Wednesday, November 7, 2018

How does she know you love her?

Tonight, Blake and I were invited to speak to the 12-18 year olds from church at their weekly mid-week activity. Our subject was dating and relationships, so we were asked to share our story and any thoughts we had on dating and then answer questions that the youth had submitted anonymously. In case you don’t know our story, you can find it starting here. We were asked because we are fun, or at least that’s what we were told. I’d like to think we are, though we have been out of the dating game for more than six years now and haven’t been the average age of the teenagers in attendance for about 20, so hopefully our story and things we’ve learned were of some value.

The questions that were asked were pretty good actually: How can I tell if a girl/guy likes/doesn’t like me? How did know this person was the one? What should I say to a girl?

Between us, the adult leaders, and the youth, we had a productive discussion on it all. The suggested dating age in our church is 16, and most of the youth in attendance tonight are under 16, so we also likened most of our advice or thoughts to just building relationships and friendships of all kinds.

The thing about dating advice, and even all advice really, is that it’s never one size fits all. There are some good, General principles we can all put into practice, but its application can still vary from person to person and, when it comes to dating and marriage, from relationship to relationship. Some of the best advice I got before getting married, which tends to be what I pass on to newly engaged couples, is to take all advice with a grain of salt, including this!

Hopefully we communicated that in some part to this group. I didn’t want it to be the first or any part of a series of “you should date and get married and have lots of babies immediately” discussions that can happen all to frequently in our religious culture. I know I was sick of them after 12 years of dating, and 16 years since becoming a “youth”, before I met and married Blake. I even walked out of at least one of those discussions when I saw that topic written on the board when I went into the room. It was after a particularly bad breakup, and I don’t feel bad about it for a second.

Dating is stressful sometimes, but it can also be fun. I hope these kids can figure that out for themselves when the time is right!

On the way home, we stopped at a recently opened Carl’s Jr. just outside of the main base. Due to a series of unappealing ads and even some that were downright sexist, I haven’t eaten at a Carl’s Jr. in years. (I also haven’t lived near one in well over a decade, but that’s besides the point.) Still, I can’t deny the opportunity for a good burger (somewhat elusive in Japan) and, particularly, a nice, thick ice cream shake, even if Blake ended up drinking most of it. At least I know they’re there AND tasty for future reference.

We got home much later than usual for a weeknight, but I think it was worth it.


Emily said...

And a plus for Carl's Jr. - they totally overhauled their ad campaign recently Like probably last year sometime? I was very happy to support that change with my consumer dollars.

AmandaStretch said...

That’s good to know!

Heidi said...

I've walked out of Sunday School lessons that turn into diatribes against single women... And I'll do it again! And, yes, Carl's Jr. DID change their ad campaign! The first of the new ads was brilliant, and I'll eat there now.

AmandaStretch said...

Heidi - I support that choice! And thanks for the confirming the Carl's, Jr. change!