Thursday, April 22, 2010

Are You Kidding; A Developmental Dynamic in Dating?

As a kid I often visited my mom's parents' home. My sister and I (another brother and another sister came along later) loved to play with my grandparents' latticed room dividers. Grandpa and Grandma kept them against a wall in their living room. Me and my sis would drag them into the center of the room and work to arrange them (I think there were four) into a circle. Then we would sneak inside the circle opening and closing their wooden lattices permitting us to "hide"--we thought of it as our fun fortress.

Shortly following my grandmother's death my wife and I had opportunity to acquire some of those old family heirlooms.
Of course I remembered those room dividers and fancied the idea of their being in my own home where my children could play with them as I had done. You can imagine my great surprise--and disappointment--to realize that the experience I remembered as a child was very different from my new experience with the dividers as an adult. I expected them to be very tall--maybe 6 feet in height. But when I saw them again, now as an adult, it may be stretching it to say they are 60 inches tall!

Certainly our then four and six year-old physical statures had a lot to do with our judgment of the size of those dividers.
We remembered them being large because at that time in our lives we were relatively small. Then, too, moving away and across the country as we subsequently did kept their size something of a secret as we grew older and taller. As it turned out we had not opportunity to use or be around them or to recalibrate their size in our minds eye given the changes in our physical dimensions. Also, and equally influential in this remembering process is the fact that the purpose and the way we, as children, used those dividers was in fact very different from their designed purpose and function. We have changed dramatically in both out physical size AND mental sophistication. So what does this have to do with dating? A lot.

Let me illustrate by asking you a question: Let's assume dating has an intended purpose. So, I'm asking you, what is dating all about? How you answer that question may tell you--and me--something about you. One of the more common answers: "Dating is about getting to know the opposite sex--it's about learning how women or guys work."Another honest response , "It's about finding opportunities to release sexual tension." OK. (I'll come back to that one later.)

Here's another simple
question for those of you--especially you guys who may be in junior high, high school or you may be college freshmen or sophomores: "When you date are you seriously thinking about getting married?" Quite generally the answer I get, especially and quickly from guys is, "No!--are you kidding?" Here's a third question: "If you are between the ages of 14 through mid-to-late 20's, do you know your brain is changing; do you know it's becoming more complex, developing toward the kind and the quality of neurological complexity you will have permanently as a mature adult? Typically the answer I get when I ask that question is something along the lines of, "Yah...OK. I think so. Sure!"

Finally, my last question to you comes in the form of a scenario: "If I handed you a little book to read--say it's just ten pages--but in giving it to you I also tell you that reading it will undoubtedly bring about one of the most normal, and pleasant, and potentially prolong-able experiences you will have experienced in your life to this point. However, I then also warn you how that if you choose to read the little book and experience that pleasant event now, at this time in your life, it will most probably mean you may never actually experience it in the same or in a better and prolong-able way ever again. What will you do with the book? These questions, the first, second, third, and that scenario are all related. I'm going to come back to look for the next blog entry. In the meantime, stay tuned. Be safe, have fun, and be smart.


PS: If, like me, you are genuinely interested in some research around this topic and you are willing, again like me, to "eat the meat and spit out the bones" here (click) is a great study with a healthy bibliography of research you can sink your teeth into. Remember, if you're hungry for the truth, "All truth is God's truth," but we are all called at that point to be very finicky eaters!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Flower to Flower: Those So-Called "Male Freedoms"

What's this about, "male freedoms?" When a dating relationship goes "inside-out" it becomes sexual. Another phrase, "sexual favors," describes a guy's twisted successful effort to get more than just hugs and kisses behind closed doors. "Male freedom" becomes a code word for some really irresponsible guy behavior.

However, that's not to suggest gals can't or aren't responsible to initiate this kind of "sharing." When, for example, she decides to offer her "favors" in a bid to keep him around longer, she may predictably succeed at making that happen--for a while. But lots of experience (and good research) says his presence will be predictably short-term. And what happens to the relationship? While he (and she) may (?) enjoy the sexual fireworks, there's often an obvious and abrupt change--a decline--in the overall relational dynamics. Going "inside-out" often predicts a relationship's "the end"--the very thing she probably didn't want to see happen.

Historically, women have taken most all the risks when a relationships turn "inside out." It's an age-old complaint, "The guy just walked away; she took all the risks!" Pregnancy, children to care for, financial uncertainties? It's been a prescription for heart ache; bitter pills swallowed oh so often by many women. Then, (as I mentioned briefly in the previous blog) in a bid to offer as much sexual adventure and pleasure as possible for BOTH sexes, the newest Western cultural efforts have focused to bring miracle tools of 21st Century technology to grant women the same "freedoms" the guys have historically (albeit irresponsibly) possessed. Note that the emphasis is on "freedoms," generally dismissing any appropriate responsibility-taking or developing any ethical muscle on the part of either sex. The new cultural mantra appears to have become, "It's the freedoms, stupid!"

Again, as I mentioned previously, a woman's relational wiring tends to demand the very things this newly acclaimed "freedom" unwittingly denigrates: relational stability, security, commitment, warmth, and interpersonal sharing with sustained friendship. And where are those things found? In a committed marriage and family relationship! Interestingly, too, what factors best predict the long-term emotional and physical health of men: relational stability, security, commitment, warmth, and interpersonal sharing with respect in a sustained friendship. Coincidental? Hardly.

But there's more: the "inside-out" dynamics can get frustratingly scary, too. People can't just turn them off and on like water from a faucet. The more frequently dating partners "share favors" this way the less likely the participants will be to ever find a "satisfying committed relationship." That's a proven fact!

So why are loud, persuasive voices in Western culture aggressively marketing the very things so destructive to male health, female health and marital health? Three reasons come to mind: Money, Politics, and Moral Corruption seasoned with stupidity.

But, YOU can ignore those marketing efforts--dodge a potentially fatal personal and relationship bullet with a Smarter Romance. You have everything to gain and nothing to lose!

Until next time be safe...have fun...and be SMARTER!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Inside-Out's Most Contemporary Proponants

It's nearing that time of the year when the clothes start coming off. It doesn't matter whether you're up town or down town or somewhere in mid-town. The phenomenon is the same. In and around university campuses where I've spent much of my childhood and adult life, the spring days on campus find men playing Frisbee or tight-roping in shorts and shirtless. Gals similarly respond to the warming temperatures sun bathing together on apartment balconies. They're found waiting the lines at Starbucks in shorts and a blouse or a sweater top that's "shrunk" up two sizes from the waistline.

These spring events are generations old. I remember seeing similar scenes in 1940's-50's movies with, for example, Clarke Gable and Lana Turner. No big deal. What is new, however (I'll characterize this from my perspective) is a great confusion around what is "female."

Women are being taught they can and should expect to have the freedoms men have always known. They're expecting this, albeit without the "it's a boy!" way of thinking that comes "umbilically" attached to those so-called "freedoms."

Men and women think about who they are and what they do, respectively, very differently. You can't educate or train or otherwise "environate" maleness out of men any more successfully than you can accomplish that same thing with femaleness for women. Nevertheless, the expectation persists. It is marketed and driven by (perhaps?) good intentioned and wishful thinking "scientists," all of whom are card carrying members from a variety of agendas, with social engineering and politically correct goals.

So, what happens when you keep telling a duck he or she is a chicken? You get a really confused duck. You get a duck that tries to be a chicken but isn't wired to do chicken stuff. It's problematic for ducks...and a huge nuisance to other chickens! (see March 22nd's blog)

Consider a few interesting examples:
  1. Women are encouraged to be sexually active; postpone or devalue any feeling they might naturally have for commitment to a sexual partner, i.e., "It's purely recreational."
  2. Women are encouraged to be sexually active and feel little need for concern about any natural consequences (pregnancies) because there are "tools," i.e., birth control pills, "the morning after pill," and abortion if necessary.
  3. Women are being encouraged to think their costs for health insurance should be exactly the same as men (an idea that is as statistically curious as the statement "Men and women are equally likely to get pregnant").
I can list a lot more of these "women are just like men" messages. They come "wrapped" as implicit (implied) and explicit (clearly stated) media-driven packages. Generally all these messages are exactly what they appear to be, driven by questionably good intentioned and wishful thinking "scientists," and proposed by card carrying members from a variety of agendas, with social engineering and politically correct goals.

What's the bottom line to all of this? It's this: Quite generally women don't work that way (click and then borrow this book and go to the chapter starting on p. 189)! So what does that say for men who are often the abusers taking advantage of the innate sensibilities of women? Am I condoning their behavior--their comparative inclination toward what some have described as serial monogamy? NO!

More next time. Have fun. Be safe. Be smart