Calling me by my last name: a classic tip-toe effort to create the “casual” in an otherwise totally intimate relationship. This go-to stunt is usually pulled out in a public place surrounded by wingmen about the time when he’s decided to hang with “Paul” for the foreseeable future. The last name shout out serves as a cryptic signal that despite his continued pursuit of me and his consistent vulnerability, we’re just buddies.
I’ve never read the book “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” and I suspect my tip-toeing friends haven’t either since they seemingly kissed the word goodbye but not the dating itself. I recognize that we aren’t married, but I’m not your mom and I’m not your sister and I certainly don’t play in the men’s soccer league with you so what exactly did you think this was? You’ve pursued me, spent purposeful time with me and invested energy into learning me. Though your intentions of understanding my genuine love for the Lord are honorable, you’ve asked for, and I’ve given you, a spiritual striptease – sharing all of the intimate details of what I’m praying for, what the Lord is teaching me, and the vehicles He’s using to do that. Things that are between me and God. And now you.
Dating? We’re way past that. This is intimacy. The stuff relationships are built on.
Youth groups across America, along with DC Talk and their timeless anthem “I Don’t Want It”, do a fab job telling middle and high school students to keep their hands off and explain the biblical reason for abstinence until marriage. Thousands of purity pledges have been signed, and more importantly (apparently much to Oprahs skeptical chargrin), they are kept. However, the emphatic message of physical purity overshadows the whispered after thought that emotional boundaries need to exist as well.
I suppose the priority is right – the urgency to tell 10th grade boys to stop sitting around talking for hours is probably not there. But something like a black hole exists between the noble effort of keeping hormones in check and the ongoing need to be equally zealous about guarding your heart. I would argue that the later is equally if not more important.
Proverbs makes it clear: “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the well spring of life.”
Part of Christian dating is getting to a place where non-believers don’t ever go: understanding if and how the other reveres Jesus Christ as Lord of their life and whether or not pursuing an ongoing, personal relationship with Him is priority or lip service. But there is a fine line between understanding and raping. Tip-toers, I appreciate and respect that you are thirsty for the Lord and abide by the message that we received long ago, that in a world filled with sex-saturated messages you’ve committed to obedience. But while my clothes may all still be on, you’ve stripped my soul bare. Shame on you for leading me there and shame on me for not protecting that intimate place.
A godly woman wants a godly man. Not just a guy met at church or at a Christian college, who can spew out church lingo and sing “I Am a C, I am a C-H…” the fastest of anyone at camp. She wants a man who is respected at the city gate, who understands that leading her is a form of serving. And in return she’ll “bring him good, not harm, all the days of her life.” Not only after he’s met or after the wild oats are sewn… all the days, every waking moment. She prays that the Lord will mold and shape both characters, teaching them the necessary lessons to refine them before their lives intertwine. She prays for purity so the one whom she already loves will receive blessing from that.
I already love whomever this is so much that I want him to have all of my intimacy – not access to a secret place that isn’t so secret anymore. So tip-toers, no more talking. No more round three interviews of a Proverbs 31 woman until you’re the man who is ready to lead her.