I know on Mondays I usually post reader questions and try to answer them, and I do have a backlog of about 50. But as I’ve been glancing through so many of them I’ve noticed a commonality:
In many marriages, the roots of the current crisis were evident before the couple was married, but they got married anyway.
And I find myself thinking, as I read these questions: I wish I could have spoken to these women before they got married. I wish I could have warned them.
I’ve read quite a few Christian books on finding a mate recently; the longer I’ve done marriage ministry, the more I feel that we have to spend more time talking to young people about how to choose a mate, so we can spend less time trying to repair marriages in crisis.
Recently I read a book that is totally unique, and I want to share some insights with you–because seriously, this is the best dating advice ever.
It’s found in Andy Stanley’s The New Rules for Love, Sex & Dating, which is unlike any other book on dating I’ve ever read: it’s addressed to young people whose pasts are not pristine. In fact, their presents aren’t even pristine. They’re desperately searching for love, often in the wrong places. They may go to church (or they may not), but they spend their Saturday nights at parties, they keep dating losers, and they wonder how to stop.
In short, his book is directed at so many of my letter writers.
Many books on dating for Christians are directed at practising Christians–those who are walking with Jesus and who truly want to live out His commands for marriage and purity. But what about those who have messed up? What about those who are confused? What about those who are just plain heartbroken and who are searching for someone to love?
People want to be loved. We want to have someone who will know us completely and still want to be with us. But in our yearning for that relationship, we often overlook warning signs. We want the fairytale so badly that we convince ourselves this really is Prince Charming–over and over again, heartbreak after heartbreak.
I love the fact that with Andy there’s no judgment. There’s no: “you’ve really blown it and God wants you to be pure.” Instead, he approaches heartache like a doctor approaches a medical problem. He lays out a convincing case as to why so many people are in these cycles of heartbreak, and then he shows you how to get out of them.
I’m going to get to his one big piece of the best dating advice ever in a minute. But I want to lay the groundwork first. So here are just a few principles to remember: