Is Promiscuity Affecting Your Mental Health?

beautiful-couple-couples-happiness-happy-Favim_com-133621

What if the good ol’ boys mentality is leading us astray?  Could our hook up culture be the cause of future relational demise?

Researchers are discovering links between the centrality of relationships and our mental health–specifically as it pertains to marriage.

And multiple sexual partners before marriage have a direct correlation to unsatisfying marital relationships.

According to researchers at Marri (Marriage and Religion Institute), mental health and chastity go hand in hand.

We might want to think twice before sowing our wild oats–because it might be the very thing that destroys not enhances our marital future.

Please enjoy this article…

Mental Health and Chastity

In a recent professional seminar discussion on the relational dynamics of chastity and monogamy  with mental health professionals in Arlington VA a powerful concept came to the fore:  the centrality of relationships to the life of each person.  A person’s life is as good as the relationships he or she has formed.  

The most powerful human relationship is that of marriage. One therapist noted: “In lots of our work the marriage is the client. We often treat the marriage not the individuals.”  That this relationship is quite sensitive to the lifelong chastity of the couple was the focus of much of the discussion.

 As the charts on the demographics of sexual partnering were reviewed the conclusion drawn was that chastity is the virtue which gives sex its due. The sexual relationship, fundamental to the continuance of the human race, will go powerfully in one of two different directions: binding the couple forever in love and fidelity or instead leaving the permanent weakness of a bond that ended in rejection.  Chastity leads to the first; multiple partners lead to the second. The following chart shows the percent of stable marriages as relating to the number of sexual partners experienced.

READ MORE

Love is a Choice not a Feeling

How to Blow A First Date

how to blow a first date

I’m plodding away on the treadmill at the gym, when a “reality” real estate show pops up on the screen.  Halfway through the episode, they highlight two different scenarios of single male brokers out on dates.

And quite honestly, both were examples of “how to blow it.”

Both of these guys started out well—they asked a woman out and she said yes.  Good job guys!  That’s the first hurdle.  But it went downhill  fast.

Guy #1.  This young man is a “nice guy” type.  He’s funny and geeky and cute in a New York sort of way.  Since I see his HUGE commissions on the listings, I know he’s a successful and confidant businessman in real estate.  As far as looks go, dater #1 isn’t the most physically attractive guy, but he’s nicely groomed and put together, and quite frankly most women aren’t as image conscious as men, so he’s certainly attractive enough.  His date is a classy gal.  I can tell she really wants to like him, but their date is challenging to say the least.

Here’s what went wrong:

  1. He’s EARLY! 

He calls her thirty minutes ahead to make sure she is ready and then picks her up fifteen minutes early.  Obvious OCD is not attractive.  Guys, please!  Don’t arrive early.  Your date is trying to get ready and look pretty for you.  Don’t mess up this process!  On the other hand, don’t show up late either.  Be respectful and arrive on time.  Call if you are running late.

  1. He’s indecisive

When the waiter comes by to get their drinks, he keeps deferring back to the woman.  Guys, ladies hate that!  Sure, give us a say in the decision, but please know your own mind!  Do you like red wine, a cocktail, beer, a soda, or water? Do you enjoy meat or fish?  Figure this out before you go on a date because we don’t want to wait (along with the server) while you have a mental crisis at the table.

(And for the record, Tim and I suggest not drinking on dates so you have a clear head and don’t act idiotic—but that’s another blog)

  1. He has zero social skills. 

I’m not talking about “game” here or even charm, it’s just plain awkward the entire date! There are long gaps in between their conversation.  He doesn’t seem interested in her. When he does talk out loud, it’s about the bygone days when he was overweight and pimply.  This guy can barely get out a sentence because he’s so insecure, which he wasn’t in the business realm. I wanted to crawl through the screen and rescue him!  Clearly he lacks communication skills with women, which can be learned. If painful shyness with the opposite sex is an issue for you, seek counseling and find a good dating coach.

The date ended with him asking her out again and she declined.  I’m amazed she made it to dessert. Dater#1 I am rooting for you. You just a few dating skills!

 

Dater #2 

This guy is also a wealthy New York real estate broker.  He’s very attractive and he knows it—horribly arrogant and boastful—and I want to vomit watching him get his “game” on.  He too is well dressed and appears intelligent, sneaky and of low moral character. The girl he meets for dinner is bursting out of her low cut dress.  She is overtly sexual and I honestly thought, despite his douchiness, that she was pretty trashy even for him.

Here’s What Went Wrong:

  1. Bad Manners!

He’s late.  By the time he arrives she’s already had a few cocktails.  Now maybe he planned that because she’s raring to go?  He also takes phone calls during the date—LAME!  He checks out other women who walk by and even slyly asks another one out when she’s not looking. Yuck, yuck, yuck!

  1. He has an Agenda

Must I spell it out for you?  This is a high class hook-up.  It felt like a college frat party swapping out the solo cups for a good wine and lovely ambiance.  It wasn’t about meeting someone new or treating another human being with dignity and respect.  This was about sex. Period.

  1. He doesn’t respect women

Guys, if this is your issue—because you are damaged by a bad relationship, or numbed out from porn, try and limit the collateral damage of women you take out until you get some healing.  Find a counselor, get your heart right with God and when you can see women as valuable once again, then try dating.

Their date ended up with sex in the limo.  Her clothes were off before the door was shut and they had to fuzz it out of the screen.

I’m guessing he calls the other girl from the restaurant in the morning.

Have you had a bad first date experience?  

What do you Believe?

 

When Tim and I start a new dating series, one of our first weeks is always devoted to one simple question.

What do you believe about God?

And why does this matter you ask?

Because what you believe about God affects the way you date.

What you believe about God determines your behavior in the dating realm.  It is the core basis of how you treat people.

Don’t believe me?

“A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him.”—Matthew 12:35

What is stored up inside of you?

What are you putting into you?

God’s word?  Healthy relationships?  Love and Christian service?  Christian community?

Or perhaps it’s something else?

When no one at church is looking what are putting in your heart?

It would seem we have a choice to make.

Do we choose to treat people well based on the goodness of God living within us or do we choose to take our dating relationships out of God’s realm based on our own desires and selfishness?

Do we take dating out of the context of our spirituality? 

Do we rely on ourselves and tell God, ‘I’ve got it handled.” 

“God, how about you cover Sunday and I’ll take care of the Friday night hook-up?” 

“God, you handle the big things—like health and welfare and I got the women covered.”

Or maybe we let our loneliness supplant God when it comes to meeting people.  “It’s been so long God…I couldn’t help myself.”

Do we settle for sex instead of a real relationship or being dangled along as “just a friend” while someone uses us to get their needs met while our legitimate needs–like security and a future get trampled on?

If it seems like I’m a little too familiar with this conversation, I am.  Been there and done that.  And I’ll tell you a secret…

It didn’t work.

Putting God in a box and leaving him out of my dating relationships did not go well for me. 

In fact, it was a recipe for disaster!

Only when I surrendered DATING to God did he do the work within me to transform my heart.  And only then did I RECOGNIZE a good guy when he came along.

So, let’s take a moment and ask the big question, “What do you believe about God?”

Do you believe that he has your best in mind? 

That he loves you? 

That he wants the best for you? 

Do you believe that his commandments aren’t meant to take away our fun but to truly give you the best life possible?

Do you trust God’s timing because he knows you better than you know yourself?

If the answer is yes, then what does that mean about some of the things in your life distracting you from God’s best.

Things like:

Pornography

Sex outside of marriage

Dating unbelievers

Playing games in dating

Treating dating like a consumer marketplace

Dishonesty in your intentions—leading people on

Picking and choosing the parts of the Bible you agree with to justify deviant behaviors

Are you all in? Or just lukewarm?

The question is “Do you believe God or not?” 

–Samantha and Tim

5 Signs It’s Time to Move On

bigstock-Couple-Arguing-At-Breakfast-3916300

The beginning of a new relationship is often a whirlwind of euphoria, emotions and intensity.  The last thing you want to dwell on is the negative.

Why focus on the yucky stuff when the awesome part is so—well—awesome?

But you aren’t naive enough to think any relationship is problem free, right? 

Although, it’s strange how some relationships are easier from the get-go and others face strife right off the bat.

The big question we all face, at some point, in a new relationship is whether it’s worth it to invest in and work on the issues or move on to better prospects. 

When should you work through problems versus throwing up the flag and admitting the partnership simply isn’t meant to be?

(Remember, you are looking for your best match and it only takes one to reach your goal)

If your journey to finding the best relationship is plagued with skirmishes and battles, ask yourself these questions:

Does this person have the 8-10 top qualities I desire?  If the answer is yes, and they have everything you are looking for, then it might be worth it to continue on and get help to sort out the difficulties.  If the answer is no, then consider ending the relationship.

Is this person free from all the negative qualities I don’t want?  Now, we aren’t talking about a laundry list of nitpicky items you can’t stand, but a general list of the 8-10 things that you really don’t want in a mate; for example: dishonesty, stinginess, controlling behaviors, anger issues…Yes?  Move on to next question.  No?  Consider ending the relationship.

Are these minor bumps to work through or big mountainss that signal significant differences? Some problems come up because a couple doesn’t know each other well enough and haven’t figured out each other’s personality, communication style and baseline belief systems. These bumps in the road usually work themselves out over time with understanding and patience. More significant issues arise from distinct incompatibility and extreme contrasting beliefs. These kinds of difficulties mostly likely won’t go away and will only get worse.  If one of you is a follower of Christ and the other is not, these issues will more than likely drive a wedge between the two of you.  Do not expect people to change their fundamental beliefs.

Are your thoughts and opinions given credence? Are you in a safe listening environment where you both feel heard and understood?  You certainly don’t always have to agree with each other, but both partners must be willing to try.

Are you already feeling smothered, offended, frustrated and ready to explode? Generally speaking, if you can’t get along well now, it’s not going to get better.  If you’ve already reached your tipping point by month three, it’s probably time to move on.

All relationships take time to discover and discern if it’s a good fit, but once you know what you want and what you don’t want, there’s no reason to drag a relationship going nowhere on and on. 

What do you think?

The Pitfalls of Shacking Up

I listened in on –ok eavesdropped to a woman at a café the other day as she bemoaned her daughter moving in with a dude before marriage.  The woman had apparently discouraged her daughter but the girl rashly went ahead (as most young people do) and packed up her bags to shack up with her new man.

The girl claimed she wanted to “test” their compatibility before they invested the time and energy in marriage.

(Reminds me of test-driving a car)

But the problem with this popular view in culture is that relationships are not like buying or trying on a consumer product.  You generally don’t return a dress after you’ve worn it and laundered it for a year or two, right?

But that’s what we do in the “trying before buying” model of dating.

Relationships are built on a foundation of trust and security, so when you destroy the main foundation before you begin to build the structure –you end up with a house of cards just waiting to fall down.

According to research, a trial run before marriage is not the answer for couples who are considering exclusivity.

Nancy Pina –relationship expert and life coach said this, “In my experience as a Christian relationship coach, those who chose to live together experienced a decline in emotional intimacy instead of a strengthened bond.

A new study by World magazine measured feelings of commitment and intimacy for unmarried couples who live together, and found they never achieved the level of closeness married couples enjoy.”

Ouch…NEVER?

Nancy suggests that living together sets most couples up for probable failure, because at that point, at least one person in the relationship is unsure if it should lead to marriage. Instead of addressing their reservation with openness and honesty, the uncertain person agrees to a trial arrangement. As seen in the study, 52 percent of men are not “almost certain” their relationship will last. More than half had reservations about the longevity of the relationship.

(Remember that saying about “why buy the cow if you can get the milk for free?”)

Marriage brings security –a woman’s greatest need.  Marriage validates responsibilities and expectations within the relationship.

Shacking up is the opposite of commitment.  It is friends with benefits.  It’s an open door policy that allows for flight.  It’s “hey, I’m in as long as you meet all my needs…but if you don’t…there’s the door.”

In marriage, partners have more incentive to learn what pleases each other and they become good at it because they expect to stay together.

“Merely living together is an open question mark because the future is undecided. Cohabitation by its very nature does not promote the same deep connection of mutual trust and emotional vulnerability. Intimacy that is reserved for marriage is cheapened by this experience and cannot be replicated.” states Nancy.

What do you think?

First Date Red Flags

woman-chases-man

Ever been on a first date where something seems a bit off?  Maybe your date started crying uncontrollably before the appetizer or licked his fingers at the table with a lusty grin.

And all of a sudden your gut instinct kicks into high gear and a nagging question is raised about their character or integrity.

When a red flag appears, take the time to ask clarifying questions, unless it’s an obvious physical  boundary issue in which case you should run! 

Ten first date red flags:

  • I’m recently divorced. 

This deserves a clarifying question.  “What is recent?”  If your date says, “two years or so,” breathe a sigh of relief, smile and move on in the conversation.  If they say “almost two months” or “actually we’re  separated, but the divorce is almost final” run for the hills.

  • “I’m not really looking for a relationship, just someone to have fun with.”

Newsflash!  You will not be the muse to make him change his ways and suddenly have a new appreciation for commitment.   If you are truly looking for a relationship that could lead to marriage, he or she is not the one.

  • “I’m in between jobs right now.”

While unemployment doesn’t have to mean throwing in the dating towel, generally during a stressful time of job transition, dating takes a back seat to finding a job.  Ask more questions in this scenario.  “How long have you been out of work? What industry are you in?  Do you change jobs often?” 

  • Constant ex talk…

If the main conversation is the ex-girlfriend or ex-husband then your date is still emotionally unavailable.  Move on to someone who is ready to pay attention to you.  Rebound dating stinks!

  • He looks at other women with obvious interest. 

If he’s checking out the options now, you can guarantee he’ll be looking later.  Flee!

  • He/she is mean to the server or tips stingily.

If your date doesn’t give common courtesy and operate with generosity to the people who wait on them, then expect similar treatment in a relationship.  Kind people are kind across the board –no exceptions.

  • They move towards sex on the first date. 

Anyone trying to get in your pants on the first date clearly isn’t thinking “long-term” relationship.  Just say “no thanks.”

  • She’s a diva. 

If she throws a tantrum, complains loudly or shows more drama than a stage production –move on.

  • They over-imbibe. 

Call it nerves (or possibly alcoholism) but if your date gets drunk on the first date they may lack self-control in stressful social situations.  Not a keeper…throw back!

  • Are they obnoxious?  Competitive?  Loud and attention-getting? 

Are you cringing in your seat tem minutes into the date?  It will not get better and unlike a pet that barks too loud, you will have to appear in public with this person (if you are in a relationship) and it will only get worse.

  • Other red flags? 

Depressed, clingy, lives with parents after age twenty-five, has small children that live in another state, works 24/7, takes calls during the date, and can’t remember your name.

Last tip…

Don’t ignore the flashing blinky signals your date is giving off –no matter how pretty she is or how wealthy he is. (We mean it!)

What are some of the RED FLAGS you watch out for?

 

 

Dating Tip #1 How to Flee Like Joseph

woman-chases-man

Ever meet a woman (or guy) who seems irresistible?

You are in a dating relationship with them and there is intense CHEMISTRY. Or maybe she lives down the hall and gives you “the look” every time you take out your trash. Maybe it’s your male trainer at the gym whose hands accidentally brush up your side when he adjusts your posture.

They put out the vibe that they are AVAILABLE. READY to RUMBLE. SEXUALLY OPEN.

And let’s be honest, it’s tempting.

But you want to follow Christ. You are committed to walking in purity. You know better, right?

I imagine Joseph felt this way too.

Potiphar’s wife was more than likely pretty hot.

She was a wealthy Egyptian woman and the wife of a high-ranking official. This gal probably had all the time in the world to primp, work out at the “Desert Sand’s” 24 Fitness, and practice the smoky eye with her Cleopatra line of makeup.

She certainly had time on her hands to lust after Joseph, her handsome and well built man-servant.

It would have been easy for Joseph to hook up with her when his boss wasn’t looking.

It’s always easy to say “yes” to pleasure.

When Tim and I were dating, there were many nights where our kisses on the sofa turned into lingering hugs and the temperature rose a notch in the room.

And choices had to be made.

Tim’s favorite method of recourse in those steamy situations?

FLEE LIKE JOSEPH!

He would excuse himself to go to the restroom and call me from the car ten minutes later.

Half the time I never even knew he was struggling. A smoldering kiss for a girl doesn’t have the same effect as it does for a dude.

But Tim knew his limits and sometimes running was his only option.

When Potiphar’s wife tried to seduce Joseph -Joseph ran. And the temptress had such a hold on him she ripped off part of his clothes.

Temptation is like that. It grabs on tight. It wants us to surrender.

But God will give us the strength to flee if we seek him.

It helps to have a plan to deal with these situations BEFORE they erupt.

Knowing your triggers and knowing HOW YOU WILL DEAL with the temptation before it arises will give you the tools to navigate sticky situations.

  • Maybe you don’t drink alcohol on a date with this person -until you make it down the aisle.
  • Maybe you have a group of guys or girls checking in with you and encouraging you to date differently.
  • Maybe you set a curfew and stick to it.
  • Maybe you get a same-sex trainer.
  • Maybe you take a longer route to take out the trash.

Tim and I made it down the aisle without sexual compromise. It wasn’t easy but the truly good things in life rarely are.

IT IS POSSIBLE and IT IS WORTH IT!

Dating Tip #1 -When the temperature get’s hot, FLEE like Joseph!

“It is God’s will that you should be sanctified:that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God; and that in this manner no one should wrong or take advantage of a brother or a sister.” –1 Thessalonians 4: 3-6

 

 

Dating Tips -Single Parent Plus 4

single-parents

“I’ve decided not to tell the men I date that I have kids. What do you think about that?”

My husband and I were wrapping up a teaching series on love, sex and dating at a local Christian singles group when the woman approached me with her question. 

My mouth dropped open in shock.  “How many kids do you have?”

“Four,” the woman replied.  “But I make a lot of money and I can keep the kids in a separate residence if I have too.”

I shook my head back and forth (and tried to hide the vomit curling in my throat).  “Listen, I’m not sure you want to hear what I have to say about this, but here I go…”

DO NOT HIDE THE FACT THAT YOU HAVE KIDS

Never conceal your family from someone.  Children are not a fun surprise in an established relationship.  It’s pure deception if you choose not to tell this to a potential date.  And dishonesty is no way to build a solid relationship.

If a guy or gal is turned off by kids then move on.  It only takes one person –the right person who adores you AND your kids.

You are a package deal not à la carte!

Now, if your kids are so difficult they scare all potential suitors away, it might be time for an honest parenting assessment.  Maybe your kids need you more now then you need to date.  I know that’s hard to hear, but it might be true.

There are some seasons where your kids might need to be the priority and dating needs to take a backseat until your family is back on track.  Seek counseling.  Find healing. Get in a support group.  You only have one shot with your kids and divorce is devastating to them.  Do not minimize their hurt or be so self-absorbed you put your desires above theirs.

I shared this all with the woman and she squinted her eyes at me and looked mad (probably because I didn’t agree with her twisted scheming). “I think my way is the best,” she mumbled and stomped off. 

I felt sorry for next poor man sucked into her web of deception.  I also felt sorry for her kids. 

There is HOPE

Single parents looking for love are tasked with a far greater responsibility than most –but the right person will treasure you even more because you are a loving and genuine parent.

Be proud of the blessings God gave you choose to steward their hearts (and yours) well.

 

Photo Source: sydniewells.wordpress.com

Is it Ever Ok to Date a Friend’s Ex?

I remember the day well.  I was standing on the side of the football field watching my seven old son battle it out on the first day of hitting at football practice.

My girlfriend (a single mom) looked over at my brand new ex-husband who was coaching the boys, then glanced at me at me and sighed wistfully.  “You know, if he wasn’t your ex-husband I wouldn’t mind going out with him.”

Huh?  Awkward!

I gave her “the look” and my friend wisely chose to zip it and never bring it up again.

But in a world of broken marriages and relationships, these questions come up all too often.

Is it ever acceptable to date a friend’s ex?

Every situation is different, but here are some considerations to keep in mind…

  • How close is your relationship with the friend?  Are you willing to risk tension?  Good friends have each other’s back… they don’t blind side them with a secret relationship.  Having a conversation with your friend before pursuing the ex shows respect for the friendship and consideration of their feelings.  It also shows maturity.
  • How long has the relationship been over?  If it’s been years (like a high school relationship) it may not be a big deal, but if the divorce or break-up is painfully fresh, you may want to reconsider opening this can of worms.
  • Did the relationship with the ex end on good terms?  If your friend dated in an honorable fashion and the pain of the breakup is minimal, they might even recommend their ex to you as a better personality fit. 
  • How healthy is the ex?  What were the reasons they decided to end the relationship?  Do your homework.  If addictions, abuse, adultery or serious character defects caused the breakup, then stay far away from the charming train-wreck.  You were warned.
  • Would your friend cringe if you got married?  Could you hang out with your friend without it being too uncomfortable? Would she poison his popcorn if you came over for a Super Bowl shindig?
  • Ask yourself why you want to date them?  Is it because there is a true relational spark (beyond the physical) and you can’t help yourself, or is it possible you are passively getting back at your friend for an unspoken hurt or disappointment? Search your heart, pray about it and make sure YOUR intentions are above-board.

In more recent years, two of my girlfriends chose to date an ex-boyfriend of mine(strangely enough…the same guy).  But because we were all on good terms, it never became an issue and the friendships have stayed strong even though both of the women ultimately decided to end the relationship. 

What do you think about dating a friend’s ex?

Photo Source: heartit.com via Lisa on Pinterest

I

 

%d bloggers like this: