He’s 18 and can’t wait for college. In fact, he’s already been accepted by his fall-back school and watches the mail daily for that acceptance letter from his first choice.
Of course, he’s not particularly anxious to get started at a 9-5 desk job and start “adulting,” but he does want that bachelors degree, so he can get that diploma which would allow him to get a 9-5 desk job if he wanted.
As far as a major, he thinks he might want to go into accounting or engineering. Or photography or music production. Or just rock music. What he really wants is to be famous, but they don’t exactly have majors for that yet. Maybe they will by the time he has to declare.
As for college, the truth is, he’s just looking forward to “the college experience.”
You know, football games and the parties afterward, and basketball games and the parties afterward. And of course he wants to join a fraternity with all the parties that go with that.
Then there’s just the parties.
We won’t get mired down in the minutia of what “said parties” would entail. Hooking up, for sure. Otherwise, what are college girls for, right? But he’s not going to go nearly as far as a some of the porn he’s seen. That stuff is sick.
He knows this, because he’s seen quite a bit. Enough he’s trying to watch less. He might get some accountability software or something, but they probably have that at college.
He may wind up drinking a little too much as well, but that’s probably it for recreational drug use. Maybe he’ll try pot, but that’s legal almost everywhere now anyway.
But when all’s said and done, Neal’s a great kid. Fun kid! Genuinely likeable guy. Talented. He could be a star! Seriously! So much potential there.
If you didn’t gather already, he’s a Christian too. Asked Jesus to forgive his sins. And he seriously admires Jesus and all He stands for. He also believes most of what his folks stand for too. Except when it comes to gay issues, because love is love. Right?
But the bottom line for Neal, along with the vast majority of high school grads, is this…
College is part of growing up, even if most students won’t actually mature.
At least Neal will be out from other his parent’s roof. And rules.
He’ll finally be “treated like an adult.”
But who will Neal be when he graduates from college in four years? If he graduates from college in four years?
He certainly has no idea right now. Except that he wants to travel and see the world before he settles down.
Neal isn’t a Real Person, but He is very Real
The truth? There are millions of “Neals” about to enjoy the final winter break of their high school lives, and at Future Marriage University (FMU) we’d like to change the trajectory of their future lives.
In fact, that’s our calling!
No, we’re not interested in getting Neal married. Unless some profound perspective change happens between his Senior year of high school and his Senior year of college, Neal will be no more ready for marriage at 22 than when he was at 13. Puberty may naturally turn him into a full grown man, but maturity is another thing entirely.
And that’s where FMU comes in.
Our mission is to empower students and young adults to grow spiritually and date wisely, so they can marry well.
You know, as if Neal’s future marriage holds the potential of being as important, as challenging and as rewarding as his career.
In other words, we want to change Neal’s mind about why he’s here. Instead of seeing his purpose as experiencing things (like college) and accomplishing tasks (like getting a job), we want Neal to understand he’s here to grow in relationships; healthy relationships!
- First a relationship with his creator, in who’s image he was made.
- Then relationships with the important people in his life: family, mentors, and good friends. People who care more about Neal’s wholeness than his happiness.
- And finally (unless he’s called to celibacy) a relationship with a special girl who might become “The One.”
So, yeah, if Neal is called to marriage, we’d like to see that happen; sooner rather than later. But before he’ll be ready for that, he needs to grasp what marriage means, what it’s for and why it’s so important to our culture.
Otherwise, as a typical male Christian struggling with porn, he’ll likely see marriage merely as the gateway to guilt-free sex. While the sweet little Christian girl he marries will likely see it as the ticket to finding the love she’s been looking for since her dad left her mom.
As you might have suspected, there’s a lot of education that needs to take place for the “Neals” of the world and their future brides. It begins with basic Relation^ology and then progresses to Purpose-Driven Dating and ultimately to getting Beyond Sex & Salvation to understand how to thrive in long-term sacrificial relationships.
Would you like to help us reach the students and young adults with the good news of wise relationships? PLEASE consider a one-time or monthly donation of any amount. You’ll find a DONATE button near the bottom of every page of our website.
Want to affect true culture change?
Join us in changing the mind of the culture about the Biblical meaning, purpose and significance of marriage.
One mind at a time.
The above Date Night Advice post presents our mission from the perspective of the need of the wise individuals we’re called to reach, but the video below presents our mission from the big-picture perspective of our modern culture. Because we believe the problems students and young adults are having are part of a much larger marriage crisis in our society today.
If you were intrigued by what you read above, you want to see the other side of the coin by watching this important episode of LoveEd.
DNA: It’s What’s For Dating
It’s NOT for couples, but for any wise individual who thinks they might want to get married sometime before they die. And would like to learn how to better build healthy relationships in the meantime.
Check out all three study guides in our store. You can walk through them on your own, but it’s more fun with friends (that and it kinda makes sense to grow in relational success in actual relationships with others), so consider putting together an FMU LoveEd small group study.
Even better? And ask a rock star married couple you respect to lead it![originally published: 11/22/17]