Category Archives: Dating in your 50s

Being at war together keeps us from being at war with each other.

As I work my way through “you and me forever; marriage in light of eternity,” I keep finding lines that make me just flat out stop. This is not a book to read quickly.

It is, instead, a book to be studied and prayed over—its precepts so deep and important to life and relationships.

So here is the latest line that has stopped me in my tracks:

“Being at war together is what keeps us from being at war with each other.”

Conjure the image of soldiers standing shoulder to shoulder, rifles raised and blazing off rounds at the enemy… Locked in a fight for their lives… needing each other to survive…

Do you think they are focused on disputes they had back at camp, or in the fox hole that morning?

Don’t doubt that they had such disputes.

But neither doubt that they have, at least for the length of this fight, faded into insignificance.

To be engaged together in a fight that is bigger than our day-to-day issues. To be at war together. To be in the same war—on the same side—shooting at a common enemy.

This is what Francis and Lisa Chan mean.

And the battle they want us to join is the battle to win hearts and minds to Christ. They want us to join forces as a couple, husband and wife, to use our “knowledge, gifts, and possessions” to fight for God. They want us to benefit from God’s willingness to unleash the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives when we use our gifts for the benefit of others in need.

Imagine that. God’s power flowing through us to minister to others. I’m thinking that will do more than deepen our bond as a couple. Don’t you think it will take those little bouts of selfishness, pride, and even anger, and cover or even obliterate them in a shared victory?

I’ve often wondered, “what does it really look like when God is in the driver’s seat of a relationship?” And, relatedly, “how do we put him there?”

Do we do it by praying often together? Do we do by going to church together? Do we do it by striving to remain inside his wishes?

Of course, it’s yes to all that.

But it’s also something I never understood. Until now.

We have to be in the fight together.

We have to be doing something, together, that gets us into the fight for hearts and minds for Christ.

For me, presently single, at a minimum, I think I may need to do more volunteer work. And tithe more. Friends have confirmed that I should be writing and using this gift I seem to have to express thoughts, teaching some of the scriptural and practical lessons I’ve learned that might help others to build their relationships. I’d love also to teach a men’s bible study on relationships. Someday, with a wife, I’d LOVE to get in the fight and teach a couple’s study, or write a deeply meaningful book on all this…

Anyhow, these are convictions I’m getting for my life.

How about you? Would being in the fight as a couple help solidify your relationship? If you think so, you might want to ask the next question.

What can you do to get into the fight?

More thoughts on the dating world…

Virtually everyone 50 or so on dating sites has been divorced. And yet, everyone says, “I come with no baggage and I don’t you to have any, either.”

This is hilarious to me.

Let’s get personal.

If you filed for divorced, there were things that you wanted or didn’t want, and it was serious enough that you decided a promise to your mate, to the state, and to God could and should be broken.

Those were some serious promises you made on the alter, and yet what happened was bad enough for you to cast them aside.

I’m not judging you.

I’m just saying that you have some darn big scars and for the rest of your life you will be somewhat sensitive in the areas that caused you to file for divorce. And it doesn’t matter the issue. He/she may have cheated on you, may have verbally abused you, may have hit you, may have ignored you emotionally or sexually… Doesn’t matter. You will be fearful of your next mate doing these things, and you will be extra vigilant… even possibly to the point of overreacting when something looks dangerously close to what happened before.

Is this ringing true at all?

I hope so.

And whether we like it or not, that’s baggage.

Now, if you were divorced, as in my case, there were things that you (I) needed to do or did do that were sufficiently painful to your (my) mate that he/she decided to break all those deep promises. Hopefully, we will have examined ourselves and asked, why did I do, or not do, what was wanted and needed of me? Something in me was clearly not sufficiently empathetic, sufficiently giving, or sufficiently sacrificial.

Again, I’m not judging. Believe me I’m not… Because I fall into this category…

I’m just saying that you (I) had a part in your (my) mate’s displeasure and, had you (I) loved as God wants us to love, things would have been at different. Maybe he would have still cheated on you, but the relationship would have been different and perhaps better.

Now, I know lots of women get cheated on because their husbands have two heads and the lower one takes over… And then he files for divorce.

I realize this can be without any real “fault” of any kind on the wife’s part. I get that. But, cheated on wives can too easily let that obliterate the certain reality that they, too, could have been better.

So, if they look closely, and see, they will hopefully discover some “baggage,” even if it’s just a clutch purse.

My point is, anyone who is divorced has scars. And scars mean there is baggage—with the increased likelihood of future drama.

Protestations to the contrary, notwithstanding.

The key, again, is to find a new mate willing to join you in working through each other’s baggage. As the Casting Crowns sang: “If you can bring your shattered dreams and I’ll bring mine…
Could healing still be spoken and save us…
The only way we’ll last forever is broken together”

Plastic profiles in dating…

So if you’ve read more than a dozen profiles on dating sites you have seen patterns repeat. Everyone likes to laugh have fun, and talk long walks. And everyone is romantic.

I mean, really? Could it be more plastic?

Who on earth DOES NOT like all that, or if they didn’t, would say it in their profile. Picture it: “you know, I really don’t like to laugh or be romantic. And long walks holding hands… ah, not so much for me.”

For Heaven’s sake, who doesn’t like to have fun and laugh? Who doesn’t like to be kissed passionately in the soft, flickering glow of a candlelight? Hollywood would be out of business if any of that was true.

Can we get real for a bit and talk about what is important beyond all this stuff about interests and physical attraction. OF COURSE we have to have all that. But first can we talk about what is really important?

Everyone on these dating sites says that they have no “baggage” and/or want someone “without baggage.” It’s cloaked in “drama” sometimes, too.

I find that not just funny and absurd—it’s frankly self-centered. And perhaps as clearly, it’s just plain fanciful.

We bring our pasts (yes, it’s called baggage) with us every day, into everything we do. Every last one of us does this to some degree whether we admit it or not.

The keys, then, are first to be honest about it, second to be willing to accept that it may negatively impact us and create internal pain or fear of loss, third to be willing to do the internal work to minimize it and its effects, and forth to seek a relationship with someone who has sufficient emotional maturity to work with us when the effects spill into our joint lives and create that most dreaded word in the dating world— “drama.” And this could not be more important: we must each seek, as best as we can, to give grace when that spillage and “drama” occurs.

But here is the real magic: when, in relationship, we help each other to grow through that past and into something beautifully new. Into something uniquely “us.”

This all takes a willingness to be accountable to God, to each other, and to ourselves. We must be willing to look at our own poor reactions and thoughts and see how they negatively (or positively through growth) impact others. The question is, do we want to be stuck in the bad places, patterns, and baggage, or do we want to grow in relationship? More precisely, do we want to be a part of helping our “mate” grow through his or her “issues,” “baggage,” or what ever people want to call it?

Credit to Tony Haines for verbalizing some of these concepts in a LONG phone conversation. Tony, on your worst day, I want to be you.