Valentine’s Day: Relationship Foundations
Valentine’s Day for some can be a fun day filled with romantic dates and gifts and for others it has been dubbed, “Single Awareness Day.” According to the National Retail Federation $18.2 billion is spent each year for Valentine’s Day, which averages to $136.57 per person. 250 million roses are produced for the holiday. While it can be fun to get candy, flowers, and jewelry, it can be beneficial to couples to determine the foundation of their relationship. For pastor and author, Mark Driscoll he has seen the impact that ignoring past hurts and addictions can have on a relationship. In 2012, Risen interviewed Driscoll and talked with him about on-line dating, and how sexual addiction and sexual assault are plaguing this generation.
Driscoll reflects on on-line dating and how it can be a good tool and the red flags to look out for.
“I think it can be a very good tool. If you’re a single woman, it’s a pretty terrifying thing to just meet some guy and go out. You don’t know who he’s going to be and whether or not you’re safe. I think the technology allows you to get to know something about somebody and allows things to develop a little more safely. It’s interesting too because I will log onto eHarmony and certain sites, not because I’m looking for a relationship [laughter], but just out of curiosity to see what it’s like to be single today, because half of our church is single. It’s amazing because even if you go under ‘religious preference’ on certain dating sites and say ‘Evangelical Christian-Are you open or closed to pre-marital sex?’ The majority will say ‘Evangelical Christian, open to premarital sex.’ They put it right on their dating profile. It’s interesting to know that publically there is not even an understanding amongst those who are Christians. To start with, ‘Hey, I’ll sleep with you,’ is probably not the best place to start a Christian relationship. But it can be useful and a lot of people in our church use it, and several of our friends have met that way too.”
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Driscoll shares what he believes is one of that biggest struggles young adults face.
“Sexual addiction. I can’t overstate the porn epidemic. It’s not just men, it’s also women, but the number one consumer of online pornography is 12-17-year-old boys. So, if you figure the average guy marries at 28 and if he started looking at porn at age 11, which is the average first exposure, that’s 17 years as a porn-head and then he marries a woman…it’s going to have some serious effects on how that marriages goes. And the other is sexual assault. One in four women and one in six men report being sexually assaulted. It’s the most under-reported crime with only 5-40% cases reported. You’re looking at a whole generation of guys who are sexually addicted, and a whole generation of girls who are sexually assaulted. My opinion is most college campuses are pretty much rape cultures. Gals with eating disorders, putting out sexually to be popular with boys, who are very immature, addicted to porn, putting alcohol in them, meant to loosen their inhibitions. Put all of those ingredients together, broken family, no father involved…and then they are thinking marriage; it’s pretty catastrophic at times.
Break the addiction. If you or someone you know struggles with an addiction, whether it is pornography, drugs, alcohol or something else, seek help. Many churches have ministries that can help you break free from your addiction. Counseling is also a good option if being a part of a group or ministry seems intimidating. Ask a trusted friend, small group member, or pastor to pray for you and hold you accountable. Remember that God loves you, forgive you and wants to help set you free from the bondage of sin.
Be healed. If you or someone you know has experienced sexual assault, consider going to counseling and getting help. Sexual assault has the ability to affect our future relationships. Many churches offer counseling or can recommend a counselor that can help you. While it may hurt to open up an old would, know that God wants to heal you. It can take time and is often a process, but know that there are people that love you and can through it with you.
Determine your relationship standards. It can be challenging to find someone who holds the same beliefs that you do when it comes to a relationship. It is important to determine what your standards are before you enter a committed relationship, especially when it comes to the area of premarital sex. If you are a follower of Christ, our standard should be the God’s word. While it can be challenging to go against culture, it is important that we set our standards on God’s and not our own.
To read our entire interview with Mark Driscoll, click here.