Monday, January 20, 2014
To date or not to date
My current read is "Boundaries in Dating," by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend. I have been referred to the Boundaries series many times, and these two authors have written a plethora of books dealing with relationship building (I am sure there is one out there that serves your current status).
While in high school, I read the book, "I Kissed Dating Goodbye," by Joshua Harris. During my youth group/teen years, this was the movement -- not dating -- because of all the negative repercussions that came out of dating relationships. I personally heeded to the warnings of good'ol Josh, and once I was out of my six year relationship, I chose not to date.
I find it funny, now at 28, that I am reading this book about boundaries and the authors bring up the "I Kissed Dating Goodbye" movement, as so many young people at their conferences began asking questions on it. "What does the Bible say about dating?" was a question that popped up frequently, so Cloud and Townsend attempt to provide answers.
The boundaries book discusses where the no-dating idea goes flawed. Cutting off dating completely due to negative repercussions does not fix or solve the root of the problems that Josh Harris so valiantly pinpoints in his best-seller. In fact, it creates an extremely new set of problems -- a generation of people who have not matured in creating relationships with the opposite sex.
This was probably not Josh's intentions when writing his book, but this is where his advice leads; immaturity in building relationships. The best way to create maturity in our relationships is to create boundaries, healthy ones, that provide guidelines as to how people should or should not treat us.
In this life, we will experience hardships within our relationships, but giving up on building relationships completely is not the answer to helping us grow mentally, emotionally and spiritually. We must learn healthy ways to interact with our brothers and sisters and we cannot put such things into practice if we are cutting ourselves off from learning how. The authors did mention that there are instances where not dating is a good thing, but it should not be the end all, be all.
If you have a chance to pick up one of the books by Cloud and Townsend, I highly recommend that you do. They are a great reference in how to interact and build relationships. The Bible explains man's need for companionship. In fact, we see in Acts that the early church emphasized the need for community and fellowship. Relationships are important, and investing in being a great relationship builder is key in our walk in the faith.