Dating Questions to Rose Stoeker, co-author of Hero:
I wanted to thank you, Rose, for the Hero rings you have for sale through your website. I wore mine to a Christian young adults’ camp, and a female friend of mine simply loved the ring, and more to the point, what it stood for. I have a few questions.
To what extent should I know a female before asking them out? I don’t know if this is a time-frame issue, or something else. Sometimes I feel stuck in a paradox: I don’t know if I want to date a girl until I know enough about their character, but it’s hard to know enough of their character without dating them.
Also, your husband Jasen wrote in Hero that “Rose readily agreed to tighten up her standards to match mine” with regards to movie choices. So did you and Jasen have slightly different standards before they started dating? This leads me to the question: how different should someone’s standards be on TV shows, modest dressing, etc., before I stop considering the idea of dating the girl? Obviously someone will never have exactly the same standards as I do, and although the girl may be willing to tighten them up as you did, Rose, I don’t like the idea of dating someone with the hope they will change.
Finally, and this is more specific to my current situation: what are your opinions on long distance relationships? The girl at the camp who I mentioned above has particularly caught my attention for being godly, and though I don’t believe I know her well enough (I have been on three camps with her since Christmas, and probably won’t see her till July), I am quite enamored with her. I have noticed her to dress immodestly once or twice, which is unfortunate. We do have quite a deep spiritually focused friendship, though, where we have both committed to gently telling one another if we are doing things the other person finds tempting, so I am currently praying about how best to tell her about these immodest incidents (How should I do this, Rose, if at all?). In her own words, she “really has no idea around guys, because they are so different”, and wants to know how she can better love them as brothers through her actions (I suggested she read Every Young Man’s Battle). I don’t know much about her television habits. I realize these questions will not have completely black and white answers, but I still wanted to ask your opinions on the above questions generally and, more specifically, in relation to the girl I mentioned above. Thank you so much to you and your husband for helping to write Hero. I really love it.
I don’t think there is a certain length of time that you need to know a girl before you ask her out on a date. A girl should know a date is a date, not a proposal, so neither of you are committed to anything serious in case you find out something that would be a red flag in their lives. Does that make sense?
As for how my viewing standards compared to Jasen’s before we started dating, yes, they were very different! I watched any movie I wanted, which consisted mostly of chick flicks that were full of sex outside of marriage and very sexual scenes. I regret watching those things with all of my heart now.
Jasen and I had our first date on a Friday night. The very next Friday he told me that he needed to know if I would be okay with adopting a few of his standards before our relationship went any further. If I wasn’t okay with adopting his standards, he unfortunately couldn’t continue to date me. I happily agreed to not watch any more movies rated more than PG. And to this day, I know that I’m not missing out on anything. I feel so clean and pure, and I know that I’m pleasing the Lord. Plus, I’ve gotten to know a whole ton of other shows and movies that are a million times better that I would have never wanted to watch while I was addicted to chick flicks. The girl you want to date doesn’t need to have the same standards as you, but you do need to inform her of them as soon as you know that you are very interested in her, so that she can have the choice to follow you or not. That way, neither of your hearts gets too involved, and then the break up is harder. Saying all this, you have to make sure that you are rock solid on how you want your future family to be, how you want to raise your children, etc. The Lord will see you as the priest of your home and hold you accountable for what goes on under your roof. Jasen was absolutely certain that he knew he didn’t want bad movies being watched by any member of his family now, or in 20 years. I have never had the slightest desire to question him on the “necessity” of his standards, even on a movie that I reeeeeaaaaaallllllly wanted to see.
He was serious that second Friday we were dating. And I know he’s serious today. And, I trust his leadership of our family. I know it’s best for me and our daughters not to watch bad movies. I agreed to his standards that Friday night because they made sense to me. Nothing was weird about them. They would help me have a closer relationship with the Lord and help me to raise our children to love the Lord. I’m pretty sure I would have stuck to those standards even if we had ended the relationship.
As for long distance relationships….I’m not really sure on that one from personal experience. I know my in-laws Fred and Brenda lived several hours away from each other while they were dating, but they managed to see each other every other weekend, and that worked for them. I’m not sure how far away you and your friend are, but I think it’s doable to have effective long-distance relationships these days, especially with today’s technology, including email and Skype. I wouldn’t let geographical distance keep you from pursuing a relationship if you think she would make a good, godly wife and mother.
I think it’s really good that you both are open to the other gently correcting each other. That’s a great understanding to establish with you wife someday, too. Your friend definitely needs to be told that some of the things she wears are causing you (and probably other guys) to struggle. You need to be some place rather private, but not shut up in a small room together. Take her outside under a tree or something. Ask her to go for a short walk. Just make sure no one else is in ear shot. Remind her of your agreement to be able to gently tell the other about something they need to change, and ask her if she’s okay with you bringing something up. (If she says yes to this, tell her immediately that it is in regards to some of the things she has worn. She will probably be dying to just know what you are going to tell her and if you get nervous and take a while to get it out she will be a nervous wreck!) Tell her that from a guys opinion, the red shirt she wore that one night at the bonfire, or the short shorts she wore while playing volleyball (be specific, if you can!) really caused you to struggle for your purity. Tell her you know she would never intentionally wear anything that would make a guy have a hard time, and that you still think she’s a great Christian girl, she just might not know how guy’s eyes and minds work. If she asks for specifics, like how short is too short and how low is too low, go ahead and tell her. Put your finger on your leg to show her the length of shorts, or put your hand on your chest to show her how low a shirt should or shouldn’t be. You can tell her that this girl who helped write a book called Hero says that she always wears an undershirt. That way if I have a v-neck shirt that I really love, but it’s too low cut, I don’t have to get rid of it. I simply raise the neck line with another shirt. Tell her not all of her clothes are bad, just a few. Here’s the key for you in this: Her response to you will determine if she’s worthy of being taken out on a date by you. If she gets offended or tells you that you are crazy and her clothes weren’t THAT bad, then she’s not the kind of girl you want raising your future daughters and teaching them how to dress. If she is a little embarassed and horrified that she was a stumbling block for her brothers in Christ, then she’s one in a million and you should ask her out on the spot! :) Tell her that’s the kind of girl you admire more than anything, and you would love to have the honor of taking her out to dinner on a date. (Be sure to say the word “date”, so many guys beat around the bush these days that a girl often doesn’t know if she’s saying yes to just hang out or an actual date.) If she says yes, grin as big as you can and tell her you can’t wait! If she says no, tell her that’s okay and that you know she will make a good, godly wife for a really lucky guy one day. (This will make her feel so special, I promise!) Just be sure to end the discussion in absolute kindness, no matter what she says back to you. Well, I hope that helps some! Blessings to you and try your best to enjoy dating, whenever that chapter of your life begins. It is such a wonderful, sweet time of life!