Monthly Archives: February 2012

Be Considerate in Inquiring About Relationship Status

Wondering about the couple status of some of your friends? Maybe I can help.

In the past year, I can't tell you how many times people at my church have asked if I was dating some of the young ladies there. It seems there are rumors about a different girl each month, so it's time to set things straight on how to address these questions. Here are some tips to keep from aggravating your single friends.

Don't Assume

First it needs to be said that if two individuals of opposite gender are sitting next to each other in church, it does not mean they are dating. Is it really that hard to believe? If you're married, think back to those days when you weren't. Were you an item with every member of the opposite sex that you sat next to? Probably not. Neither are your single friends. To the other singles, we're guilty of this one, too. This rule extends to the parking lot and casual dining as well. Walking a lady to her car may simply be a gentlemanly act or good conversation (maybe about how frustrating it is to always be asked if you're dating a specific someone).

Ask in General Terms

To avoid putting pressure on folks or prodding beyond what they may be comfortable with, simply ask, "Is there a special [guy or gal] in your life right now?" and follow up with how the deserve someone special or that you're praying for guidance in the area. I was blessed to be able to chat with my pastor for a long while during a Lamar football game in the fall and he executed this flawlessly. "Any special ladies in your life?" he asked, and followed up with, "Any blips on the radar?" It showed me a genuine concern for me and my future wife and after I said no to both questions, Raymond said, "Maybe it's time to start praying." It cracked me up and I love telling the story, but it does bring me to another point. If your friends aren't in a relationship, don't assume they're not trying or putting themselves out there. They may not be. But use discretion in bringing it up. I don't think that's what Raymond was saying to me; his statement was more an encouragement not to put off the blessings of marriage, but you get my point here.

Ask the Guy

Don't get upset yet. Just let me hash this out and you'll see where I'm going, then you can disagree. Spiritually, the dude in a relationship should be the leader. I'm not saying that he's going to be more mature or that he's closer to God, but that he should be the one to take spiritual initiative and set the tone for the relationship. I think this extends beyond spiritual application and that the dude has the responsibility of bringing definition and direction, as well. Since I know some of you are laughing right now, I'm not claiming I'm good at it, but that this is how it should be (now stop laughing and pray for your brother!). That being said, if you are wondering about the couple status of specific friends, don't ask the girl. If the folks are just friends, you run the risk of raising doubts, questions, and emotional confusion in the lady. I've felt this way for a long time and saw it happen just this month. Think the guy needs to make a commitment? Why would you talk to the lady about that? I guarantee it won't help here.

When in Doubt, Don't Ask

Look, if you're close friends to the folks you're wondering about, they're going to let you know when a relationship has reached a level of commitment. When things are casual and folks are trying to discern God's direction for their lives, they may not want the pressure that comes from being prodded and probed about a potential dating relationship. If information is not offered, it's probably best not to ask. Let me tell you, when I'm in a serious relationship with a girl, you're probably going to know. I'll tell you or facebook will tell you. It won't be a secret and this is true for most of your friends, too. If you're not that close to the folks you're wondering about, chances are that their status is none of your business. I'm sorry to be blunt, but that's how it is. The exception here is if there is an obvious issue of sin that needs to be addressed. Intimacy without direction falls into this category. Walking together in the parking lot or going on a friend date does not.

I hope these help you or that they give you something to think about in you interactions. Let me know what you think.

Blessings and Shalom,

Valentine’s Day and Singleness

If there's one thing I really do appreciate about Valentine's day, it's that I've been hearing old love songs on the radio by the Chairman of the Board and some remakes and new ones by Michael Bublé. Over the years I've employed a handful of techniques for dealing with Valentine's Day as a single guy and have now settled into one that probably glorifies God more than the others.

New Year, New Girl?

Though there were a couple of years that I'd been seeing or dating someone during Valentine's Day, several years that I wasn't occupied I was prone to look for a lady to share my life with. It doesn't seem to have anything to do with the actual Valentine's Day or  spring, but with the start of a new year my heart has a pull towards finding someone. As one year fades and another dawns, there's a sense of hope and a need for change I now realize makes my heart susceptible to searching hard then. It just happens that Valentine's season fall right into that part of the year and, thus, would fuel my anxiousness. Thankfully, I've learned to control my heart a little better these days.

Valentine's Day? What's That?

Let's face it, even for people that are content in their singleness, Valentine's Day brings a lot of pressure and emotion. The second thing I'd done in the past was to ignore that the day existed at all. I joined the push against the commercial holiday and went about my merry way, as plenty of folks do. It was fine, but — let's be honest — this really does make a person feel alone. I feel detached enough without putting all my effort into ignoring a day that celebrates being together, so this was an emotionally dangerous line of thinking.

Celebrating Love

More recently, God has shown me that this day doesn't have to just be for couples, but that there are several ways I can celebrate. Today I'm giving thanks for the love God has brought into my friends' lives, I praise Him for creating their love stories and blessing them with children — children that I get to play with without having to pay or provide for! I'm grateful for the time that God is giving me to prepare for eventual married life and time to spend carefree hours riding my  bike or playing ultimate frisbee or playing my my french horn without obligations at home, and I'm grateful that it won't last forever. This Valentine's Day I'm reflecting on how God has pursued me and how I will pursue the lady that He leads me to.

When I was in college, most years I spent Valentine's weekend in San Antonio at the Texas Music Educator's Association's annual convention. It was great escape from classes and the smells of Beaumont, and a chance to spend time listening to the most talented student musicians in the nation. There are endless exhibits and presentations each year and, of course, a lot of my friends. The best part though, was a dinner with my mom at Casa Rio, a restaurant on the River Walk. Sometimes different friends would join us and a few years Dad would join us. It's always a special time not just because it was spent with folks I love, but because Casa Rio is where my dad proposed to my mother. God has taught me to appreciate their love for me and each other through dinner at Casa Rio as I'm a part of their continuing love story. What a blessing that is as children, even once we're grown!

It's my hope that all you singles can spend today celebrating others' loves and the love of our Father, not feeling hopeless or moping, but appreciative of God's design and plans.

In Love,

Blaise Pascal

In Pensées, Blaise Pascal wrote, "We have not sufficiently plumbed the wretchedness of man in general, nor our own in particular, when we are still surprised at the weakness and corruption of man."

God, open my eyes today to the wretchedness that you've saved me from and teach me not to condemn others for having the same human heart with which I was born.