My dear friends of MNU Blogs,
It seems like among high school and college aged students, relationships are the hot topic. I don’t know about you readers out there, but at least 75% of my conversations are about finding “the one” or dating or “talking” or something of the matter. This week alone I’ve had about 7 conversations about dating and relationships and it’s only Tuesday.
I find myself pondering the question: Why are these people coming to me? I’m not qualified to answer their questions and here are some of the reasons why I’m probably the worst person to come to:
- I’m happily single and feel that college should be about spending as much time with as many people as possible before we leave. (Side note: I am a founding co-president of MNU’s unofficial evangelical organization TSFL: Team Single For Life.)
- I don’t usually know anything about the relationship at hand. Most of the time, I don’t even know the significant other (from here on referred to as “sig,”) so I am completely one sided.
- I am blunt. I tell things like it is. I’m not good at telling people what they want to hear when it’s not true.
On the other hand, maybe all of these things actually qualify me to give advice more. I don’t waste time in dating relationships if I know they’re not going anywhere. I am 100% PRO whoever I am talking to (we all need one of those friends.) And, I don’t waste my time sugar-coating the facts. Just today I was talking to a good friend of mine and she said, “Hey, you should write a blog. You have such good advice.” Well, it’s Tuesday, so here we go.
May I present: Relationship Advice From an Unlikely Source: The completely blunt unbiased third party advice you’re looking for in your relationship.
I remember when I was 16 and visiting some friends from my hometown. I asked my BFFL Kimberly about another one of our friends. “Is she going out with that guy??” and the words she said back to me are forever burned into the front of my mind. “Well, they’re talking.” I asked her to explain what this meant, and she said something ambiguously alluding to not officially dating but talking to each other exclusively and occasionally going out on dates. This brings me to point #1.
1. Talking is Dating, so call it what it is.
People act like if they say they are dating someone, then they are forever tied to them and have to marry them. NEWSFLASH: that would be called an engagement.
Hey, speaking of dating, whatever happened to guys asking girls out on dates? You know, the good ole fashioned dinner and skating at the local roller-rink? With the advances in technology, it seems like nowadays people are texting every minute of the day until one day a photo album on Facebook shows up called “I SAID YES!!!!!” This brings me to point #2.
2. If you aren’t going off campus together, you’re going nowhere together.
Let me speak to the ladies for a moment: You are worth a guy taking the time to ask you out on formal dates. You are worth a guy not being worried about what people will think if his partners in crime see him with you. He should be proud to be with you! Enough of this ridiculous virtual relationship stuff. Demand the best because you ARE the best. And you don’t have to take my word for it: the Bible spells it out. Check it out sometime. And if Jesus thinks you’re to die for, then whoever you’re with should too!
And to the men: it’s not your fault that you’re being given the easy option of emojis and snapchats instead of face to face interaction. Heck, if I were in your shoes, I’d choose free over wining (grape juicing?) and dining any day. I’m so sorry that we have lowered our standards and basically said “you’re never going to be able to treat me as a mature adult, so I’ll make it easy for you.” We’ve trained you that virtual relationships are okay, and I would like to personally apologize on behalf of Christian women in America that we have killed the chase, made it easy, and are readily waiting for no effort on your end at all. Do us a favor, and don’t settle for someone who says you’re incapable of wooing us over. It’ll make you better and make us shape up to be the women Christ calls us to be.
I’ve talked to some friends recently that have been torn because they are in either a pseudo-relationship or a full blown committed relationship, but the feelings aren’t really there. They are afraid to leave because they fear “being forever alone” and that if they don’t stay in the relationship, then they won’t ever find anyone better and they’ll die alone. I’ve also talked to singles who are not in a relationship and are depressed that they aren’t planning a wedding with their graduation party. This leads me to my next point:
3. Quit being ridiculous and start being honest.
It is absolutely ridiculous that people fear the gift of celibacy. Let me reassure you that if you crave a relationship, you probably don’t have it! PS- You are 20 years old. Marriage is a commitment FOR LIFE. The national average for marriage is in the 27-29 year mark. Average life expectancy for Americans is 80 years. You have 60 years to find someone… And can we even call it finding someone? Doesn’t God have this world in His hands? Can we start trusting that He has our best interest in mind and will give us the people in our lives that we need? I’m no ministry major, but I’ve been to a lot of chapel and church services and I think that’s Biblical. And if you’re not feeling it, you’re not feeling it. That’s the most admirable reason to break off a relationship IMO (in my opinion.) If your sig isn’t what you’re looking for, or if the feelings aren’t there, then let them go because chances are you’re not the one for them either. Literally, no one can reprimand you for being honest about your feelings. They can reprimand you for ignoring your feelings and then having them all come up later like a volcanic eruption. That’s when this question gets thrown out: “Why didn’t you tell me you felt this way? What else have you been withholding?” Nip that sucker in the bud and move on. And in the spirit of honesty, nobody likes confrontation. Get it over with so you can stop being consumed with it.
Researchers estimate that 40-50% of first time marriages end in divorce, and 60% of second marriages end in divorce or permanent separation. As you can probably guess, it’s time for point #4.
4. Don’t be a statistic.
In the words of Bruno Mars, “It’s a beautiful night, we’re looking for something dumb to do. Hey baby, I think I wanna marry you.” Don’t sit on the other side of the computer and act like you’ve never danced to that song. I don’t blame you. It’s so catchy! But if marriage becomes an item on your list to check off, it’s time to reevaluate. Mars goes on to say “If we wake up and we wanna break up, that’s coooooool…” Friends of the United States of America: If your sig says or alludes this to you, it’s time to break up with them right then and there. More importantly, if you have this thought in the back of your mind, you’re probably not ready to make the commitment of holy matrimony. Maybe instead of listing getting married and starting a family a part of your 5 year plan, you should set other goals and let The good Lord surprise you with the desires of your heart. It will happen when you are least expecting it, so stop planning for it. You ain’t no Kardashian. Start loving where you’re at. Take advantage of the short amount of time you have as a single young adult and travel! Do things that take you out of your comfort zone and grow as an individual!
Once upon a time I had a friend going through something. For the sake of the story, we’ll call her Nancy. Nancy was like, IN LOVE with this dude, we’ll call him Rob. Rob was that guy in high school that everyone loved because he was awesome and everyone secretly hated because they wanted to be him. Nancy was your average girl next door, but obviously with a great sense of humor because she was friends with me. One day, Rob started taking interest in Nancy. He asked her to go out on dates, and then after about three weeks they made it FBO (Facebook Official.) Sounds like a classic romantic comedy? Well that’s because it was. Except Nancy became this alternate quiet opinionless person around Rob because she was afraid that her bold personality would scare him off. She didn’t feel comfortable around him. This leads me to my final point:
5. If you’re not having fun, then the relationship is done.
Yes, relationships are work. But the payoff should be worth it! If you can’t be yourself, you’ll drive yourself crazy. Don’t be a people pleaser. Sure, be agreeable and kind. And yes, I get the Biblical principle about women submitting to their men and husbands loving their wives, but I also understand that Jesus calls us to be BOLD and take on the courage of a lion! Enjoy being yourself, because baby, you were born this way. Annnd enjoy your sig being themselves too! They should LOVE your personality, and if they don’t, then they are missing out for real. I’m not required to tell you that because I’m not your mom or your best friend. You can trust my words. Likewise, you should LOVE their personality, and if you don’t then someone else will. It’s not your responsibility to give someone the pity laugh every time you turn around. If you’re anything like me and grew up in the protestant evangelical church, then I’m sure you’re familiar with the Newsong/Natalie Grant song “When God Made You.” (You can reminisce here.) With all due respect, can we please stop making marriage the end-all be-all? Let’s live life to the fullest and stop being so concerned about something that Jesus already has taken care of!
Keep these things in mind and you too will end up being in a beautiful engagement photo like the ones above.
Stay tuned for the flip: break up advice! (Dun Dun Dun!!!)
Over and Out!