4 Keys to Healthy Dating

Have you ever been in a new relationship and found yourself making choices that you wouldn’t normally make? Maybe you’re staying out at night way past what’s healthy, or maybe you’re finding yourself completely lost in the emotions of the newness and forgetting to follow through on everyday responsibilities? I’m sure we’ve all been there. Dating is fun and exciting, but one of the biggest dangers to any new relationship is the quick release of euphoric emotions that turn wise men into drunken poets at a moment’s notice. I can’t tell you how many times I have seen innocent, headstrong couples end up in a world of pain because they underestimated the driving force of unbridled emotions.

 

HOW TO WIN AT DATING

Our feelings are a very vital and powerful part of any love relationship. However, they are very poor decision makers. When starting a new relationship, here are four healthy guidelines that will help you keep your cool in the midst of emotional euphoria:

 

1) Start apart and slowly work your way in.

Our crazy feelings have a way of pushing the pace way beyond what each person can realistically handle. It’s really important that each person manages his or her need for speed by starting apart and slowly working closer as trust is built. Trust and commitment level should always dictate the amount of intimacy that each of you gives in the relationship. By respecting this guideline, over time you will slowly become more intimate as trust and commitment build.

All too often we use our intimacy to build connection and relationship instead of allowing the foundation of trust to build our intimacy. If I am going to give you the most sacred and vulnerable piece of me, I better be sure that you know how to handle it before I offer it to you. The beautiful thing about slowly moving together is that the risk of becoming completely heartbroken is dramatically lessened because we are allowing commitment and trust to dictate the pace of our passion.

 

2) Communicate before acting.

Communication is one of the vital organs of any relationship. When you are just starting out, make sure that you don’t take any major steps without first talking through them with your partner. A major step is any decision that is going to involve the other person, from how often you hang out together, to holding hands and kissing or anything else that could possibly violate the needs of the other person. By talking through each step and sharing your needs and desires, you are creating an environment of trust where intimacy can flourish.

Another major aspect that communication brings to the table is the ability to set and meet expectations for the relationship. Anytime there is more than one person involved in something, you can be sure that there are expectations that need to be met. Having the right expectations is crucial for the health of both people because any expectation that goes unmet leads to pain. However, an expectation fulfilled builds trust and connection. Throughout your relationship, the expectation that each of you have for one another is going to change as the relationship matures. So it’s vital that both people talk through the expectations they have of each other, so that the needs of the relationship get met as they go deeper.

 

3) Never make a decision of commitment while “under the influence.”

When you are deciding to hold a girl’s hand or use a word like “love,” make sure that the relationship is ready for that type of intimacy. Because our emotions are so powerful, oftentimes the decisions that we make while we are “under the influence” are much different from the decisions that we would have made while being “sober.” Making decisions of commitment with a sober mind keeps the relationship from being an emotional rollercoaster and it also drastically lessens the amount of remorse and regret we experience from making rash choices.

A really safe way to ensure that your decisions are coming from a sound mind is to sleep on the choices that you are making. When I first started dating, if I was out on a date with a girl, regardless of how much I wanted to hold her hand or kiss her, I would wait until I had gone home and slept on it. When I woke up the next day, if I still felt the same way, then I would move forward as long as she was good with it too. I can’t tell you how many times that principle has saved me from complete catastrophe, not just in my love life, but in every area of life. Making decisions with a sober mind is the only safe way to live life.

 

4) Don’t leave home without your peace.

Many times throughout my life I have found myself in epic battles, fighting for possession of my own peace. The opponents that we fight in our minds manifest themselves in the form of insecurity, anger, loneliness, rejection, self-pity and frustration. Though these feelings are not evil, if left unattended, they will become as destructive as the devil himself. One of the most important things to know about these feelings is that they need immediate attention because they can have so much influence over us. I refer to these feelings as “red flags.” Every red flag, whether it is loneliness or insecurity, leaves you extremely vulnerable.

For example, a teenager in a dating relationship who feels insecure and doesn’t deal with it before he or she leaves the house, runs a huge risk of trying to fill that need for security with some type of sexual encounter. So the goal here is to recognize red flags and deal with them quickly by meeting the need in a healthy way before you leave the house.

 

SETTING YOURSELF UP FOR SUCCESS

I want to encourage you to commit yourself to proactively put emotional health at the forefront of any relationship. In dating, specifically, it’s important to think through what success looks like to you before your emotions get the best of you. Enjoy the butterflies and chemistry that come with the excitement of new love, but always keep that in balance with taking care of your heart well. Which of these four keys really stands out to you today? And how do you stay emotionally healthy when dating? I’d love to hear in the comments section!

 

Originally published on krisvallotton.com.

 

KRIS VALLOTTON IS THE AUTHOR OF NUMEROUS BOOKS, CO-AUTHOR OF THE BEST SELLING SUPERNATURAL WAYS OF ROYALTY, AND IS A WELL-KNOWN INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE SPEAKER. KRIS IS THE FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT OF MORAL REVOLUTION, THE SENIOR ASSOCIATE LEADER OF BETHEL CHURCH, AND THE CO-FOUNDER OF BETHEL SCHOOL OF SUPERNATURAL MINISTRY.  HE AND HIS WIFE, KATHY, HAVE BEEN MARRIED FOR 40 YEARS AND RESIDE IN REDDING, CALIFORNIA.  THEY HAVE FOUR GROWN CHILDREN AND EIGHT GRAND CHILDREN.
FACEBOOK: FACEBOOK.COM/KVMINISTRIES
TWITTER: TWITTER.COM/KVMINISTRIES
INSTAGRAM: INSTAGRAM.COM/KVMINISTRIES

Boundaries in Relationships

Maybe it’s just the rebel in me, but when people talk about boundaries in relationships, my natural inclination is to cringe. “Don’t put me in a box. I’m my own boss.” But when we understand that boundaries are put in place to protect us, that it’s God’s way to protect our heart, soul, and body, it’s a game-changer.

Once you’ve gotten to the point that you know you’re attracted to someone, and you’ve started dating, then it’s time to think about setting some boundaries.

Throughout Song of Solomon, we are reminded in a message by a group of women:

“Do not awaken or arouse love until it so desires.” (Song of Solomon 8:4).

There is no condemnation in Christ. I am not trying to wag a finger or judge people. I’m with you. I know God’s in control. What are some ways to walk in the respect God wants us to have for others and ourselves? God gives us guidelines in our relationships, not so He can be this cosmic killjoy, but so He can protect us. God’s very clear on how we are to approach purity, before and after marriage. God created sex and intimacy to be within the safety of marriage. So when you’re married, He’s not peeping down from heaven like, “Oh no, I wonder what they’re doing down there.” After you get married, He blesses it. He wants married couples to be fruitful and multiply. Procreate and recreate.

On the other hand, scripture is clear that before marriage, having sex is not kosher, it’s not copacetic. If we have intimate relations with somebody, we bind ourselves to them (1 Corinthians 6:16). I’m not talking about just physically, but spiritually and emotionally as well. So be careful that you’re not engaging in things you shouldn’t be engaging in with a person you’re not married to. Why? Because it complicates things.

Scripture is very clear that there are things we shouldn’t engage with. I feel like there’s this next generation of Christians that say, “Well the Bible doesn’t explicitly say that I can’t do this or that in my relationship…” Here’s a piece of free advice: If it’s something you’re not comfortable doing in front of your mama, you probably shouldn’t be doing it.

I recently read an article that said there was a group of guys who vandalized a church. I was outraged. It wasn’t even a Christian institution, but it didn’t matter to me because it was somebody’s place of worship, and they vandalized it. Now listen, I grew up in east LA, my dad’s church is in the hood, and there’s graffiti everywhere. I’m anesthetized to it. But when I read that they went inside the church, that they threw around the pews, and they graffiti’d their names on the wall: Johnny was here. Peter was here… I was outraged. Then I felt convicted. I was more upset that people broke into a building than I was about my friends being entered in by people who were also leaving marks: Johnny was here. Peter was here.


Our bodies are temples of the living God. 


I’m seeing this phenomenon of Christians having pre-marital sex. Just because the Bible doesn’t spell it out for us and say, “Pre-marital sex is wrong,” doesn’t mean it’s okay. It still makes it clear that sex is meant for marriage.

So in your dating relationship, set clear boundaries. Decide what’s best for yourself and your boyfriend or girlfriend: “I can’t cross this line because I don’t know where it will stop.” Can we go into it like that and have God honor it? So even though I’m telling you not to have sex before marriage, after marriage it’s a different story. You can make up for lost time. God wants to bless sex inside of marriage. After all, it was His idea in the first place.

 

BIANCA JUAREZ OLTHOFF IS A WRITER, SPEAKER, AND IN LOVE WITH TWO MEN: JESUS AND HER HUSBAND, MATT. BIANCA SPENDS HER WEEK WORKING AS CHIEF STORYTELLER FOR THE A21 CAMPAIGN, AN ANTI-HUMAN TRAFFICKING ORGANIZATION, AND AS THE CREATIVE DIRECTOR FOR PROPEL WOMEN. SHE LOVES HAVING DANCE PARTIES IN THE LIVING ROOM WITH HER TWO STEP CHILDREN OR COOKING MEALS FOR FRIENDS. 
WEBSITE: BIANCAOLTHOFF.COM
FACEBOOK: FACEBOOK.COM/BIANCAOLTHOFFSPEAKS 
INSTAGRAM: INSTAGRAM.COM/BIANCAOLTHOFF 

Star Wars, Four Boys, and the Battle for Purity

Having four boys has taught me a lot about the world of Star Wars. When I wake up in the morning, I am often met with light sabers and Storm Troopers and Darth Vader… So when the latest movie came out, we were really excited to see it. I was possibly even more excited than my boys. I had my outfit planned out… because that’s what guys do, right? Wink.

When we finally got to see the movie, I remember sitting there watching the lead character. She’s this strong young woman who doesn’t know who she is yet. She’s hidden, waiting for her family to come back, surviving. I remember watching her as she began to fight her enemy, and as I watched her fight, I could see myself (obviously in her athletic build… wink) but more than just that…

When I watched this movie I was reminded that we’re all in a battle. We’re not just hanging out, waiting for weekends. No, we have been enlisted in a battle to fight for a generation than needs Jesus. The truth is, the day I chose to give Jesus everything is the day I chose what side I wanted to fight for, and the battle was on.

The battle was on for my mind, my heart, and my emotions. I was going to have to say yes every day of my life. It wasn’t about saying yes in just one moment, but it was about the thousand little yeses along the way that would make up one big yes in my life. When I said my yes, I had to give God, not just my spirit, but my body as well because there is a battle for purity.

Especially when we’ve been raised in the church, purity may sound like or look like someone we know. We may have certain ideas about what it’s supposed to look like, but purity in the biblical sense means being free from guilt and shame.

One of the greatest places for shame to hide in our lives is in our sexuality. There is a reason why 7 out of 10 men are viewing pornography on a regular basis, and 5 out of 10 women are. The church is not helping any of us because none of us feel that powerful in it. The truth is, greater is He that is in you than He that is in the world (1 John 4:4).

Don’t believe the lie that says you’re always going to live this way, be this way, think this way, that this is just who you are, something’s wrong with you, your dad was this way, your mom was this way… No, you have a different DNA. You have the Spirit of God inside of you. He can begin to shift and change the reality of what the enemy has come to steal, kill, and destroy.


God wants to put His nature on display in our families and in our purity.


Purity says, “I’m enough and what I have is enough.” I may not have done everything right, but I am enough. There is a quote from a friend of mine, Lisa Bevere, that says, “Purity doesn’t mean being virginal, it means being virtuous.” There are some people that are virginal who are totally perverted. There are some people who love God, and they’ve had a crazy past, but they’re washed in the blood of Jesus, and they’re pure on the inside.

Many of us go to altar calls praying that God would take our sex drive away, but He’s not going to take something away that He gave us. We feel guilty and ashamed and pray “God, give me a sex drive on my honeymoon night. Maybe an hour before. But make me a nun before that, God, so I can serve you.” God says, “No, that’s not how it works.”

He wants to partner with us in the journey, in the story. He’s not afraid to be with you in the struggle, in the success, in the failure, in the confidence, in the insecurity… He’s not afraid, because He’s a good Father and He wants to be with you. What’s even better is that He knows all about it because He created it.

The heroine in the Star Wars movie was in a battle. All of a sudden things changed for her when she started to use the force. Once you realize what’s on the inside of you, you become equipped to live the life God’s called you to live. The bible says that those who know their God will be strong and do great exploits (Daniel 11:32). You are never going to be what anyone needs until you find out what God can really be in your life.

If you’re wondering what to do next, get with God, ask Him to help you. Surrender your mind, your spirit, and your body to God, and He will give you everything you need to be victorious over any enemy that comes against you. You’re not fighting alone, you have His Spirit inside you, and He never fails.


Creating Healthy Expectations

In this blogpost we’re going to talk about another aspect of dating: EXPECTATIONS.

Ladies in the house, you know we all have expectation. A cute brother walks in to church, and you do a metal check. Yeah, you know what I’m talking about, you see if there’s metal on the hand. Does he have a ring? Don’t lie, you know it’s true.

Part of defining the relationship, is figuring out and communicating our expectations. If you’re attracted to someone and they ask you out, or you ask someone else out, I think one of the things we could do to bring health to our relationships is to identify our expectations.

Song of Solomon 3:1-2 says:

 

All night long on my bed

I looked for the one my heart loves;

I looked for him but did not find him.

I will get up now and go about the city,

through its streets and squares;

I will search for the one my heart loves.

So I looked for him but did not find him.

 

Though this is in the voice of a woman who theologians believe is married, I believe there are practical things here we can learn from, male or female. Many of us are looking for “the one my heart loves.”

We search for them, but do not find them. Yes, there’s a play on words there, but I’m taking her words because many of us who desire to be in relationship are searching for that person. Eighty-five percent of single people want to be married or want to be in a monogamous relationship.

So let’s come clean. Let’s stop saying “this is just my friend” when they’re not, or engaging in friends with benefits. No, we need to define the relationship.

 

Here’s a message to the men (and women can learn from this too):

 

1. Own your actions.

Guys, if you are out with a girl alone on a second or third hangout, don’t get it twisted and think that she’s crazy if she suspects you’re interested in her. You might say, “Nah, we’re friends. We’re cool.” I’m telling you from the perspective of a female, don’t automatically assume she’s just there to kick it with you and your friends and watch the NBA finals. This might be the case, but there’s a good possibility it’s not…

Men, and women, own your actions. If you’re hanging out with someone, texting them, and going out just the two of you, don’t think that he or she is reading too much into things when they wonder if there’s something there. It’s time to open up your mouth and have a good conversation. This brings us to point two.

 

2. Use your words.

Don’t be lame. God gave you a mouth, use it. Take the initiative and cast vision for your relationships. If you’re interested in a woman, don’t make her guess, don’t play games. As her brother in Christ, you have the opportunity to lead in this relationship. If you’re not interested in her romantically, set that line real quick. You might feel stupid, and she might even say, “Oh, I actually wasn’t interested in you,” but you know what, it’s okay. If you’re not at all interested, you just want to squash that immediately so hearts don’t get broken. It might be painful, or cause a little bit of drama in the moment, but for the sake of your relationship with sister in Christ, use your words.

 


People’s feelings get hurt when we’re not very clear with our intentions.


 

Now for the ladies:

3. Don’t be weird. 

If someone asks you out for coffee, don’t sit there and start dreaming of being eighty-five years old with them, squeezing each other tight in the sinking Titanic while the interlude of Celine Dion’s My Heart Will Go On is playing in the background. Our minds can go there quickly. All the sudden we’re married, we have 2.5 kids, a picket fence, and a dog named Spot. Yep, our minds can go there, so be careful. We need to give our brothers in Christ some latitude to get to know us. 

I am not throwing stones here. If you knew me and my level of crazy cat lady, you would understand why I feel passionate about this. When my husband first invited me out for coffee, I had to text three friends to get their insight on it. I was freaking out about it, thinking, “Oh my goodness I can’t believe this. What are we going to do?” And I sent him this long email saying, “I feel called to ministry, I feel called to free slaves, I don’t think this is what I’m supposed to be doing, and God parted the Red Sea, He can bring someone to me.” His reply via email was very simply, “No problem… it’s just coffee.

When he said that I realized that I, and a lot of my Christian friends, were hyper-spiritualizing a lot of things. So instead of focusing on the minor, insignificant, maybe even borderline stupid things, let’s start to focus on the more important things, which we’ll get to in another post.

So remember, to keep your intentions and feelings clear in your relationships: own your actions, use your words, and ladies, give guys a little room to get to know you, before deciding if you’re ready to put the white picket fence up. It may feel weird at first, but it will help you out and it will help out the people you’re in relationship with in the long run.

 

BIANCA JUAREZ OLTHOFF IS A WRITER, SPEAKER, AND IN LOVE WITH TWO MEN: JESUS AND HER HUSBAND, MATT. BIANCA SPENDS HER WEEK WORKING AS CHIEF STORYTELLER FOR THE A21 CAMPAIGN, AN ANTI-HUMAN TRAFFICKING ORGANIZATION, AND AS THE CREATIVE DIRECTOR FOR PROPEL WOMEN. SHE LOVES HAVING DANCE PARTIES IN THE LIVING ROOM WITH HER TWO STEP CHILDREN OR COOKING MEALS FOR FRIENDS. 
WEBSITE: BIANCAOLTHOFF.COM
FACEBOOK: FACEBOOK.COM/BIANCAOLTHOFFSPEAKS 
INSTAGRAM: INSTAGRAM.COM/BIANCAOLTHOFF 

Am I Attracted?

In this blogpost, we’re going to talk about an issue I’m passionate about. We’re going to talk about…

DATING (eeeek!)

I know, it can be weird, it can be a touchy subject, and Christians have all kinds of ideas and beliefs about it from courting, to dating, to “dourting”, to kissing dating goodbye. You may have tried to google what the Bible says about dating and found yourself in a whirlwind of scriptures about harlots and prostitutes and verses like “it’s better to marry than to burn with lust…

This time around, we’re going to look at the book of Song of Solomon. This is a beautiful way to learn about dating because we’re learning by looking at this relationship between two other people in the Bible.

Now you might be married, single, widowed, divorced, but I think this is a topic we all can learn from. People in our community are in all different life stages, but we as the church are called to have a handle on what it looks like to live life well.

The first thing I want to cover under the topic of dating is ATTRACTION. So let’s dive into the first chapter of Song of Solomon. Verses 2-3 in this chapter say:

 

Let him kiss me  (Ooooh, watch out ) with the kisses of his mouth—

for your love is more delightful than wine (if you’re over 21- wink)

Pleasing is the fragrance of your perfumes;

your name is like perfume poured out.

No wonder the young women love you!

 

Verse 2 is revolutionary. This is the Holy Bible, and we’re talking about kissing. We’re talking about passion. This is God’s Word, and His Word is infallible, inspired, and included for our benefit, and it’s talking about attraction.

Sometimes in church we can hyper-spiritualize things like, “I’m going to pray and fast and wear sackcloth and ashes to see if this is the person I should ask out for coffee… Listen, I think a great first step is to figure out if there’s attraction there. So if you’re asking someone out, or someone has asked you out, stop for a second and ask yourself, “Can I see myself attracted to this person?”

 

Now, let me just take a second to say, there’s a difference between attraction and lust.

Attraction is “Wow, that guy is handsome. That girl is pretty. I like her style. I love his heart for God.

Lust is more like, “OMG he is so fine, did you see him? Oh my gosh He has an eight pack like Usher.

 

When you start to cross over into lust, you gotta reel that back in. You may try to throw some 1 Peter 5:14 in there when you see a handsome man: “Greet one another with a kiss of love…” Uh uh. Nice try. That’s not what he was talking about. Attraction is one thing, lust is another.

Bringing it back a little bit, we need to be attracted to the person we’re eventually going to marry.

Guys, stop settling for the girl that carries a ten pound bible and your mom really likes her. Girls, stop settling for the guy who at least has a stable job because you’re afraid your biological clock is ticking. Don’t be rushed. Ask very fundamental, basic questions.


Am I attracted?


When Adam first saw Eve in the garden, he didn’t say, “Wow, I think she will be good for helping me till the garden and picking fruit.” No, he says, This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’  for she was taken out of man.” There’s this lyrical poetry that happens when he sees her for the first time. There is something redeeming and beautiful that happens when you are attracted to someone.

So if you’re thinking about asking someone out, or someone has asked you out, start with the fundamental, basic question: Are you attracted?

Stay connected with us for the second part of this series Creating Healthy Expectations

 

BIANCA JUAREZ OLTHOFF IS A WRITER AND SPEAKER IN AND IN LOVE WITH TWO MEN: JESUS AND HER HUSBAND, MATT. BIANCA SPENDS HER WEEK WORKING AS CHIEF STORYTELLER FOR THE A21 CAMPAIGN, AN ANTI-HUMAN TRAFFICKING ORGANIZATION, AND AS THE CREATIVE DIRECTOR FOR PROPEL WOMEN. SHE LOVES HAVING DANCE PARTIES IN THE LIVING ROOM WITH HER TWO STEP CHILDREN OR COOKING MEALS FOR FRIENDS. 
WEBSITE: BIANCAOLTHOFF.COM
FACEBOOK: FACEBOOK.COM/BIANCAOLTHOFFSPEAKS 
INSTAGRAM: INSTAGRAM.COM/BIANCAOLTHOFF 

For Her Eyes Only

THE PROBLEM

Our society seems to dictate that men pursue women and not the other way around. This can create a pretty powerless culture for the girls.

Furthermore, if the girl wants to be a virtuous woman, then she must refuse to use sensuality to seduce a man. This theoretically reduces her chances of “catching her guy.”

Yet, the truth is if a girl fishes with shark bait, then she will most likely catch a shark. I mean, if a girl is trolling the “man waters” with the 3 B’s (boobs, butt, and belly button), then she will likely catch a girl-watcher, not a virtuous dude.

It’s hard to keep a guy who was only attracted to your body because there’s always someone with bigger boobs and a better body.

 

THE SOLUTION

So what’s a girl to do?

1. Realize that most men don’t understand women, and you always fear what you don’t understand!

2. Pay attention to the way he treats his mama because however he treats her, he will treat you in the end.

3. Be beautiful, but not sexy. Contrary to popular opinion, dressing sexy says, “I’ve got nothing else going on.”

4. Take an interest in the things he is interested in. It will dispel a bunch of the fear in him if you can relate to something he loves.

5. Believe in him: his personhood, his destiny, and his ability.

This was the reason I grew in love with Kathy…she believed in me when no one else did. (If you don’t believe in him, you are wooing the wrong dude).

6. Don’t play “hard to get,” play your “I am worth sacrificing for” card!

7. Most girls like the “chase” because they were born to be pursued. But if you’re not interested in the dude, don’t lead him on. Other guys are watching, and a trail of male tears builds a rough road to your front door.

8. Hang out in a group before you date. Guys gain courage as they gain understanding.

9. If you do your “sister act” with him, he won’t think of you as a lover. Many guys have close friends who are great girls, but asking them out feels like they are dating their sister.

10. Be subtle, but let him know you are interested in getting to know him. A note works great.

But what if he doesn’t choose to pursue me? Then you will know pretty quickly, and you won’t waste your time with a dude who’s not interested!  

11. If you like someone, ask a friend who knows him to introduce you. This helps break the ice.

12. Don’t date a guy with a bad reputation. Reputations are built on repetition (repeated behavior). It may sound exciting to date a bad boy, but marrying one will ruin your life.  

13. Find some old, wise people to be accountable to in your romantic relationships. Love is blind, so listen to their input.

When my mom met Kathy for the first time, she told me, “Now that’s the marrying kind.” Kathy was 12 years old at the time. Five years later, I married that girl. That was 40 years ago!

 

Originally published on krisvallotton.com.

 

KRIS VALLOTTON IS THE AUTHOR OF NUMEROUS BOOKS, CO-AUTHOR OF THE BEST SELLING SUPERNATURAL WAYS OF ROYALTY, AND IS A WELL-KNOWN INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE SPEAKER. KRIS IS THE FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT OF MORAL REVOLUTION, THE SENIOR ASSOCIATE LEADER OF BETHEL CHURCH, AND THE CO-FOUNDER OF BETHEL SCHOOL OF SUPERNATURAL MINISTRY.  HE AND HIS WIFE, KATHY, HAVE BEEN MARRIED FOR 40 YEARS AND RESIDE IN REDDING, CALIFORNIA.  THEY HAVE FOUR GROWN CHILDREN AND EIGHT GRAND CHILDREN.

 

WEBSITE: KRISVALLOTTON.COM
FACEBOOK: FACEBOOK.COM/KVMINISTRIES
TWITTER: TWITTER.COM/KVMINISTRIES
INSTAGRAM: INSTAGRAM.COM/KVMINISTRIES

The Redemption of Men

I remember when a man pummelled a woman’s head with the heaviest part of a telephone receiver in a phone box outside of Liverpool station. I remember getting out of my car down the street, screaming from a distance to save her life.

Whoever she was.

I remember him looking up, grasping from his violent breath, to see who had the audacity to interrupt him, leaving the half-conscious woman to now run after me. I remember the police being just around the corner. I remember how vivid and monstrous the sound of him beating her was – 16 years later.

Those are the trials that we define as traumatic in domestic violence, the ones people fight for years to overcome. For as much as physical abuse is the definition of evil in relationships, we seem to sideline the emotional torment, the slightly less burdensome journeys we never signed up for when he first asked us out on a date.

For the majority of us, hurt is very subtle, yet it’s startling how lasting that can be, it’s startling how bruised the heart can get with their emotional punches.

I remember being lied to. Regularly. By different boyfriends.

I’ve fought for a man who didn’t want to fight for me.

I’ve been the victim of verbal abuse, I’ve ducked away from being in a domestic violent one.

I’ve been on his mind and in his living room for a thousand hours and still he can’t decide whether he wants to date me.

I’ve been the confidante to the mistresses; I’ve been the confidante to the wives.

I’ve been the butt of their self-hating jokes.

I’ve been involuntarily part of a smear campaign so they can cover their own reputation in a mutual church community.

I’ve lost Facebook friends, I’ve been ignored in the streets, all based on the fact I decided something wasn’t right.

I’ve had to defend my right to exist with other women in his life.

It was the luxury apartment or me. And he took the apartment.

I’ve been controlled.

I’ve not been talked to for ten minutes in a car ride because he didn’t like my shoes. And I liked my shoes.

I’ve been advised to do my homework and by homework – he meant more squats.

I’ve been advised to eat more. I’ve been advised to eat less.

I’ve been told it’s between me or another girl he’s interested in – he ended up dating both.

I’ve been promised babies and weddings, with it never following through.

I’ve been flirted with to discover I was just the stop-gap girl to appeal to his own emotional needs.

I’ve been uncovered to a whole ray of people who knew my name, but I couldn’t have placed theirs.

I’ve been ditched because I wouldn’t put out. I’ve been ditched because I did put out.

I’ve been the apple of their eye in one week and a stranger to them the next.

I’ve had the biggest smile on my face when I finally found out their fickle fabrications. Yet my smile swiftly vanished when I learnt how long the lies had gone on for.

But this isn’t an invite to some pity party. This isn’t a recall on some of the poorer relationships I’ve endured.

 


This is a reality check to all those women that say that there aren’t any good men out there.


 

‘How could she start this piece of writing with her horror stories of male encounters and expect us to have hope?’ I hear you cry.

I declared it myself that there were no healthy men.

I have said that line more in my Christian days than in my atheist ones. It seemed I found more brokenness in men, who longed for God yet forgot about goodness, the problem was, I was functioning from a hopeless ache that looked for physical evidence; back-up stories that proved that men weren’t kind. After so much hurt, a back catalogue of dating misdemeanors – how could we have hope?

It’s a line that is spoken not from a bitter edge or a negative personality, but from a heart that has been hurt so much, their lens is now faded to a duller tint and it protects, it keeps out, it stops us from messing around our own hearts and disempowers the ability to be vulnerable. We think this jagged edge of pessimism will be realistic, however vulnerability is your greatest protector and hopelessness is your sharpest opponent to love.

Despite the subtle pains I’ve faced, masked in the phrase of ‘long-suffering’ there are men out there that turn all these stories into redemption, that make the rainbows finally shine through the treacherous thunder.

They are there. Once you clean your own lens.

Sometimes with purpose in your pocket, some self-love and friends that adore you, you wipe the bi-focals yourself. Other times it takes an encounter with a great man.

Here’s where the redemption arrived at my door.

I had men who complimented every detail of my dress. Choosing the very shoes the previous one hated.

I’ve been the reciprocity of his affirmation.

I’ve faced his honesty with an apologetic smile and a change of behavior.

I’ve never had to raise my voice, because he already heard me.

I trusted his next moves.

I’ve not needed half the amount of basic boundaries because the dude finally showed up with his own.

I found men who said sorry in the moment – not a year later.

I’ve had a man sacrifice money, travel, and dreams for the day, just to meet me.

I discovered men who sought advice from a small committee of healthy friends, never seeking comfort from half of a broken world.

I’ve found the mightiness in a man’s humility to tell me the truth even if it might hurt his own pride.

I’ve found men who wanted my soul over a posh duplex.

I no longer had to ask why, because his words were always followed up by action.

I’ve been loved in my complexity as well as my diversity.

I was loved in my mess so much that perfectionism jumped out of the window.

I found security in myself because he didn’t rest on my confidence – he had his own.

I’ve been asked questions, instead of be accused.

If I had a need, it was a pleasure for him to fulfill it thus I was no longer seen as a drain.

I was gently confronted with a soft tongue and a trust to resolve.

I no longer blamed myself for another person’s behaviour. For he took ownership of every step he made.

I was satisfactory to him, without using my body.

 


These are the redemptive ones. These are the mighty men, who will restore your past experiences. These are the ones who will never speak anything less than highly of you, despite their own pain of losing you.


 

I promise you: the ‘you’ who is out there wondering if there are any good men. If you did something wrong. If you’re too old. If you’re too young. If you’re not good enough. If you’re too picky. If you’re too too too…

Take off the self-questioning so you won’t question men so much. Take down the wall of protection so you don’t ooze distrust. Take up discernment to another level so that you can avoid one more horror story to the storage unit of poor experiences, and raise up the standard to encounter kind men, gentle men, men with back bones, men with justice hearts yet a teachability to always be able to say sorry and grow. We were never looking for perfection, we were looking for humility. And it had to start with us.

It was never about how good the men were out there, it was always about how much we truly believed we deserved it in the first place.

 

Originally published on www.herglassslipper.co.uk

 

CARRIE LLOYD IS AN AUTHOR AND JOURNALIST FROM THE UK, WRITING FOR GRAZIA, COMPANY MAGAZINE, HUFFINGTON POST, CHRISTIANITY MAGAZINE, MAGNIFY, ALPHA LIFE, THE DAILY MAIL AND MORE. SHE IS THE AUTHOR OF ‘THE VIRGIN MONOLOGUES (AUTHENTIC MEDIA). HER EXPERIENCES HAVE COVERED PREGNANCY CRISIS COUNSELLING, TO PASTORING YOUNG ADULTS AS AN INTERN AT BSSM IN REDDING, CALIFORNIA. HER PASSION IS FOR ABOLISHING SEX TRAFFICKING, HELPING UNLIKELY HEROES, AS WELL AS SPEAKING TO TEENAGERS AND YOUNG ADULTS ABOUT HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS. HER BLOG ON THE TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS OF CHRISTIAN DATING CAN BE FOUND AT WWW.HERGLASSSLIPPER.CO.UK

Dreaming About My Husband: Is it Really a Good Idea?

QUESTION


I am wondering if it’s not so good to imagine my husband, our honeymoon night and stuff like that. It just stirs me more to live for purity with the future in mind.

 

TEAM’S ANSWER

 

This is something that I think a lot of girls think about and something that plenty of us struggle with. We as women tend to be more futuristic about who we will marry. We are exposed to so many “fairytale” stories and movies, that we long for our very own story as well.

I think that having vision for the future is definitely important and it provokes us to make choices that will ultimately get us to where we are going. When in a season of being single, envisioning your spouse can give you hope and strength to endure. A quote we hear from one of the pastors in our culture is vision gives pain a purpose. Being single may or may not be painful but any process to get what we deeply desire isn’t always easy. Having vision keeps you hopeful. Check out the link below and read how Webster’s dictionary defines “vision“. One definition is this: “The act or power of anticipating that which will or may come to be: prophetic vision.”

On the contrary, there are ways in our thinking where we can easily slip into fantasy. We begin to create situations and scenarios in our mind that conjure up emotion and even sexual fantasy. This can be dangerous for us to do. It can become a place of comfort that we resort to, to escape reality. This can become one way in which we awaken love before it’s time. Like I mentioned before; dreaming about the future is a beautiful thing and keeps your desires in front of you. However, consider that it may not be very beneficial for you to be stirring up feelings you cannot currently fulfill.

Here are some questions you can be asking yourself:

Do I find myself fantasizing about the future and have trouble focusing on the now?
Am I longing for my spouse so much that I feel anxious?
Do I stir up myself sexually thinking about being with my future spouse?
What can I focus on now that will get me to where I envision?
What does it look like to embrace my season of “singleness”?


It is so important to dream and have vision for your future.
A man without vision perishes. On the flip side you don’t want the future to consume your thoughts so much that you cannot embrace what’s in front of you. Consider Nehemiah, he chose to focus on the “wall” in front of him and built that “wall” even when criticism and opposition came. Nehemiah had vision and God strengthened him to be faithful with what he had before him.

It is an incredible thing to long for God’s best and have an idea of who he will be. The truth is God does have the best for you. It will be wonderful. Use this time you have now to picture the kind of woman you want to be and be proactive in going after those things. Some examples could be:

Growing in your spiritual walk
Writing out a dream list: I want to be known as a woman who…
Discovering what your love languages are; how you best receive and give love

 

Here are some great resources for you. We encourage you to check these out:

1. “The Stirring” is a young adults church in our city and the pastor rocks messages on being single, dating, marriage and sex. These podcasts are my absolute favorite. The series is called Under the Chuppah

2. “Captivating By Stasi Elderedge, a book on unveiling the mystery of a woman’s soul. Read the following excerpt by clicking on the link.

3. “The Five Love languages (Singles Edition) By Gary Chapman. It is important as singles to know how we emotionally and physically best receive love. This book will equip you in your relationships to love the way your wired and how to love the one your with well.

4. Moral Revolution will enable you to keep hope and vision for the man of your dreams alive, while giving you tools to managing your desires, navigating your heart and equipping you to be the woman he desires.

5. The Naked Truth About Sexuality will give you perspective on why’s and how’s of the waiting process, helping you understand and celebrate God’s design for sex and marriage.

You have the Spirit of the living God inside of you. You have what it takes to manage your thoughts. We are super excited for the journey God is taking you on. You will be rocking your purity and dreaming about your future, while keeping your heart alive by monitoring your thoughts. We speak blessing over your life and much grace for the process.


Managing Your Thought Life

QUESTION



I want to know, is it normal to fantasize sexually about my future wife?
If not, what steps do I need to take to stop?

 

TEAM’S ANSWER

 

It is perfectly “normal” to have sexual thoughts come on your radar about your future wife. In fact, we’d sort of be worried if they didn’t! It’s all a part of having a normal, healthy sex drive. It’s normal for thoughts to enter our heads about any and all kinds of things; however, it’s what we DO with those thoughts that make all the difference in the world.

 

We will say this: fantasizing is not a good or healthy idea when you’re single, dating, or engaged because it doesn’t keep you in the reality of where you are at in your relationship status. There is reason it’s called a fantasy. If you aren’t connected with the reality of where you are and what you have decided your personal boundaries to be, then it becomes a “tease” to your heart and mind. Why entertain thoughts you aren’t allowed to act on until you are married? It only makes it more difficult to maintain purity if you are constantly imagining things in your mind.

 

Another thing to think about is – whether you are single, dating, or engaged – you are practicing staying pure for when you are married. Believe it or not, we need to fight for our purity even more when we’re married because we have now entered into covenant with another person and with God, to love and honor that person. The truth of the matter is there will always be other men and women to “look at,” but what you practice when you’re single; you’ll practice when you’re married. If you haven’t learned to manage your sexual thought life and/or appetite when you’re single, it won’t be any easier when you’re married. Trust us.

 

Managing your thought life really comes down to you and your choices. What are you choosing to think about? What do you do when a sexual thought comes up?

 

The main thing when it comes to managing your thought life, whether you’re single, dating or engaged is this: you want to honor the woman in your life, or your thoughts. Always. Honor, love, and respect within a relationship are huge.

 

Are you honoring this woman’s purity and your commitment to stay pure in the natural if you aren’t doing it in your thought life as well? Fantasizing usually involves desiring, connecting, taking pleasure in, and sharing intimacy with the other person involved. We aren’t meant to do that outside of covenant with anyone but our husbands or wives. You might just want to ask yourself the question: Am I honoring her purity with this thought?

 

Thank you for asking this tough question and for being honest and real. We also appreciate that you desire to love, honor, and respect your future wife. We bless you in your future marriage!


Waiting for Mr. Right

All the single ladies, put your hands up!

 

Oh hay, I see you wavin’ your hands over there like you just don’t care (even though I know you totally do). Don’t you worry baby girl, even when you feel totally invisible to the male species, I see you.

Hands up again: How many of you are still waiting for a glimpse of the infamous, mythical Mr. Right? (Hey, you can’t raise your hand if you’re already married! Them’s the rules.)

Sure, I know what you’re thinking: He’s the unicorn of mankind. He’s like a good Nicolas Cage movie; a humble Kanye West; the holy grail of the female conquest for love.

In other words, He just doesn’t exist.

But what if he does?

It all depends on how you define “right”. For some, it’s someone who is fitting, appropriate, complementary. For others, it’s perfection. English is such a tricky language sometimes.

Let me tell you something: I’m a notorious perfectionist, so my biggest fear is having standards that are way too high. Not only must he have impeccable taste in everything, he must also have a more than basic understanding of proper grammar, an affinity with children, a solid family, a great sense of humor, be a creative genius and love cats.

Do you know how hard that is to find? I’m sure you do. Because if you’re anything like me, you have a long list of “must-haves” and “wants” and won’t settle for anything less than the best.

But what if I don’t really know what’s best for me? I may know what I want, but I don’t necessarily know what I need. Have you ever been thrown into a new job without much training? Sometimes you don’t have the questions to ask until you get there. You don’t know what you need until you’re in the thick of it.

Finding a life partner can be very much like that. I’m not a serial dater per se, but I’m also not against getting to know people who seem interesting to me. My motto used to be, “everyone deserves an opportunity to prove how wonderful they are.” I went on dates, got to know what I wanted, got to know what I needed (often uncomfortably) and found out what I just can’t live without.

So far, I haven’t met someone who has satisfied that last part, but I’m gaining a better understanding of what’s really right for me. Most likely not an exact replica of me, my tastes, my perspectives, or my dreams but probably someone I never saw coming. Someone different, challenging, intriguing. Imperfect, even.


My question is this: What if we threw out the lists and just listened to our hearts?


Don’t get me wrong. I love writing lists. I love seeing what’s in my heart and putting language to my desires, but it shouldn’t stop there. Once you know that what’s in there, let it lead you where it may. But understand that what makes someone perfect for you is how much they fill in the gaps you didn’t see, how they understand you in the oddest moments, and how they surprise you with their whims. So girls, put your hands down, your pen away, and start listening.

You never know, Mr. Right may become Mr. Real in no time at all.

 

-Leah Sookoo, Intern