Wednesday, January 10, 2007

social dating

I once heard an impressive young lady use a sticky note illustration to make a point about social dating.

Before I get to that part, I need to set it up. This speaker, who’s name escapes me at the moment, claimed that there is a significant difference between the male and female perspective on dating. If nothing physical has transpired (hand-holding, etc.), the male perspective usually will assume that there has not been a serious attachment. Meanwhile, the glances, conversations, gifts, etc., could have a couple practically engaged to the feminine mindset. (These are generalizations, of course, but I tend to believe they are founded in some degree of truth.) When I was dating, I did not consider a young lady to be my “girlfriend” until we had kissed. I wish I could take it all back now, and do it over, but that is in the past.

Now, back to our favorite office supply. Here is the principle: When you first place a sticky note, it stays pretty well. But as it is removed and replaced, its adhesive strength is greatly diminished.

She suggested that such a phenomenon also happens in relationships. When a boy and girl form a romantic bond, initially it will stick quite nicely. But the more we practice and suffer through separation and the more we scar and build up our defenses from getting hurt, the less adhesion we take into the relationship when we are finally ready to marry. This happens unequally and unfairly, because girls get hurt more from separation. That, she said is a contributing factor to the atrocious numbers of divorce in the church.

If this is true, what should we do about this? I teach my boys to protect the hearts of the young ladies. My older son has expressed an interest in courtship over dating. I try to have a strong relationship with my daughters, but I know that I have many failings as a dad and husband.

So, does this sticky note thing sound like practical help or should I rethink this?


L.L. Barkat said...

Can I just say... Charity, you are so funny! And deep too. Love hearing your thoughts.

Craver, I just want to say you might have something with this analogy. Relationships can be sticky.

Mary said...
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Craver Vii said...

"I carried out many big relationship mistakes..."

"Many" relationship mistakes?
"Big" relationship mistakes?

Anonymous said...

I think the sticky note thing sounds good. I would stress that the reason for the sticky note becoming unsticky is because of the walls we build after being hurt. There are other relationship analogies out there. I would over the course of time use them all. You never know which one might resonate with a particular child.

Jennifer said...

Hrrrummph. (That's a Daasy/Hibby sound of agreement.)

Charity - you are BOMB, girl!! Ha-ha, I like reading your stuff.

As far as the sticky note analogy - I like it. I think it serves quite well in representing "giving little pieces of our heart away to a person who will end up not being our future spouse" idea. *sigh*
Speaking from the girl's perspective, which really is the only perspective I can speak from, one thing to go along with this analogy is an earnest, pleading, screaming, all-caps message to all single guys that says please don't talk about marriage with a girlfriend (as if you were planning on it and staking money on it that it will happen) unless you ARE going to follow through on those airy castles. (Now, courting is a little different.......but only slightly)

Ok, I speak from experience. I was "dating/courting" someone - and he started speaking to me about marriage pretty quickly in our relationship as if it was going to happen. We spoke with each other very seriously (while other times, almost flippantly) about "our future life together," met with a pastor, among other indications of "to-be-wed." Then all of a sudden, he didn't really feel like dating anymore.


Anyway, I think this is a good parallel to use. (And really, who doesn't like sticky notes?!) :)

Mary said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Craver Vii said...

Mary, I try to keep the environment relatively light and safe here. Sorry; you caught me off guard saying you made a lot of big mistakes in the relationships you had. Believe me when I say that I do not intend to trample over your feelings.

I want to understand you, but what you wrote makes a big difference to me either way, because on the one hand, if someone make a challenging and authoritative statement like, “Ultimately it’s not the dating game or the path of courtship that makes the difference, but rather how one handles the relationship that can have an effect on the ‘stickiness,’” on my blog, I reserve the right to check their qualifications. If you only dated two other people, that hardly seems possible to afford opportunities for many big relationship mistakes; saavy?

On the other hand, I thought I knew you well enough to be aware of these things. We should follow this up with a private phone call this weekend.

Llama Momma said...

Ugh -- dating. I'm so glad to be on the other side! I hated dating. Let's not even go to the "big mistakes" conversation. Yikes.

Anonymous said...

Mary - I must comment on this statement, -""Ultimately it's not the dating game or the path of courtship that makes the difference, but rather how one handles the relationship that can have an effect on the "stickiness." "" The dating game that is played or the path of courtship definitely has an impact on the "stickiness". You're kidding yourself to think it doesn't.

jazzycat said...

Sticky notes are a good illustration. Go with it. I love illustrations especially with photos........

Unknown said...

OK, so I figure I better chime into a question like this considering my blog title. I think you're right in that we need to be most careful on where we stick the sticky note - we can be oh so casual in sticky note uses. As a seasoned single person, I'm continually trying to learn not to go from hello to baby in the carriage in two seconds. I'm trying to learn to only place my sticky notes up if the words "I do" are ever spoken. I wonder though if having given away a few sticky notes would harm a marriage as I feel like I will just be more appreciative of the man who...well...sticks!?

Pete Juvinall said...

I'm the poster child for dating over courtship.

I'm a big advocate for dating; however, I would draw a firm line between dating and being a 'player' which all revolves around motives. I dated a bit in college and I knew 'players' where dating was more of a mutual getting care and getting to know each other and the players I knew were really only in it and selfishness would have been an understatement.

I'm not sure how the post-it note analogy works with that, but I just thought I'd share.

If courtship would have been the preferred method of getting to know a girl, I wouldn't have been married to my wife. MJ and I came from rather disparate backgrounds and it was a matter of getting to know each other and breaking a few relational 'rules' to the point where we realized romance was probably the next best step.

Revolving around dating is a genuine care for not being manipulative. Players, IMO, give dating a bad rep.

I hope this is on topic, it's a bit of a tender spot for me because my relationship is a product of dating.

Craver Vii said...

Pete, you married MJ?! I thought she was Spiderman’s girl!

I think we see eye to eye about “players” and I’ll acknowledge Stacey’s chiming in with the key word “casual.” But I’m not entirely comfortable with putting dating over courtship. I think each has pros and cons that can be carefully weighed and Christians will still end up on different sides of the issue. I dated, but now I wish I hadn't. Nevertheless, I believe God brought Mrs. Craver and me together, and furthermore, believing that it was His sovereign plan, I think it would have happened regardless of my dating strategy. I talked with Mary (by phone) this weekend, and we still have things that need to be worked out, but I agree with her that one’s past experiences (like casual dating) do not excuse bad behaviors (like infidelity) in the present.

If anyone is interested, the speaker I mentioned has a book, and her name is Heather Paulsen.

Pete Juvinall said...

Craver - I was an avid fan of Peter Parker growing up :). My MJ doesn't have red hair though :).

Point well taken. Our relationship prior to 'dating' was really anything but romatic. I think that was the beauty of it. It just really was a genuine desire to get to know each other better (and our perceived barriers to relationship really served to keep things at a really good level).

Point being, I think what really kills players is a heart issue; the same activity can have many faces depending on the motivations of the people involved.

Has anyone ever met a girl 'player'? Is it restricted just to guys?

Unknown said...

My college roommate had 7 guys she was "playing" with at one time. Yes, both sexes are guilty.

Jen2 said...

Hey Craver man.....I have to say that I'd like to know more - from the male perspective - on just how guys work it out - that a girl is supposed to be their wife....

I want to be able to stick again!

Craver Vii said...

J2, I don’t know, but I can share my own personal experience.

For me, I had been dating this gal from church for 6 months. That was three times longer than I had EVER dated anyone else. Before I started dating her, I had been on a 2-year “dry spell,” because I was tired of shallow relationships.

I went around asking men who were married coworkers, friends and family, how they knew that this was the person they should marry. They said they “just knew.” That was useless to me. I was really looking for a better answer.

Finally, I asked myself whether I could see me getting old with this lady. Forever with her was no trouble at all for me to wrap my mind around, so I asked her and she said yes. We’re about half-way to getting old, but I don’t doubt the decision, because I believe that ultimately, it was the Lord that put us together, and it would have happened His way and in His timing regardless of my confidence in knowing the answer to the great question.

That may not be very much help to you, but I know you are mature enough in the faith to understand that what God is weaving can look very different on His side of the tapestry, but He is always good. May He be your shelter through the storm.