21 Days of Bond(ing)

Fortunately I was also friends with Avia’s brother Fred.  We’d go up to the church gym every now and then and he would beat me in a game of basketball. One night it came to Fred’s attention that I hadn’t seen all of the James Bond movies.  Fred was an avid Bond fan and owned the complete boxed set.  I didn’t have a TV at the time, so he invited me over to their house and we started watching the Bond movies on a pretty regular basis.

This provided me with a great opportunity to spend time with Avia her family.  I wanted to see how she interacted with her brother and parents.  She would often stay up late and watch the movies with us.  I remember one night she was sick and had already  gone to sleep.  As soon as she heard Fred and I were there, she woke up and came to the living room to watch the movie with us.  That’s when I knew she liked me.

As the bond series was ending (21 movies at that time) it became obvious that Avia and I were quickly becoming close friends.  I knew my intentions toward her were for more than friendship and felt it was time to define the relationship.  After we saw the last Bond movie, I asked her to spend the day with me by going canoeing with a large group and a seeing a movie together.  On the ride home I discussed my feelings and thoughts with her and asked her if she would be interested in a dating relationship with a view towards marriage.  We both understood that if either of us saw the relationship wasn’t going to work toward marriage, we would break it off immediately.  She agreed that we could “try it out.”

Then I did something weird.  I asked her parents if it was okay to date their daughter. They had gotten a chance to know me and they definately knew Avia.  I valued their perspective.  I explained that I was not asking to marry their daughter, but to date her with a view toward marriage.  If they said, no, I would respect that.  But my heart turned flips when they said yes!  I valued their observation and input along the way and  welcomed their sound advice.  I now look back on this time as one of the most treasured moments of my life.   That day God also kindled in my heart a warm appreciation, love and respect for Avia’s parents.

What I saw at Picklefish Changed my Life

Pickle FishPicklefish was a restaurant in downtown Mobile.  I used to hang out a lot in downtown Mobile talking to people on the street about Jesus and it didn’t take long for us to find Picklefish, which had a great atmosphere and the best pizza in town.  One of the cool things about the restaurant was that it had a second level where you could sit and watch everybody go by on the street.

One afternoon a group of my friends and I were getting together to hang out in the downtown area.  I invited several people including a beautiful young woman, named Avia.  At the time I thought there was nothing special about inviting her to come along.  I had invited several people from a group (girls and guys) and she was just one that happened to be there.  She said she would try, but had to babysit and wondered if she could take a child along.  We all agreed that it would be okay set a time to meet.

To be honest, I don’t remember much about the day (other than we were dragging a little kid every where we went).  I do remember at the end of the day as everyone was headed home, I helped Avia put the child in his car seat.  As she drove off, I couldn’t resist the thought that she would be a great wife and mother one day. Then in a moment, it hit me.  She was the one.  She was the one that I wanted to marry.  For the first time in my life I knew love beyond emotion and childish infatuation.  I was ready to pursue Avia with the intent of marriage.  I had never been drawn in so deep by someone’s character.

Even though I already knew Avia and her family, I needed to get to know her better.  I didn’t even know if she liked me.  I was conflicted in my thoughts.  I had never pursued a woman where I was intentionally trying to learn more about her character (rather than living off the emotional highs of just liking someone).  I wanted to get to know her, but at the same time I didn’t want to lead her on (I had become better at defining relationships and establishing boundaries).  So I began seeking opportunities to spend time with her and her family.

The Story Continues: 21 Days of Bond(ing)

It helps to be Mr. Right when looking for Mrs. Right: otherwise it’s all wrong

So often when it comes to dating and looking for a future spouse,  the focus is on finding the “one person who was made for me.”  I’ve even heard speakers talk about developing a list of qualities you are looking for in a future spouse and stick to the list. That is really not that bad of an idea (depending on how picky your list is).  I actually had a list but the thought occurred to me, “what if I found someone who fit my list, but I didn’t fit theirs?”

At the time  I was being challenged to discover Biblical manhood and womanhood.  It also helped that near the same time I overheard a girl at one of the local colleges talk about her list.  After hearing her list and evaluating her lifestyle I  thought, “there is no way that someone who matched that list would marry her.”  She was just dreaming because her lifestyle wouldn’t attract the guy on her list.  She would either have to change or change her list.

Such thoughts had caused me to come to some serious introspection and I decided to take some time away from the dating scene (because of my failure to come more introspection before dating, I had proven myself a dismal failure as a boyfriend in a relationship throughout college).  I didn’t want to come to the table looking for Mrs. Right and not be Mr. Right.  It was evident there were things that had to change in me.  I was looking for needs to be met by a girlfriend or future spouse that were meant to only be met in God.

I was  unable to obtain Mrs. Right’s list (I didn’t know God would be so kind as to let me marry Avia) and I thought it was a little arbitrary to blindly make a list of qualities in myself that I needed to submit before God.  So I simply asked God for guidance.  In his kindness I was able to rediscover the books of I Timothy and Titus.  I began to use these books as guides to understanding how to become a godly young man. I also began searching out role models in my life.  Men of character and wisdom who would be wise guides and would give me honest feedback about things I needed to submit before God.

In the midst of this I discovered that one of the qualities of leadership is to be a one woman man (I Timothy 3:1, Titus 1:6).  God broke my heart of the disillusionment that I had been keeping this standard because I wasn’t married.  Though I wasn’t even dating at the time, I was putting on pretense in the form of flirtation that lead several young women to think I was interested in them.  Though I was single and not in any type of defined relationship, my failure to clearly define my friendships and my willingness to lead others on was evidence that I was not a one woman man (part of me loved the attention).  The details about what God worked in me and how it came about probably deserve its own post at a later time.  I only bring it up only now because I see many young single men (and women for that matter) who like I did are casting nets of wide spread flirtation in search of someone rather than baiting the hook with godliness.

    Choosing to Date Differently

    I remember the day that I called my mom and said, “Had I known it would be like this, I would have never dated.  I would have skipped every prom, homecoming, and barn warming dance (a Missouri thing).  I am hopelessly in love with the woman I want to marry and I just now realized that I have wasted my life  trying to be some other girls’ hero… I am ready to be a husband.” That statement represented a huge paradigm shift that took place in my life from being a serial dater to dating with the intent for marriage.

    Over the years God has blessed my wife Avia and I with the opportunity to share with many single people about how we dated (some would call this courtship).  Sadly the story I will share over the next few blog post will sound completely contrary to the dating culture.  I remember my own years of looking for “love” and going about it in all the wrong ways.  I have sat across the table from enough lonely and desperate people to know that things haven’t changed much.

    If you are single and looking for the right way to date hopefully these blog posts will be an encouragement to you about how God can guide you through this time of your life.  My aim is 3 fold.  1. I will be sharing in a story format how Avia and I came to be married.  2. I will be sharing practical principles and steps we took. 3. I will be sharing the scripture that lead us to those principles and steps.

    Stay tuned…. Here are some of the titles of upcoming blog posts