Happy Counter-Cultural Valentine’s Day! Here’s Some Old-School Relationship Advice for Single Women

By Published on February 14, 2024

With Valentine’s Day here, I’d like to relay some “old school” reflections I shared with a friend who asked for such input for her young-adult daughters. My advice will seem counter-cultural, given our current place in the shadow of the sexual revolution, but in light of the relationship carnage we see around us, and with a broadly biblical understanding of male and female differences in mind, this is what I told her.

Get Into a Stable Situation First

I started with the best relationship advice I’ve ever heard: Never make a decision with permanent consequences while in a temporary situation. It’s good advice generally, but especially in dating. It’s best to set aside relationship decisions until one’s situation is stable, and not while going through seemingly desperate or vulnerable times. Following this advice will help avoid most of the negative consequences of the Sexual Revolution.

Think About How and Where You Want to Meet Someone

A second idea would be to consider carefully where we might invite someone to draw close to us in a relationship, and to limit those contexts. The status quo now is to use dating applications to facilitate online introductions. I don’t trust it. It takes us to people who are actively seeking to market themselves to strangers, and asks us to do the same.

She might even ask him, at some random moment, to show her his browsing history on his phone or computer. If he’s living an above board and transparent life, he should be open to sharing it unedited.

Bar-hopping is as bad. Young men there in particular are too often predatory, geared toward treating women as consumer products for their own consumption. So rely on thoughtful introductions made by trusted friends, those who know both you and the person they’re introducing you to. It’s an “old school” approach, but it has a long history of working well.

Get to Know Each Other Among Friends

The same “old school” would advise getting to know the person in context of groups of mutual friends over time. The two could observe each other’s interactions with others, including how they treat other opposite-sex friends. As I told my friend, though, if a man insists on trying to isolate a woman from her watchful friends, he’s not worth her time and attention.

Find Out How the Man Feeds His Mind: Request to See His Internet History

Going beyond these early stages of introduction, in today’s world, a woman owes it to herself to observe how the man feeds his mind. If he has given himself over to pornography, she would be wise to look for another person to allow into her life.

She might even ask him, at some random moment, to show her his browsing history on his phone or computer. If he’s living an above board and transparent life, he should be open to sharing it unedited. If the request seems awkward, she could always share this article with him, to show him it’s a reasonable thing to ask for.

Build on Positive Commonalities. Avoid Negative Commonalities

More advice I gave my friend: Too many young people build relationships on wrong commonalities. Build on positive things (and interests) that you share. Look for a relationship where the person’s “strong suit” will tend to compliment or help balance your own.

Conversely, when two people build on shared negative traits or deficits, that calls for caution. An example might be an alcoholic who meets someone at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting and falls in love. Yes, they have something in common, but is it a good starting point for either party? Maybe, but it bears being careful.

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We gain if we draw close to people who can (compassionately) help us to be strong in the areas where we may be weak. If a couple hits a low point in areas where both are vulnerable, it’s hard for either one to help the other through.

How Does He Treat His Mom?

I also recommend young women take note of how a young man treats his mother, assuming she is still living and a part of his life. The way he treats her, especially in unguarded moments, is likely to be much like the way he treats his wife within marriage.

Focus on Being, Rather Than Finding, the Right Person

Finally, and importantly, as we approach Valentine’s Day, anyone seeking someone to share life with should focus less on finding the right person, and more on being the right person. That’s how you can be prepared to move forward one day when that “right person” comes into your life.

On the way there, be patient, and be very selective. Others may not do things that way, but you and your future are well worth it!

With that, have a happy, counter-cultural Valentine’s Day!

 

Jim Kenaston graduated from Messiah College with a B.A. in History (1983) and from Miami University with an M.En. in International Environmental Affairs (1990).

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