Monday, March 29, 2010

Outside-In or Inside-Out Dating Relationships?

I've observed how there are basically two ways couples tend to do a dating relationship. Dating relationships develop outside-in or inside-out. They may also be something of a combination of the two. I can tell you right up front that the major difference between the two styles is determined in the way the dating couple becomes physically and/or sexually involved with each other or not. Remember these are broad generalizations, but please consider their merits and tell me what you think.

"Outside-In" dates tend to constructively involve other people--other couples, friends, family members, colleagues and associates, fellow students, etc. These relationships find dating couples doing things that are out in the open; non-secretive. Their dates and developing friendship has a crisp, lightweight feel to the bystander. The dating couple exude an inclusive mutually shared enthusiasm. Their energies radiate a feeling that's celebratory, a message that seems to suggest something like, "Come have fun with us." They cooperatively plan the things they do and their planning becomes a valuable part of their dating experience. Their dates can have a subtle, positive influence on the people around them, i.e., their family members, friends, co-workers, etc., and they collaboratively discuss their experiences for the value such discussion has to help them understand and appreciate, or not, the merits in their continuing the dating relationship.

"Inside-Out" styled dates tend to get predictably and quickly focused on the couple's "one another" experiences. Other people may be included in their dates, but increasingly their presence becomes a tool to initiate their own together time. To the familiar bystander the dating couple's friendship begins to feel exclusive and detached from other people; it may feel heavy and awkward, a "three is a crowd" kind of feeling to friends or family members. Planning is generally and increasingly an unimportant element in their dating experiences since apparently "just being together" is all they really seem to want. Since alone time appears to be one of their constant and major objectives on a date, other people may not be positively or memorably influenced by the dynamics of their developing relationship. Their conversation and discussion, an important pass-time for their early dates, is decreasingly important and marginally meaningful unless it promises future time together doing what they want to do, i.e., being together.

Because both good intended (and not so good intended) men and women initiate dating relationships that start "outside-in," it's muting to the relationship's growth dynamics when their dating behavior turns "inside-out?" There are ALWAYS big downsides to that event.

I'm going to follow-up on this discussion in the next blog.

So until then be safe, have fun, and be smart!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Practice Makes Perfect

A person's ability to experience continued success or consistently provide dependable quality is generally developed slowly over time. Consider a few things that teach us the truth in that principle: fine wine, musical and dramatic talent, athletic skill and sports prowess, artistic perfection and craftsmanship, writing skill, speaking skill, character development, etc.

Men and women who have demonstrated great success in the sports world were already passionately invested in their sport as early as three years old. Just to name a quick few I think of Lindsey Vonn, Michael Jordan, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods as some classic examples. The skills they began to learn at that early age were practiced repeatedly along with the mental focus and emotional disciplines required to support their lofty achievements.

Those of us who are "not stars"have a gut sense that the physical tools and the supporting mental and emotional disciplines to make the stars famous are products of much personal sacrifice. Certainly we are right! Nevertheless, when it comes to life's successes in general, we often expect quick results at the things we do that are far outside any spotlight. We so quickly forget the principle: One's ability to experience continued success or to offer predictably dependable quality is developed slowly over time.

Smarter Romance (SR) is committed to exactly that principle. Relational skill and relational wisdom-- basic ingredients to what SR is all about-- is slowly learned in the growth of interpersonal skills over time. SR helps you create a dating environment that builds on your accumulating successes. Your dating relationships will grow lasting friendships, whether or not the initial dating relationship goes any farther than just a few events.

If you're an
SR participant, you will learn things about yourself and about your date that invariably build your insight, challenge for character growth, and sharpen your interpersonal skills. For example, if you start practicing SR when your in your teens, you'll be a "star" to somebody special when at some time in your distant future you're seriously looking for your "Mr." or "Miss Right."

That's just the way it's a Smarter Romance promise!

Until next time have fun...and be smart.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

STD's and Pointing The Light?

Yup. Its a Maglight setting on a library stool.

I've been intrigued with flashlights since I was a kid. For me there's always been something about them that is nearly supernatural. Having one in my hand as a boy made me feel like a superhero; I was powerful!

So today I've got my share of flashlights. I've got big ones and small ones, lights that are awkward to carry and some that let me forget I've got one tucked into my pocket. They're all part of what some suggest is my "collection." But that's not really the way I think of it, although I've got a few including flashers and lasers in red and green!

Flashlights do pretty much one thing: they put light where you point it in the darkness. So what's the connection between that idea and Smarter Romance?

You won't have to read very far into the manuscript, Smarter Romance (soon to be available), to hear discussion around how being sexually active in a dating relationship puts the brakes on it's (and your) emotional development. That's the way it works, one of those not so well-advertised facts.

But here's another not so well-advertised fact: There are over 90 million people in the United States infected with Sexually Transmitted Diseases (That's an average of one person in every four!) Can you venture a guess at the average ages of those people infected with STDs in the USA? You probably guessed correctly and women are particularly at very high risk! Overall, our nation has a rate of infection that is THREE TIMES the rate of other so-called developed countries.

Given the dating behavior of contemporary Americans all around you, Smarter Romance will help you build the kind of personal and character strengths into your dating routines and relationships that are comparatively SUPERNATURAL!

So, might I suggest that a flashlight, for kids, is a powerful tool to give them feelings of "supernatural" ability, but Smarter Romance is the real thing. It's WOW powerful; it can actually change people's futures!

Till next time be safe, have fun, and be smart!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Confused Duck

We've got a duck in our hen house. A sadly confused duck. He's the only non-chicken in there; he doesn't know he's "not a chicken."

OK. As you know, Smarter Romance specifically targets the dating and courtship experience. For those of you married men and women who follow this blog and/or who may be in roles to support and encourage couples' relationships...I offer the following humble recommendation:

Just a short time ago I ran across what I think is the very best book on marriage I've ever read, and I've read and followed a few of them. From my perspective, Dr. Gary Thomas' Sacred Marriage stands up head and shoulders above all the rest. Gary writes candidly about his own marriage experience and growth, introduces all kinds of valuable first-hand, historical, and biographical illustrations, and he speaks from his heart integrating what the Bible really says about marriage. He touches what we all experience personally, see all around us relationally, and face culturally on a daily basis--as men and women.

He appeals to the real citizenry of Christian men and women.

Gary is conceptually, theologically, and realistically ON TARGET! If you've not found this gem already, I heartily suggest you get it and read it with your wife or husband. I believe it will be a blessing of major influence for your and those you influence. It's already been a great blessing and a source of deep encouragement to Judi and I.

A couple things (tongue in cheek of course): 1.) Gary Thomas is a graduate of and an adjunct professor at Western Seminary (one of my fellow alums!), so he's coming from a rock solid background (just like me...ha). 2.) He lives in the Pacific Northwest, AKA God's country, so that makes him just that much more " a really special person" (again, just like me...ha, ha).

As is the case with so much of life's experiences "we're all in this together," but many times we forget; we're not chickens." It may be that we're just so completely chicken to act like one.

Till next time...have fun, be smart, and let's help other people know how to do that relationally, too.