In Part Two of this CMR podcast (Part One is here) about Christians and dating, guest Debra Fileta focuses on where our own lives should be, before we think about starting a relationship with someone else. The discussion also steers into the contentious area of "roles" in marriage, and concludes with some wisdom about both physical and emotional intimacy.
For Debra, the framework that all dating questions fit within is "Am I engaging in healthy relationships? Am I a healthy person? Do I have a healthy relationship with God? Those are the three central questions that I'm trying to get people to zoom out and answer....Christians are good at the cliché of saying, "Oh Christ is the center of our relationship." What does that really mean? How do you break that down and make it a practical thing?"
Are Christians waiting too long to get married, and thus causing themselves problems? Debra finds that there is no 'best age' to get married: "It does take maturity, and maturity comes from different things....maturity comes from life experience, maturity comes from the people that you're exposed to, maturity comes from the Holy Spirit and the depth of your relationship with the Lord. What it comes down to truly isn't necessarily a number."
Chris, Tim, and Debra also get into whether men and women are as different as we've been led to believe. Are men really from Venus and women from Mars? "I feel like we put [on] these negative stereotypes and we sort of make them bigger than they are," says Debra. "When I look at scripture, I don't see much of that going on. I see Christ calling us to the same kinds of things...at the end of the day we're all called to health and wholeness in Christ.
What about emotional intimacy? We've been told to set clear boundaries with physical intimacy, but surely emotional and spiritual intimacy is a positive thing, right? Be wise, says Debra: "I think sometimes we take spiritual intimacy and we introduce it into a dating relationship far too early...before trust has even been earned, before commitment has even been discussed and we end up with a broken heart and a broken spirit....We want to connect as fast as we can, but nothing will ever replace your intimacy with God and that's what's going to give you more and more wisdom and more and more answers along the way."
Want to hear the whole thing? It's 26 minutes of real wisdom.
Debra Fileta is a professional counselor, national speaker, and creator of TrueLoveDates.com where she reaches over 2 million people a year with the message that "healthy people make healthy relationships." She's also the author of the book True Love Dates: Your Indispensable Guide to Finding the Love of Your Life, where she writes candidly about dating, relationships, and how to find true love. You may also recognize her from her 200+ articles at Relevant Magazine, Crosswalk.com, and all over the web.
Debra will also be on campus in Chapel on April 4 & 5, 2017!