Author: Lex Tennessee

3 Signs of Spiritual Abuse in Dating

I recently counseled a young woman about a romantic relationship she was in. She’s told me over time many red flags that all led me to believe that she was in an emotionally abusive relationship yet she wouldn’t have exactly described it that way. What she said was, “He just cares so much about my walk that he doesn’t want to see me stumble.” Many sin-driven Christian guys twist God’s design for romantic relationships before then using it to justify controlling, emotionally abusive behavior.  “Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.  Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.” Ephesians 5:22-24  Because of all the confusion about what these verses mean, Christian women I meet with who are in these situations find themselves feeling confused about what’s abuse and what’s not. A young woman can become convinced that an abusive …

Rethinking Romantic Compatibility

Note: Large portions of this piece were written by Nina Singhapakdi. Popular online dating website, eHarmony, brags that “every day, an average of 438 singles marry a match they met” on the website. The source of the site’s matchmaking success, it claims, is the questions that members must fill out in order to be matched with compatible partners. However, this philosophy is not groundbreaking in the least. Simply type “compatibility” into Google and your browser will be faced with thousands of websites boasting the most accurate relationship compatibility matching survey on the Internet. Society believes that compatibility is the indicator of a relationship’s lasting power. After all, just look at all of the divorce papers citing “irreconcilable differences.” However, I understand relational compatibility much differently. Most of the things that we deem as compatibility markers are shallow and fluid. Your partner may love the same movies, books, and sports teams that you do, but people’s tastes change. You may both harbor a lifelong dream to go to Bali, but when you finally take that trip together, …

Brothers Speak: The Person You Date Represents You

Last night, I skyped with my friend (and our founder), Nina, and she said something that stuck out to me, “Who we date says a lot about us and where God falls on our list of priorities.” In my first year of college, at the age of nineteen, I started dating my second girlfriend, *Becca. Becca was smart, fun, and worshipped at the same church. We were also in the same campus bible study where I could tell that we had chemistry. All systems pointed to “Go.” But here’s where things got tricky with Becca. Becca disagreed with me about even the most basic aspects of following Christ. I took the lead spiritually and initiated the purity talk where I told her about my commitment to save myself for my future wife. She respected that and never tried to pressure me. But to be honest, she wasn’t on the same page and if it weren’t up to me, we would have been having sex. Also, even though she went to church and we got to …

Brothers Speak: What Naomi Teaches Us About Faith

“The women said to Naomi: “Praise be to the Lord, who this day has not left you without a guardian-redeemer. May he become famous throughout Israel! He will renew your life and sustain you in your old age. For your daughter-in-law, who loves you and who is better to you than seven sons, has given him birth.” (Ruth 4:14-15 NIV) Her name meant “pleasant”, yet the Book of Ruth starts out in ruin. When Naomi left Bethlehem for Moab, she had a husband and two sons and now that they were dead, she and her two daughters-in-law were left vulnerable and helpless in a foreign land of idol worship. Discouragement became her constant companion and her faith in God’s blessings and mercy fell to its lowest. In the first chapter, she said to her daughters-in-law: “the hand of the LORD has gone out against me.” (Ruth 1:13 ESV) Naomi’s lack of faith was so blatant that we are even tempted to look down on it. After all, did she not know our Lord’s compassion for widows …

Brothers Speak: Girls, You Are Not “Goods”

As a college ministry leader at a small church in Boston, I get to shepherd young Christians in a transitional stage of their lives. College is an interesting age for the Christian; I learn a ton about following Jesus in today’s world just by ministering to college students. One of the most disturbing trends I’ve noticed is a common pattern of behavior in guys entrenched in purity culture. Don’t get me wrong: I esteem and cherish purity. Purity is sacred. Purity is beautifully radical. It’s a romantic rebellion; it goes against the patterns of the world in pursuit of something holier. It honors your future spouse. It prevents you from handing out spousal privileges to boyfriends and girlfriends. And, most importantly, God commanded it. “Choose this day whom you will serve… But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15) However, many young Christian guys take their values to the point of shaming girls who’ve fallen into sexual sin. Does the insult “damaged goods” ring a bell? Girls, you are …

Brothers Speak: Examine What He Allows Into His Walk

I’d like to share a small story with you that took place back in 2013. After a long day in med school filled with a messy dissection and two tests, I was stoked to head to the movies after work with a few of my classmates. Like many people, I am a huge fan of Leonardo DiCaprio. He chooses interesting roles with great directors, his acting is top-notch, and everything he touches turns to gold. I’d been waiting excitedly for The Wolf of Wall Street to come out for months. You fellow fans out there reading this know that he doesn’t come out with a film very often; that probably added to the excitement. So, fast forward to the afternoon. Here we are, each of us finished with our last class. We get to the theater, find our seats, and soon the movie starts. Those of you who’ve either seen the movie or read the reviews that year know that the movie is infamous for what I discovered on that opening day: It’s filled to the brim with the …