Vicarious: Three-Way Dating
"Charm is deceptive and beauty fleeting,
but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised."
— Proverbs 31:30
Growing up the oldest of seven kids, Janice Shaw was no stranger to chores, cooking, and helping take care of younger siblings. Responsibility came with the territory of being a protective big sister, and having drive and ambition fit with being part of the active Shaw clan. But seeing the monotony of domestic routine left Janice with a strong sense of self, the desire to be an independent young woman, and made her want to experience life on her own "without a man."
What scared Janice the most was losing her identity and independence to a man and lots of young 'uns. Can you relate? Trust us; you'll want to keep reading.
Following her dreams, Janice was accepted at Asbury College. While she assumed she would eventually get married and have children, she was in no hurry to have that happen.
"There are three types of women," Janice said. "Those who sit and wait for God to bring 'The One,' those who don't want a man at all, and those independent women who plunge ahead with their lives and date with an attitude that 'If I meet him, I meet him.' And the latter is the attitude I developed."
According to Dr. Crouse, God gives women gifts — special abilities that define her. Consider the gifts of the infamous Proverbs 31 woman:
She is a seamstress.
She is a hunter.
She is a chef.
She is a saleswoman.
She is a hostess.
She is an investor.
She is a property owner.
She is a humanitarian.
Besides her work in the community, verse 28 offers us a glimpse into her private home life, reading, "Her children bless her; her husband praises her." Like the virtuous woman in Proverbs 31, Janice fancied both a career and a family of her own.
"Impossible," claimed the women surrounding Janice. They told her it was simply unachievable for a woman to have a career and a family. Not having any role models or friends who had achieved this lifestyle, Janice determined to find the balance of Proverbs 31.
But there was one major step to achieving this balance. Instead of praying to find someone who fit everyone else's definition of perfect "husband material," she wanted someone she could trust; seeking primarily a person of character and integrity. In addition to those qualities, the man the Lord brought into her life was a Godly man who shared her life goals and supported her dreams. As she got to know Gilbert more, she recognized how "right" he was for her.
"I went on dates often to prayer meetings, church, and Christian concerts with eligible, Godly bachelors," she said. "But I was sure to guard my heart. I think it is very important to protect your heart until you know a person well enough to assess their character, integrity and Christian commitment. Until then, dating should be casual, with no emotionally entanglements, definitely no physical involvements and no commitments."
We'd say Dr. Crouse achieved the perfect balance. But don't Google "Janice Shaw," because you won't find much. She is better recognized as Dr. Janice Shaw Crouse, author of Marriage Matters and Children at Risk and Director and Senior Fellow of the Beverly LaHaye Institute, the think tank of Concerned Women for America. God blessed her with two successful children and seven beautiful grandchildren.
"It's healthy to go on dates," Dr. Crouse instructed us. Oh, how thankful we were to hear her admit this. She isn't the only expert who offers such advice. Drs. Tim and Beverly LaHaye, authors of Party of Two: Lessons for Staying in Step in Dating, Marriage, and Family Life, write, "Relax and take your time. Enjoy the dating game. If you're not in a hurry, you are more likely to make the right decision. Panic palace is a dreadful place to live, and decisions made under pressure are disastrous. God is not in a hurry."
"God is not in a hurry" is worth repeating. Let that statement simmer. What a great reminder that our dating life is not just about us and the guy. In reality, it is a three-way relationship, and we mustn't forget that God's opinion — His will — is the most valuable.
Romans 12:2 reads, "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is — His good, pleasing, and perfect will."
Above all: In dating, it's not about the guy; it's about God. And that's the real dating challenge, isn't it?
We can spend a lot of time with "the guy" to try and discover if he's "The One," but if we're not spending just as much time or more getting to know God, through prayer and digging into the Word, then how can we expect to know if the guy we're dating is truly the man for us? God created Adam and then Eve … for each other. Is it that difficult to believe that He has someone in mind just for you?
We can easily work ourselves into a tizzy trying to answer the question, "Is he 'The One?'" However, "God is not in a hurry" … because He knows. And if we know and trust "Him," then when the time comes, we'll know "him."
This article is a Young Women for America resource.
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