I wrote the first draft of this article straight after I wrote Part One. I didn’t want to submit Part One without knowing I could write Part Two. If I had double the word limit it would have just been one article. If you missed Part One you can read it here.
Thank you to everyone who did read it and also to those who shared it. I considered not writing it at all as it was a few weeks after the headlines were in the media. The fact that you read it enough to get it in the hot news list and then the most popular list encouraged me that it still resonated with you and thus was worth writing.
So without further ado here is the second and final part.
“True friends don’t spend time gazing into each other’s eyes. They may show great tenderness towards each other but they face in the same direction - toward common projects, goals - above all, towards a common Lord.” â C.S. Lewis
It’s been a long time since I’ve read a book in a day but I did it to write this post.
Why do we give our heart away? Why as a society are we so infatuated with a first kiss? Who first used the phrase sweet 16 and never been kissed?
Part One: I Kissed Dating Goodbye
A point Joshua makes in the first chapters is that “Intimacy without commitment is defrauding. Intimacy without friendship is superficial. A relationship based only on physical attraction and romantic feeling will last only as long as the feeling lasts.”
I still believe this to be a valid point but I think by focusing so narrowly on the subject we are missing the greater truth. Nearly everything we are being influenced by now has and is teaching us to live sensuously. Buy the latest car because you deserve it, purchase something you want but don’t actually need on credit because you’ll feel better. Buy a larger sized meal because it’s only $1 more. Our entire society has been structured around pleasuring ourselves. Why should we expect our relationships to be any different?
Part Two: The Heart of the Matter
“We can link all the negative habits of dating to adopting a fallen world’s attitudes toward love.” In these chapters Joshua continues to dissect societal norms when it comes to dating and proposing Christian alternatives. He suggests some good ideas but if we want to really get to the heart of the matter is focusing on dating not going deep enough? Of course the focus of the book is about dating but what if the book had been written with a much broader and yet more narrow focus? What if instead all it was about was who God is and who he created us to be? I re read the book with the revelation of him that I now have and can see why these rules don’t always work.
It comes down to the why. If the why is relying on will power alone or an intellectual decision, then the probability of at least one person in the relationship doing something they may later regret can only escalate exponentially.
Part Three: Building a New Lifestyle
“Rules by themselves won’t change our hearts, but once we’ve taken on a new attitude, protective boundaries can help keep us on course.” I’m sure when I first read this section of the book I fully agreed with that statement. I don’t disagree with it now but what if it read “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 (KJV)
What if we more fully grasped the full implications of that one sentence. In psychology, attitude is a psychological construct, a mental and emotional entity that inheres in, or characterises a person. They are complex and are an acquired state through experiences. Which to me says that is still relying on our broken humanity.
“And only those beliefs springing from the heart can ever hope to stand the rushing winds of emotion.” Thankfully he follows this up a few paragraphs later with Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?”
Part Four: Now What?
Joshua offers some sound practical advice in the final chapters when not yet married including; practising healthy communication skills, seeking God with others, financial responsibility, and practical life skills. One thing I can remember mulling over when I first read it all those years ago is the title of Chapter 14 What Matters at Fifty? A grounding thought when thinking about a future spouse. Unfortunately for Joshua now divorced before 50 he won’t get to answer his own question, though a miracle could still transpire.
Let me leave you this month with a quote from the back cover of the book. “I applaud Josh’s forthrightness, courage, God-given conviction and ability to articulate a message that is desperately needed.” Elisabeth Elliot
He honestly admits in the book that he is still trying to work it all out even while writing the book. I echo those sentiments I’ve written this post as I do every post, to the best of how I know my creator now. It is a clearer revelation than when I first read the book 22 years ago. I can only pray that I will look back in the future at this understanding with an even clearer revelation. Please forgive me when your revelation of who God is and who you were created to be eclipses this one.
Next Month: Nate’s Christmas
Neville Hiatt’s previous posts for Press Services International can be read here. He spent a decade working for Radio Stations before his career was intermissioned by someone in a hurry to get home from work. He now runs http://nevillehiatt.com where he shares his desire to Inspire, Create, Motivate, and Educate through his photography, poetry and short stories. He also blogs for http://altcoincollege.com/ covering the way cryptocurrencies and blockchain are changing our world.