What Do You Do? I can’t count the number of times I’ve been asked this question! It’s extremely intimidating because I know I’m being judged and usually found wanting, and it’s irritating! Like what I do is the only thing, which defines who I am. The question is a never-ending repeater question, like a Tommy Gun going off in the old-time movies when a bunch of people get together in the same room. No one knows what else to talk about so they all ask about who works where, doing what, are they happy doing it, does their boss like their work, is their boss hard to work for, what’s the pay like, and the questions are non-ending. Why don’t people talk about other things in life? There is so much more to life than work!
Oh, lest we forget we may as well add a few other “scratch the surface” conversational topics, which are near the top of the list, they are: who does this person know, is the person or the person they know important enough to further our careers, do we know who they are already and if not can we use this person in some way to get to know the other person; sex, if we’re “getting any”, with whom and are they good kisser or great in bed, and if not those – what are the possibilities that we can “get some” together, how soon, and whose place, mine or yours; politics, who’s in office or who’s on their way in, who they want in office, and whether _________ serving in office is great at their job or really terrible at it; sports and which team is likely to go the distance; where you live, what’s it like living there, what kind of rent or mortgage you pay and does it include any utilities or amenities, etc.
Person to person personal, get to know you questions, rarely if ever come up conversationally anymore – so really this is all surface stuff, nothing of true meaning or of much value by the time people get into a what they consider a “friends with benefits”, “live-together”, or a “dating with sex” type relationships with another person. The topics I mentioned above are about the only thing they know about each other and they’re heading for the sack or the altar take your pick. My point, this amount of information about someone isn’t a lot, and it cannot hold up a relationship once you’ve crossed that line into such realms as I’ve mentioned. In my opinion, and by my life experiences if you are in such a relationship, you have lost the battle to gain a life-long partner, IF that’s what you’re seeking, before you have even begun the fight.
Our responsibilities as a “single” adult (young or old) are even more difficult, because they don’t include: always hanging around with partying friends gorging on food drinking to the point of drunkenness and having a hangover every weekend, or every day of the week, if this is the case. Especially if we’re looking for a lasting and meaningful life long loving relationship. We are responsible to ourselves and to any future spouse; actually it’s an obligation, to get beyond the surface stuff, once we believe the person is the special one God has for us.
By the way, getting beyond the surface doesn’t mean heavy necking, groping, petting and or jumping into the sack to see if you’re compatible – we will know if we’re compatible in that way with the other person if that certain “chemistry” (NOT hormones people) is there between us and the other person – and that’s all we need to know about this part of compatibility in this department until the absolute full commitment of marriage is completed in it’s entirety: the whole thing – ceremony, vows, wedding rings and license. There it’s said, that dreaded word, which can run a really loooong yellow streak down many a person’s back who is the Player type…
“And now for a few choice words about the [people we have probably been recently “dating”]. And the first three of those words are… Yellow-Bellied Cowards. Here’s a couple more. Gutless, Craven, Chicken-Hearted Invertebrates. Dastardly, Lily-Livered, Spineless Jellyfish with the moral compunction of inbred Piranhas crowded into a too-small tank filled with liquid meth.”
Hmm, yep, that pretty much sums up the experience, right? Ultimately, and no one should feel the need to say this, these people are not the type we’re looking for, they’re certainly not worthy of a nice person like us, who have higher standards and values, and who place more stock in ourselves and our relationships than they obviously do. Nor are they worth any more of our time and effort. So, we need to cry, howl at the moon, scream into our pillows, beat on the wall, punch a bag, “paint the dress” burn it or tear it to shreds, scratch the chalkboard till your fingernails are down to the nubs, jog, ride a bicycle or work out, and or get counseling, but definitively get over them!
What we’re looking for when we’re searching for in a life-long partnership – is that very special someone with whom we can build a lifetime of good memories, grow old, and even have a family with – if that’s your preference. Truth, right? Then why do we allow all the other “activities” get in the way? If the man or woman is a party-er, drunkard – gets drunk or “tipsy” every time they go out, wants sex from us the moment they meet us – while they’re eyes are “wondering” around looking at all the other “prospects”, if we say no of course – then run away, FAST! What does this say about the character that person, is this really the kind of man or woman with whom we want to spend the rest of our life?
If a man or woman will cheat on us before we have barely gotten beyond the hello’s by having wandering eyes, or is texting their next prospect while they’re sitting at the table with us and we’re hardly past the appetizers on the first date (without sex, I remind you, again); and or after we’re in a dating relationship with them they cheat on us, even before we’re married to them, how can we believe it will magically stop once the “old ring is on the finger”? It won’t, we’re dreaming and deluding ourselves if we think we can hold them or try to change them – they will not be changed, by you or anyone else. No way. NOT! They’re having way too much fun, can we say PuLA-YER? By the way, this term can define a man or a woman.
So we need to get our priorities straight.
First we need to look at ourselves – as Christians we have the best mirror in the world – Jesus. So get in the Word and be talking with God so He can let us know first what the priorities are in our lives; and in the meantime, because we are doing these things we are also allowing God to work within us. So we are, as a result, becoming the kind of person we would want to marry, and He wants of us. One of the best things we can do is take a really honest look at ourselves, a good long hard look at ourselves through God’s eyes. We need to ask Him what we need to change inside (or out) with His help, of course. Because believe me He isn’t going to leave it up to us to do it on our own!
Second journal or write down everything! The good the bad the ugly and the worst He points out to us – confess any sins He points out to us and ask for forgiveness. Work on one thing at a time beginning with the worst and working our way down the list of godly self-improvement. You are not left alone in this task, Christ is our true example, not those around us. Another way in which you may get an honest assessment of what people think of you is to go to a close Christian friend. If they’re a good friend they’ll tell you the truth, even when it hurts. If not then, they’re going to sugar coat everything and tell you how nice you are and how you don’t have any flaws. If the person you are asking is telling you these things, then you’re talking to the wrong person because we all have areas in our personalities or lives which needs God’s handiwork. This will be true till the day He takes us home to Glory.
Third, we need to enhance and practice our ability to dialog.. Not so we can give other people the nth degree every time we see them, but rather so we can casually slip in an A-typical question or two during your time with them (this is critical) to find out who they are and who we are with them. This works not only with the person you think you might want to go out with, but it can also work with friends family members and co-workers too.
Also, be open to getting those questions thrown back at you, because they will be. Oh, and some people may even take offense or ask why you’re asking. Tell them the truth, it’s just a conversational question, if they don’t want to answer, then more than likely they have something to hide – red flag!
Okay, so what kind of questions are we supposed to ask? Look below for a few ideas:
- Make a “Top Ten” list of people you regard as the all-time greatest Americans, who would you rank in the third, second and first positions?
- Where is the most interesting place you have been? Follow up with “Why did you go there?” if they don’t offer this info.
- When you were young what was the most exciting thing you can remember doing?
- What is the most exciting blessing God has given to you in your life?
- What do you like to do when you’re not working? If sleep is the answer this is a red flag, so is partying, playing video games, etc.
- You have walked to and are a customer in a convenience store when a couple of thugs come in to rob the place, they haven’t seen you yet, you’re near the restrooms and the emergency exit doors what would you do?
- When considering all the ramifications of doing do, if you could un-invent any past invention, which would it be?
Are we getting the idea? Questions like the ones above are intimidating because they are not only long but also direct, inquisitive, and at the same time, when turned around to you, can open us up to a vulnerability to the other person. These are questions which we should slip in, and which, will subtly show the true character of the other person. Hopefully without their realizing it, so they’re going to give us honest, shoot from the hip answers with enough details about why they chose to answer the way they did. We don’t want to make this another “Spanish Inquisition” so one or two of these questions at a time is fine. When we get home, then we journal exactly what questions we asked and their response word for word without allowing our emotional reaction to cloud the what we write.
Later as we decide whether we want to pursue or get into a more serious relationship with this person. We can go back to the journal and read through it, gaining discernment as to the person and reason for our interest; because we have written it down with the words to back us up, We aren’t depending on tingles and emotional feelings, which are fickle. We must not leave God out of this process at all if we wish to make the right decision, for He is all-knowing and all-seeing; therefore, He knows the true heart of a person, and the plans He has for us, and with whom those plans include.
As a Christian we also have a firm rule of thumb about selecting the one with whom we’re going to spend the rest of our life.
Where do I find the right one for me? I have an answer, I don’t believe it’s the only answer, but I’m about to link you to two other of Jan Karon’s, books: numbers One and Six in her Mitford Series, At Home in Mitford & A common Life: a Wedding Story. For the simple reason I know, I’ve seen it with my very own eyes, how God has worked in the lives of many of my Christian friends. Above all we are to pray without ceasing for we can’t fully know the heart of another human, but God does, and this He does share with us in very surprising ways – more often that not, it can assure you it’s not in the settings I described above!
Dear Brothers and Sister in Christ don’t get discouraged and don’t let anyone break down the guards or talk you out of your Biblical morals. God will remove that guard when the person He wants in your life comes along. Our job is to discern what He’s doing about our relationships how He’s going about it and obey it!