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The Art of Dating #6

The Single Scene

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT DATING

The Singles Scene

The single "life-style" is highly publicized as an attractive
alternative to marriage and family. As our series of articles on
dating continues, we offer important counsel for singles.

By Greg R. Albrecht


     What's behind the dramatic increase in the number of men and
women who are defined as single today?
     Some men and women, because of various circumstances, are
forced to remain single through no choice of their own, though
many would like to be married.
     Many other young people, however, are choosing not to marry,
or to delay marriage. As divorces increase, more and more
ex-marrieds are living alone and re-entering the world of
singles.
     Liberal educators and most of the mass media have
popularized the single life as an exciting, fulfilling
alternative to marriage and famines:

     Independence is better than commitment. Sexual freedom and
     experimentation are more desirable than loving monogamy.
     Selfish personal pursuits and satisfaction are more
     important than giving oneself in caring service to a mate
     and children. Marriage itself is outdated.

     Or so we are told!

     Yet loneliness, alienation, mental illness and sexual
diseases are also increasing in society, as marriage, the family
and traditional sex roles erode.
     If you are single now, for whatever reason, you need to
understand the Bible-based principles we will cover in this
article. If you are a parent, you need to make a special effort
to teach these principles to your children.
     This knowledge, rejected by the world as a whole, is a basic
key to happiness in life!

The war between the sexes

     Decades of social upheaval have created the climate in which
the single life is increasingly popular. Yet one by-product of
these changing attitudes and values is the further erosion of
understanding between the sexes.
     The so-called war between the sexes has given way, on some
levels, to an uneasy truce. The terms of the cease fire are
"toleration," "understanding" and "cooperation."
     But while these are all virtues under the right
circumstances, these terms have been misunderstood to mean the
rejection of family government, the abandonment of traditional
sex roles and the acceptance of behavior that directly violates.
the laws of the almighty God!
     The results have been deadly. The movement toward "equality"
bas blended sexual differences into a confusing mixture that
neither sex can understand or cope with.
     Though we discussed sex roles in an earlier
article in this series, it is good to review, here, some
foundational statements from the Bible.

     The Bible tells us that God gave different responsibilities
and characteristics to men and women in the beginning: "So God
created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him;
male and female He created them" (Genesis 1:27).

     What, exactly, does it mean to be a male or a female? How
should we think, act and relate to the  opposite sex?

"Unisex" invades fashion

     In the past few decades increasing pressure has been on the
sexes to blend. "Unisex" invaded fashion. The equal rights
movement put men and women at odds in the political arena.
Confused sex roles blared from the media in the guise of
entertainment.
     The result? Mass confusion - even ambivalence in terms of
sexual identity!

     You need to understand that the blending of sexual roles has
twisted and perverted God-given concepts and standards. Many
people, frankly, wonder who and what they are and should be. Both
married people and singles have been hurt in their relationships
with one another.
     Christians know that the god of this world - Satan (2
Corinthians 4:4) - is masterminding this entire scenario. Satan
tells us there is no difference between men and women - that we
should be very much alike.
     Therefore, women say: "Where are the men? We just meet
irresponsible, immature little boys - we never meet any real
men!"
     The men counter: "Why don't women stop being so aggressive
and hard? Aren't there any sweet, gentle, feminine women
anymore?"
     Men, Satan wants you uncertain and hesitant, lacking the
qualities of a strong and intelligent leader....

     
[YOU NEED TO UNDERSTAND THAT THE BLENDING OF SEXUAL ROLES HAS
PERVERTED GOD-GIVEN STANDARDS. MANY PEOPLE, FRANKLY, WONDER WHO
AND WHAT THEY ARE AND SHOULD BE. BOTH MARRIED PEOPLE AND SINGLES
HAVE BEEN HURT IN THEIR RELATIONSHIPS WITH ONE ANOTHER. WHAT DOES
IT MEAN TO BE A MALE OR A FEMALE?]


....insensitive to the needs and desires of women, afraid of
making any commitments. Women, Satan wants you to feel that
toughness works better than softness, that you should always be
in charge, that you must compete with men at every level.
     No, we're not saying that men should be cavemen types, with
no regard for a woman's feelings, or that women should be
spineless, clinging vines.
     But we are saying that men should be men and women should be
women.

     Ephesians 5 is a major text in explaining how men and women
should relate to each other, especially in marriage and in the
dating and courtship leading up to marriage. This Bible passage
speaks not only of the marital relationship, but of the basic
difference between the sexes. These differences have to do with
physiological and psychological differences that God ordained and
created in us.
     Paul tells us that a man is to lovingly lead and that a
woman is to happily follow (Ephesians 5:22-23). These values are
defined by God and are not contingent upon cultural conditioning.

God's way is cooperation

     Note that Ephesians 5:21 says all should be "submitting to
one another in the fear of God." God's way is cooperation, not
competition.
     Male and female, quantitatively different, are to cooperate
and live in harmony. To cooperate, you must understand your
fellow human beings.     
     Scientific research and thousands of years of human
experience point up numerous physical, mental  and emotional
differences between men and women. Don't let anyone tell you any
different!     

     These are differences God created to allow men 
and women to complement one another. Women need strong,
protective men who are confident and decisive in their
masculinity. Men need responsive, gentle, caring women, who are
willing to share their lives with them.
     There should be no conflict of interests here, no
competition for who's in top position. God created these feminine
or masculine characteristics within us so that we could function
as a smooth-running team in marriage.
     It's these differences that attract men to women and vice
versa. A truly feminine woman makes a man feel more masculine and
a masculine man brings out a woman's femininity.
     Though its eternal truths are discarded by society in
general, the Bible gives us clearly defined sexual roles and
responsibilities.

Effect of misinformation

     Young people have been educated in this latter half of the
20th century not to let anyone impose a role on them. We all have
been told that we each have the right of self-definition.
For example, women, who, admittedly, have often been victimized
by male-dominated society, are now led to believe that they must
revolt against tradition, seize control and save themselves from
abuse.
     Satan the devil would like us to believe that there are no
guidelines - that each case is unique - that one can never know
what to expect - that "openness" and "tolerance" are virtues to
be pursued over self-control, decency and morality.
     The tragic result of this teaching and misinformation has
been the desexualization of society. The whole concept of what
women and men are supposed  to be, look like and do, is mixed up.
How does this confusion affect singles? Men and women don't know
how to act and react toward each other.
     Within just the past generation, dating has become almost a
thing of the past. Indeed, as we noted in an earlier article,
dating is a lost art.
     The practice of a man "wooing" a woman is looked upon as
almost archaic - a relic of an ignorant, male-dominated, by-gone
age.
     Without a courtship period, however, there's little time to
get to know another person and how you might relate to him or her
over the long term.
     That's because too many times there is no long term. In this
age of instant gratification, when couples are just looking for a
one-night stand or roommates for the semester, there's no need to
worry about making a commitment.
     But successful, truly happy relationships between male and
female must eventually include a commitment on the part of both.
And to make that decision wisely, a period of dating or courtship
without the physical and emotional involvement of a sexual
relationship is necessary. This person may be a great lover, but
what kind of provider or parent will he or she be?
     Dating gives you time to get to know yourself and the other
person by seeing how you both react under different
circumstances. How well do you work together as a team? Are you
each others' best friend?
     That euphoria, or honeymoon, that comes with a beginning
sexual relationship, inside or outside of marriage, is no
long-term proof of real, true love. Too many couples today
mistake sensuous feelings and emotions for love.
     Then, when the feeling is gone, they believe their love is
finished, and the relationship is over. That's why a time for
dating and courtship, without sexual involvement, is so
important.

A yearning for "romance"

     If you think that a man asking a woman out for dinner or a
movie or a concert or a picnic is old-fashioned - have you
noticed? - there's a strong undercurrent of yearning in this
society for what we call romance.
     Go to any supermarket check-out stand and note the
popularity of tabloids and sensational novels that sell romance.
The heroic male in such stories is usually pictured as a
swashbuckling pirate, or a handsome Middle Eastern type leaping
from behind a sand dune to sweep the heroine off her feet.
Films and television show us the same thing. Romance is a
best-seller today! There's obviously something missing in our
courtship practices.
     What has happened to that mysterious interaction between
male and female that the Bible speaks of when it alludes to that
beautiful "way of a man with a maid" (Proverbs 30:19, Authorized
Version)? Dating should, be part of the courtship process
that eventually leads toward marriage. During late teenage and
early college years is the time to date for mainly social
reasons, but this type of dating should not go on forever.

Dating with purpose

     There comes a time when dating should become a serious
search for the proper mate for life. The women you date should
realize you're the kind of guy who is interested in marriage at
some time, and not just for one shallow relationship after
another.
     Again, men, it's difficult for a woman to be attracted to an
indecisive, weak-kneed character who is afraid of any long-term
commitments.
     And, women, when this masculine, serious-about-marriage
fellow comes along, treat him with the same respect he is giving
you. If the evening he has planned isn't exactly your idea of a
perfect date, don't try to take charge and make all things right.
Some women, when they're asked out by a man, act as if they're
trying to reel in a big fish. Be responsive to his concern and
tell him you appreciate his thoughtfulness, but don't be the
aggressor. You wanted a masculine man - allow him to be one.
     In the beginning God made male and female. He told them to
become one flesh. In this marital equation, one plus one equals
one.
     Two people not only literally become one flesh in the sex
act, but they unite emotionally and spiritually...

     [To accomplish a God-plane, one-flesh union, both male and
     female must learn to appreciate the differences and
     strengths of the partner. God made us to be different and,
     as the French say, Vive la difference! (long live
     difference). You need to remember this in any dating, but
     especially in dating toward marriage.]

....as well. Everything they are should become a part of the
other. To accomplish a God-plane, one-flesh union, both male and
female must appreciate the differences and the strengths of the
partner.
     God made us to be different and, as the French say, vive la
difference! Remember this in any dating, but especially in dating
toward marriage.
     The major concept that we need to think about is
cooperation, not competition. The world emphasizes competition
and strife. But we need to emphasize love and cooperation between
the sexes.

Cooperation, not competition

     Notice briefly the feminine role of submission. What does
that mean for a single? God tells women to submit to their
husbands, to cooperate with them. He doesn't tell women, however,
that they must submit to every man they meet or date.
     If a woman goes on a date with a man and he domineers and
browbeats her to prove his manhood or for whatever other reason,
she must evaluate whether she could submit to that kind of
ill-advised and unwise leadership in a marriage.
     Women, do you want a "caveman-cavewoman" marriage? You must
make a decision before marriage. You should choose a man whom you
can respect and whose leadership style you can admire. You owe it
to yourself for the future happiness of both your husband and
yourself.

     Conversely, when a man considers a woman as a potential
wife, he should look for someone who will allow him to lead. Most
men want to marry a woman who is a partner, not an adversary.
     Men, you certainly do not wish to marry a woman who is going
to continually fight over control of the family, and refuse to
agree with and support your decisions. It's your responsibility
to evaluate before marriage as you get to know a woman.
     Loving leadership is the male responsibility. You must be
able to do so effectively with the woman you choose as your wife.

The law of love

     In I John 4:19 we read, "We love Him [God] because He first
loved us." We are able to respond to God because He loved us
first. That sets the major pattern for all human relationships,
including male-female interaction. Both sexes must apply this
principle in their relations with each other.
     Men are charged to be loving leaders. They are to take the
lead in demonstrating love, kindness, understanding and service
to women. Men must be properly assertive, not "caveman-style"
leaders.
     Women need to know where men are "coming from." Then they
can respond accordingly. Men should not be hesitant or tentative
in serving and caring. They must step out toward women with the
kind of love God shows His creation.
     Likewise, women who want to obey God will show love toward
men by being submissive, tender, supportive helpers. Such women
will radiate charm, self-control and humor. A woman can show this
type of godly love by encouraging and advising and inspiring a
man - by truly being a "help meet [fit] for him" (Genesis 2:18,
AV).

     Men and women were created different, but were created to
love and care for one another in the most special and mysterious
of all relationships - marriage (Ephesians 5:32). Singles, be men
and women of God, and God will bless your relationships with the
opposite sex! 

August 1987    

                        ..........................

Entered on this Website September 2007

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