Had to be the summer of ’93… I was eleven years old and promptly budding all over with my big ol’ glasses and bigger gapped teeth. The boys in my neighborhood were starting puberty too, so while they were finally aware that girls didn’t have cooties, they still threw rocks and vile words at us whenever we walked by. I forget her name, but she’s my cousin’s cousin, and she lived in a bright teal green house one block south from where I lived. This house was so darn fluorescent, you’d have to look at the ground until you made it to the porch. I’m sure by now the chemicals in that paint have turned the house into a primordial soup. Ain’t no way it’s still standing.
On one particular day– let’s call her Tia– we ran to Tia’s house because the boys were launching rocks and water balloons at us. We sat in the sweltering sunroom and chatted about the usual eleven-year old topics. Then the phone rang. Tia froze and a look of trepidation crossed her face. Tia’s granny answered the call and all I heard was “Who is this? You calling for who? What you wanna talk to her for? Tia ain’t coatin’ no boys!” And she slammed the phone.
My heart started racing. Tia… age ten… got a phone call…. from a boy. And Tia’s grandma answer the phone. Ultimate fail, Tia. Granny stormed into the sun room and went off! She kept shouting over and over…
TIA, YOU AIN’T COATIN’ NO BOYS! YA HEAR ME?! YOU AIN’T COATIN’ NO BOYS!
Granny then proceeded to beat Tia’s hein poss (that’s hind parts in Granny speak) mercilessly while Tia retorted that the phone call was for homework. Granny wasn’t buying it, and since I was in the line of fire I ran home past the rock-throwing boys and past Tia’s wails and past Granny’s shouts because, yes, I could hear them up the block. Tia won’t coatin’ no boys.
I had to be all of 26 and married with two kids before I figured out what the heck coatin’ was, and even then, I only learned that the word was courting. After several failed attempts at coatin’ and “there-has-to-be-a-better way” cathartic cries, I get it! At least I think I get what it’s supposed to be in comparison to dating. Let’s give these meager bones some flesh, shall we?
In courtship, commitment precedes intimacy. That means before you start having those deep conversations about past hurts and future hopes and dreams, a decision has been made between the two parties to only develop a relationship with each other and Christ. In this way the couple can determine the purpose and timing for the marriage as God ordained. Why so much so soon? Because you only court a person that you would marry based on what God has shown you. Ideally, God will have already given the holy head nod for you to proceed into a courtship, but two people who are equally yoked and interested in each other may choose to enter a courtship with Godly counsel. Still a courtship is only as good as the people who are in it. Having said that, the standard is high and most bottom-dwellers won’t even pretend to take this on because it immediately exposes who you are. Easy peas-y… we weeded out the bad and the unprepared just that fast.
I’ve conjured up a few comparisons to give you a better idea of the benefits of courtship…
While dating says “I don’t know where this is going because I can’t see into the future”
courtship says “Let’s build our future together.”
While dating says “You don’t own me” courtship says “I’m here to serve you.”
While dating uproots the blooming flower to keep and hold until it dies,
courtship leaves the flower planted and watches it bloom.
While dating says “Let’s be together forever for tonight,”
courtship says “Let’s pace and plan our interactions so we can make this thing last.”
While dating demands trust without test,
courtship provides a safe place for testing and allows trust to develop over time.
While dating says “I’m a gift to you” courtship says “You’re a gift to me.”
While dating invites you to a person’s genitals but keeps you away from their phone,
courtship assigns value correctly and appropriately.
Dating works for some, but for the vast majority of us, this reckless approach to relationship-building has rendered us broken-hearted and underwhelmed. Players, predators, and commitment-phobes dwell in the nether regions of dating, and that is no place for a child of God. There HAS to be a better way, and I believe courting is it. I don’t know many men who would ascribe to this method, but that tells me I need some new friends because I am certain that this is God’s path to marriage for me.
Deep in the recesses of my mind I have a mental image of a tall man wearing a fine Italian cut suit and a long wool coat. He’s got one of those 007 hats tipped over his left eye, and as he approaches me he whips off his coat, throws it over my head, and shouts “You’re mine, girl!” Yes, ladies and gentleman. This is how I imagined coatin’ as a kid. Listen… even THIS is better than dating for me. If you wanna toss your coat over my head just make sure it smells good, and you put some bass in your voice.
My last plea for courtship….
Imagine how much easier it would be to open up if you knew that person was only interested in and committed to you. Imagine how freeing it would be to know that the purpose of your relationship was to seek God’s plan for you as a couple rather than to “just see what happens.” Imagine what it’s like to walk a path that’s already been laid out for you with red carpet. Imagine what it’s like to part ways with someone but still have full respect for them because they treated you with the utmost Christlike love and respect.
Come throw your coat on me, Boo. Alana is ready for coatin’.
With love, sincerity, and hope for your future,
I can’t believe that actually worked! I know the title is TERRIBLY questionable, but I’ll reduce myself to cheap ploys to get you read this because it’s relevant and true for ALL Christian singles. The decision to marry (and whom to marry) is the second-most life impacting decision a believer will ever make. Serving Christ, of course, is first. If you don’t know Jesus then get to know Him because marrying won’t matter if you’re going to spend eternity in hellfire anyway.
Before I jump into my points, I’d like to say that I DO want to be happily married, and I believe it will happen for me soon. I refuse to become preoccupied with I’m working overtime to maintain a Godly perspective on this thing so I don’t lose my everloving mind when my mister shows up. Everything written below is based in Paul’s teaching in 1 Corinthians 7.
Here’s why singles shouldn’t be so eager to marry.
I blame Disney for making us women think we’re was supposed to walk on rose petals and be lifted into the Heavens every day of our married lives. Good Christian men are being abused because women are demanding they comply with our girlish fantasies. Women are suffering because Christian men believe they’re rare and entitled to do as they please. If you find yourself with one of these types, RUN! They’re not prepared to serve in marriage, and you’ll do all the hard work. Just speaking from personal experience though… take it or leave it.
We spend a good portion of our adult lives seeking to validate ourselves through relationships HOPING to get married when we really should be focusing on eternal things. Colossians 3:2 says that we should keep our eyes on things above, and marriage ain’t up there. Furthermore who you choose to marry will get you closer to Heaven or keep you further away from it. You cannot join yourself to someone who does not honor Christ in their singleness and think your salvation will be easily maintained. So if you make the temporal decision to marry, make it with eternity in mind.
It’s not just because you want to have sex, or to have more money, or for him to take out the trash, or for her to cook your dinner. Marriage stems out of purpose and calling, not purpose and calling out of marriage. Some of us are still single because we think we need that ONE to start a business. The only ONE you need is the Lord. I will say this regarding the need for marriage… if you have a strong desire for sex and have difficulty controlling it, I– I mean, you– might need to get married. Don’t let your loins be your guide. BE CELIBATE! But every so often look up to the Heavens and remind the Lord that He gave you those desires, so He’s gonna have to help you out in the marriage department. If you can control those passions, there’s nothing wrong with marrying, but the better life for you will be to remain single. Paul said this in 1 Corinthians 7.
But at least you get sanctified sex, right? Dr. Tony Evans says this: “Marriage is slavery with sex. Singleness is celibacy with freedom.” If your selfish behind thinks you can marry for some sex but don’t think you’ll have to die to self a few times before you even get to the bed… HMPH. Thinking that marriage will make your life better is a trap. If you choose a God-fearing person it MIGHT make your life better, but never put your faith in people. Trust God. Even the strongest Christian will disappoint you sometimes. We’re human!
I swear I’m not making this up. Satan has an agenda against Christian marriages, and he will come after yours. That’s not a reason to not get married, but we must understand that troubles come with the benefits. If you don’t believe me, call up one of your married friends. Don’t ask them outright what marriage is like. Just listen to them talk. It will spill. If your friends are anything like mine, it’ll gush out, make your skin crawl, and you’ll run home to your empty bed and embrace your pillows like the blessings they really are. Might I also add that serving the Lord is about a thousand times easier than serving a person? Selah.
I hope that you have a more BIBLICAL perspective on this matter of (in)significance. Bottom line, folks… Marriage is incredibly important if it’s in God’s plan for you but amounts to a hill of beans if it isn’t. As long as you seek Him first, you will fulfill your purpose and you will be satisfied in your soul.
To sum up, being single in Christ has benefits over being married in Christ. Don’t spend your singleness thinking about, worrying about, talking about, tweeting about marriage. Someone interested might be watching and be scared away by your compulsion. I’d also like to add that folks who put you down because you’re single only do so because they seek validation through romantic relationships. Let one little thing go wrong in their world, and they’ll crumble like silly putty left in the hot summer sun. Marriage is not a step up spiritually. It’s a lateral move assuming you were walking with the Lord beforehand. In most cases, people fall behind spiritually when they get married because they were not rooted in Christ beforehand. Don’t let folks and their foolishness make you feel that you’re less than what God called you to be.
Welp. There’s nothing left to see here. I swept up all the mess I made with that title. As always, questions and comments are welcomed in the space below.
With love, sincerity, and hope for your future,
I can write volumes on this topic because only recently, after so many years of walking with the Lord, I can see where I lost ground in nearly every aspect of life. This, however, is not a pity post. This is a precautionary “you-might-be-living-foul-too-time-to get-it-right-or-else” post.
Let’s be clear. The enemy wants nothing more than to utterly destroy your life. For some of us, he’ll do so by catastrophic events. But most of us, he’ll dupe into a lackadaisical, que sera sera approach to kingdom living. We’ll pat ourselves on the back for following rudiments that make us feel good, but won’t tap into the grace that God provides to make and keep us righteous.
Living an impure life amounts to more than just sexual affairs. It includes self-gratification, ungodly fantasies, emotional romances, manipulating and deceiving folks into being with you… need I go on? Anything that separates you from the presence of the Lord will cause the following issues in your life if you don’t repent. We don’t eeem need to talk about hell fire here.
Would you give a car to your child if they kept wrecking their bike? No? Then why should our Heavenly Father give us such a precious gift as one of His own when we we do not obey Him with our own bodies? Marriage is not “satisfaction guaranteed.” It’s an institution by which God makes us more like Him. This point stings a bit, but for every time I disobeyed, I believe I got sent to the back of the waiting line. No shame here… I’m in gooood company.
The mark of a mature person is their ability to delay gratification. We walk around in our 30-something bodies acting like 5-year olds. You don’t need sex to live. You don’t need to touch yourself to relieve the pressure. Struggle. Suffer. Go without. Save your soul at the expense of your temporary body!
Many times men don’t “feel” the pain from the aftermath the way women do, but the Bible clearly speaks to the impact that it has. Proverbs 31:3 says “Do not waste your strength on women, on those who ruin kings.” Any woman that you sleep with that is not your wife has the power to RUIN you. Ask Tiger. And Kobe. And Mr. Clinton. Chances are, sir, you don’t have their money so just imagine the damage that can be done. Sit on that for a minute. No… seriously. Meditate. On. That.
Likewise, ladies, I believe these encounters cause us to lose a little bit of our glory. After the last time I fell flat on my face I quickly repented. That night I had a dream that a dirty, old man chopped off a small length of my hair. What God was saying to me was that because I had sinned in this way I lost a little of the spiritual energy and glory that He’d given me. Can I get it back? Of course! But the cost is waayyyy too high for such an unfulfilling act.
Tithe all you want, but God will not bless a disobedient child. His desire is not for you to have the best job, home, car, clothes, etc., at the risk of your soul. He requires obedience and rewards us with His favor, and then the blessings pour in. You can be super smart, super attractive, fashionable, and financially stable but without the blessing of the Lord, you will continue to be dissatisfied in your soul. God will withhold His blessings, and He will isolate you to get you back in line.
Because I wasn’t living a holy lifestyle I married the wrong person. It was virtually impossible for me to make the right choice because I was so blinded by lust and sin. You CANNOT discern and hear the voice of the Lord when your heart is full of everything but Him. That marriage cost me years of heartache and turmoil and nearly sent me to hell. But God is gracious! He delivered me in every sense of the word. You don’t know what struggle is waiting for you on the other side of that bed. And once we’re in trouble, we run to God but the sin we were in damaged our faith. If you’re in this situation, trust Him anyhow. He can and will deliver you if you’re willing to submit to His will for your life.
The original purpose for sex is designed to permanently connect you to another person. I won’t get into all the technical issues about the image of God and man/woman/etc. but I will say this… Having sex with someone is, in essence, marrying them. No matter what your mind says, what you agree upon, what your intentions are, you are making a promise to their body and soul to be unified until the parting of death. So how many people are you married to? Without the blood of Jesus and times of fasting and prayer we cannot be victorious in the breaking of these soul ties. I also believe we pick up each others’ internal struggles, i.e. devils. I’ve found myself grappling with things that were never a problem for me before I met and got involved with a certain person. I not only had to battle my issues but his as well and drive those devils out of my life. It’s just not worth the trouble.
My hope is that you not only take away the importance of celibacy (we get that in church allll the time), but also the importance of living a clean life all the way around. Even if we aren’t shacking up and putting it down, the pornography, masturbation, and emotional affairs still make us impure in the sight of the Lord.
With love, sincerity, and hope for a pure and blessed future for you and me both,
If you don’t know by now… seize this blog post!
In 1 Corinthians 13, Paul said “When I became a man, I put away childish things.” Instead of preaching to you what is or isn’t childish, allow me to walk you through the process of dating a 30-something woman…
If you have to borrow from daddy, mommy, sissy, or Bruh Bruh, then you don’t need to take anybody anywhere. Have a seat in front of USAJobs.com and find yourself one, work a couple months, and then pursue.
This last minute willy nilly just won’t do. If she agrees, then ask her what she enjoys doing and eating. I’m not talking super specifics, but get some general information so you don’t take a veggie to the Brazilian steakhouse. No texting or emailing on this one, fellas. You might even want to write it down what she says.
Have you ever been in one of those “Where-do-you-want-to-eat-I-don’t-know-where-do-you-want-to-eat” conversations? Avoid the potential friction, and plan ahead. That means days BEFORE you even meet her, choose where you will eat and what you will do. If time permits, pick up a LivingSocial or Group On deal. Their couples activities are unique and have outstanding value. Unless you’re super shy, steer clear of the movies for a first date. The object is to get to know each other, and you can’t really do that in the dark… well, not in the Godly sense! Choosing a place to eat and one other activity, even if it’s just walking through a park, is appropriate.
You could be Ted Bundy for all we know. To allay those fears give her a call and share some basic details . My daddy used to say “Always let someone know where you’re going, and be discreet.” If you play the wait and see game with some women, they might get up and go. Another point here… telling a woman a few details in advance will help her to prepare AND get her a little excited. She’ll be bragging to her girlfriends before you even go out. Cool points for you, Boo.
DO Y’ALL EVEN KNOW WHAT WE GO THROUGH TO PREPARE FOR A DATE? Do you know how many hours we walk around with that wrap on our heads? Do you know we should be writing reports, but are taking beauty naps instead?! Do you know how many applications of powder pink lip gloss it takes to get the look juuuust right? How DARE you not compliment her appearance. I’m not saying you should gush, but come ooooon. You look niiiice. Your hair is pretty. I’m glad to see you. I’m looking forward to this evening. Pick any two of those. And pick up a flower too. If she feels a little icy at the beginning of the date, a genuine compliment will help your cause.
If she offers to leave the tip or pay for dessert, do whatever seems right to you, but the bulk of the financial burden is on you. No woman wants to marry a man that can’t afford to date her. Harsh, but oh so real… Hopefully you planned to eat a place you can afford. If not, welp… lesson learned, buddy.
I’m not a fan of telling life stories or asking a million questions, but choose three things to share about yourself and three things you want to know about her. Don’t checklist them, but have them in the back of your mind and slide them joints right into the regular conversation. Refrain from the following… Why are you still single? Do you think you’ll ever get married? Do you make your kids’ dad pay child support? And don’t you dare talk about yourself the whole evening.
Be a gentleman from beginning to end. Walk her to her car or the door of her home. Thank her for the evening FACE-TO-FACE… not via text after she’s out of your presence. If a hug is appropriate, then share one. If you’ve known each other for months and you want a smackeroo, then kiss her hand, and gauge from there.
Few sidebars… Don’t skip this info here!
Well, fellas… the rest is up to you. Feel free to let me know if I struck a nerve. I’m certain my inbox will be flooded with “I don’t agree with that part” to which I will reply “Well do you, Boo Boo.” You have been sufficiently warned.
With love, sincerity, and hope for better dating experiences for me and my girlfriends,
Women know that at least three times a year a phenomenon occurs in which random old friends, text buddies, and former flames show up and demand a little attention… and sometimes two or three will come within a few days’ time. Here in the South we call it “coming out of the woodwork.” Basically folks try to re-enter our lives through subtle means… a “Thinking of You” or TOY text, FB poke, or a trepidacious “Hi” via social media. Should we respond to this seemingly harmless greeting, the ball-and-chain, headache inducing conversations will pick up where they left off oh so many months and years ago. So smart women everywhere have employed the most powerful strategy for deflecting these games… by IGNORING!
I thought I was smart… I can even be a little braggy about my brainpower, but today, I’ll dismount my high horse. Yesterday I responded to one of those dumb “TOY” texts. I even had this person’s number saved in my phone, but I had clearly forgotten that he existed. He has one of those common names, so I thought I saved a good friend’s name in the wrong number by mistake. After ten minutes of going back and forth thinking I was talking to one person, it eventually hit me that I was talking to Mr. Nasty Man who was a musician and in the seminary and quite possibly one of the most perverted individuals that had ever crossed my path. I. Was. Appalled.
The conversation went a little something like this. I’ve removed the personal details. (And I’m not worried about him seeing this. He’s only interested in my drawls, and since my blog address ain’t on those, we’re all good here.)
Me: What’s up with you? 6:09 PM
Him: Lots. Too much to text 6:15 PM
Me: But you don’t like to talk. 6:15 PM
Him: I don’t? 6:16 PM
Him: You must not know who you are talking to. 6:17 PM
Me: Wait. I know who you are now. 6:17 PM
Him: Wow 6:17 PM
Me: (location name) 6:17 PM
Him: Lol 6:17 PM
Me: Horny man 6:17 PM
Him: Not cool 6:18 PM
Me: Well. It’s been a while. 6:18 PM
Him: Now an ordained minister. 6:22 PM
Me: What made you think of me? It’s been months. 6:28 PM
Him: Think of you often…. Just didn’t reach out. 6:29 PM
Me: Gotcha. 6:31 PM
Me: You living right? 6:32 PM
Me: Lololol. 6:42 PM
You see what I did there? NO?! Let’s dougie on down to lesson lane.
I sent three clear messages in this short conversation…
I believe God allows these things to happen to show us how much we’ve grown… or haven’t. I could’ve been mealy-mouthed and given him the entrance he wanted with fanfare and balloons, but I value purity and righteousness faaarrrr more than a textual romance. Y’all don’t hear me though.
And now that he’s crawled back into the woodwork from whence he came, I shall change his name in my phone to “DNR”… Do Not Respond. God bless him but somewhere over there far from me.
Ghandi said it best…
With a little tough love, sincerity, and lots of hope for a foolishness-free future,