Singles’ Top 5 Relationship Temptations (according to Perry Noble).

9 Sep

A friend Facebooked a blog post by Perry Noble, pastor of NewSpring Church in South Carolina, discussing what he thinks are the top five temptations singles face when considering a relationship.  Here’s what he had to say:

#1 – Compromise! Hands down this is the first temptation…and I would argue that it is the girl that deals with this way more than the guy.  She begins wanting “Mr. Right” but will settle for “Mr. Right Now” if she perceives that all of her friends are getting married and she is not.  God has NEVER called His followers to compromise…EVER!!!  (And…ladies…if you are constantly having the defend the guy you are dating, then you know you are compromising.)

AND…ladies…if he is not pursuing you in a godly manner (which means he is not constantly trying to stick his hands down your pants) then drop him!

Yes, the abuse of exclamation points and ellipses is tedious, but if you can get past that, what we have is a grade-A example of the type of dating advice that leaves Christian singles single well into their 30s.  While there are plenty of marriage-obsessed young women out there who jump at the mere hint of any halfway decent man’s attention, this NEVER COMPROMISE advice is why there are numerous 30-year-old Christian girls who have never had a boyfriend.  I also think this type of advice plays into the pedestalization of women that the church is so (in)famous for – if you’re a female 4 who loves the Lord, waiting for your heroic Christian male 8 to wake up and realize you’re the one for him is just not going to work out well for you.

Re: men who are “constantly trying to stick his hand down your pants” – the most church alpha way of dealing with a woman regarding sexual desire is to acknowledge it openly and then draw a line in the sand and stick with it.  Constant pushing of limits can get you branded a pig who is just looking for a warm body.  Primly abstaining out of “respect” or pretending you don’t struggle with temptation will just make her angry.

#2 – Believing That Marriage Will Solve The Struggles You Are Facing While Dating! Marriage is a magnifier…and if it is a small deal when you are dating then I promise it will be a BIG HONKIN’ deal when you tie the knot!

Can’t argue much with this.

#3 – Going Too Fast! Anyone can fool anyone for a short period of time!  You need to date someone “until the new wears off!”  If two people are in a hurry to get married then it is usually because they are trying to hide something from the other person…or because they just want to have sex!

I don’t think that short courtships are a problem per se.  The problem is infatuation clouding good judgment.  Basically, if the only thing you like about the other person is making out with him or her, then you probably shouldn’t rush into marriage.  But if you have values in common and enjoy doing things together other than sucking face, then I don’t see how dating for 2 years versus 9 months is really going to make a substantial difference in the success of your marriage, especially when you’re out of college.

#4 – Trying To Be The Person That The Person They Are Dating Wants Them To Be Rather Than Who They Are – If you are having to lie about who you are to date someone…then you need to break up today!  Ladies…DO NOT SAY you love football and want to go to games with him if you don’t know the difference between the offense and the defense.  Dudes, DO NOT SAY you absolutely LOVE chic flics and want to watch them for hours if doing so drives you crazy!  If you are doing things you HATE to do…but have refused to be honest and tell the other person the truth…then you are being dishonest with them.

There’s a difference between being honest and being an intolerant stick in the mud.  If you don’t like football but your loved one does, be honest about it but be willing to participate without whining the whole time about your sacrifice.  Also, it’s okay not to do every single thing together as a couple.  Just because he doesn’t want to do something with you doesn’t mean that he doesn’t love you.

#5 – Seeking Advice And/OR Affirmation From The Wrong People! Single people…please, if you want marriage/dating advice…then go to people who are actually married and have been so for a long time!  Why in the world would you ask a single person for marriage advice?  Why would you ask someone who has literally blown through relationship after relationship how to have a relationship?  Because they read a book?  Because they know some Bible verses?  REALLY?  If you want to know how to have a successful relationship…ask those who have one.

This is TERRIBLE advice.  By the same logic, you should not listen to teenage moms preach abstinence or alcoholics preach sobriety.  Truth is truth no matter whom it comes from.  It may taste better coming from someone who’s walking the walk, but marriage advice from married people isn’t necessarily going to be better than from an unmarried person.

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37 Responses to “Singles’ Top 5 Relationship Temptations (according to Perry Noble).”

  1. Toz September 9, 2010 at 1:06 pm #

    Perry Noble undoubtedly has noble intentions (pun intended), but he’s reaching. I’ve been hearing this stuff since youth group and really, many such pastors would be better served being a bit more humble about the topic. Hard and fast rules like “don’t go too fast” without getting to the underlying issue are the fertile ground from which legalism springs. I knew within a week of dating my wife that I wanted to marry her. I remain convinced that we could have gotten married a month into our relationship and things would have turned out fine.

    The problem is that a lot of these pastors are in many ways like my youth group pastor. They’re both preaching what they perceive will get the best results, not what is true. A humbler tone, one where you ask the reader to really think about what’s biblical and exhort them to grow in character would be much more useful. Instead, he’s come up with mostly hard and fast rules that either preach to the choir or are ignored by those that don’t have enough character to follow them.

    Not to be too hard on the guy. It’s clear there’s a market for this sort of advice. I’m sure many single people who want to be married are dying to know what easy changes they can make to get married. The harder truth is that a lot of it is out of your control and even the bit that is under your control takes a long time to develop and you won’t see the fruit from it for a long time.

  2. L'economy September 9, 2010 at 1:20 pm #

    Point #5 is especially bad advice, since people who have “been married a long time” will have faced a completely different dating market. Since they haven’t had to pay much attention to the dating market (speaking presumptively, of course), it’s unlikely that they will have advice grounded in reality.

    Also, people in general tend to draw on their own experience. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it can lead to erroneous advice, since there is always the chance of misattribution. By this I mean that it is possible for someone to have a disconnect between what one thinks makes/made his relationship work and what actually makes/made his relationship work.

    In general, though, I wouldn’t seek advice from single people either. A young single person is, in general,* stupid and inexperienced in these matters. An old single person is generally* a failure.

    Ultimately, if I were seeking advice, I would look for empirically based observations given by someone with a discerning spirit of wisdom. Like Citizen Renegade.

    * There are exceptions, of course. This is just a general rule based on personal observation.

  3. Bhetti September 9, 2010 at 1:46 pm #

    I definitely agree you more than with Mr. Noble.

    In terms of whom the best person to go to for advice is, the best answer is everybody! Then you’ll be able to synthesise a solution that will fit you.

    You have to ultimately be able to trust yourself to make the right decision for you, gathering data from as many sources as possible to inform it.

  4. Joseph B September 9, 2010 at 2:21 pm #

    Back to your usual bone-crushing logic I see.

  5. Thursday September 9, 2010 at 6:10 pm #

    I don’t see how dating for 2 years versus 9 months is really going to make a substantial difference in the success of your marriage, especially when you’re out of college.

    Based on my observations I’d say the following make sense.

    Under 25, it’s best date for at least 2 years before getting married.

    Over 25, it’s best to date for at least 1 year before getting married.

  6. Aunt Haley September 9, 2010 at 6:35 pm #

    Thursday, can you give more specific reasoning?

  7. ASDF September 9, 2010 at 9:27 pm #

    Under 25 your personality is still forming. You could be a completely different person by your 5th anniversary.

  8. Cane Caldo September 9, 2010 at 9:34 pm #

    This seems like exactly why you would marry young. You have better odds of growing together than finding a good fit for a set mold.

  9. Joseph B September 9, 2010 at 10:55 pm #

    Cane is right for once, and this is especially true of young *women*.

    Not so much young men… they can evolve in quite erratic and dangerous directions, from the perspective of a dependent wife.

    Men are intended to have a greater variance. Women are intended to absorb their identity from the strongest external source. Hence men should marry late, women early.

  10. Joseph B September 9, 2010 at 10:58 pm #

    The danger for a woman in marrying late is the very high likelihood that the strongest external source of identity will be something other than the church or her godly family.

  11. Aunt Haley September 9, 2010 at 11:52 pm #

    How many dates did you go on with your wife during that first week?! Did you know her well beforehand?

    Also, well-written, lucid post.

  12. Aunt Haley September 9, 2010 at 11:55 pm #

    The best answer is “everybody,” except when “everybody” gives such contradictory advice that the whole thing seems like a futile operation.

    But yeah, I agree that in general, it’s a good idea to do some research and draw your own conclusions instead of blindly accept whatever someone says.

  13. Cane Caldo September 9, 2010 at 11:56 pm #

    You wouldn’t be cautioning against sone slippery type of slope, would you; one where poor decisions lead to some unforeseen crisis of identity?

  14. Joseph B September 10, 2010 at 5:14 am #

    No, for women identity overwrite is total. It’s not a problem of a slippery slope, but of a switch in alliegances.

    Furthermore, even if I was talking about a slippery slope induced identity crisis, I still wouldn’t be making your idiotic error of attributing susceptibility to people like Haley or myself.

    Try not to read your own ideas into everything. You might become less tiresome.

  15. y81 September 10, 2010 at 6:12 am #

    Surely what we learn from social science–and Scripture too, to a degree–is that we should not listen much to anyone, because people are notoriously self-deceived. What we should do is observe successful people (i.e., for this purpose, women who achieve happy marriages with good husbands) and try to figure out what they did. How did they meet, how did they start dating, what led them to get married, how have they handled the stresses of marriage, etc.? Very little of the Christian literature on this subject (with which, to be sure, I have only a passing familiarity) seems to me to have a strong empirical foundation.

  16. Cane Caldo September 10, 2010 at 8:16 am #

    I accept your concession.

  17. Toz September 10, 2010 at 8:39 am #

    Just 1 =). One very long date. It was long distance. And no, I didn’t know her all that well beforehand. But the crucial thing is that we had a bunch of mutual friends that knew us both for many years. We both asked around and had a good idea of the character of the other person before we got into the relationship.

    The thing most people don’t know is that dating is a very modern phenomenon. 150 years ago, most people were set up by their parents in one way or the other. That’s why the Bible has so little to say on the subject. It’s about as foreign a controversy to the writers of the period as the whole circumcision controversy is to us. That’s why these rules about how to face such “temptations” is naive at best and harmful at worst. It’s not biblical advice. It’s at best a take-some-things-out-of-context biblical and at worst a cynical ploy to enlist desired behavior. Sad, because we KNOW game is so much better at doing the latter than words from a pulpit.

    Most people with good character do fine in marriage no matter how they got into it. Not coincidentally, that’s not just the goal of marriage, but the goal of Christian life.

  18. Toz September 10, 2010 at 9:49 am #

    The best advice is ask people who are wise. Wisdom is a virtue and often hard to find. Like I wrote in another comment, wisdom is as hard to find beauty. Most people will have some, but few people will have a lot.

    The thing is, there are very immature married couples who will give bad advice, mature single people who will give good advice. But their status in life is not what determines the value of the advice. It’s their wisdom. There’s a tendency to automatically assign it based on status but that’s not only misplaced, but dangerous. Like I said, the hard and fast rule of asking advice of married people is a well-intentioned, but naive piece of advice.

  19. Toz September 10, 2010 at 9:51 am #

    No matter when you marry, you’ll be a completely different person by your 5th anniversary. It would be very odd to meet someone who hadn’t changed a lot.

  20. y81 September 10, 2010 at 10:08 am #

    Most of the wise I know (like Socrates, or our pastor) are very chary with their advice.

  21. Toz September 10, 2010 at 11:02 am #

    Makes sense. Wise people know you should only give advice when the person asking is ready.

  22. Joseph B September 10, 2010 at 1:21 pm #

    You really are an illogical socially autistic idiot. Tell me, did you get there via a slippery slope?

  23. Lover of Wisdom September 10, 2010 at 1:41 pm #

    I can say, as one who is safely beyond the mid-twenties mark, that my personality, desires, intellectual development, values, and so on, are forming even more so than they were when I was in my early twenties. Part of the reason is that I am vigilant over these things, always looking to develop them. But perhaps most people aren’t like that.

    I’d say that dating length before marriage depends more on maturity (in terms of expectations of, and a realistic approach towards, marriage), finances, an objective assessment of your future spouse (let the newness factor wear off), and all the other usual stuff.

  24. Joseph B September 10, 2010 at 1:50 pm #

    At least you’re bold enough to get things exactly backwards instead of muddling along saying nothing like most people. Which has value in stimulating my own thoughts.

    In my own experience, for a Christian whose intellectual beliefs and spiritual identity are firmly set, choosing sin can be done deliberately and with eyes wide open, but it’s like iceskating uphill – it only grows more difficult with time.

    You can lose your innocence and sear your soul’s conscience, but you won’t be fool enough to believe what you’re doing is right.

    The danger is in earning your damnation, not in suddenly becoming the wishy-washy sort of person who bends truth to fit their behavior. Even the demons know, and tremble.

  25. Cane Caldo September 10, 2010 at 2:53 pm #

    I get it: You think you’re different; you’ve risen above all us mess of humanity sorts.

    Calling me autistic and idiotic is not very smart of you. Suppose I am? What have you won? More to the point: I dont care if you beat me at your personal Internet Wars. I care that my ideas are salient.

    Lucifer was a self-righteous prig, too. The interesting thing about his case–what separates you two–is that he has never been wrong.

  26. Jenny September 10, 2010 at 6:17 pm #

    I agree about married people looking at the situation differently. I’d also give the same warning for older people and “different” people (race, socioeconomic class, religion, etc.). Sure, these people might offer some good general advice (as would single friends), but more often than not, they won’t analyze your particular situation correctly…And they’re likely to keep insisting they’re right and you’re wrong regardless of how much evidence you bring to the table!

  27. Joseph B September 10, 2010 at 9:48 pm #

    Your ideas aren’t salient, your personal issues are on flagrant display, and you’ve amazingly interpreted an admission of very serious personal sin as a statement of superiority, which is consistent with your general lack of insight into others.

  28. Joseph B September 10, 2010 at 10:02 pm #

    Your whining now is particularly amusing since you’re the one who set the rude and contemptuous tone with your little song. Always the victim, eh?

  29. Cane Caldo September 10, 2010 at 11:36 pm #

    So it’s the song (at least two posts ago) that hit your nerve. You must have found it somewhat relevant. Pro tip: it wasn’t directed at you personally, or even AH. It’s true for all Christians–myself included. Further, others have agreed on the common. Can they not taste salt? Then again, they may not be nursing an imagined crush on our host.

  30. Joseph B September 11, 2010 at 3:17 am #

    It was clearly addressed at Haley, and I’m simply addressing you in the manner you chose, idiot.

  31. Ilíon September 11, 2010 at 6:03 pm #

    While there are plenty of marriage-obsessed young women out there who jump at the mere hint of any halfway decent man’s attention, this NEVER COMPROMISE advice is why there are numerous 30-year-old Christian girls who have never had a boyfriend. I also think this type of advice plays into the pedestalization of women that the church is so (in)famous for – if you’re a female 4 who loves the Lord, waiting for your heroic Christian male 8 to wake up and realize you’re the one for him is just not going to work out well for you.

    Surely Mr Perry isn’t talking about all that “Game” bullshit when he talks about compromise and settling for “Mr Right Now.”

    But yes, women — and men — do frequently have unrealistic expectations with regard to their own “hotness score” and that of the mate they “deserve.”

    Re: men who are “constantly trying to stick his hand down your pants” – the most church alpha way of dealing with a woman regarding sexual desire is to acknowledge it openly and then draw a line in the sand and stick with it. Constant pushing of limits can get you branded a pig who is just looking for a warm body. Primly abstaining out of “respect” or pretending you don’t struggle with temptation will just make her angry.

    Women want (and insist upon) a “right of refusal” with regard to this — but they tend not to be honest with themselves about it. Giving in to a woman’s near-constant (and frequently insidious) pressure to “put the moves on her” is just asking for trouble; there is no way to “ draw a line in the sand and stick with it ” if the two of you are going to keep trying to walk on the line and dabble your toes on the other side.

    And, speaking as a man, a woman who is angry because you don’t “put the moves on her” (or, to be more blunt and honest about what we’re talking about here, try to “get in her pants”) is just worth the time or effort. If a woman won’t respect me, what do I need with her?

    I don’t think that short courtships are a problem per se. The problem is infatuation clouding good judgment. Basically, if the only thing you like about the other person is making out with him or her, then you probably shouldn’t rush into marriage.

    Agreed.

    At the same time, the years-long “dating” that is now standard-fare is also problematic; the modern “dating culture” isn’t about courtship and marriage, it’s about dating (or worse, merely about “hooking up”) — if the point of dating someone isn’t to decide whether to marry one another, why are the two wasting one another’s time? Personally, I think this ties back into Mr Perry’s comment about settling for “Mr (or Miss) Right Now” … women (and men) generally know relatively quickly whether they are open to marrying the other, yet even after they know that they don’t want this person they’re dating, they keep dating.

    But if you have values in common and enjoy doing things together other than sucking face, then I don’t see how dating for 2 years versus 9 months is really going to make a substantial difference in the success of your marriage, especially when you’re out of college.

    Indeed. This long “dating” culture is, I believe, what Mr Perry is talking about.

    This modern disinclination to decide “Yes” or “No” — and then to act upon the decision either by getting married or by freeing one another to consider others as potential mates — is a terrible, and dishonest, compromise (and I think it’s what Mr Perry is talking about, even if his thought aren’t as clear as they could to be); it’s a “settling” for “Mr/Miss Right Now” while trying to keep one’s open for “the Real Deal” to show up.

    If you don’t like football but your loved one does, be honest about it but be willing to participate without whining the whole time about your sacrifice.

    I agree; except that it doesn’t always work.

    For instance, I don’t care for sports (especially on TV), nor, really, for “the theatre.” But the woman I thought I wanted to marry cared about both. I would go to these events with her (and I never put up a fuss about it) … but, because I didn’t act ecstatic about the events (especially the sports), and probably because I didn’t initiate dates of that sort, she was never satisfied that I enjoyed my time with her.

    This is TERRIBLE advice.

    Now it isn’t! He clearly specified that he’s not discouraging getting relationship advice for other singles simpliciter, but rather from “someone who has literally blown through relationship after relationship.”

  32. Ilíon September 11, 2010 at 6:10 pm #

    Being well passed the mid-20s, I too can say that “my personality, desires, intellectual development, values, and so on, are forming even more so than they were when I was in my early twenties” — or, to put it another way, I’m becoming *more* the person I was when I was 20-25.

  33. Cane Caldo September 12, 2010 at 12:12 pm #

    “…that “Game” bullshit…”

    Can you expound on this, please?

  34. Will S. September 13, 2010 at 8:26 pm #

    The problem with Pastor Noble’s comment on “compromise” is he doesn’t define it very well; he alludes to moral compromising, and yes, his point in that regard is well-taken, but that doesn’t mean other compromising is wrong. Compromise, or give-and-take, is at the heart of all human relationships; and if Miss Lonely keeps waiting for Mr. Perfect, who matches everything on her checklist (not just in terms of his walk with the Lord, but also vain, mundane things), she’ll never find him, because he doesn’t exist. Better she find someone godly who she likes to be with, who likes to be with her, and they both learn to compromise, to give and take. That should be obvious, common sense. But common sense doesn’t seem so common, any more.

  35. Jennifer August 19, 2011 at 11:29 pm #

    “if you’re a female 4 who loves the Lord, waiting for your heroic Christian male 8 to wake up and realize you’re the one for him is just not going to work out well for you”

    Ugh, more number-straining and appearance stuff. Appearance is important, rank-stressing is not. You even advised settling in marriage for lesser features; how’s that more reasonable than the idea of falling for a “4” to begin with?

    Otherwise excellent post, though I think by “compromise” he meant spiritually.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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