Dating and relationships – energizing or draining?

Feeling Sexy?

When I think about ‘sexy’ I think about a suggestive presentation, and or walking with a swagger. It also includes confidence, or even cockiness. It says “you want me” or “you wish you could have this”.  At least it means I’m feeling good about myself, and might be ready to take a risk or two.  Frequently when I leave the gym after an intense workout, and then a fresh shower, I am feeling sexy.  Seems like a positive thing to me… However, I’ve never heard a pastor use the term ‘sexy’ as something to strive for… I’m not sure it is a term that is safe for a church setting.

Only Sing in the Shower!

Recently, I was leading a large group class of 50 children from grade 2-4 with a lesson that focused on showing others respect. I was dressed up like a pilot, with a stage and chairs set up like a plane, including sound effects, and using metaphors about situations that might take place between a flight attendant and a passenger. In this case I played multiply characters, with one being an obnoxious teenager with headphones on, sing out loud to the song. The stewardess asks him politely to stop singing, and lists reasons why it is rude and unsafe in case of an emergency. The song I choose to sing in an off-key voice was “I’m too sexy for my …”. Well the point seemed pretty clearly made…this off-key, back talking teen was not showing respect to the stewardess or the other passengers. I went on to talk about other ways we don’t show respect to parents, etc. A few days later I received a call from the church sunday school coordinator.  She asked me if I was teaching the kids something about being sexy. I then recalled the little role play, where I played the stewardess and the teen. A parent of a home schooled grade 2 student came home singing “I’m too sexy for my belt, etc”. His mom asked him where he learned this, and he said ” at church… The police man taught us this song”.  The kid apparently remembered the song about feeling sexy, and was oblivious to all the other signs that I had identified myself as a pilot. I wasn’t sure what to say, but apparently this parent had a sense of humour, after it was all explained to her.  I wasn’t feeling too sexy at this point.

Why the Obsession with Sex?

But all this ‘sexy’ talk has me wondering why we are so obsessed with ‘sex’ in our culture.  In the change room or the gym, I frequently hear guys making gestures alluding to it. In high schools where I work, it is frequently the main topic of teens, but this I get. Songs on the radio are frequently alluding to it using some metaphorical phrase, or being very direct. I will notice after watching a movie, if it didn’t have a sex scene, because it is so unusual. Websites, unfortunately, are common place that are helping people find a casual no strings attached sex partner, and of course there are thousands of porn sites out there for people to watch and fantasize about themselves having sex.  I have talked to women who have asked me when my last sexual relationship was, and are shocked that it is over a year since I have had this experience.

Rob Bell writes about this in his book “Sex God”: (paraphrase) “Many people only see sex as physical pleasure. That is only a small part of sexuality. Our sexuality is all of the ways we strive to reconnect with our world, with each other, and with God. He then adds further on in his book, that you can have sex with many, and still feel alone, and the more people you have sex with the more alone you end up feeling.  Some married people have sex regularly, and still feel disconnected.  Yet I have heard people on talk shows say that a good sex life with your partner is a key to a healthy relationship.  So what is feeling sexy? Can I feel it without having a sexual partner? In Bell’s book, he makes a pretty strong argument, that a person who sleeps alone, or chooses celibacy, can feel much sexier and connected with many people then those that have many sexual partners with really physically attractive people (like we frequently see in multi-media).

Connecting or Sexual Dysfunction?

He talks about the cycle of people hurting people in communities, and then the offended moving from there to somewhere else without resolution or forgiveness, as the root of sexual  dysfunction. There seems to be a lack of connecting and committing at a level of authenticity that promotes transparency.  Why are people gossiping instead of confronting? Why do I choose to avoid someone instead of talk it out? Feelings, our pride, or even humility or a fear of negative judgement can sure make me think twice about being transparent. I think that one negative experience (gossip, etc) or an embarrassing memory where one feels humiliated, or belittled, can be enough for one to run the other way. No one likes pain. Seems there is enough to go around. We try to keep the cup half full as much as we can.  I need to keep reading this book.

I wonder what that parent says to their child when he/she asks them what ‘sexy’ means. One parent said this, “Sexy is when it feels good to be in your skin. Your own body feels right, it feels comfortable. Sexy is when you love being you.” Sounds like me after a good workout.

Casual Sex – Inner Peace

Holidays are over and I’m back at work. Feel like I’m being micromanaged by this new boss…almost makes me feel as if they think I’m slightly incompetent, or they don’t trust me. It is draining to think about it too much. Started seeing a girl, I met at church. Wow, that is rare for me. To meet someone I am attracted to at church who is available, and is interested in me. Seems like a perfect storm.

I took things slowly, and treated it like a friendship at first. I knew she was married before, but wanted to make sure I wasn’t jumping into a super messy separation. Turns out her divorce just went through about the time I was thinking about asking her about it. When she realized I was willing to give her and her cute little boy a shot, she was very motivated to heat things up. This wasn’t completely surprising to me, as I attract lots of women, just not the one I’m usually looking for. She had holidays on a similar schedule to me…in the school system. Thus things were pretty easy in the beginning two weeks.

Here is where it gets complicated. I started to sense that I wasn’t very attracted to certain mannerisms of hers after spending more time. I had initially not felt a spark with her, but she was easy enough to get along with (not demanding), and she seemed to appreciate my perspective on a lot of things ( good for my ego). I had been dating all these random women over the summer, and was getting tired of this weekly rhythm. None of these woman were meeting the physical attraction I desired, along with the intellectual personality, and evidence of Christian faith. I was walking my dog with her at least once a week, and thought, why not her. I kinda hesitate to date woman from my close community, because if it doesn’t work out, it can create tension that lingers, and may have a bad effect on other casual friendships in that community. That is how it started.

Like I was saying, I wasn’t totally green lights for her, but appreciated her as a person and friend. However, I wasn’t feeling that extra spark when I was with her, and was enjoying my time away from her a little too much. Hard to put a finger on this, or what was wrong exactly. As I continued to analyze it in my thoughts, I realized the best thing was to talk to her about it…just be honest about how I’m feeling. She was going out of her way at times for me, and I definitely didn’t want to set her up for a more unnecessary heart ache. I needed to keep her in the loop of my thoughts.

However, every time, I thought we would have an opportunity to talk about this, something would come up, like a crisis on her end, or someone would call her and interrupt, or she had something really pressing to talk about. Then her life got super busy. She suddenly found out where she was working, but also had signed up for some other courses in case she didn’t find work, and was now volunteering at the church for some other stuff. Along with having her son 60% of the time, it suddenly became very difficult to even have a phone conversation with her. I didn’t feel we were at a place where I should be spending a lot of time with her and her son, because I might send a false message and complicate things even further. Three weeks went by where we talked twice on the phone for about 20 minutes each time, and a few random texts. Saw her at church twice for about 15 minutes during that period of time. Now I’m chomping at the bit to talk with her about what is on my mind. Finally, when I got her on the phone, and realized nothing in her schedule was going to change for the next 6 months, I realized this conversation may not need to happen. How can we build a relationship when we can’t spend enough time together. She was seeing this perspective too, and said, “feel free to date someone if a good opportunity arises…”. But we also sincerely agreed that we like the emotional support from our casual friendship, and wanted to keep in touch. That made perfect sense for me. I do have some regret about it. We did get pretty physical a few times, and I wished I would have held back more until I was more comfortable with the relationship.

Actually, she seemed hornier then me. I was the one holding things back. But maybe more because I didn’t feel as comfortable with how I felt about her in a romantic sense, and I could tell she was full speed ahead for me. Sometimes, I am too much of a pleaser. It was like she was suffering because I wasn’t giving her enough physical attention, and I wanted to relieve that itch she seemed to be having. Gosh, why couldn’t I just be more of a man and say, hey, I really would like to go there with you, but I’m not ready yet…I need my emotional attachment to you to be congruent with our physical affection, and connection.

I think what really makes it tough, is all the cultural pressure that implies and even says, that casual sex between two consenting adults is no problem. It is just physical. She isn’t a virgin. Actually culture implies that there is something unbalanced about you if you haven’t had sex in a while. ‘Find yourself a casual sex partner or friend with benefits…it will be good for your stress levels’. I have never been able to do that. I have tried, but my heart always got involved in the process, and as hard as the mutually acting woman tried, she was feeling out of balance as well. I believe the Holy Spirit is speaking to me all the time…seems like he is saying, “quit tearing pieces of your heart man…your creating a windmill in here….and it is really messing up your chemistry for what is right and wrong…in-congruency does not give you inner peace…don’t be double minded dude…”. I sense that kinda of stuff flowing from my mind to my heart.I don’t want to leave a trail of broken hearts, aborted children, and bastards in my wake. I’m not cool with being a sperm donor on a casual basis, just to feel good for a 1/2 hour, but it is harder said then done. Maybe self-stimulation will help me get through those crazy hormonal moments. Ultimately,  I wanna be in love with one woman, and have total peace with it, even when it feels like we are hitting bumps or potholes in the road.


Online dating – a Smorgasboard?

As a single guy in this electronic age, I have tried online dating. That is very hit and miss. It is also very deceptive in a subtle way. Suddenly I am looking at all these pictures of women who are looking for a male partner. Wow, seems almost too good to be true!

After reading 3-4 profiles of woman who look somewhat fit and physically attractive, with similar values, I am feeling quite optimistic. I wink at all of them, “might as well play the odds” I think to myself. The profiles all sounded reasonable. I check for a response from these women several times over the next few days, looking forward to hearing one positive response. I received 2 winks and 2 messages. Better than I thought.

A week later, after meeting with two of them, and having another meeting with a third scheduled, I start to wonder what to do next. One was nice, but much more over weight then her picture portrayed. Another looks much older than her picture, but both seem like really nice people. No real spark so far.  After a month of this, I have met two more women. They seem nice, but the one I am attracted most to, seems to have a stumbling block for me in her outlook. She talks about cutting back on the bar scene, but hasn’t set foot in a church since Xmas about 8 years back. I’m not a bar scene guy, but I’m not against hitting it with friends once a year just to add some spice to a night of fun. But it seems my radar is picking up that this girls biggest aspirations are traveling to a tropical hot spot every winter, and going for drinks at a local lounge every friday night. I’m not opposed to either, but I know myself, and I need someone who is comfortable in a church venue, and a laid back lounge venue. I need light talk, fun talk, and discussions of spiritual content that will rise from my heart spontaneously in a discussion. I need physical activities, chemistry, and playful teasing. I’m not looking for the church mouse, and I’m not look for the party all the time girl.  Actually, I’m really having trouble describing it here to my satisfaction. I’ll know it when I see it.

Too many choices = too many distractions!

But here is the toughest part I’m noticing with online dating.  We chat online, and give a lot of text-book answers. We decide we need to meet before continuing farther in our discussion, to make sure there is potential for physical chemistry. We meet somewhere, and over a drink or simple activity make a decision if this is someone I would like to hangout with again.  She may be cool, and seems worth getting to know further. I get home, and there are more messages from some really promising looking/sounding women. Yikes. I don’t want to pass on these possible golden opportunities, so I respond, and set up a meeting. Now I have 3 reasonably potential girlfriend type women on my mind. I want to meet all three of them before I pursue any further with one. Sometimes their schedules don’t match with mine, and it takes longer then expected. By the time I get to meeting the first for a second outing, she has experienced a similar process. We are both quite distracted. I kind of now think of this scene like going to a all-you can eat smorgasboard buffet. Everything looks good at first, so you want to try everything. At the end of eating, I am so stuffed, I am uncomfortable, and wish I would have had more of one thing and none of another. But now I’m too full for anything else, even the good stuff. Online dating is like this. It seems like there are all kinds of options, and you want to try all the good options. Problem is that I don’t take enough time to get to know someone to see if they really are cool. Instead every meeting is high pressure to establish chemistry, and determine if this could be your forever mate. Some books state that we should be able to know in two dates or less. I kind of agree. But in Christian circles, it seems to take some time for people to lower their defences. Is he Christian enough? Does his theology agree with mine? He’s drinking that beer pretty fast….is he a heavy drinker? So we have to put our best foot forward. Wow, this gets tiring. I just want to relax and be playful. I know you attend church at least once a month or similar, so lets not split hairs about theological perspectives. Lets see if we can laugh together.  Chemistry …hhmm. Does she have too much opinion about everything? Does she have no opinion about anything.

My latest dating experience

I went on this dating experience with one woman recently. She was a single mom with a 4-5 year old daughter. I had met this girl previously through work meetings. although she was with a different company. When we saw each other online, we were both surprised. I assumed an attractive women (physically, and professionally) like this would be married or in a relationship. We agreed to meet for a walk at a park after picking up a coffee at Starbucks. We walked and talked for almost 3 hours. She asked many questions, and I was feeling really good about the potential with her, so I have her detailed answers. I also learned lots about her, even though her answers were sometimes short (I had to ask more questions to get enough understanding). At the end of our walk we agreed to use her phone number to set up another date. she had told me her availability based on her daughter being with her birth father (left us two night to choose from). I ended up canceling something in my schedule as she had already made plans with her girlfriend, by the time I called her. So instead of three days later, we met again 8 days later. It was raining, so we ended up playing indoor mini golf. She was noticeably nervous I thought. Good, because I was feeling so excited that I was kinda not being as cool as I can be. We jumped in my car and went for drinks at a local lounge. She had lots of questions, and so did I.  I probably volunteered information more easily, but I felt I had a gained a lot of understanding about her. The major piece of info, was her feeling like an only child because there was a huge gap between her and her older siblings. She was the valedictorian of her graduating class, but considers herself to be introverted. She likes to blog/journal. She is also a fairly good athlete, as am I.  I am also on the introverted side, despite appearing to be quite assertive.  This looking very promising to me. I can’t wait to find out more about her. I dropped her off, and gave her a hug at her car. She has a great sense of humour, as we jest back and forth. She talks about loaning me her book on Peru’s lost city.

Wow…everything is looking great! Here comes the curve ball…

I texted her for the 3rd date. She emails back that she is sick today, and not at work. She states that I did not seems interested, and that she did not feel pursued on our dates. I must know nothing about her, she says. I’m taken aback, and surprised by this. She says that she is shy and needs to be coaxed into revealing info. I try to validate what I do know of her and how impressed I am over the phone, but I can tell she has already shut down. She admits she has been in a relationship where the guy was always outshining her. She implies that my history seemed to “over-shadow” her story. I was lost for words and didn’t what to say. I apologized for making her feel this way, and wished her the best.

Inspired again…I have a new plan!!

After discussing it with a couple of friends (Female, and male), they stated that they were surprised how much I already knew about her in two dates. My female friend thought she needs to feel really wanted and needs this because of wounds in her past. I could see this being plausible. I decided to take one more shot. I wrote a long detailed note/poem in a card with a picture of a beautiful faraway exotic landscape. I focused on knowing about all the stuff in her life from serious relational stuff to humorous silly stuff. I picked up some flowers. I put one bright yellow rose with some lighter yellow carnations, and some white baby breath, plus greenery. I wrote a quick card note with this that stated, “You are like a rose, amongst ordinary carnations”.  Then I had to find her work place that is purposely off the map, as it is usually only accessed by phone number. It took some effort, but through contacts and resourcefulness, I found her secret work offices. I buzzed her secretary, and the door opened. My heart was pumping hard, as I ascended those stairs, hoping I could drop them off without her seeing me. Success. I received a text several hours later stating, “This rose thanx you for the nice card/note, and beautiful flowers”.  I responded with a “Ur welcome”.

Then no response for several days. I had sent her a clever text the next day to invite her to meet me for an activity, as I thought her response was positive. She responded quickly, “I’m still thinking about it”.  Two days later, I had pretty much given up hope. I politely texted again stating that if this activity was not to her liking we could try something else. I added that if she doesn’t respond, i will assume she is not interested, and this will make me sad. She did respond, by stating that she was just not interested.

What happened? Baggage?

Who knows for sure what was going on in her mind. Maybe she had started dating another guy already. Quite possible, as we know with internet dating. Maybe I should have thought about the flowers immediately instead of three days later. She seemed like quite a good fit, but my therapy side told me she had some raw unresolved wounds, and perhaps what she was looking for was healing, that only God could provide. We all have some baggage. The more we are aware of it, the more we will process it through God’s filter, and the less fear it will have in our lives outlook. Thus we will not put so much emphasis on filling our void by some external source.  I see that in a lot of women’s profiles or taglines: “Not looking for someone to complete me”.  Hhmmm.

Feeling defeated…

Sorry, but had my sister and her children were over visiting for a couple of weeks. This post is quite over due. Sometimes being single seems to have many advantages, and sometimes all I see is the deficits. This is how my last letter went to the Father in Heaven.

I feel more distant from you then any other time. “A hearts desire spurned makes the heart sick.” I think this has been a major stumbling block for me. It has delayed my focus on earth, and made me very self-focused at times. Satan has managed to thwart my attempts at love, and now sometimes I feel that I would be better off dead. I’m no earthly good, when I dwell on this desire too often.

It may be my miss-guided perception, but sometimes I think that Christian women perceive that something is wrong with me, or that I’m too old. Maybe they see me as ‘creepy’, or a ‘stalker’ because I’m single and 40ish. I walked through the family part of the beach, and I can imagine hearing the voices saying. “watch your kids…he may be a pedophile (because he is by himself)”. I make sure to look away from the kids and only straight ahead into space.

Because I am fit and look younger then my age, I look for similar in a woman. Seems like they look at my age and dismiss me. My last two relational experiences with Christian women have left a bad taste in my mouth. Sometimes I feel like giving up on being a good guy and living a good gratifying life with no thought for the future. I have no one to live for on this planet. For over 20 years I have desired a closer romantic relationship with a woman, and now I feel so discouraged that I contemplate ending my life. In my desperate search, I’ve compromised your standards by messing around with women who were physically attractive, but definitely not on the same page with respect to you. I don’t feel real connected to any community, although I am outgoing when I need to be. People would not likely guess this about me. I’ve received words from wise spiritual mentor figures, saying there is someone, but it feels like I’m waiting forever…my whole life has been about waiting, as I watch many others around me start families, and have all their dreams come true.  They say, “it is not as good as you think…blah, blah, blah”. I say at least you had the opportunity. I’ll judge it when my turn comes.

I know that no one has a perfect life. But I never longed for perfection…just a partner…simple pleasures were enough for me. One positive for me coming out of those past two relationships experiences, is that I learned to admit when I’m hurt by their actions, and then to practice honest reflection with a another trusted friend. I’m just tired of feeling alone and disconnected from an intimate partner.

Sometimes it seems like I’m too spiritual for the women outside the church, and not spiritual enough for the women in the church. I have no trouble talking to attractive women at my gym…we even seem to have some camaraderie… but I want more then surface conversation. Physical intimacy without the other three pillars seems shallow and unsatisfying. Of course you already knew this. Help me God. Fill me with your spirit everyday, so that I can resist all the negative temptations that I feel. You say that we are like broken cisterns, that slowly leak out your life juice. According to your word we need to be refilled over and over based on this analogy, or we will become dry and arid like a desert. Meditation, and singing your word with a community is very refreshing… of course it helps because it was your idea! My heart is already feeling less sick, but the desire is still there…

Making sense of a tragedy…

As a single guy I have many good relationships with family and friends. These can be a life saver for my sanity. I have both female and male friends who I listen to and vice-versa, over coffee, food, or through random texts that desperately need my opinion about their child’s behaviour, and some other crisis they are feeling. However, even though I usually feel quite self-assured that my life is not falling to pieces, apart of my lack of success in the romance department, I do have my occasional S.O.S call because I feel like I’m about to fall into a deep dark hole.

This happened recently, when my close friend of 6 years suddenly died. She was my constant companion. She was so sweet, and seemed to know exactly how to comfort or nurture me. She was my 7 year old dog. A golden retreiver with a very gentle nature. She came with me to work several days a week, and blessed everyone there. She worked with behaviour problem children mostly…sort like a child whisper.


I felt so connected to her. I loved her. Even as I write this I feel the tears coming back to my eyes. The worst part is that it was my oversight, my mistake that lead to her untimely demise. She was lying there in the grass, with wet blankets on her, as I assumed she was suffering from heat exhaustion. Little did I know that she was already dying, because she had red dots in her ears, which meant she was suffering from blood clotting.

How it happened

I forgot to leave the window down as I always do. It was like a perfect storm. I decided to replace my fence, and she had no yard to play in. All the lumber for the fence was in the garage so i parked my car outside for the week. I had always been in the habit of opening my windows while the car was in the garage to air it out. But now because it was outside, I had them all closed. I felt bad that my dog had lost her yard to run around in, and was determined to get her out to the parks as frequently as I could. This morning I got up and rushed around after finishing my breakfast, because it was my turn to lead the large group sunday school lesson at church (grades 2-4). But I had a thought that I was going to be working with some foster kids that afternoon, and I wouldn’t have time to pick the dog up before heading out to their place. These kids were always asking about the dog. So I quickly found the dog blanket and put it in the backseat. I grabbed her dog snacks and leash, and then she jumped happily into the back seat. It was about 16C and overcast, but did feel a little humid outside. My plan was to drive to the church, park with the windows and sunroof open, and then do my volunteer job, and then wisk myself and the dog out to the home in the country. However, I said bye to her, and I didn’t lower the windows, as I rushed into the church. In my mind the windows were already down because, they always were open first thing in the morning, and I hadn’t closed them. I did my job, and chatted with a few people, even talking with one person about how great my dog was for me and my work. I went out to the car, in a happy mood. I opened the door and looked at my dog, who was lying awkwardly in the backseat. She looked at me with one eye and I knew something was wrong. She didn’t respond to me at first, but with encouragement, she got up and flopped out of the back seat onto the cement. She tried to stand but couldn’t. She seemed to get up and fall, and seemed disoriented. I picked her up and carried her to the grass, asking a bystander if they could get a bowl of water. Another kind woman asked me if I needed any help. I told her I wasn’t sure. She suggested some wet towels. I agreed immediately, and she went to fetch them. We tried to spoon feed water to her, and kept those wet towels wrapped around her.

She is showing positive signs

She started to show signs of re-vitalizing. I had talked with pet-rescue services on the phone, and they said this was a good sign, and to keep cooling her down. I thought, “she is going to be fine and normal again soon.” She started to nuzzle my hand with her nose. She was reaching up with her paw, like she always did, to ask for more petting and nurture. I saw those red dots in her ear, but didn’t know what they meant. Then something started to change in her. I recognized the symptoms of trauma. I called pet rescue, and they arrived about 20 minutes later, put her on a stretcher, and took her to the vet. I arrived at the vets with this woman, who was supporting me (her family and children drove in the car behind us). After 10 minutes, I was called into a room (this woman came with me).

My heart is crushed

The vet came in and explained that she was dead. He stated that the cooling downattempt may have been too fast, and her immune system, which was already stressed, could not regulate it back to normal, causing a stroke. I cried so hard for about 10 minutes. This was so sad. This dog was so precious and deserved so much more. She must have suffered so much. Desperate for some fresh air from a car that she was so happy to ride with me in on so many occasions…so happy a few hours prior – then suffering – then death.

Last goodbye

I prayed over her dead body as I hugged her in that vet office for the last time. I prayed, “Please God, take her spirit to be with you…she made a positive difference in this world… not only for me, but for so many others as well. She loved much. I hope to see her again. You blessed me with her for 6 years. I feel like I wasted this precious blessing…so careless… I am so disappointed in myself. I know I want another dog…another with traits like her, but maybe one that will fetch too. Sorry God, for not caring better for her. I miss her so much.”

 Reflection  – Why did this have to happen? What is the point?

That was a tough day for me. I took my bible (The Message) a few days later and flipped it open to Ecclesiates 7. King Solomon, one of the wealthiest, and wisest men to ever live spoke to me with these words here: “Better to cry, as it scours the heart, then to laugh with fools.” I thought this was true for me now. But what really caught my heart that day was, “Don’t knock yourself out being too good, or wise…it doesn’t always lead to good fruit… don’t push your luck by being bad or reckless either. Enjoy good days, and grieve on bad days.”  My dog was a gift from God. She was just what I needed after a longterm romantic relationship broke my heart. She made my days happier then I realized. Thankyou for her God. She really blessed me.

I thought alot about what Romans 8:28 means in this circumstance. What good would come out of this for me…for anyone? A caring friend mentioned to me that he had been praying about this for me too, as he was wondering the same thing. He stated that what came to him was that I worked in a job with a lot of broken parents and children, and I have heard a lot of careless tales about parents that lead to the neglect or harm to their children or others. One parent was already coming to my mind. A lot of people were quite openly critical of her in front of me, and sometimes directly to her. She was absent minded during a period of her life and a series of poor choices was wreaking havoc now, years later with respect to her children’s behaviour. Maybe God didn’t make my dog die, but when it happened because of my mistake, God saw it as a powerful empathy tool for me to use in my practice.

Understanding and renewed vision

Nothing teaches better then living through an experience. Many of these parents were teenagers or not ready to deal with a major responsibility, when they had their children. From building a relationship with these parents, in helping them diagnose, and problem solve the current issues, I have to come to know that they love their children, and want to guide them in the right direction. They can’t change the past, but they can change the future with their choices today (a parent said to me). So many professionals I work with want to point the finger at their incompetence. God has shown me through this experience, that I can weep with them, empathize with them, and support them with comforting advice, and honest strategies. That woman and her family (I didn’t get her name) who supported me without any condemnation were like the spirit of Jesus, holding and comforting my heart. This is an experience that I will share with a family or parent at some point in the near future. Anyone of us can make a mistake, and often we don’t experience consequences so severely. Do we choose bitterness, self-pity,  or dispair? None of these are good choices, but sadly, too often, that is what many of us choose. We can meditate on Romans 8:28, and try to understand how God might make lemon-aid out of a bad situation. I know I can use this experience to show kindness, and through sharing my experience, create empowerment, and hope. Seems like a good starting place.  With a good strategy, and consistent support, I have seen some of these broken people start to heal. I am so blessed to be part of this process…I will still miss my old friend, and the memories are still bitter-sweet, but I am thankful that something positive can come out of this.

I have a new dog. He is the same breed exactly, but not the same dog. He is sweet in his own way, and he fetches like crazy!

Hey world…my dating history at a glance!

I’ve started this post to share my experiences about dating in this fast paced secular culture, and the many dips and trappings that a single Christian guy can stumble through in this journey. If you are at all like me, and desire to have a close friendship with the love of your life, you will likely have some similar experiences. The problem is not meeting single women in this western digital culture, but developing a skill set or selling features that will appeal enough to the potential female suitor to keep her around long enough to get to know you, without losing your authenticity in the process.

I live in a city with N. America, but it will remain nameless, as I don’t want to bring unwanted attention to anyone who doesn’t want it.  I attend a church at least once per month, and I have some really good friends through this community. I also work fulltime at a professional job that requires me to appear quite neutral about my spiritual beliefs, and very empathetic and supportive of other’s outlooks. I consider myself a decent athlete, although not good enough to make a financial living from it. I workout 4-5 x per week, and eat a healthy diet, inspired by my mom, and by an operation at about 21, relating to the health of my colin.  I am so healthy looking, that most people do not expect that I ever had an operation of this nature.  I have travelled to some parts of the world and spent enough time in other cultures, that I see myself having a healthier than average balanced outlook on life.  I live in my own house and rent out other property. I have a beautiful dog, which requires lots of attention.

Despite knowing that I am an above average good looking guy, I have found dating in and out of Christian circles frustrating, and discouraging. I have never been married, but have been in a couple of relationships that seemed to be moving in that direction. I was about to propose to one girl on New Years eve one year, and had all the details planned out. Despite my excitement at this coming moment, she was in a much different head space. She showed up at my door that day in the morning, and stated that she needed time to think about our relationship. She had my stuff (left at her place) in a bag that she handed to me. Talk about walking off a cliff that I didn’t see coming. Got a note about a week later from her stating that I shouldn’t communicate with her in any way, even if I don’t understand.  Wow, that stung. I think I cried myself to sleep for the next week. I did get a few clues as to what was going on in her life from her friends, and with my counseling training I realized that part of this was a trigger based on transference of her negative  memories of her dead father to me. I also had some work to do on myself, and actually saw a counsellor as part of my course for about 30 sessions.  I started writing poetry as one result of this, and even had a couple published.

Another time I was engaged to a girl who my friends thought was amazing (friend of a friend’s sister). She was a nice girl, but after too many red flags started showing up, and one being her investigation of some rumours about me being a major drug user and dealer, I new in my heart that I could not marry this girl. I resented her for not confronting me with this gossip. Some of her ideology with respect to Christianity was becoming hard to digest for me, and her family wouldn’t entertain any of my questions about it. God even spoke to me through a dream. It was a very tough decision, but I called it off.

I have dated lots of other girls for what I refer to as mini-relationships. As I got discouraged with the results, and the choices, I have entertained the idea of ‘flirting and converting’.  This idea is simply looking for a physically attractive girl with solid-looking values, and then checking to see what kind of faith history they have. I would try to appeal to core values in that history in a gentle, and subtle manner. This also had its inherent challenges, which would lead to some moral challenges for me.

I know what the bible says about these things. Don’t be unequally yoked. It also says don’t be “luke warm”.  In other words,  don’t be a chameleon, or fence sitter. It also talks about the narrow road. I do a fair amount of reading, and remember this one woman talking about “Relevant Christianity”. She described it as a road that is more like a tight wire that guys used to use to walk across Niagara Falls. On one side is total carnality, and on the other is hyper-spirituality. To be relevant according to her, you have to be able to relate to secular culture as Jesus did to the carnal crowds in his day. However, we must also have a solid connection to a few of our community planted on the other side of the wire. This may mean attending church and absorbing a challenging but relevant sermon regularly, or meditating with a devo, and bible several times per week. Walking this wire can be troublesome, and takes a lot of intentionality, and focus. Otherwise I am likely to slide into one camp or the other, which is not where I think Jesus was in his journey on earth.  What am I saying then? I’m not saying that “flirting and converting” is the best approach. But I am saying to be more discerning about what we condone with our actions and attitudes. By using hyper spiritual language and hanging out 90% of the time with that crowd, I found myself growing more distant, and holding some negative judgements with respect to the crowd in the carnality communities.  I know the attitude I sometimes felt inside was not one Jesus would be proud of for me. Don’t get me wrong, I did have some good attitudes. I reached out and helped people in poverty, as well as my own community needs. I tried real hard to have a servant attitude. But I was moving closer and closer to living life in a bubble of hyper – spirituality.

At the same time, I don’t see it as a wise thing to be too nonchalant about mixing in a carnal crowd either. Sure, I attend  parties with alcoholic beverages being served. Actually I enjoy a cold beer on a hot day, but usually only one or two cold ones at a time. I also love to drink wine of many varieties. This part I’m good with… the part I have slipped with is when dating in these areas on both sides of the wire, especially as I get older, I find it easier to rationalize, or let passion get too far ahead in the sexual arena.  The Bible says to guard our bodies, as they are a temple of the Holy Spirit… seems this has a lot of psychological connections to go with it. God is a wise dude. If He created everything, he outta know how things work, including us, who he made in his image.  Somehow, the pre-mature sex that seems like such a good idea at the time, can mess up our psychological health, and lead to a nuclear cascade of problems in the near future.  As one girl I dated recently, liked to state, it is a slippery slope. I think this applies to either direction. Get grounded and stay on that wire!

I hope you enjoy this introduction to my blog. About once a week or so, I will make a new entry about a recent relationship or dating experience. I’m not really promising answers, but I may instigate some questions in your own minds, as I do in my mind. I was originally thinking of Christian men over 35 as my target audience. However, this not written in stone. God has a lot of good ideas of His own, and he may want to use this blog differently then my intention. Partly, I am going to be venting, and talking about very personal emotions. But because it is also like a journal entry for me, I will sometimes direct my thoughts directly at God. I’m not trying to tell anyone what theology they should be believing. I am mostly thinking out loud, and hopefully provoking a few decent thoughts of anyone who chooses to read this blog. Us single Christian guys need a lot of encouragement. Men in general do. I have long had a passion to bring men together to talk about how they feel, and have done this over food mostly.  But we are living in a digital age.

A Single Christian Guy

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