Why I Don’t Believe Teens Should Date

bebraveFirst of all, I need to define what a teen is to me. Anyone still in high school, under the age of 18, under the protection of the laws that protect minors. I know there are a lot of teen-actors who are in college and beyond. They are also no longer under the laws that protect minors so they are not a part of this conversation.dating coach

I came to this conviction that teens should not date back in 1986. This is before Josh McDowell published his infamous book, Why Wait? This is before “True Love Waits” became the phenomenon it was. This is when I thought I as a youth pastor could be involved in my teens’ lives enough to walk with them through such things as dating. This was when my youth ministry practices were definitely Brenda-centric.

I am a big believer in dating. I never was on board with that I Kissed Dating Goodbye stuff. I have yet to read that book. I believe that the process of dating is to discover who you are. The result of this learning process will then lead you to a good match to give you that love for a lifetime everyone desires. I have always believed this. I dated a lot. I thought I could allow the teens in my ministry to date also. After all, I would be walking with them through this. But then a leader in the youth group got pregnant—with my involvement in her life. It was then that I changed this view. I have never wavered from it since.

A teen’s heart is a beautiful yet fragile thing. Due to adolescent development everything is new to them: their thoughts, their feelings, their emotions. The brain is literally growing these new neurological paths during adolescence. This is why teens have some crazy thinking at times. This is why there are laws to protect minors. This is why they are so open to the message of God’s love and hope for them. They “get it” in this new neurological level.

This is why a devastating break up can have such long-lasting damage. And of course, a devastating break up is bound to happen during the teen years. Less than 1% of all high school relationships last to be that love for a lifetime. A devastating break up creates a lot of damage to these beautiful yet fragile hearts. Continue reading


Go Girl!

bebraveWe have all become familiar with the heroics of William Wilburforce and his passion to end slavery in England. William Wilburforce had a woman friend who shared the same passion and lived her life with that passion. She did all this as a single woman—one who was also stood up by her fiance’ THREE times.

Meet Hannah Moore. Learn how she didn’t let her singleness hold her back. Nor the rejection of a man. Learn how she used her position to influence others and create change. While not compromising her beliefs she found herself among the literati of London—as a single. This is the true story of a single woman who lived “out there.”

Be inspired, single women. Live. Serve. Do. These are good years. These years will tell the story of your life.

Read about Hannah Moore.

Be brave.


The Cross of the Single

bebraveI wrote this originally on June 15, 1990. I have long-turned thirty, then forty and for some reason I stopped having birthdays at 43. Anyway.


The Cross of the Single

As I write this I am days away from my 27th birthday. I haven’t taken birthdays too well dating coachsince I turned twenty. I don’t know what it is. It’s not that I haven’t accomplished anything in my short years. It’s not that I am old or even look old. Yet birthdays continue to come and I continue to hate them. Just wait until I turn thirty!

Birthdays cause you to reflect. Never in a million years did I think that at the age of 27 that I would still be single and at days before this pending birthday I am not any closer to getting married and joining the rest of my age group. To add to this, last Sunday God once again called me to that supposed high calling of singleness Paul wrote about in I Corinthians 7. Just before my birthday!

So many times I have heard that message on the high calling of singleness. This is a favorite message at most single events. Sometimes I think they preach it to make us feel better and to hold us over until we can join the “real world” when we get married. How I hate that message. I’m sure that everyone in the room joined me in that sentiment. Who wants to accept that cross? Certainly not the majority of believers–they all got married. And certainly not I and I told God that. I would rather pick up a different cross–a heavier cross as long as I have someone to walk beside me.

It is a cross that singles carry. This cross does have its good moments, namely freedom. The older I get, more and more I enjoy that one. It will be hard for me to share my space with someone. After all, this is my bathroom, my unmade bed, and my dirty dishes in my dirty kitchen. The only one affected by this is me and I like it that way. Where would I fit a husband into my life?

Then there are the times I would gladly make the bed if I could have a permanent someone in my life to support me, share my fears with, comfort me, and dream dreams with. It would be nice to have someone in this married couple world. In the set up of a table for a dinner, we, singles, always throw the pattern off. Continue reading



bebravePart of healthy dating is you simply have to be vulnerable. Being vulnerable opens you up to the “what if” that God has for you. Dating requires bravery.

Along the way you may/will meet some crazies.dating coach

One of my coaching participants joined Meet Up on my recommendation. This is a good recommendation for many reasons.

A guy messaged her with a simple “Hi.” She was flattered as she should be. It does feel good to be randomly noticed.

Her response back was “Tell me more about yourself.” Safe question, right?

This was the response she got back:
feel free to ask me questions and I’ll give you the answer, do you mind answering my question’s and let me know what you think, I will take them one after the other, what do you do for a living? Is there anything special that you’re passionate about? I love swimming, taking walks down the park, observing nature, running and walking, I also love cooking and taking walks by the sea side, I’m passionate about a candle lit dinner with i and my partner holding hands together and sharing intimate things about each other. you have a favorite restaurant? Some like hot and spicy, others prefer comfort food. If you had to pick one type of food, what would you say is your favorite? I love American food and also Italian food and most times, I love to cook for myself. I love Mc Donald. Continue reading


Love is Like Green Bananas

bebraveI had a date with a guy once.  His name was Mitchell.  He was in a band that I hired for a youth event and he was pretty insistent on asking me out.  Even the teens knew he was.  I said yes.

On our first date he took me to a nice dinner in dating coachdowntown Minneapolis.  It was a nice dinner and we had a nice conversation.  After that dinner we were walking on that nice summer evening in downtown Minneapolis.  Then suddenly he was down on his knees before me and proposed marriage.  In front of a crowd—who stopped to watch.  I said no to his proposal without even explaining why.  Very loudly to the crowd Mitchell declared, “Love is like green bananas.  It takes time to ripen.”  The date ended shortly after that.

green bananas

Continue reading


Coexist is Really Cobelieve

bebraveIt was one of “those” moments back in 2005 when Bono of U2 put on that headwrap with the word “Coexist” using three icons from the three major world religions. It was an obvious coexiststatement that Bono the man would make. It has since been tweaked and changed to add as many religions and belief systems—like the peace sign (what?)—to make the effect of “Coexist” even cooler.

Apparently an American company with trademark rights to the image sued web sites and companies who began using it without permission. The Israeli museum that first commissioned the image has claimed and is trying protecting their copyright, and the Polish designer who created the image in 2001 says he’s being left out. Many other people have tweaked it to make it “theirs” for their own goals. All of this over a clever way of saying that we should all be getting along.

Whomever ended up with the actual trademark rights is making a lot of money because this “brand” is on lots and lots of car bumpers.

Something has changed in the message from 2005, or even from the message in 2001 when the Polish designer said he created it. Continue reading


“Only date someone you would consider marrying.”

bebraveThis is oft-given advice.  On the surface it makes sense.  But how does an 18-year old know who they would consider marrying?  (I say 18 because I don’t believe someone younger than 18 should date.)  How does a 21-year old know who they would consider marrying?  Or a 25-year old?  dating coach

I subscribe wholly to Dr. Henry Cloud’s stance that you don’t date to get married.  You date to find out who you can marry.  Dating is more about learning what you need and want and can trust.  Dating is an activity to get to know someone, do something fun and with no pressure.  Dating is a wonderful time to find out about other people and what they are like.  As well as finding out about yourself with your weaknesses and strengths. I call this brave dating.

On this day I celebrate 18 years of marriage to John. If I was dating someone I would consider marrying, I would never have dated John.  I had many good reasons–many.  Yet I had this stance toward dating. Brave dating is finding out what your type is and who you are.   After John snuck in an ask for a date I went on the date with this spirit of adventure and learning.  What more can I learn about this guy?  What more can I learn about myself?  I learned a lot.  John learned a lot.  After a long friendship, I decided he was a guy I could marry.  He so definitely was not that in the beginning!  I’ll share that whole story here someday.  I still find myself looking at him often and saying “how are we a match?”  John just laughs wholeheartedly and says “I don’t know but we are.”  We are.  Continue reading


Our Lives vs. New Phones

crazywriterYou gently run your fingers across your shiny new iPhone. It’s smooth, unscratched, grease and dirt-free. This is your holy baby, and you will treat it reverently. Nobody can touch this. Somehow, you feel that not even you can touch it.

Do we care more about our phones than our lives?

Think about it. How would you handle a new phone? (Admit it, we’re all a bit overprotective of them–especially at first.) You’d put a case on it to protect it from damage–and to give it your own personal flair! You’d notice every new smudge, scratch, and fleck of dirt. You’d get some great apps, use it, and charge it when it’s low on battery.


Now think about yourself.

Do you take care to protect yourself? Do you express who you are? Are you aware of your needs, quirks, hopes, and fears? Do you spend time cultivating yourself and being the best person you can be? Do you know what drains you and how to revitalize yourself? Chances are, you don’t do all of those things. Actually, none of us do every single one of those things. We’re hard on ourselves. Sometimes in the hustle and bustle, we completely ignore what we need. Self-awareness and introspection take the back seat when there are piles of homework to get done or a stack of bills to be paid. Self-esteem can be difficult to gain or maintain when we feel completely inadequate. And so, we break. We run out of charge. Continue reading