part of true love. We've been playing in the sandbox-- God wants to take us to the beach. APHRODITE OR CHRIST? I cannot overemphasize the importance of gaining God's perspective on love. We can link all of the negative habits of dating to adopting a fallen world's attitudes toward love.
And the conflict between God's definition of love and the world's is not new. Christians have always had a choice to either imitate the Master or slip into the more enticing pattern for love provided by the world.
The apostle Paul understood this struggle when he wrote his famous chapter on love to the Christians living in Corinth. He must have realized the irony of his task. In Paul's day, writing to Corinthians about God's love was the equivalent of writing a letter on family values to Hollywood today. To "play the Corinthian" meant to give oneself to sexual pleasure.
A "Corinthian girl" was another word for a prostitute. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud 1 Corinthians The bustling, cosmopolitan, port town had elevated sex to a religious pursuit. The temple of Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, employed one thousand prostitutes.
How could these people possibly understand the true meaning of the statement "God is love" 1 John when on every street corner and from every brothel someone offered their version of "love"--sensual pleasure--to them? Would they see the truth and beauty of real love in the midst of the seductiveness of its counterfeit? It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs 1 Corinthians Would Aphrodite or Christ triumph in Corinth?
Would sensuality push out servanthood? Would sexuality have priority over selflessness? Would the readers of Paul's humble letter choose the everlasting or the fleeting pleasure of the moment? Today Christians endure the very same struggle.
Though separated by some two thousand years, similarities abound between our culture and that of Corinth. More than ever, sex is a commodity. Sensuality and exaggerated sexuality shout at us on every corner, if not from brothels then from newsstands and billboards.
And on the radio, "Pleasure is all that matters" is sung sweetly in our ears. In the midst of this harangue, God's quiet message of true love still speaks to those who choose to listen. Can you hear it? Put down the magazine. Turn off the VCR. Pull the plug on the stereo and listen Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails 1 Corinthians FASHION NIGHTMARE Like the Christians in Corinth, we have two styles of love to select from--Gods or the worlds. Which will we choose? I have an image that may help us understand our role as followers of Christ and therefore the style of love we should adopt. You may think it sounds strange at first, but stick with me.
It will make sense as I explain. I think we should view love as something we wear. From the day Adam and Eve disobeyed God then donned fig leaves in the Garden of Eden, the world has experienced something of a fashion nightmare, not in terms of clothing but in terms of love. When sin marred God's original design for love, the human race began "wearing" a twisted, corrupted imitation based on selfishness and irresponsibility.
But because God's love is perfect and enduring, He created a way for us to experience His design for love once again. He sent Jesus Christ to set things straight. In fashion terms, we could call the Author and Finisher of our faith the Designer and Model of a revolutionary expression of love. Christ gave His life for a world that rejected Him, and he told us to love our enemies. He washed the feet of the men who called him Master and told us to serve each other in humility.
He gave us the pattern-- "As I have loved you, so you must love one another" John --and told us to share it with the world. SUPER MODELS You may never model high fashion in New York or Paris, but as a Christian you model God's love to the world. Understanding this role profoundly affects our approach to relationships, especially our dating relationships. When dating we represent God's love, not only to the other person in the relationship, but also to the people watching us.
As Christians, we need to remember that Gods perfect love is not only for our benefit. A model wears clothing to attract attention to the designer's creativity. The model displays the designer's work, but the designer's reputation is on the line, not the model's. In the same way, as Christians we model God's love, whether or not we realize it. People watch us, and what they see affects God's reputation for loving His creation.
For this reason, we must ask ourselves, "Am I modeling the love of Christ? Do my motivations and actions in this relationship reflect the perfect love God has shown me? I LOVE ME I believe that we can model God's perfect love when we avoid the negative habits of dating. And doing this requires recognizing and rejecting the world's pattern of love. First we must understand that all of the world's deceptions flow from the belief that love is primarily for the fulfillment and comfort of self.
The world poisons love by focusing on meeting one's own needs first and foremost. We witness this poison in the boyfriend or girlfriend who pressures a partner into sex. You've heard the line "If you really loved me you'd do it. While the first example is more extreme, both examples illustrate self-centered "love" in action. Next we're told that love is primarily a feeling. But when we make feelings the litmus test of love, we place ourselves at the center of importance. By themselves, our feelings don't do others one bit of good.
If a man "feels" love for the poor but never gives money to help them or never shows kindness to them, what are his feelings worth? They may benefit him, but if his actions don't communicate this love, his feelings mean nothing. By inflating the importance of feelings, we neglect the importance of putting love into action. When we evaluate the quality of our love for someone else simply by our own emotional fulfillment, we practice selfishness.
I'VE FALLEN AND I CAN'T GET UP The second common fallacy about love deals with personal responsibility. The world tells us that love is beyond our control. This thinking has found its way into our language. We describe the beginning of a passionate relationship as "falling in love.
Why do we feel compelled to compare love to a pit or a mental disorder? What do these statements reveal about our attitudes toward love? I think we make these somewhat overstated analogies because they remove personal responsibility.
If a person falls into a pit, what can she do about it? Does it sound a little absurd to discuss love in such terms? I think so. Yet we tend to express our experience of love in these ways. We think of love as something beyond our control and thus excuse ourselves from having to behave responsibly. In extreme cases, people have blamed love for immorality, murder, rape, and many other sins.
Okay, so maybe you and I haven't done those things. But perhaps you've lied to parents or friends because of a relationship. Maybe you pushed your partner too far physically. But if love is out of our control, we can't possibly be held responsible. Yes, we know we behaved rashly. Yes, we know we might have hurt others in the process, but we couldn't help it.
We were in love. A SLAP IN THE FACE The world may define and defend love in these terms, but the Bible offers a very different perspective. cebu on October 17, Internet Archive logo A line drawing of the Internet Archive headquarters building façade. Search icon An illustration of a magnifying glass. User icon An illustration of a person's head and chest.
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I kissed dating goodbye Item Preview. remove-circle Share or Embed This Item. EMBED for wordpress. com hosted blogs and archive. Want more? Advanced embedding details, examples, and help! More than , copies later, I Kissed Dating Goodbye, with its inspiring call to sincere love, real purity, and purposeful singleness, remains the benchmark for books on Christian dating.
Now, for the first time since its release, the national 1 bestseller has been expanded with new content and updated for new readers.
Honest and practical, it challenges cultural assumptions about relationships and provides solid, biblical alternatives to society's norm. Tired of the game?
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The book that started this author off at the age of Since then he has written several others and has gone on to become a lead pastor and even got married.
This book gives hope to those teens that strive for sexual purity and waiting on God's spouse for them. Read full review. Lots to think about here in this book. I sat down with my Sunday school class and we went through this. We didn't agree with everything but there was a lot of things well said as well.
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Get Textbooks on Google Play Rent and save from the world's largest eBookstore. Go to Google Play Now ». I Kissed Dating Goodbye. Joshua Harris. Joshua Harris's first book, written when he was only 21, turned the Christian singles scene upside down and people are still talking.
More than , copies later, I Kissed Dating Goodbye, with its inspiring call to sincere love, real purity, and purposeful singleness, remains the benchmark for books on Christian dating.
Now, for the first time since its release, the national 1 bestseller has been expanded with new content and updated for new readers. Honest and practical, it challenges cultural assumptions about relationships and provides solid, biblical alternatives to society's norm. Tired of the game? Kiss dating goodbye. Waiting for a call that doesn't come? Have you tasted pain in dating, drifted through one romance or, possibly, "several" of them?
Joshua Harris shares his story of giving up dating and discovering that God has something even better--a life of sincere love, true purity, and purposeful singleness.
What people are saying - Write a review User ratings 5 stars. Reviews aren't verified, but Google checks for and removes fake content when it's identified. LibraryThing Review User Review - abbieriddle - LibraryThing The book that started this author off at the age of Other editions - View all I Kissed Dating Goodbye: A New Attitude Toward Relationships and Romance Joshua Harris Limited preview - About the author Joshua Harris lives outside Washington, D.
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This book is wonderful. Dating creates an artificial environment for two people to interact. Sparks fly. flag likes · Like · see review View all 8 comments. Harris has taken this idea and designed a dating paradigm that fosters to it, gearing up singles to pursue only that one, special, unique someone that God has made just for them.A relationship based only on physical attraction and romantic feelings will last only as long as the feelings last. How easy his life will now be. But shifting attitudes in culture and the arrival of the automobile brought radical changes. A significant minority of younger Gen Xers and older Millennials - not to mention their parents! Their method isn't perfect either. All this being said, it's no wonder that young, single Christians are among the most romantically cynical beings I've ever met - and I am often guilty of this as well. Would Aphrodite or Christ triumph in I kissed dating goodbye online book