Archives For Relationships

Today I turn 31 years old.  I’ve learned a few things….mostly the hard way.  Here are a few lessons I wish I had known before about the three things that take up most of my thoughts: God, Girls and Growth.


1.  Girls want to be asked out.
A few years back I realized that, due to a string of crises, I hadn’t been on a date in years and I didn’t have anyone to ask out.  I bit the bullet and signed up for online dating.  Lo and behold, there were dozens of beautiful girls, just waiting to be asked out!  Many of them I knew and had never realized it would be possible to date them. The truth is, they want to be in a relationship, too, and were just waiting to be asked out!


2. It is better to be rejected than to regret not trying.
When I started seeing a counselor, I told him about a girl I’d had a crush on for years.  She was so beautiful, funny and kind that she scared the daylights out of me!  My counselor told me to ask her out, and wouldn’t drop it until I did. The date itself was horrifying. I learned I could do it, and I swore I’d never again get in that cycle of fear and regret. 

3. Birds of a feather flock together.
Know a girl who seems just perfect, but she’s unavailable?  Get to know her friends!  Wonder why you keep dating terrible hateful human beings? Do they seem to be all alike and hang out in the same places?  The old adage is true! Birds of a feather flock together.  Find out where a good one flocks, and you’ll find more just like her. (Unfortunately, they’ll probably be friends. Play it cool.)

4. Never trust a profile picture taken at an odd angle in a car.
Here’s a hard earned lesson from the alternative universe of on-line dating: If someone is taking a picture at an odd angle that doesn’t make any sense, they’re hiding something.  Trust me.

5. Do something free on the first date.
Chances are you will go on a fair number of first dates.  Wait to do something fancy until you think she’s worth keeping around.  It also forces you to be creative. This increases the chance of making great memories!

6. Judge by fruit.
I could put this one in any section, but I’ll keep it here.  Like John the Baptist said, judge a tree by its fruit.  You can’t have a relationship with “the person I think she could become someday.” You can only have a relationship with the person she is today.  The best predictor of future behavior is past performance.  Continue Reading…

Seth Rogen has made a name for himself with a series of comedies that prove to be both thoughtful and raunchy.  50/50 ups the ante, by taking on a subject that may be one of the last taboos in our society: cancer.  It follows the story of Adam, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who is diagnosed with spinal cancer in his late 20s.

Cancer simply serves as the catalyst for the movie’s real focus: adult relationships in the 21st century.  Rogen plays the same foul-mouthed-over-sexed manchild that he plays in all of his movies.  Gordon-Levitt’s character is a likable, nerdy, introverted guy who tries to “fix people.”  The movies is a series of awkward moments focusing on people’s inablity to deal with the elephant in the room: impending death.

The charm of the movie is also it’s fatal flaw, it introduces a number of difficult issues, without really dealing with them.  Gordon-Levitt is cheated on, yet bounces back with a sweeter girlfriend.  His estranged relationship with his parents ends in him learning to pity them, rather than reconciling.

But most of all, the movie somehow fails to address it’s premise, the tragedy of mortality.  Gordon-Levitt never tries to set his house in order, and barely grieves over his lost dreams.  In choosing to make the movie about winning the fight against cancer, it fails to reach the depth intended.  The movie reminds me of those pink “I ♥ Boobs” bracelets, that may be a great fundraiser, but also make light of a heartbreaking reality.

The movie’s shortcoming fits well into a generation that has left nothing sacred.  We convince ourselves that sex is just about fun and commitment is out of fashion, yet we find ourselves alone.  When we choose to run away from roots and families to hip cities (yes, I know I’m blogging this from Austin), yet we struggle to find solace in communities based on hobbies or partying.  And death?  Don’t worry about it.  We’ll beat that eventually.

Philosopher Stanley Hauerwas talks about how, in a secular world, we have replaced spiritual communities with “churches” of sports or television or beer.  These “churches” may provide distraction and relationships, yet they don’t have the ability to deal with the realities of life and death.  And despite being the fact it’s probably the funniest movie ever mad about cancer, neither does 50/50.

If You Only Read One Love Story

Chris —  October 5, 2011

If you could only read one love story, you should read A Severe Mercy.  The book is the journey of Sheldon and Davy Vanauken, through romance,  courtship, marriage, infidelity, agnosticism, faith, and eventually death.  The book is best known for containing the author’s correspondance with C.S. Lewis on issues of faith and death.

The book begins with the couple’s meeting and romance in an ivy league college.  They define themselves as “high pagans,” seeking after the higher virtues of classical culture.  They believed that they could keep the “in love” feeling that couples experience early on when they share everything.  They share the details of their days, passionately explore the other’s interests, and even sail around the world together.  The uniqueness of their romance inspires Lewis’s words, and the title “A Severe Mercy.”

Unfortunately, Jesus messes this up.  As honest agnostics and intellectuals, they decide that someday they must look into the claims of Christianity.  When they move to Oxford they encounter intellectuals who also follow Christ, and they begin their investigation.  This result is a correspondance and friendship with C.S. Lewis, who helps personalize much that he his books discuss.  They both experience conversion, but their endless romance is never the same.  Vanauken candidly explains the strains this new faith took on their marriage, and how it took death to rebuild their relationship.

Much of the book grapples the illness and death of Davy, and how their new faith was affected.  Fascinatingly, the correspondence includes letters both before and after Lewis’s own experience with burying a wife.

It’s hard to capture in a blog post the beautiful, thought provoking and heart wrenching nature of this book.  It presents a picture of how faith can be intellectual, how romance can be meaningful, and how death can be accepted.  It is the story of a life well lived, and a love worth emulating.

Life is Good.

Chris —  October 3, 2011

Life is Good.

It’s true that life is tough. And when you realize that it’s tough, it gets a little better. It’s hard not to get lost in the darkness. Suffering is immediate rich and important in a way that our small daily joys pale against.

Which is why it is essential to remember that life is good.

As I was leaving the Emmanuel Orphanage in Delhi, Lakshmi, a six year old girl with piercing blue eyes clung to me and cried “Uncle, Uncle!” She, and all those around hre had been abandoned and persecuted their entire young lives, but they still knew how to love deeply, in a way I struggle to remember. Life is good.

I know a guy who begrudgingly gave the keys of his car to a single mom he barely knew for two weeks. They are good friends now.  Life is good.

A friend of mine has often thought that he could ever get a “good girl.” He felt like the only ones interested had different values and would treat him poorly. Then he met a girl, and has been attached to her at the hip ever since. Seeing them together is life seeing something that was always meant to be. Life is good.

Another friend of mine went to a foreign country to work with an NGO. His work was interupted when his teammates were captured, and he had to spend to next few months there negotiating their release.  As heartwrenching as that was, he also sees it as the most important thing he has ever done. He took a furlough to recover, and is returning calmer, closer to God, and more excited about discipleship than ever. Life is good.

I get depressed sometimes. This summer was one of those. In the midst of that, I got a small, unexpected gift that helped shake me out of my myopic viewpoint. Life is good.

The scriptures teach when God created the world he called it good. When he created man, he called man really good. Then, sin wrecked all of that. Twisted and misshapen, like a fun house or a computer photobooth. But when we look behind the brokenness, we get to see that there is a heart wrenching beauty to it all.

The scriptures teach that this is not the way it was meant to be. Life is meant to be good. God has restored, is restoring and eventually will restore in full.

In time, the heartwrench will be over, and all we will see is that Life is Good.

All the writing textbooks say that you should write even when you don’t have anything to say.  Force yourself.  Write about how you don’t have anything to write about.  Use a prompt.  Tell a story.  Just write.

(This is just such a post.)

There’s some wisdom to that, and  it applies to more than just writing.  I think life is the same way.

I know a guy who is tired to living.  He’s not suicidal.  Just tired.  Tired of doing the same thing again and again with the same result.  Not sure what to do different.

A friend of mine has reached his job’s ceiling.  He’s good at it, but isn’t making a living, and doesn’t know where to go or what to do differently.

Another friend has realized that he is in a cycle of bad relationships.  He likes the girls that are bad for him.  At his most cynical, he thinks it is his fault, and these are the only kinds of girls he has a chance with.

Perhaps this advice about writing is just advice about life.  When you don’t know what to do, you should just do something.  Find a prompt, something to get you moving.

Tired of life?  Don’t get caught up in the Meta, and just get through today.  It won’t always be this way.

Hit your ceiling?  Keep working really hard.  Jesus said that to he gives more to those who have been faithful with a little.

Can’t find the perfect relationship?  Try something different.  Not solely for romance, but for the chance to learn about yourself and make a new friend.

Life is a blank paper.  You are a genius with writer’s block.

Just write.