In a culture that’s obsessed with love and romance, why are there so many women not enjoying satisfying, long-term relationships?
Today you’ll hear from Girl Defined Ministries co-founder, Bethany Beal, who will unpack God’s original design for romance. She’ll address today’s popular hook-up culture, common dating mistakes, appropriate physical boundaries, and if it’s possible to experience your own happily ever after.
So, if you’re single, single again, or wanting to encourage a single woman in your life, you’ll appreciate this Christ-centered perspective for the modern woman.
Bethany is the co-founder of Girl Defined Ministries, which helps modern girls understand and live out God’s timeless truth for womanhood. She’s also the author of several books, including the one we talk about today, Love Defined: Embracing God’s Vision for Lasting Love and Satisfying Relationships. Bethany is married to David, and she’s mom to Davey Jr. She’s a tall blonde Texan who is obsessed with iced lattes, so pour yours as you listen to this rich conversation.
[Listen to the podcast using the player above, or read the transcript below. Then check out the links below for more helpful resources.]
Jennifer’s Newest Bible Study
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More from Bethany Beal
- Visit the Girl Defined website
- Love Defined: Embracing God’s Vision for Lasting Love and Satisfying Relationships
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- Can I Get a Clear View of How God Sees Women? With Kristi McLelland [Episode 139]
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4:13 Podcast: Can I Trust God With My Singleness? With Bethany Beal [Episode 210]
Bethany Beal: And so if that's truly what it's all about, I can have that right now as a single woman. And that just changes, I think, sometimes the desperation that we feel, and the hurriedness. Like, oh, no, I'm almost 30. Or you might be like, I'm 40, I'm 50. And you might feel like, okay, if I don't go with him, that's the last boat off the island, I'm going to be stuck here single forever, you know. We can get rid of those thoughts and say, no, that's not what it's about. If I need to settle to be in that relationship, no. Like, I can live right now. This day, this community, the friends, the church, the school, whatever it is, I can live to know God, to tell others about him. I can have deep relationship with him and I am 100 percent fulfilling my purpose as a daughter of God.
Jennifer Rothschild: In a culture obsessed with love and romance, why are there so many women who are not enjoying satisfying long-term love? Well, today author Bethany Beal will unpack God's original design for romance, showing modern women how to experience God's best for them in whatever season they're in and whatever their relationship is. So this is going to be a great perspective and a great conversation.
K.C., let's get it started.
K.C. Wright: Welcome to the 4:13 Podcast, where practical encouragement and biblical wisdom set you up to live the "I Can" life, because you can truly do all things through Christ who strengthens you. That's good news.
Now, welcome my soul sister and your host, Jennifer Rothschild.
Jennifer Rothschild: Hello, dear people. We're happy you're here again. I hope you've been hanging with us for a long time. And if you haven't, you need to rewind, go all the way back to the early episodes, and spend a lot of time with me and K.C., because we want to get to know each other. Thanks for leaving your fantastic reviews, because they are fantastic. They're encouraging. They don't just encourage me and K.C., they encourage others to take a chance on this podcast so that they can learn some biblical truth and get some practical encouragement to live this "I Can" life. So thank you for being part of our family, 4:13ers.
We're talking today about singleness. I happen to be married.
K.C. Wright: Yay for you.
Jennifer Rothschild: K.C. happens to be single.
K.C. Wright: Yay for you. Shoot the confetti cannon for you.
Jennifer Rothschild: I don't think K.C.'s as happy about singleness right now as he was. Now, I know you didn't want to be single.
K.C. Wright: No.
Jennifer Rothschild: You were married, you wanted to stay married. Okay. But all that did not turn out as it should have.
K.C. Wright: No.
Jennifer Rothschild: And once you were free and relieved and knew you had done the green light God gave you --
K.C. Wright: Right.
Jennifer Rothschild: -- you enjoyed your singleness.
K.C. Wright: I did. I remember one evening grilling chicken on my patio, hearing my neighbors fight. They were fighting on the other side of the fence. And I remember going, well, you know what? I may be over here miserable and single, but at least I ain't got that strife in my living room.
Jennifer Rothschild: Exactly.
K.C. Wright: So I know that there are pros and cons. But can I just be honest? Can I just be totally honest and real and relevant? I am really tired -- relevant, take that out.
Jennifer Rothschild: It is relevant. I'm not taking it out. It is relevant.
K.C. Wright: I try to be topical, relevant, and entertaining on this podcast.
Jennifer Rothschild: There you go.
K.C. Wright: But I'm serious, I'm over being single.
Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah.
K.C. Wright: I'm really over it.
Jennifer Rothschild: Well...
K.C. Wright: I feel like this is the year -- I've been praying that God would wrap this single life up for me, because I desire to share my life with someone.
Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah.
K.C. Wright: So -- yeah. My ex-wife -- I hate that word, by the way, ex.
Jennifer Rothschild: I know. She's your former wife.
K.C. Wright: We make a great team in raising our daughter. But, you know, my little one, Ellie, she's eleven, she's with mommy half of the time, and then -- you know, I'm just tired of being alone in my home with the dog. And I'm also tired of hanging out with my guy friends. Which I have a million.
Jennifer Rothschild: Of course you do.
K.C. Wright: I am so blessed with -- I have a tribe of about ten guys that always want to be at my house, but I'm tired of hanging out with them. They smell and --
Jennifer Rothschild: They're not nearly as cute as a lot of the women in this world.
K.C. Wright: And I know this has worked for a lot of people that have gone online and found someone. I have a friend begging me right now to do eHarmony or Match.com.
Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah?
K.C. Wright: It's just not for me.
Jennifer Rothschild: It's not your thing?
K.C. Wright: That's me personally. Okay?
Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah. And I get that.
K.C. Wright: If you did that, praise the Lord. Praise the Lord. But I just believe that God knows where I'm at. And so, Jennifer, really it's all on you.
Jennifer Rothschild: I was just going to say, K.C. -- let me just say about what's happening here. Okay? I can just tell you what's happening. There are some single women listening going, oh, my gosh, I love K.C. I listen to him say this and I know his daughter is this age and I want to -- and he's a pastor, and I feel called to be a pastor's wife. I'm going to start getting emails.
K.C. Wright: Please.
Jennifer Rothschild: Yes. Do you have any standards beyond just them having all of their teeth? Just kidding. I'm just kidding.
K.C. Wright: You know, just someone who loves the Lord and who loves to laugh.
Jennifer Rothschild: Yes, they need to laugh. Trust me, you need to laugh if you're married to K.C.
K.C. Wright: And someone who's just not boring --
Jennifer Rothschild: Right.
K.C. Wright: -- and wants to go on adventures and -- love God, love people. Love God, love people.
Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah. And meet Jennifer's standard. Because I will vet you. Okay.
K.C. Wright: Yes. She will do a thorough background.
Jennifer Rothschild: Yes.
K.C. Wright: And we just need a lock of your hair, a blood sample and -- no, no.
Jennifer Rothschild: And your personal testimony in 200 words or less.
K.C. Wright: I'm just kidding. No. I am trusting Jennifer. She's Holy Spirit with hair. And you know a lot of single ladies. You know a lot of single ladies. But this podcast is not about me.
Jennifer Rothschild: No, it's not. We're really not trying to get K.C. a woman --
K.C. Wright: I'm not.
Jennifer Rothschild: -- we're really not. But what we're talking about here, seriously -- okay, we're playing around.
K.C. Wright: Yeah.
Jennifer Rothschild: But you're expressing the reality of why people who are single -- the angst that you feel, the trying to be content with where you are, yet at the same time dealing with the unmet longing. And really what Bethany's going to talk about today, trusting God with your singleness. I mean, that's what we're talking about, in all seriousness. So let's introduce Bethany and get on with the conversation.
K.C. Wright: Let's do that. Bethany Beal is the co-founder of Girl Defined Ministries; author of several books, including the one she and Jennifer are discussing today, "Love Defined: Embracing God's Vision for Lasting Love and Satisfying Relationships." Bethany is married to David, and she's mom to Davy Junior. She's a tall, blonde Texan who's obsessed with iced lattes. Same here.
Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah.
K.C. Wright: So pour yours and join Jennifer and Bethany.
Jennifer Rothschild: All right, Bethany. So I'm a married woman, so there's things I just can't relate to anymore. So let's start with this. Help me out. Okay? I want you to talk to me about today's hookup culture. All right?
Bethany Beal: Oh, yeah.
Jennifer Rothschild: And I want you to talk to me about how that has impacted Christian women and dating.
Bethany Beal: You know, that is -- I think that's hard for Christian women, because it is very much a part of the culture and it's very much the -- I think the expectation of what it looks like to kind of have fun and mess around and figure out who you are. And, you know, that's kind of just what's expected for young women, especially, I think, in the college years. It's like you graduate from high school, you head to college, and that's your time you're supposed to live it up, you're supposed to have fun. And if you have any sense of morals or boundaries, you're really looked and viewed upon as, like, why are you so old fashioned, and what's wrong with you, and come on, just loosen up a little, you know.
And I have to confess that I actually -- I skipped the college years and jumped right into starting Girl Defined Ministries, so I kind of missed that period. But as far as talking to so many young women over the years, and women -- you know, there are even women who I've talked to -- and I'm sure you too -- where there are things that have happened in their past, kind of during that hookup time of their life, some that are now, many years later, even sharing that for the first time. But I just -- you know, I think it's this trick, because I think that women are told and sold this bill of goods. Like, yes, have fun, explore, mess around, settle down when you're ready. You know, even nowadays, you know, if you want to be a mom, you can freeze your eggs and in the future you can even fulfill all those dreams. I mean, literally, that's the time we live in.
But no one talks about the hardship. No one talks about the brokenness that comes from that. No one talks about the fact that, hey, maybe this isn't the best idea. Maybe just exploring and seeing guy after guy or hooking up or one-night stands, maybe there's actually damage that could come from this. And so many women go into that and then leave feeling shame and silence. And they don't know what to do and they feel like they just have to deal with it internally. And often that can result in just, you know, severe anxiety and worry and just a lack of trust in men. But there can be so much shame, like, "I can't talk about this."
And so I think as Christians, we need to acknowledge, like, yes, this is a part of our society. This is a huge pressure on young women, especially in the college years -- I mean, now I feel like it's high school as well -- to jump into this mindset, to jump into this -- you know, and it's even encouraged. Like, you're confident if you can do this, you're in touch with your body if you can do this. But we don't talk about the results of that. And so I just want to encourage women to know, no, you're not a freak if you don't do that, you're not old fashioned, you're not weird if you say no to those choices.
Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah. And what you just described, which -- I mean, I hate the pressure that young women are under. Or even just single women who might be in a transition are, like, oh, so this is what we're doing now, you know. And it is this -- I think some of the attraction is -- you put it well -- well, this is what confident women do or --
Bethany Beal: Exactly.
Jennifer Rothschild: -- this is intimacy. And it's not. It's a shallow substitute. But we're so drawn to it because -- well, you even talk about it in your book, this Hollywood version of romance, right? And it's this fairy tale facade. So why is it that we fall for that? And why is, like, what Hollywood promises or what hookups promise, why is it so unrealistic?
Bethany Beal: You know, think about any chick flick, any movie you watch. What happens? You know, you go to the movie, it's flashy, it's big, it's on the screen. You know, two hours go by and it ends happily ever after.
Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah.
Bethany Beal: You don't see what happens in the next week, the next three weeks, the next four weeks. But you know what we can see? And this isn't to point a finger and say look at these people, they're so terrible. But what we can see are the actors that are acting these stories out. And what's crazy, what's absolutely mind blowing, is that these stories that we all watch on TV, that we all watch in the movies, and we think, oh, this is amazing, you know, these romance novels, erotica that women dig into and read by, you know, the dozens --
Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah, yeah.
Bethany Beal: -- and we dig into this and we say, oh, this is where it's at. But then we look at it in real life and we never stop to question, like, well, if that's where it's at, why isn't that working for these celebrities who are acting in these movies? Why are they going through marriage after marriage or hookup after hookup? And, you know, like I'm saying, not to point the finger, but just as an example, to say there's so much struggle, there's so much pain, there's so much heartbreak, so clearly something isn't working.
But I think that we deceive ourselves and the enemy deceives us and it's really the crazy cycle, you know. It's literally insanity to say, I'm going to go through the same thing over and over again expecting a different result. And that's exactly what we do. We act like insane people and we say, okay, I know this didn't work out for my friend, you know, I know I shouldn't put all of my -- you know, base my entire decision about a relationship on how I feel, but this just feels so right and so I know I'm different in this. Like, I know I'm going to be the one who it works out for. And we convince ourselves, we deceive ourselves into thinking we're the ones. I know that people, you know, they see some issues with him, I know he's kind of manipulative and controlling, but he just makes me feel so special. And so she's going to work out, and we just -- it's like an insane cycle, we deceive ourselves over and over and over again.
And so I think we have to get honest and take a step back and say, okay, is the chick flick method actually working for people? If it's true, then why isn't it working for Hollywood, for the real people? If it's true, why are their, you know, relationships for the majority not lasting, you know. And we have to take a step back and say, okay, if I truly want a satisfying relationship that lasts, I need to have a different way to go about this. I cannot base my relationship, the foundation, on feelings alone, on infatuation alone. I need to take a step back and actually dig into Scripture and say, okay, who created romance? Who created marriage? God did. So he must have something to say about that. Why don't I look to His Word, base my decision on wisdom rather than feelings alone? And so I think that's kind of the switch we have to make when it comes to viewing Hollywood and viewing relationships in real life.
Jennifer Rothschild: Such a good point, Bethany, because it's almost like it's a sugar rush, you know, just a big buzz, and you think, oh, it'll last forever. And just like a good sugar rush, you're lower than when you started once it fades.
Bethany Beal: That's true.
Jennifer Rothschild: I've got some friends who are singles, and one of them is on a dating app, and she's enjoying dating. The other one goes about her dating life differently. Doesn't date as frequently. They both love the Lord. And I watch them and I think what a difficult thing to navigate, you know.
Bethany Beal: Oh, yeah.
Jennifer Rothschild: But I would be curious in general, just what are some of the most common dating mistakes that women make, no matter how they're go about it, you know.
Bethany Beal: Yeah, you know, it is. There are so many options to go about dating. You know, you have online dating, in-person dating. You know, we just went through the whole pandemic, so it's like, "Ah, how do we even..." You know? My heart goes out. Like, it is so hard.
But I think one of the biggest mistakes that we go into relationships with, especially single women who are trying to date, is we look to men as the answer to happiness. And so we often start at the wrong place and we think, okay, if I could just have a boyfriend or if I could just get married, then I would be truly happy, then my life would really begin. And so we go into dating with a wrong perspective. You know, we're not going into it with eyes wide open saying, okay, the purpose of dating is to figure out do I want to spend the next date with him? Do I see potential qualities in him that would make me want to go out with him again and again, potentially get into a relationship, okay, potentially get engaged. I'm taking it one step at a time. Not that I'm going to say do I want to marry you from the first date, but that thought is kind of like, what's the purpose of dating? What's the purpose of romance? So I think that's one of the biggest mistakes that single women make, is going into relationships with the wrong perspective.
And I can tell you, you know, I'm married now, I got married at 30, but I dated a lot before I got married and I really wanted to get married. You know, I was one of those girls who had been in a million weddings. I'm very tall, so I caught a million bouquets. You know, I was, like, the one -- like, "Your turn's next." And I'm like, "This is the fifth bouquet I've caught, like, my turn is not next."
But I so relate to women where, you know, we so want that relationship, we so want marriage that we are willing to compromise and we're willing to settle, because we'd rather have this than the thought of singleness again. We'd rather have this than the thought of having to date again. Or we go -- you know, some women go the opposite. Like, they're scared of that commitment because they don't understand God's good design, and so it's like I'm just going to kind of serial date because I don't really want to let someone get to know me.
So there are these wrong perspectives we can take into a relationship. And I think it's crucial for each individual to take a step back and say, okay, do I really understand what the meaning of marriage is? And I unpack that in multiple of my books, "Love Defined," "Sex, Purity, and the Longings of a Girl's Heart," you can go to each of those resources. On my podcast, The Girl Defined Show, we unpack that frequently because single women often -- they don't even understand why did God create marriage. What is this picture of Christ in the church and the bridegroom? You know, what is all of this? We don't even understand, so how do we expect to go into a dating relationship and ultimately into marriage if we don't even know truly what the Creator designed it to be?
So I would really strongly urge single women to take some time. I mean, this is a life-altering decision. I know we have women who are thinking, wow, you know, I made a really -- you now, a decision that I regret, and now I'm on the other side and I'm single again. And this is hard, and I know you probably agree, like, yes, let's slow down.
Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah.
Bethany Beal: Let's take some time to dig into the Word and to dig into good resources that help us to understand God's design, because that will give us the tools we need to go into a relationship with a perspective that helps us to see past, you know, just one date with this guy. It helps us to see does he have qualities that Christ describes a husband needing? You know, does he love the Lord? Does he want to be in the Word? Does he want to be involved, you know, at church for himself? We can start to see these things and say, I'm starting to get it. It's starting to click. I'm slowly putting the lives of what Hollywood tells me I need, which is just feelings and infatuation, and I'm starting to have some wisdom and I'm actually able to make a wise decision because I understand kind of what God's end picture for marriage is.
Jennifer Rothschild: That's really good. You know what it reminds me a little bit? This is what my oldest son did. He journaled in college what he wanted in a wife and what was important to him and what he valued and admired, et cetera. And then I remember when he -- you know, this girl he was dating, we were like, "She's her. We know she's her." Of course, we stay out of it. Though I will say, the family was going to marry her if he didn't.
But anyway, when -- you know, they were just good friends and then they began to date. But when he proposed to her, he read her that journal entry and he was like, "You're her," you know.
Bethany Beal: Oh, my goodness.
Jennifer Rothschild: That is exactly what we as women need to do to have a standard and a value on the front end, because our feelings can completely bombard us and confuse us.
Bethany Beal: Totally.
Jennifer Rothschild: And, you know, just hormones and everything else.
Bethany Beal: That's true.
Jennifer Rothschild: And so I think of Bethany at the weddings catching the bouquet, single, single, single. And so I'm wondering, during that season what is the very best advice that you ever got about dating or marriage?
Bethany Beal: This may not be the advice that the listeners would expect to hear, but the best advice I got was this. And it was that my purpose as a woman is to glorify God and to live for him. And whether I am single or married, that is my purpose. And so you know what? That radically changed the way that I went about dating. Because instead of feeling desperate just to get a husband or desperate just to be in a relationship -- which I stayed in relationships far longer than I should have because it had become an idol for me. But when I finally understood, like, oh, marriage is a beautiful gift, relationships can be a beautiful gift, but my purpose as an image bearer of God is to be in an intimate relationship with Christ and to tell others about him. That is my purpose. And when I started living that out and day by day asking God, God, help me to know you, help me to be in a relationship with you, help me to thrive and tell others about you right now, my entire perspective changed because I realized I could be single forever and truly thrive and have life and be completely satisfied in Christ, even if I never get married, because marriage is ultimately only a reflection and a picture of something greater. It's only a picture of Christ in the church and the deep intimate relationship that God desires to have with us.
And so if that's truly what it's all about, I can have that right now as a single woman. And that just changes, I think, sometimes the desperation that we feel, and the hurriedness. Like, oh, no, I'm almost 30, or you might be like, I'm 40, I'm 50, and you might feel like, okay, this is the -- if I don't go with him, that's the last boat off the island, I'm going to be stuck here single forever, you know.
We can get rid of those thoughts and say, no, that's not what it's about. If I need to settle to be in that relationship, no. Like, I can live right now. This day, this community, the friends, the church, the school, whatever it is, I can live to know God, to tell others about him. I can have deep relationship with him and I am 100% fulfilling my purpose as a daughter of God. If I do get married, my circumstances will change, but my purpose remains the same.
Jennifer Rothschild: Yes.
Bethany Beal: And so I want you to ask yourself, what do you believe your purpose is, you know. You really need to get down to the heart of it and make sure that Scripture is informing what you believe that purpose is. And I truly think --you know, it's just like Jesus, he came to do the will of His Father. It wasn't about him, it was about filling the will of the Father and taking those steps, even if it was hard. And, you know, he is our example. So I think we can look to him, Jesus as a single man, and think, God, you strengthened him and you can do the same for me. So by the power of the Holy Spirit, help me to want to do the will of my Father, the will of God, every day. And if my circumstances change, awesome; but my purpose and my focus is to live for you.
Jennifer Rothschild: Word. That is so good.
And, you know, back in the day I remember the movie -- I think it was Jerry Maguire -- you know, when his voice breaks and he says, "You complete me." And I remember even then hearing that, thinking that is a bunch of crap.
Bethany Beal: Yeah.
Jennifer Rothschild: A woman does not complete a man, nor does a man complete a woman. We complement each other. But it's only Jesus who completes us.
Bethany Beal: Amen.
Jennifer Rothschild: Only Jesus. And until we can figure that out, we'll just never be content.
Bethany Beal: Amen.
Jennifer Rothschild: All right, let me ask you a hard question. Well, I don't know if it's hard, but maybe sensitive, physical. Okay? Because I believe that the boundaries which used to be, at least when I was coming of age, were a little more black and white in the Christian church. I am not sure that they are practiced with the same black and white now. And so I would be curious your take on physical boundaries in a romantic relationship.
Bethany Beal: You know, people are probably going to laugh, and they might write me off at this point when I tell them this, but I just want to be straightforward and honest. So when I was, like, a teenage girl, I had this idea -- I think I read it in a book somewhere, I don't know. I heard someone that had saved their first kiss for marriage. And I thought that's so cool, that's so inspiring, that's a great idea, so I decided -- I was, like, 14 -- I want to make this commitment, I want to save my first kiss for marriage. And I thought I'd probably get married at, like, 21, you know, so I'm like this will be -- this won't be too much trouble, you know. But then I was like mid-20s, late 20s, and I'm like, What am I doing? And somehow I just stuck to that commitment because I felt like I made this commitment.
So my husband and I, you know, we kissed for the first time on our wedding day, which was sweet and special and beautiful. But I can tell you that with him it was. I think both of our hearts were in the right place. But in previous relationships and just previously in my life, I think I viewed certain physical boundaries as almost like a pride thing, like, Look at me, I am not doing these certain things. And my heart wasn't for the Lord, it was really about Bethany. Like, Look at me, I am an example. Look at me. And I think that's probably -- you know, I learned a lot about humility. Through my years of singleness, God just really helped me to realize it's not about you, Bethany, it's about me.
But I think we do see in Scripture -- which in some Christian circles this is very controversial, but I think we do see that sexual intimacy was created and designed to be enjoyed within the covenant of marriage, so I think we see a very black-and-white example there. But then when you back up from there, you say, okay, there's a lot of gray areas. How do we deal with this? I think the big problem that we run into in a lot of modern dating relationships is that we kind of feel a little bit awkward and uncomfortable, so we don't really address it and we just kind of let physical boundaries happen to us.
Now, some people may laugh at me, but when I was dating, I had this commitment of saving my first kiss till marriage, and people thought I was weird, and it was fine. But I would just tell people -- like, I remember a guy asking me out on a date at church, and then at some point in the date or second date or whatever I remember telling him like, "Yeah, so I have made this commitment not to kiss till I get married, so if that's not your thing, I'm not your girl," you know.
But I think women in a humble way need to think through, okay, you know, if sexual intimacy is something that God created, it's good, it's beautiful, it's a good gift. It's not shameful, our bodies are not shameful, all of that. He created it for marriage, though. What are steps that I can take backwards to help me honor that and to preserve that and to view that as a good, beautiful thing in the right context? And what are boundaries that I can set up that would help me to -- that would, you know, really serve me in getting there well?
So instead of viewing boundaries as a bad thing, like so restricting and terrible, you know, and, like, oh, they just keep all the fun away, instead say no, these are actually good things. These are actually beneficial things because they keep my mind and heart focused on what truly matters. And what truly matters in dating isn't so much the physical, but getting to know his heart, getting to know his mind, getting to know what he really believes. And sometimes when we involve the physical too soon, it muddies our view and we start to think -- because we have this physical chemistry and attraction, we can start to get much more infatuated and think that maybe, you know, he's more spiritually solid just because, you know, we like how it feels when his arm's all up and around us and all that, you know.
And so I think ask yourself personally, what is helpful for me in evaluating a guy, and what is not helpful? Decide those boundaries for yourself and then share them more quickly up front. If you're like, okay, you know, this date might be going somewhere, then the next date might be going somewhere, just be a little bit open and honest. Be willing to be a little bit weird. And I think that if it's a guy who truly loves the Lord, I think he'll respect you in that --
Jennifer Rothschild: Yes.
Bethany Beal: -- and I think he'll say, Wow, I'm glad that you've had self-respect, I'm glad you see God's design, and I think that's awesome, you know.
I think also having Godly wise mentors in your life, to ask you and to counsel you and to advise you in that, is so helpful. Because relationships have become so autonomous, and it's just like a couple does their thing and they'll let us know when they're engaged, you know. But I think couples -- and women, you know, and men need to have a Godly woman for a woman, a Godly man for a man, who can pour into their life and say, Hey, okay, you know, think about this. Here's a good question to ask. Here's maybe a boundary that would be helpful for you all, you know, specifically you as a couple, you know. So don't do relationships alone. I think the physical side can benefit so much if you have community and people in your life that are helping you have success in that area.
Jennifer Rothschild: That's a good word. And it was so clear. One theme that you said in everything right there was honesty. Be honest with your people, be honest with the person you're dating.
Bethany Beal: Yes.
Jennifer Rothschild: And so here's an honest question. I have observed that there are Christian young people -- or they're -- young people who claim the name of Christ, and they are engaged, and they decide, well, we're going to get married anyway. So they live together and they start the process of all that comes with marriage. What would you say to that couple? To the young woman especially.
Bethany Beal: Yeah, I'll just be super straightforward. If that were my younger sister, I would say I would really not do that. You know, I think that for couples to put themselves in that place of temptation and to say, like, oh, no, you know, we're going to live together, it's going to be no problem. Like, if you really like each other and you're really infatuated, yes, it's possible, but why put yourself in that place of temptation? I mean, if a couple is that ready, I would say just get married. Why are we living together? Why are we waiting, you know? Like, I know cohabitation is very popular in our circles, but I think just statistically, even if you just go [inaudible], like, statistics of how cohabiting together -- does that heighten your chances of a longer lasting relationship or diminish them? And even divorce rates will show that that is not helping us, you know, that's not helping relationships. That's just a secular perspective.
So I think it's important to ask, okay, God has a good design, he has a plan for this, so why am I flirting with temptation? Why am I pretending to do something and be something that I'm not? And if he is not willing to make that commitment, in my mind that's a red flag and I would want to really take a step back and say, okay, he wants to live with me, but he's not willing to actually put a commitment behind that? I think there's a problem here. So I personally -- if that were my younger sister or a really good friend, I would say, okay, let's put some brakes on, let's really talk about this, because this is concerning in my opinion.
Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah. I agree with you. And when I see things like that happening, my heart breaks for that young woman and I want to say, Sweet girl, do you not see your own value? Do you not see your own value? And we need to, as women, speak into each other's lives --
Bethany Beal: Amen.
Jennifer Rothschild: -- and remind each other of our value in Christ. Because, yes, what you described, if a man is willing to live with you but not follow, I mean, there's just -- that's not expressing value. And we are valuable daughters to the King.
Bethany Beal: Amen.
Jennifer Rothschild: Wow, Bethany, this is so good. And I'm grateful for this conversation. It's something that needs to be addressed more frequently. I'm going to lead people to your podcast, too, and your books, because this is such a great resource, your messaging is.
So let's end with this though. Okay? This will be our last question. I want you to give us some very practical wisdom from the Bible for women right now who are single and are dating.
Bethany Beal: You know, I think that the most important thing for a single woman is to have -- and I know I sound like a broken record -- but to have a genuine, thriving relationship with Christ. And a verse that was an anchor in my singles and in my dating days is Proverbs 3:5-6, which says, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your path straight." And isn't that what dating women want? They're like, Help me. Is this the answer? What do I need to know? Help me, help me, you know, like, I want my paths to be directed. I think the best way that you can get answers for the next step -- you know, not audibly, not like an actual "Yes, you will marry him," but just wisdom -- is to have a genuine relationship with Christ. And I mean being in the Word. You know, Proverbs is full of wisdom, so being in the Book of Proverbs. Spending time, even if it's just five minutes, like, opening up the Bible. Pray asking God, God, help me to trust you with this. Help me to not make this an idol. Help me to want to honor you and to live for you first and foremost. Help me not to be so desperate for a relationship that I'm willing to compromise. And I think we get that strength and that confidence and that humility, honestly, from Christ. And so if we are not tapped into our source of strength and humility which comes from Christ, then we're walking on our own strength, we're walking in our own flesh, and we know that doesn't end well.
And so I just encourage you, don't do this relationship alone. Ultimately be connected to Christ. But then be connected with other community so that they can speak into your life. You know, we were never meant to do life alone. And I think that's crucial to remember, especially in the dating days.
Jennifer Rothschild: We were not meant to do life alone, for sure. So stay close to Christ. He is your strength; he is your companion. His spirit gives you wisdom in every single area of your life, including dating and romance.
K.C. Wright: It is not good for man to be alone.
Jennifer Rothschild: Ooo.
K.C. Wright: Yeah. And to all the singles out there -- because I am one -- it is never worth it to compromise or settle. So stay honest with your peoples. Guard your value because you are so very valuable. Yes, you are.
Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah, you are.
If you want to go deeper, get some more with Bethany, we'll have links to her books and her podcast on the show notes at 413podcast.com/210.
K.C. Wright: And if there is a young woman in your life, she needs Bethany's voice. So share this podcast with her.
Until next week, our 4:13 family, remember that whatever you face and however you feel, you can do all things through Christ who gives you supernatural strength.
Jennifer Rothschild: I can.
K.C. Wright: I can.
Jennifer Rothschild: And you can.
K.C. Wright: You can.
But honestly, my counselor, he says, "K.C., just focus on this: Be what you want to see."
Jennifer Rothschild: Be what you want to see.
K.C. Wright: All right?
Jennifer Rothschild: Ooh, that's so good.
K.C. Wright: So in this season of singleness, I'm working on getting fit, staying healthy, and getting finances in order. I am a homeowner. And just getting my life -- getting my house in order to prepare -- Noah built the ark before it rained, so I am preparing for adventure, the Lord does have someone.
Jennifer Rothschild: Okay.
K.C. Wright: Right?
Jennifer Rothschild: Well done.
Jennifer and K.C.: Be what you want to see you.
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