Sex & Dating & Family Restoration

So what has happened to sex and dating in this millennium?  This brief but very humorous and instructive video at http://www.policymic.com/articles/82899/this-animated-video-shows-the-wild-economics-of-sex explains the economics of relationships between men and women, and how sexual options made possible with contraception have exploded romance in ways that were not expected. 

Drs. Henry Cloud and John Townsend's recent book entitled "Boundaries in Dating: How Healthy Choices Grow Healthy Relationships" at http://www.amazon.com/Boundaries-Dating-Healthy-Choices-Relationships/dp/0310200342  is a great recommendation for any one who wants to understand what's happened with dating, sex, and romance over the past decade. It discusses many areas of concern about how a man or woman should be dating and how to date in a healthy and mature way. On relationship authenticity, but also about relational strategy, this book was written in response to the popular courtship book "I Kissed Dating Goodbye," but Cloud and Townsend defend dating and lay out how to date in a manner that is healthy and constructive. Their ideas follow a general construct of why dating is good, how to examine how you have dated in the past, how to get a perspective on yourself and your past relationships, and how to move forward to date in a mature and healthy way.

Readers who care about the integration of their romantic attachments with their sexual relationships and future family concerns would do well to examine their past relationships to look for patterns of behavior in themselves, and patterns in the types of partners chosen.  Taking an introspective look at your dating history might be difficult, even somewhat painful, but certain patterns in dating can reveal things about ourselves to be aware of for future relationships.  According to Cloud and Townsend, the most important qualities to look for in a potential family partner are character, common interests, and common values. They highlight relational aspects that should and should not be red flags in relationships, with honesty being a key element of a relationship's foundation.

Another helpful book, by Dr. Diane Chandler, discusses an integrated approach to relationships as a natural process in Christian formation.  In her book entitled "Christian Spiritual Formation: An Integrated Approach for Personal and Relational Wellness," available at http://www.amazon.com/Christian-Spiritual-Formation-Integrated-Relational-ebook/dp/B00HUCPPOW/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1404324298&sr=1-1&keywords=diane+chandler+christian+spiritual+formation, Dr. Chandler explains how the priority and foundation of the family are inherent in the original design.  She understands cultural aspects of relationships have changed significantly over the last generation, but explains how the wisdom of Christ helps one to navigate cultural expectations with wisdom and tact, and allows a principled Christian to influence culture relationally. 

Healthy relationships are the key to positive dating relationships, and therefore critical to a future of family restoration.  Romance has changed over the last generation, and figuring out how those changes affect you is significant.  For more information on how sexuality has affected romance, intimate relationships, and essentially all relationships between men and women, see Part 3 of my recent article entitled "Roe's Effects on Family Law," available for download at http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2441274; or you can see the short oral presentation of this article at the law school symposium at Washington & Lee at Panel 5 at http://www.youtube.com/wlulaw  (where my talk goes from 17:00 - 30:00). 

Sex, dating, romance, and all your intimate relationships will be a part of your present and future family life, one way or another.  Setting your sights straight is a great way to enjoy summertime, and plan in advance for a strong family ahead. 

1 comment:

  1. Professor Kohm,

    Thank you for this blog that emphasizes that wisdom should be applied when entering dating relationships. The "hook-up" culture may seem initially appealing but produces brokenness on every level (emotional, relational, physical). You point out the Cloud and Townsend resource which, judging from their previous works, is a must-read for those who need to understand the importance of healthy and appropriate boundaries.

    Further, our culture has minimized the sacredness of marriage as a covenant of mutual commitment between a man and a woman -- as the expression of Jesus and the church.

    A homely quip humorously points to the need for discernment in the dating/marriage process:

    "Oh innocent victims of Cupid,
    Remember this terse little verse.
    To let a fool kiss you is stupid,
    But to let a kiss fool you is worse."