Dating & Brokenness – Part 1

We are spending way more time on the battlefield of dating, and the battlefield of just life, in our current cultural context. So we enter marriage with way more relational scars than any generation before us.

There’s lots of emotional scar tissue at the wedding altar these days.

The average age of marriage is 27 for women and 29 for men. So there’s much more time for relational brokenness or sexual brokenness to occur. We aren’t entering marriage in the same way that most every culture before us has—we have more broken hearts scattered about, more battle relational scars and intimate battle wounds.

 

There’s lots of emotional scar tissue at the wedding altar these days.

 

 

BEFORE YOU DIVE IN

The brokenness of sin is one reason dating is a challenge, but another reason is the culture we’re swimming in. Sometimes, as a Christian, we can dive deep into the dating world that, like a fish, we don’t even realize we’re wet. And it helps to get out for a second and take a look at what we’re swimming in.

 

THREE CHALLENGES OF OUR CURRENT DATING CULTURE

Meeting:
How you meet someone in our culture is different than in generations before. Our grandparents met because they lived in the same neighborhood or their families were connected—their options were vastly limited.

But for singles in our day now, with all the dating apps and social media, literally there is a never-ending pool of potential out there. On average singles spend 90 minutes a day on dating apps like Tinder or Bumble. They open the app about 10 times a day, and swipe for about 9 minutes each time.

Today, if you own a smartphone, you’re carrying a 24-7 singles bar in your pocket.

This isn’t a bad thing in and of itself, but more than ever we are trying to find “the one,” our “soul mate.” It always feels like there’s someone better out there: “Sure, my partner, is great, but are they the best?”

And if we’re children of divorce we want to make sure we get it right.

As one author said: “Historically, we’re at a unique moment. No one has ever been presented with more options in romance and expected to make a decision where the expectations are so astronomically high.”

So meeting each other is challenging because there’s so many options and we have to find the perfect person in this ocean of options before us, and it always feels like there might be someone better around the corner.

Communicating
Because of cell phones, no single dude ever again will have to muster up the courage to call a gal, knowing that her dad was going to answer the phone. This is just a reality, but think about what that means; it basically costs you nothing to reach out to someone.

You don’t have to be rejected in person, you don’t even really have to think about what you’re going to say, you don’t even have to call.

In fact, and this won’t be a surprise to anyone, but the majority of communicating happens over text. And the majority of texts that single women get from men—this is a scientific study, kind of—are:

“Hey”
“Hey!”
“Heyyy!!”
“Hey what’s going?”
“Wsup”
“Wsup!”
“What’s going on?”
“Whatcha up to?”

But the biggest challenge in communication is the lack of clarity in the relationship. Most texts asking someone out are basically, “Wanna hang out.” What does that even mean?!

And a lot of times, guys especially, will text multiple people, multiple options, basically the same thing. Like throwing bait out into the water and hoping a fish bites.

Dating
Because of the endless options available, the dating culture is practiced in such a way that you are constantly talking with and hanging out with multiple options. But when you avoid depth with anyone and you play on the surface with multiple people at the same time you never actually get to know them in any sort of way that helps you to evaluate the depth of their character or faith and to really fall in love, biblical love.

If you’re always wanting that spark, that head over heels feeling, you don’t ever get to the real stuff, the stuff that matters. In a real relationship when the infatuation wanes, the love begins to grow.

But technology and the culture we’re in lets you be in surface level relationships with multiple partners, instead of giving one person a decent chance at being marriage material.

So what can we do? Look for Dating & Brokenness – Part 2 tomorrow where I’ll offer five things to consider as a Christian swimming in this dating culture.

This post is an excerpt of Jim’s sermon, Dating & Brokenness.

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