Don’t let others frame your life questions

When I was in high school, people were always asking me

“Where are you going to go to college?”

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Like any high school student knows what to do with their life! and if they do, no one likes them!

Once in college, they asked

“What’s your major? How are you going to use that?”

Once in grad school, it was

“When are you going to graduate?”

This Is Awkward Alice In Wonderland GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Once graduated, people became bored with my career trajectory and began an assault of inquiries about my relationship status.

“Who are you dating right now?”

“Why aren’t you dating anyone?”

Rude Tituss Burgess GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

“What are you doing to snag a man?” *

Now that I’ve been dating an amazin-raisin feller for a few months, I’m starting to get the

“So do you think you two are going to get married?”

Faint Fainting GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Anddddd I’m not there yet, but I’ve heard married people complain they get hounded with

“When are y’all going to have kids?”

And from there , who knows – probably constant badgering about when you’re going to buy a house, make a star athlete out of your kid, retire, etc etc etc

Ayiyiyi! Too many nosy presumptive questions!

Just imagine if every time a soccer mom asked me when I was getting married, I said “I don’t know — when are you getting your PhD?” Of course that would be mighty rude,  because that’s obviously not their priority right now.. and getting a PhD likely does not fit into their life goals at all. Their question was of course just as rude because getting married *obviously* wasn’t my top priority in my 20s, and who’s to say it fits into my life goals at all.**  But I wouldn’t be that snarky because I choose to take the high road! #holy

*anyway*

Regardless of the intent of the questioners, it’s distressing to answer over and over and over again “I don’t know,” or “not anytime soon,” or “when I receive a direct word from the Almighty.”

If you’re constantly hounded by any one or more of these questions, I encourage you to pump the brakes, be still, and actively reject the latent assumptions built into these questions. They are

1) you *must* finish / do / choose the activity in question and

2) you are “falling behind” or a failure of a human being if you don’t tick off the running list of normal human activities in the order and time frame that suits all your friends and family.

So take heart! Your life is not anyone else’s life. Sure, you want to check in with trusted people who love you to make sure you’re not doing anything obviously destructive (e.g. staying in a toxic relationship), but other than that… you have so much freedom!  Even if the questioners are simply trying to be friendly and interested in your life, don’t let them get to ya!

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I want this to be you, not caring when other people are uncomfortable when you deviate too much from their own life path

— EDITORIAL NOTES —

*Writing this blog, obvs *snorts*

**Maybe it does, maybe it doesn’t. You’ll never know until I’m deadz bwahaha

For the love of Chick Fil A, please no more Christian dating books

I   C A N N O T   T A K E   A N Y M O R E  C H R I S T I A N   B O O K S   A B O U T   D A T I N G.

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It’s too much y’all. (pixabay image, edited by moi) Also note that I didn’t include the Meaning of Marriage by Tim Keller because that book is FIRE

Is it because my heart is hardened?

 

Is it because I’m living in sin and want to avoid conviction?

 

Is it because I am resistant to wisdom? 

 

No. It is for this simple reason — in no other area of Christian life have I seen Christian wisdom take such a phariseeical turn so quickly.

The authors are not necessarily to blame for this, but I think this is what happens — a Christian man/woman/couple figures out a way to date that seems in-line with the Christian faith. They then share their insights and wisdom from their own personal experiences. Christians read these books, and instead of seeing them for what they are –  musings by good but still-being-sanctified people – they see them as RULES that we all must follow, lest we be pegged as pagos. #pagopegged #ouch

But let’s all take a step back and get a little perspective — in biblio times, dating didn’t exist. You were a child, then boom you go through puberty, then boom you are married. This doesn’t mean that the Christian faith is irrelevant to how we date, but it does mean that pretty much any *specific* dating advice is just that – advice from humans – not the Word of God.

So let’s not perpetuate self-righteousness and phariseeism by acting as if the compilation of some Christian dude’s musings on dating is The Way the Truth and the Life. There is probably wisdom in many Christian books on dating, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that if you don’t follow that author’s recommendations you are rebelling against the God of the universe. For example – In Single, Dating, Engaged, Married,* Ben Stuart talks about how he would always tell his now-wife Donna the next time he was going to contact her. He saw this as a sweet way to reduce her stress – she didn’t have to worry about if / when he was going to contact her, she already knew – “I’ll call you tomorrow.” I agree, that is sweet. Does that mean that if a guy doesn’t communicate like that to you, you should kick him to the curb? No! It’s a nice specific example of how Christian faith can play out IRL, but it is by no means a rule.

Side note 1 – many dating books are probably somewhat useful for high-schoolers who are still living with their parents, and truly have zero life experience to help them navigate dating with wisdom. But there are some dating practices that are absurd if not impossible when you are living on your own (e.g. the dude asking the Dad’s permission to date). So let’s recognize that not ALL Christians get married when they are 19, and what worked for a man dating his wife in undergrad may not be useful for a 29 year old woman.

Side note 2 – I’m also getting cranky with Christian women who assume they are entitled to impart their sage dating advice. I don’t owe it to you to spill all the beans of my romantic life just because we are both Christians, and frankly many of you haven’t earned the right to tell me what to do or hear the intimate details of my life and heart. If you are concerned about my dating choices, how ’bout you pray for the Spirit to convict me directly instead of appointing yourself as my accountability supervisor. I suggest with all the gentle love I can muster that you are just as likely to turn me into an anxious self-righteous snoot pants than to protect me from harm. Just sayin’. As the modern sage John Crist would say, “check your heart.”

I plan to approach dating with the freedom Christ gained for me, as captured by the idea “Everything is permissible, not everything is beneficial.”** Earlier this year I demoralized a dating decision and thought “I can date this person if I want. We could have wild sex every night and guess what.. I would still be a Christian. Jesus might be grieved, but he would still love me. Now, knowing this, do I want to? What would be the consequences?” And that actually led me to a healthy decision that was MY decision, not a half-hearted, dutiful response to the pressures of others.

Okay.. that’s all! Be free!

— EDITORIAL NOTES —

*At least he talked about this in his Single | Dating | Engaged | Married sermons when he was preaching at Breakaway. I actually never read his book because I heard it was basically the written version of his sermons. 😀

**1 Corinthians 10:23

 

4 Clichés Singles Are Tired of Hearing

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This is literally what you do to us when you say this kind of shoot. (Free image from pixabay)

[Warning: This is mainly written by my perspective as a singleton sischacha. But I think some of it may apply equally to my singleton brochachos.]

1) “Guys are intimidated by you” 

Ummmm this is a sweet thought. But given the fact that Beyoncé, Hillary Clinton, Serena Williams, and Sydney Bristow have all managed to find someone, this charming platitude falls flat. Even if it were true, what exactly are we supposed to do with this info? Try giggling vapidly the next time we go on a date? Pretend we’re baristas* instead of pharmacists, post-docs, shooting instructors, etc.? Wear yoga pants and minimal make-up AMAP? I already do the last one, so I can say with 100% certainty that’s not the key.

2) “You’re over-thinking it” 

 Fabulous. Now we will start thinking about how to not over-think. Or just run away with the first Jo-Jo who comes into our path. Because THAT won’t put us at risk for getting date-raped, recruited to be a trapeze artist in a traveling circus, or in a long-term relationship with a bearded man ( 😉 )! Great idea. We’ll just pop a few Xanax and let what happens, happens. Y’all, check yourselves.

3) “You’re too picky” 

This is probably one of the worst things you could ever say to us. You might as well say, “Lower your standards,” or “Stop wanting what you want,” or “You’re pretty much a 6 looking for a 10.” Now, if we have unrealistic expectations, then that may be something to discuss. But “you’re too picky” is just annoying and makes us feel like crap. Plus, aren’t we also intimidating? So how will being less picky (and presumably being open to a lower caste** of men) help with the intimidation factor? The poor fellers might die of a stroke when they find out how wildly hilarious AND smart AND beautiful we are. It wouldn’t be fair to them, really.

4) “He is insane/stupid/gay because he’s not interested in you”

(or my all time favorite “Maybe he has the gift of celibacy…?” Lolz!***) I know y’all are just trying to be kind and helpful. Truly, the sentiment – that no normally functioning straight male could EVER turn down this dynamo package of delectability – is appreciated. BUT, although I’m sure some of us have (unfortunately) dated some who fall into some of these categories, most of the time none of the above are true. Personally, I have awesome man-friends who I don’t want to date, and I hope no one questions my mental health or doubts my sexual orientation because of that. Sometimes, we just don’t got that loving feeling. This is a good thing. Otherwise, we’d all be hopelessly in love with at least 73 people at a given time. *Anyway* One of the best responses to one of my romanticangsts was just a sincere, “That really sucks. I’m sorry,” followed by a huge hug. That’s all we need. Don’t fill our noggins with grandiose and contemptuous ideers. Just pat us on the head and buy us a taco or something.

Conclusion: I REPEAT, PLEASE JUST PAT US ON THE HEAD AND BUY US A TACO

— EDITORIAL NOTES —

*This wasn’t a jab at baristas. I just doubt most men are toppled over with fear and insecurity when they meet someone who is a barista. Please call me out if I’m misguided on this.

**I kid, I kid.

***I truly love the person who suggested this. But it did make me laugh hysterically.

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