I got lots of things wrong in dating, but as I think back over my mistakes and failures — dating too young, jumping from relationship to relationship, not being honest with myself or with others, failing to set or keep boundaries, not listening to friends and family, not prizing and pursuing purity — one error rises above the others, and in many ways explains the others: My dating relationships were mainly a pursuit of intimacy with a girlfriend, not clarity about whether to marry her. With the right heart, and in the right measure, and at the right time, these are all good desires.In my best moments, I was pursuing clarity intimacy, but in a lot of other moments, if I’m honest, I just wanted intimacy at whatever cost. God made many of us to want these things, and therefore wants us to want these things — with the right heart, in the right measure, and at the right time.
The lipstick left behind on her glass had somehow made me a little deaf.“I’m glad you asked me to.I didn’t have any plans for tonight.” My voice sounded like one of those warbling wood saws.“What? I find that hard to believe.” Sticking out her bottom lip in a little empathy pout, she tilted her head a bit. ”I pressed down on my leg so hard to this day it’s a miracle I can walk.What was driving you most in those brief moments before you let your lips touch?For me, every first kiss was driven more by my own desires than by God’s desires for me.The two together, without covenant promises, can be a formula for disaster in dating.
God is the greatest prize in life for any believer — at whatever age, in whatever stage of life, and whatever our relationship status.
Speaking of school being upon people, when I was seventeen I lost my virginity to one of the teachers at my high school.
Out of the blue one Thursday night Miss Usher (not her real name) phoned me at home.“I’m out of cigarettes,” she said.
I don’t even know what they’re called: like a bathrobe—but made of thin, slightly layered, see-through silky-type material. “Come on in.”I secretly begged my yearning-to-be-free leg to allow me to walk at least semi-normally.
A Right there on Miss Usher’s porch my right leg started shaking like it wanted to hop right off of me and go cavorting with the kangaroos in Australia.“Do you have my cigarettes? ” I said, wiggling in the air my brown paper bag from 7-11. And, lo and behold, I made it inside Miss Usher’s house without lurching straight into her and/or destroying anything in her entryway.
Though prior to that night I was, technically speaking, a virgin, I wasn’t exactly a sexual neophyte.