“Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.”—I Corinthians 1:20-25(NKJV)
A wise man once said, “If you want to see the end of a thing, look at it’s beginning.” The Bible puts it this way: “For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it—lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish’? Or what king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand?” (Luke 14:28-31-NKJV)
I thought about this as I read an article about a new(?!) trend in dating. Especially among young people. It’s called, “Stayover Relationships“.
Honestly, I’m not sure how “new” it is because basically all of my “relationships” were like that and my last boyfriend was about seven years ago. Anyway, they are saying that rather than live together *or court*, people are choosing to keep their own homes and spend the night with one another 2-3 times per week. University of Missouri researcher for this study, Tyler Jamison expounded by saying this:
“This seems to be a pretty stable and convenient middle ground between casual dating and more formal commitments like living together and getting married,” says Jamison, a University of Missouri doctoral candidate and researcher in the department of human development and family studies in Columbia, Mo.
“It’s a comfortable thing people are doing when they are not totally sure they want to end up in a permanent situation with a person or don’t want to end up living together and having to find another place to live if they are break or decide who gets the dog.”
Stable? Highly-debatable. Convenient? Yeah, I can see that. Sometimes convenient, selfish and unrealistic are synonyms for one another, though. There’s a Scripture in the Bible that says, “It’s best to stay in touch with both sides of an issue. A person who fears God deals responsibly with all of reality, not just a piece of it.” (Ecclesiates 7:18-Message)
And so, that being said, I just want to provide another side. The deception of practicing a “kinda relationship” side. The downfall of not learning how to court side. The craziness of getting “the milk” on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays like a person is a drive-thru at Wendy’s (LOL). Um, side.
First, there is a book out by the author of “His Needs, Her Needs: Building an Affair-Proof Marriage“, Willard F. Harley, Jr., entitled, “Defending Traditional Marriage: It Starts With You“, that I think *all*, especially Christian seniors in high school (’cause the first year away from home as a freshman in college, especially on the sex tip, is…A TRIP!), should read. It was the British abolitionist, William Wilberforce, who penned in his book, “Real Christianity“, who said that one of the biggest problems in the Church is that people are consumed with Christian culture rather than authentic faith and…*culture changes*.
Malachi 3:6 tells us that the Lord does not change. He is still *all for* sexual purity (I Timothy 5:22). There are still consequences for sexual immorality (I Corinthians 6:18). And, no matter how much marriage is being…compromised, there is still something to be said for covenant (Genesis 2:18-25, Malachi 2:14). We have a *responsibility* to teach young people that if they desire marriage, there are steps, an order of operation (I Corinthians 14:40), that should be adhered to…as they prepare. AHEAD OF TIME. Stayover Relationships don’t show people how to marry. It shows them, actually, how divorce (Malachi 2:16), if to honor the power and purpose of marriage at all, because if there’s one thing that single sex does is put everything in a non-realistic perspective regarding expectations and compromise. That trailer for “The Change Up” (Jason Bateman, Ryan Reynolds)? Yeah. Stayover Relationships don’t properly prepare you for *that*…*stuff*.
Also, if you’re learning how to “kinda be together” early on, I’m pretty sure there’s a great chance later up the pike that shacking up will seem like a smart thing to do. OK. Here’s some stats on that:
Couples who shack up before tying the knot are more likely to get divorced than their counterparts who don’t move in together until marriage, a new study suggests.
Upwards of 70 percent of U.S. couples are cohabiting these days before marrying, the researchers estimate. The study, published in the February issue of the Journal of Family Psychology, indicates that such move-ins might not be wise…
Rhoades and her colleagues did telephone surveys with more than 1,000 married men and women between the ages of 18 and 34, who had been married 10 years or fewer. Survey questions included measures of relational, dedication to one another, level of negative communication and sexual satisfaction. To measure the potential of a couple to divorce, participants were asked “Have you or your spouse ever seriously suggested the idea of divorce?”
Overall, about 40 percent of participants reported they didn’t live together before marriage, 43 percent did so before engagement, and about 16 percent cohabited only after getting engaged.
Those who moved in with a mate before engagement or marriage reported significantly lower quality marriages and a greater potential for split-ups than other couples. For instance, about 19 percent of those who cohabited before getting engaged had ever suggested divorce compared with just 12 percent of those who only moved in together after getting engaged and 10 percent of participants who did not cohabit prior to to wedding bells.
Amazing how “convenient” certain choices seem now. Until you see how it affects you…later.
Oh. And then there’s this: something that someone sent me on yesterday (thanks Jack!). It’s called the (what?!?) “Sexual Exposure Map”:
832 of the approximately 1000 students were interviewed, and asked to identify their romantic sexual partners over the past 18 months. A “romantic sexual partner” was defined as someone you were dating, and therefore mere “hook ups” were not included in the research. The research also did not include partners from other schools.
Here’s what they found: 573 students admitted to having at least one romantic sexual partner in the last 18 months. Of these 573 students, more than half could be traced to a network of 288 partners! (See image) The pink dots represent actual high school girls, and the blue represents the boys. The lines between them represent the links of sexual activity. As you can see, while a guy may have only one sexual partner, theoretically he could be connected to 286 sexual partners other than his own. In fact, the furthest two people on the map are separated by 37 steps. Surely, not one student in this map would have suspected this intricate web of sexual exposure, or the massive implications this has on STD transmission.
There’s nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9). When I was in middle school my mom gave me an HIV/AIDS awarness T-shirt that had a lot of names with a lot arrows on it…on a chalk board. So many were connected. I shoula did more than rock the shirt. I recall in my early-30s experiencing a moment when three guys that I had “stayed over with” were all in one room. Yeah. Well. Some people have dreams of walking in a room, naked. Some of us, might as well have done it in real time (in context)…being how many people have seen us naked in that room anyway.
I love how that last article called it an “intricate WEB of sexual exposure”. God’s boundaries for our minds, our hearts and our spirits, even (and at times, especially) when it comes to sexuality is to have us live *freely* (John 8:32 and 10:10)…not to be *bound* up (I Corinthians 7:23).
You know how the Word, which is God (John 1:1), tells us to keep our heart (some translations say to *guard* it) because out of it springs the issues of life (Proverbs 4:23)? In a stayover situation, best believe that someone is going to, at the very least, get their feelings hurt. And if you’re on the road of sexual sin, you might want to refer back to that map from time-to-time. Before you get lost (or caught up) in it.
I’m 37. More and more, I get what God calls us his children so much, though. Boundaries are set in place for our protection. Children like to test those boundaries. Going out of them *never* pays off. Father does indeed know what’s best (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
I think the thing that I am thinking about most of all re: these findings, at least in this season, is that I wonder how much time could be saved in not having to heal from making these kinds of choices if one just followed the instructions (in the Bible) on how to court and have sex in the first place.
We can ignore it, but I’m a living testament (I Timothy 4:14-16-AMP). We do reap what we sow (Galatians 6:7-8).