I’ve been reading a lot of blog posts recently about courtship vs. dating. All of them seem to swing from one extreme to another. Either courtship is so totally not the way to go, and dating around is the only option. Or, dating is so wrong and you must only court, without ever having alone time or private conversations with your potential spouse. Each blogger has their arguments. The pro-daters talk about how you have to be friends with tons of people to get to know your “type,” and that can only happen in an intimate, date-like setting. The pro-courters almost go to the extreme of saying that if you have any private conversations with a guy/girl you’ve given away your heart and you’re not being faithful to your future spouse.
I’ve read so many of these things. Always the same arguments and extremes back and forth. And then I thought of something…
What if neither of these ways are right? What if neither of these extremes are healthy? What if some friendship should be involved, but dating around isn’t the right idea, either? What if you can be friends with members of the opposite sex without giving away your heart?
So, I decided to write a blog post. Actually, a series of blog posts. This is the introduction to a six-part series about my journey to try and find this middle ground, which I believe is very biblical and healthy on so many levels. Hence the name of this series. “I’m Friends With A Guy… GASP!”
Actually, I’m friends with a ton of guys! And no, we’re not getting married. I’ve grown up practically surrounded by boys, and yet I’m still single.
Now, let me explain what I mean what I say “surrounded by boys.” I definitely don’t want you to envision Scarlett O’Hara from “Gone With the Wind” dragging dozens of boys behind her in an attempt to flirt with every single of one of them. That’s not it at all! As far as I know, I’ve only had about two or three guys who might have had somewhat of a crush on me in my entire life! It’s just been that every circle I’ve been involved in for my life has more boys than girls.
First of all, I have a seventeen-year-old brother. We’re very close, even though we’re almost five years apart. My brother is one of the best guys on the face of the planet. And no, I’m not THAT biased… But my brother also happens to pick some of the other best guys on the face of the planet to be his friends. That means that I have tons of guy friends who are anywhere from 1-10 years younger than me that I’ve “adopted” as my little brothers. They talk to me about life, ask for prayer, and we have a good time hanging out and getting to know each other. Many of us have volunteered together at our churches or other Christian outreaches. While we don’t know each other’s deepest and darkest secrets, we know each other’s personalities and lives like the back of our hands. They keep my life interesting, protect me, keep track of me, and ultimately point me to Christ.
At all of the churches I’ve been involved in, the guys have always outnumbered the girls significantly. So once again, I find myself surrounded by great guys. We serve together, play sports together, lead worship together. People talk about us behind our backs. People couple us up. But you know what? We’re still just friends!
Another one of my circles is my acting group, Spiritual Twist Productions. This is the one place where the girls actually outnumber the guys significantly! But since guys are desperately needed in theater, the guys are always around. I have a job on the staff as a musical director, and so that means that I often work very closely with the kids, boys and girls. I often have groups of guys in my music room for hours at a time hammering out music and harmonies. We have a blast! They all have my back. They check in on me all the time. We all pray for each other all the time. We’re an awesome team. You have to be when you’re putting on a play! But no, we’re not getting married.
And then my final circle is my publishing family, Great Waters Press. Hal and Melanie Young, my publishers, have six boys! We all work very closely together and interact with each other, often on a daily basis! But again, we’re just friends. Friends accomplishing the awesome vision of this incredible ministry, Great Waters Press.
So… Some of you girls, boys, and parents are probably thinking one (or more!) of the following questions:
“What??? How can you do that without having crushes on so many people? Or not liking them? Or them liking you?”
“Is that smart? Shouldn’t you be investing time in the girls around you?”
“Doesn’t that mean you’ve shared your heart with a ton of guys?”
“Aren’t you emotionally involved?”
“Won’t other guys be intimidated by all the boys that you’re around all the time?”
First of all, before I answer these questions, I need to clarify something. Yes, there is definitely a time when you should draw lines. I’ve given many talks online and at local homeschool conferences about how to have healthy guy/girl friendships without crossing Biblical boundaries. I share verses like these all the time!
Proverbs 4:23, “Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life.”
Colossians 3:2, “Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on the earth.”
1 Timothy 5:1-2, “Do not sharply rebuke an older man, but rather appeal to him as a father, to the younger men as brothers, to the older women as mothers, and the younger women as sisters, in all purity.”
Philippians 4:8, “Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, dwell on these things.”
So I am a huge advocate of guarding your heart, not sharing intimate things, not harboring crushes, or dwelling on members of the opposite sex. You might be thinking that these Bible verses above show that we need to stay closed off and protect ourselves until it’s time to court or date or get married. Well, over the course of this blog series, I hope to show you that that is not the case.
Stay tuned for part 1 of these series, which address Question #1, in just a few days!