adventures in dating {religious scare tactics}

I received an email the other day from someone who has been reading my dating stories and seemed a bit concerned for me. The email had this phrase in it: “just remember the traditional method of dating is a reminder of the preeminence of Christ.” Say whaaaat? Jesus Juke much?

I love the scare tactics that were used by youth pastors and religious leaders of all sorts throughout my childhood. I grew up with the impression that there was a very long list of do’s and dont’s when it comes to dating. SO…. in case you are not already aware here’s a few things I learned:

  • the beach= Satan’s sandbox. Forget the fact that GOD HIMSELF created the sand and ocean. No no, the beach is where Satan sets up camp and destroys our lives. Bikinis=hell and eternal damnation.
  • dancing leads to sex and sex leads to babies. (Seriously, this is why I believe Christian music is impossible to slow dance to.)
  • You must model each and every one of your prayers after the great Billy Graham. “Dear Lord of hosts, from whom ALL blessings flow, please don’t let me look like a damn fool in front of Bobby Smith at lunch. I mean, he’s HOTT God. Umm, I mean Jesus, he’s a beautiful image of you. Blessed Lord please hear my heart’s cry. In your precious, holy name, Ah-men.”
  • Men do in fact like hearing about a woman’s Precious Moments collection. Yeah, who knew! Those tiny, scary looking creatures with the Farrah Fawcett hair and a bathrobe that’s just a liiiiitle too short, yeah that’s an angel right there. I just wish we could customize those. I’ve got a couple of people I’m dying to see the Precious Moments version of.
  • First dates should always be at a Chick-fil-A location. They are closed on Sundays, have positive music and there’s a very likely chance 67% of the people you see there look familiar because they are in your church directory….perfect!
  • Holding hands should only happen while praying. Or (maybe) on the 18th date.
  • Check your True Love Waits card before a date. Make sure it hasn’t expired yet.
  • Ladies, if your date says ““Hey, let’s pray, to candlelight, while lying down on my couch, listening to Led Zeppelin and then act surprised that we ended up making out.”, expect lightning bolts. Yeah, God saw that too.
  • And lastly, dating is the wrong way. Courting is the Godly way. Get it right.

All joking aside, I’ve had to deconstruct this idea in my head that dating is wrong. I was taught for too many years that I was automatically doing something wrong. Well, no wonder I wasn’t fully engaged in any situation because I was living and operating out of fear. Good thing is, I’ve changed my thinking, gotten rid of the lies and established boundaries for myself that I believe are good and keep me focused just as much on Christ as when I’m not dating.


What rules and ideas about relationships did you grow up hearing that you are now having to leave behind? Do you see the scare tactics still being used on kids and young adults?



7 thoughts on “adventures in dating {religious scare tactics}

  1. Rebekah says:

    Ah, yes, “courtship.” It’s not enough to make kids afraid of sex, but now the church needs to make them afraid of relationships as well. I remember being told that dating would only lead to a world of pain and leave me damaged, while if I waited for “the one,” he would magically appear one day and we would court and marry, bypassing all of the messy emotions that come with dating. While I never bought that idea, my upbringing did manage to instill a fear of relationships in me that took me years to overcome. Anyway, I am loving this dating series!

  2. raquela1 says:

    You are so funny! Bout time someone said what you just said! : ) I have shared your dating posts with many girlfriends and the common response I get is, “I can relate and I love that your friend writes about it because I felt, for the first time, I’m not alone.” Although they are hilarious posts, I’m seeing how it captures people, gives them something to laugh about, while also showing that you are human. Some of these women live in fear and each time they have a “bad” date, they judge themselves and blame themselves for not being good enough. Your dating posts have caused them to look at it differently because you are sharing the light-heartedness in it. As soon as I read, “traditional method of dating” I was immediately turned-off because I met the most loving, respectful, “essentially whole,” perfect-for-me, christian man from a Facebook email!..haha…so had I done the traditional thing, I would have missed out on meeting exactly who I believe God put in my path…keep sharing!! : )

  3. B.D. says:

    Kara, this whole post made me laugh out loud and kind of cringe as well. Whenever I read your posts mentioning people emailing you, I always wonder what sort of people you have connections with that always talk about all these things!

  4. […] how I could forget my year of dating woes? adventures in dating {momma’s boy} and adventures in dating {religious scare tactics} were two of my favorites and were the most shared by […]

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