It is a delight to be the spouse of a hard working, joy-filled, dedicated man.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Living Among The Window Ledge People

So I've said a few time before and promised an explanation of not having rules especially in departments where some expect us to have rules.

Our daughters, all four, have never dated and won't. Two are now married. Some folks then wonder what our "rules" look like, how it is we "do" that. How do we keep them from dating, what our definition of dating is, when they will get to make that choice for themselves and what the consequences for rule breaking in our house looks like.

They seem to have at least a brain strain or more like a brain fracture when we say we don't have a no-dating rule. "Then they can date if they want to?"


"So then you have dating rules."


Eyes glaze over and they shake their head and wonder if we are just being obstinate or silly or knowing us slightly, both.

We see it like this.

We don't have rules about walking on the window ledge when you are in a building five stories up and better.

But we seem to live in a society that once you are above the fifth floor, the only accepted way of getting from room 502 to 534 say, is to climb out on the ledge and walk hopefully to the corresponding window and then climb back in.

We stand in room 502 knowing that we need to get to 534 and listen to insane people talk about how easy and sort of fun it is to go by way of the ledge. They seem to think we are nuts for thinking it absurd to go about in this manner. They have always gotten from room to room that way, they are fine. Only a few folks fall to their death, and some survive to come up and climb right back out on that ledge.

Sorry, but we think you are crazy. You have perfectly good hallways. Why would you want to risk the fall, the chance that you might not be at the right window, so many other pit falls of taking the window ledge instead of the hallway.

But because we live in a society that refuses to take the hallway from room to room, we seem to have a no-window-ledge rule. Because what do you say when someone starts climbing out on the ledge and looks back at you and says, "Are you coming?"

"No, what are you, nuts? We don't use the ledge."

"Oh, you have a window ledge rule don't you?"

"Well I didn't before today, didn't know I needed one."

That is how we feel about dating. We don't really need a no-dating rule because quite frankly it is as ridiculous as getting from room to room via a window ledge. It doesn't assure you that you will actually get to the room you are seeking and on top of that it is plum dangerous and unnecessary to boot. It is just that nearly everyone in our society climbs out the window and goes along the window ledge.

We firmly believe and it has been proven that God will bring along your spouse when and where you need them. It will be evident, not necessarily just to the couple involved, but to their immediate community. It will be confirmed and known to those who need to know.

If God cares about the hairs on my head, the job I hold, the house I live in, the vacation I take, why would he not care about the second most important relationship, topped only by my relationship to Him? And care enough to bring the person that I need, and needs me, into my life at the appropriate time?

I do not need to entertain myself until then, get to know the opposite sex, and play around with falling off the ledge. This is baggage that gets in the way of the eventual relationship He will bring to me, and is the makings of footholds in my life that allows Satan to climb all over me.

And that is just the stuff that is bad for me personally. Dating also allows for me to defraud others. The people I date, when they think I care more about them than I do, they are defrauded. I can't possible be honest with how little I do care or they would break it off and I would not be able to gain the personal pleasure that I get from having someone to do things with. Having to do things alone or with your brother or your mom or dad, is a pitiful drag and down right embarrassing why would I be honest and make myself have to get through day to day life in that embarassing uncomfortable manner?

I also defraud their family and mine. They become close to me and my family to them, only to loose when we say it didn't work out. They are left with an unusable Christmas gift in the closet when we timely break up in November so that we don't have to do that uncomfortable Christmas, but we aren't really that into one another, thing. They are left with emotions that have no place to go now, or they continue to get together with my ex because for some reason they seem to like them better than me and they waited so long for a brother or a sister and now it looks like they will have to wait even longer and won't that be weird when I finally do get hitched what will they do with my old ex that they still like?

Not to mention the constant danger of slipping off the ledge and plummeting to the death of our purity. Physically and emotionally as well. And it is not enough just to "avoid" actually falling. We believe that to constantly tell yourself you cannot do a certain something, but enjoying getting up to certain edges only to exasperatingly back off before it is too late, is as dangerous to future intimacy as actually doing what you are not supposed to until you have committed yourself before your God and community.

So no, we don't have rules against dating any more than we have rules of walking on the fifth story window ledge.

More later. As always. Please pelt us with comments and questions, it spurs us on.


Daisy said...

Well, I do think it is important to know who you are all alone by yourself because you have to live with yourself your entire life no matter who else (family, husband, kids, friends, etc.) may be in it.

And if you can't live with yourself, how can you expect anyone else to do it?

Good luck at the Dr's, Lanny. Hope you have a good day.

Shelley said...

I think if you can make yourself happy, know who you are and have strong resolve - you are in a better position to connect with the right person.

LindaSueBuhl said...

Much of what you say is such simple and clear thinking - one big factor is being part of a community - hard to do when families move constantly (I was a military brat) and we are so "in transit" as a society. When I have had time to establish connections which can endure - I make better choices all the way around. Perhaps we need to draw up a "no drinking poison" rule? Or "no brushing your teeth with the razor"? ah - I'm being sarcastic which isn't an admirable trait - but the casual promiscuity of emotions (not sex - please people don't make it all about sex) - is rough on a person's soul - I feel I left chunks of myself with various people and their families over the years - chunks I could use right now! Well said Lanny Girl and hope the doctor has all good words today!

Vickie said...

Lanny, I understand what you're saying totally. If it works for you and your family I think it's wonderful. I'm in prayer constantly for my children as they are all in their 20's now and are looking for the right person. We've had these conversations with them all (using different analogies) and we are praying fervently that the Lord will bring the right person into their lives at the right time. Patience is indeed a virtue. Good post!

Be thinkin' of you at the Dr's...

Ohilda said...


Boy, I've missed coming by here. I love your blog and I have to say, I LOVE this post! True words of wisdom. I'd love to hear more about how your two married daughters were led to their husbands, too. God is just too cool! :)



A. Joy said...

I like your window ledge analogy, I've never heard that one before. You might also point out that your family gets to know your daughter's husband's family very well before they are married - they are not marrying strangers. I also think it's extremely important that your future spouse know well and get along with your parents and siblings because if you have any sort of relationship with them ( your family )- they will too and it better be a good one. I get so tired of hearing people complain about their in laws or their spouse's side of the family and cause strife because they married the 'guy/ girl, not their family'. Ugh. How about just being encouraging in the Lord no matter what the situation. I know, it's tough sometimes. I'm fortunate to have married a guy who believes in extreme respect for one's parents - just because they are the parents if for no other reason. Of course, I don't need to tell you any of this! Good post. =)

Lisa @ Life with 4! said...

I would love to print this off and keep it... can I?
My husband and I have different views on this subject. I agree with you... I like the idea of "courting" better. And, of course, waiting on the spouse that God provides.
Very well written, Lanny.

I have the same thought as Ohilda... I'd love to know more about your married daughters "courtships". What kind of families did their spouses come from?

Far Side of Fifty said...

Interesting thoughts Lanny:)