Wednesday, May 23, 2012

LEGACYouth Purity Discussion Series: Relationship Q's & A's with Lyssah & Cameron



On Wednesday, May 9, we asked LEGACYouth what questions they had about purity, dating, friendships & relationships. Two weeks later, Lyssah and I return with the *"juicy" answers in our evolving group repartee...

* From the May 9 word picture given to Cameron about how in order to cultivate good fruit, sometimes, you just gotta get a little juicy... ;)                                                                  
                                                                                                                                                                 












                    LF = Lyssah Ferguson                                                          CF = Cameron Fry

1)     Why are most girls high-maintenance?

CFMany girls view relationships, either partially or mostly, through the lens of security. A girl who is high-maintenance may consciously or subconsciously act a certain way to attract the attention of a man who could potentially “head” (1 Cor. 11:3) over her.

LFThat is a good perspective. I think another way it could be stated is sometimes a girl being high-maintenance is related to her own insecurity and her need to have her own worth affirmed, either by being taken care of, being catered to or preferred by people around her.

2)    Why do girls expect so much from guys?

CFGirls with high expectations can often be associated to girls with high standards. Guys would be wise not to freak out over this, but consider this both a compliment and a challenge.

LFI think girls expect a lot because they have a lot to give.  However, many times they can’t make the jump of pouring themselves out without some assurance that what they are offering is valued, received and reciprocated. 

3)     Why do girls nag?

CFWomen voice concerns externally. To nurture is to NOT sweep issues under the carpet, like the “average Joe” seems to do. This question blends in answers from #1 and #2.

LFAlso, girls nag because they relate a response or action on someone’s part to being heard and being heard to being valued. Communication is key to girls and if they feel they have communicated something and that has not been received, its can feel the same as it was rejected and thus they feel they are being rejected too. 

4)    How do you know if a girl likes you?

LFI say the safest way to know if a girl likes you is to ask (but only if you really want to know the answer-not just for the sake of curiosity).  There is so much pressure on girls to act a certain way (flirty, ditzy, and “girly”), that sometimes actions aren’t indicative.  Boys also feel a similar pressure. With the obvious flirting, it can just as often be that girls like the attention, not necessarily the guy who is giving it.  Another way is if she expresses interest in what you’re interested in.  It’s not 100%, but it could be an indicator.

5)   What does going “too far” look like in a relationship?

CFThe importance of being led by the Spirit is HUGE here. The Bible leaves room for interpretation on certain facets of the impurity issue, but not every man-based interpretation/definition can be trusted. Only what is outlined in the Word of God can be perceived as an absolute worth confiding in. In times when we question or doubt the Word, the Holy Spirit acts like a safety net that catches us if we believe in an incorrect boundary structure. This is why living and abiding by both Spirit AND Truth is such a big deal and why it’s emphasized in the Bible (John 4:24). Knowing what is sin and what isn’t always so easy. I think part of the problem is we put such separation between sin and the ‘unwise’ decision. When we put more stock into our own strength to overcome, we increase the risk of crashing and burning, having not surrendered to the Lordship of Jesus. Physically, there is more power to a kiss than we give credit. A kiss starts the domino effect, so it’s imperative to yield to Lordship and receive confirmation from God that a certain person is “the one” before letting lips meet. Some would even say holding hands ignites the chain reaction. But concerning smootchin’, I definitely believe the wiser road involves waiting until engagement or marriage to kiss at all. I’ll go into more details on this for question #8…

LFThere are obvious biblical boundaries-(i.e. - no sex before marriage, etc.)  But aside from the big things, too far depends on the person (and I don’t mean that in a relativistic way). In any kind of relationship, it is good to know your own convictions and boundaries. The important thing to remember is not how far is ok, but how can I best preserve this awesome person God has put in my life and make sure they arrive at their intended end built up and not messed up along the way.  This is not just a physical thing, but it also applies to emotional and mental connections too.  Act’s 24:16 says “So I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man.” (NIV).  Keeping a pure heart with all involved is a good starting point.       

6)    How do you break off a relationship nicely?

CFIn these situations, it’s important to blend kindness with honesty. Breaking up can be uncomfortable, but if you combine the fruit of the Spirit with integrity and selflessness, you’ll be setting both parties up for future success in their next relationships. Ideally, a person exercises sound judgment during the friendship stage that serves to protect him/her from engaging in an unhealthy relationship.

7)     Why do people like being in a relationship?
  
CF: People are attracted to relationships, primarily due to love and its affirming qualities. We are created as relational beings with the divinely-shaped urge to be joined to the right person God has for us (Gen 1:27-28a). Whether the context is friendship, brother/sister in Christ or within marriage, God did not create us to be alone. The sense of belonging and fulfillment within any kind of relationship can help us walk in our own calling and purpose. However, we should not fall into the trap of idolatry. When cultivating any relationship, whether friendship, brother/sister in Christ or spouse, hearing the voice of God is a major spiritual asset for our boundary setting.

LFOur earthly relationships are part of God’s divine plan of revealing himself to us.  He has given us multiple types of relationships that serve as a reflection (limited though it may be) of an aspect of his love for us.  Because we are hardwired to know God and be known by him, even in a fallen world, the residual desire to be connected, to know and be known is still in effect.  That being said, one way to determine if a relationship is Godly is if it truly does reflect God to you (and the other individual involved).  Does it cherish, build up, speak truth, challenge and positively impact those around you?  If not, it’s important to ask if it is a relationship that is accomplishing its God ordained purpose.  

8)  Is PDA okay?

CF: You cannot go wrong with PDA being completely OFF the playing field during a relationship. Romantic intimacy was designed to be between a man and woman in the context of marital covenant. The big deal about PDA goes beyond privacy. I believe commitment has to be established before external evidence of affection becomes realized. In this day and age, younger generations have a skewed understanding of what holiness is, which has a huge impact not only propriety, but with boundaries. It doesn’t help when secular culture is laden with PDA as well. It’s so easy to think any form is acceptable. A husband/wife peck on the lips in the parking lot is okay, but at the girlfriend/boyfriend stage, it’s better to abide by a higher authority and left love manifest through self-control (see #5). 

LFWhen it comes to PDA, I think there are a few variables that have to be taken into consideration.  First, it is important to realize that every relationship in our life is a living word picture for an aspect of the love of God.  Our healthy relationships should be a light to those around us.  That being said, when it comes to PDA, what is the motivation-is it because it’s what everyone is doing? Is it to show this is your bf/gf and make a point? Is it that you are just so overflowing with love that you can’t help but grab their hand, etc.? Taking both of these factors into account, what impact is that PDA having on those around you?  Is it making someone else uncomfortable or causing them to stumble?  Is it guarding the heart of the person you are with?  Is it setting you up to win with the boundaries you have set?  That being said, unless you are married, you probably shouldn’t be doing behind closed doors what you wouldn’t do in public. 

9)    Do boys have cooties?

CFIf cooties are defined as instances of undesirable weirdness, then yes; however, girls are not free of cooties either. Generally, cooties, or the thought of cooties, fade as one matures into man/womanhood (1 Cor. 13:11)

LFAgreed.  Cooties are not a respecter of gender and the only cure is maturity. 

10)    What do guys think of when they see girls?

CFGod created woman to be physically attractive to man. At first glance, it is easier to note physical beauty than internal beauty, so chances are guys are appreciating an external attribute when they see girls. A true man of God looks beyond the outward appearance to note true beauty, which is on the inside (1 Sam. 16:7). God intended our friendships to be edifying. For young men, making a “covenant with your eyes” and building on the habit to take lustful thoughts captive will go a long, long way towards long-term purity.

11)      What do you think of dating?

CFDating isn’t a necessary component to biblical relationships. In fact, I would suggest that friendship is a stronger pre-requisite to being in a godly relationship. What happens in a dating environment can happen just as much in a simple friendship environment. The problem with dating is that it can blur the lines between friendship and being in a relationship. My opinion dubs dating as an unnecessary grey in the arena of Christian relationships.

LFPersonally, I fully agree with the explanation above.  Dating creates a false atmosphere where two people try and get to know each other, all the while putting only their best, most impressive qualities forward.  In friendship, you get to know who someone is, the good and the bad.  For relationships to last and build the participants up, they have to be one where people have the freedom to be themselves, as well as create an environment to grow in.      

12)   What if you don’t want to date and you both know you like each other. What do you do?

CFAs cliché as it sounds, each social connection is a God-given gift, and thus, should be surrendered to God. God knows your heart and He cares if you like someone. You may like the right person, but it is can be dangerous to act at the wrong time. As with any area of your life, God has to captain your relationships. Focus on being the best friend you can be until you hear clearly from God and receive confirmation that it’s the right time to take the relationship to the next level. Not wanting to date can be beneficial on several levels, one being it can help maintain strong boundaries (emotional, physical, spiritual, etc.)

LF: I think it is important to reveal the amazing thing that a relationship is when it is organically grown as opposed to being mass produced.  God’s direction and timing are the key ingredients.  People should never be pressured to “get serious” before God has orchestrated it.  Being content as friends will allow for a relationship that will endure the test of time and trials.  Plus, if it ends up that is not the person God has for you, you are able to guard one another’s hearts and help them arrive at their destination intact for their future spouse. 

13)   How come boys laugh so much? I am annoyed by them! They laugh a lot!

CFWomen mature faster than men. This is both a physical and emotional norm. 

LFPlus, let’s face it ladies, when it is just us with our girlfriends, we are giggle/laughing machines.  Guys just don’t filter as much of their natural responses as we do.

14)   Why do boys talk more and always yell out?

CF: Generally, women are perceived as the more talkative gender; however, boys will be boys, especially when trying to impress. Men place a greater chip on their shoulder to ‘leave a mark’. Part of this may stem from the perspective of man being the leader of the man-woman relationship; however, the truth is both man and woman are leaders with varying roles. This principle is widely misunderstood. Men may think yelling reassures their ‘dominance’, when in fact, it only reveals their fear.

LFSounds plausible to me. 

15)  Why do guys only really care about themselves in a relationship?

CFI wouldn’t label all guys as being so self-centered. Guys and girls are equally susceptible to operating in the flesh, whether it’s pride, fear, unbelief, etc. Guys may seem selfish when they try to woo respect and appreciation, but girls show this too, perhaps in a less flashy manner.

LFI would add for the same reason that girls do.  Girls need to realize they have the same likelihood of having a "me-centered" paradigm as guys do.  We all want to be validated and when we are younger, that is a huge focus. 


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