Healthy Romance in a Hook-up Culture

I googled “average age of marriage” and this popped up:

Americans are getting married later and later. The average age of first marriage in the United States is 27 for women and 29 for men, up from 23 for women and 26 for men in 1990 and 20 and 22 (!) in 1960.

Commitment is a scary thing and I think all of us millennials can especially relate to every bit of this, seeing as how most of us are living it. But here’s my concern – We spend more time planning weddings than preparing ourselves for marriage.

We live in a day and age where people are more focused on feel-good-in-the-moment, no-strings-attached, kind of hook-ups (physically or emotionally) versus picking a person and sticking with them.

In pondering the struggle of trying to date in this reality, I came up with 5 crucial points to keep in mind.

  1. You attract what you are.

Don’t get me wrong, there are crazies everywhere and crazy has no boundaries. No matter how solid you are, crazy can still find you. (Thus the need to pray for wisdom and discernment on the regular…) However, you cannot expect to be lazy, partying, getting drunk, non-committed, etc. and plan to land someone who is sold out for Jesus.

2. “It’s all your fault.”

99% of the time, the fault isn’t completely one sided. Be introspective. Ask yourself, “What could I have done differently to resolve the situation?” Be humble. Admit when you’re wrong. Go to the other person and apologize. And when you do, DO NOT tack on a “but”. Sorry isn’t really sorry when you say, “I’m sorry. But…” At that point, you’re still making excuses instead of owning up to your mistake.

3. Contentment in Commitment

Feelings are fleeting. They come and go. Do not base your relationship on the way you’re feeling. Commitment means sticking with it even when you’re not feelin’ it. Guys, if you see a girl you want, go after her and commit! Man UP. “Love” isn’t just falling, it’s staying.

4. Make him pursue.

Ladies, do not under any circumstances pursue a relationship with a guy first. If he wants you, he’ll chase after you. If he isn’t coming after you, he doesn’t want you. And you don’t want a guy that doesn’t want you with everything in him. You are worth so. much. more. Think about how Christ pursued you. He gave everything. So, don’t settle for a guy who’s playing games or only going in half way. Besides, if he can’t even lead you in pursuit, how on earth is he going to lead you in anything else?

5. You get what you aim for.

People may try and tell you that your standards are too high. If you have a list of must-haves including hair color, eye color, sports teams, music preferences, favorite meals, top 3 holidays, or certain sins you can’t forgive, listen to them. Your standards are too high. (Christ doesn’t look at the outward appearance but on the heart, and what sin is greater than another? More so, what sin is greater than the forgiveness of Christ?!) If you have standards based on the convictions God has personally placed on your heart, don’t you dare settle. I think the reason we have a 50% divorce rate inside the church is because too many people have settled. Too many women brushed his casual flirting with other females under the rug because he shows up at church religiously every Sunday. Too many men chose someone who doesn’t empower them as the spiritual leader in living out the gospel fully because she’d rather live comfortably in the American Dream.

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There is truly no experience like that in which we partake when we are living fully alive in all that God created us to do. If we do that – if we stay in our lane and focus on the Lord and give it all we have, eventually we’ll look beside us and there will be someone doing the exact same thing. God will align it in His sovereignty. And it will be more beautiful than anything you can put into words because it is supernatural. A supernatural chemistry and connection that is not only explosively romantic, but explosively dangerous to the enemy and the pits of hell.

You see, when you are walking in all God has for you and then you meet someone who is walking that same walk, well, it just doesn’t get any better. It doesn’t get any more “right”. You’re better together than you are apart because you become this unstoppable force. But first, we have to realize that being someone’s teammate is reliant on being whole yourself in Christ. If not, you’ll lean on them to fill voids they can’t fill. You’ll settle for less because you weren’t willing to wait and then you’ll blame them for not being everything you need.

We think healthy romance exists to fill our shallow expectations of happiness when really it exists as a representation of Christ and His church to bring about our holiness. In the midst of a generation that wants what they want, how they want it, without any hesitation, we have to fight for the process of sanctification in our marriages and relationships. Maybe a one night stand feels extreme to you. What about dating with the wrong motives? It’s your job to protect your own heart but we also have a responsibility to protect each others. We have to be better at this. We have to realize that who we are becoming is so much sweeter and deeper than the quick buzz from a one night stand or emotional fling. We can’t just invite Jesus into our love lives, we have to surrender them fully to Him. That is truly the only way to build a healthy romance in a hook-up culture.

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