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2Know what’s funny? EVERYONE has their own dating advice, and loves to offer it freely. And most of it doesn’t agree.

Is ours any better?

You’ll have to be the judge of that, but what I can tell you, is the guidance offered here has worked for me and my wife, Julie, and we met in 1989 and married in 1993. We still consider ourselves, marriage amateurs, but we have a longer track record than most.

Further, while many couples manage to survive marriage, Julie and I have learned to thrive in marriage. We can both look you in the eye and tell you we absolutely love our life together.

No, it isn’t perfect. Yes, we drive each other crazy sometimes. No, we don’t always see eye to eye. Yes, we occasionally contemplate murder, but usually it’s in relation to one of our children and not each other.

Still. We love it!


We see our marriage as a grand adventure, a high challenge, a great reward and an awesome calling, and we believe it can be that way for YOU!


Indeed, it is that very desire for the relational success of others that has inspired me to spend the last dozen plus years of our married life studying God’s word and researching the topics of sex, dating and relationships, to see what common threads emerge. That means none of what you read here is shoot-from-the-hip.

We’ve learned a lot, but here are just five fun facts from the story of our courtship which I hope will give you insight and inspiration for your own love life.

 

Fun Fact #1:
You could never guess
how God might bring you together
with the (earthly) love of your life.


Some movies claim to be “based on a true story,” but ironically many of us hope our love story will  be “based on a movie.”


However, from the first time Julie and I ever spoke (a cold call from Julie asking me what I looked like), to our first date (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles), to my proposal in a horse-drawn carriage (in the middle of an ice storm), the way our hearts were slowly knit together over the years, is a story Hollywood could have never dreamed up.

And it was the perfect love story for us. It’s been more than fun! It’s been rich and meaningful and life-changing. Almost like there was a master storyteller directing each scene.

Let us encourage you to let Him do the same for you!

 

Fun Fact #2:
The “friend zone” is
a great place for romance to grow.

Is it fun to fall hard for someone who “just wants to be friends?”

From repeated personal experience I can respond with a resounding, “NO!” It feels like you tattooed their name across your chest and now they’re suing you for copyright infringement.

However, in retrospect I can now see how I set myself up for heartbreak (by basically setting up the girl I was pretending to just want to be friends with).

In contrast, seeing Julie completely in the friend zone was the breakthrough that enabled me to truly see her for who she was. It was the same for her.

Establishing a deep friendship may not seem as fun as being swept up in some whirlwind romance, but let’s just say Julie and I are still having fun today while many who married after love-at-first-sight have along since filed for divorce. Twice.

 

Fun Fact #3:
Your level of commitment
should be commensurate
with your level of intimacy.

Worse than winding up in the friend zone is ending up surrogate soul mates. We’re talking about a relationship where two people develop a level of intimacy that is sort of like dating, but without any dating or courtship commitment. This can be true even if there is no sexual intimacy at all.

This was true for Julie and me. We got to a place where we were very intimate emotionally, spiritually and relationally, but we were “just friends.” Since we weren’t engaging in any sexual intimacy our relationship wasn’t sinful, but it wasn’t healthy either.

Though the term “surrogate soul mates” might not be as familiar as the “friend zone,” it’s a common way for relationships to stagnate. And stagnation is only fun if you like pond scum.

 

Fun Fact #4:
God has a will for your relationship life
and He delights to reveal His will
to those who seek Him with all of their heart.

We look for signs and feelings. We fall in love, and then fall on our faces. We go between following our heart and locking it up in a bulletproof, fireproof, waterproof, apocalypse-proof box. And then burying it under a mountain of bitterness. And in the midst of all these feelings and failings we sort of try to discern God’s will.

Julie and I both did our share of this halfhearted seeking after God’s will and it was no fun! Probably because God made us to live wholeheartedly.

But God’s will is not a sentence: “You shall marry this person and live with them for all the rest of your days. In great torment and anguish and gnashing of teeth.”

And God’s will is not a word problem: “If two trains leave the station at the same time, with one traveling 50 mph and the other traveling on propane, and the other headed for Hogwarts, how long before you find out which train your future mate is on? And how will you recognize if they’re ‘the one?’ And then how will you know if ‘the one’ means ‘the one for you’ or ‘the one who will bring balance to the force?'”


God’s will is an adventure. One God wants to go on with you!


One specifically designed to bring about your very best and His greatest glory. It’s not necessarily about “fun” and certainly not about comfort or ease. And in the end, the whole point isn’t to lead you to your future spouse, but to lead you to Himself.

 

Fun Fact #5:
Preparing for marriage
is more important than finding a partner.

When it comes to marriage, some people are runners. They fear commitment and are certain it’s better to live free and potentially lonely than wind up married and potentially miserable. Some are hunters and the only thing they fear is not catching their prey soon enough. Finally, others are waiters, just waiting for the moment when God will finally get His holy act together and get them the Christian supermodel they ordered half an hour ago already.

None of those roles are fun ones to play forever, so instead of running, hunting or waiting, determine to prepare, the way you would a successful career: intentionally, intelligently and IN ADVANCE!

In our story, a key part of my preparation involved a marriage book my mom gave me Christmas of my Junior year of college. I wasn’t even dating anyone at the time, but within thirty days of reading that book I did start dating  someone.

Her name was Julie.

And, as they say, the rest is history!

Would you like to hear more of our story, to see what you might learn in regards to your own? Check out our brand new “About” page here on our updated mobile-friendly website!


DNA: It’s What’s For Dating

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The LoveEd study guide series, Beyond Sex & Salvation, will empower you to prepare for relational success when it counts: BEFORE YOU FALL IN LOVE! It’s NOT for couples, but for any wise individual who thinks they might want to get married sometime before they die. Check out the first two 8-lesson study guides in our store. You can walk through it on your own, but it’s more fun with friends, so consider putting together an FMU LoveEd small group study. Even better?  And ask a married couple you respect to lead it!