JASON VALLOTTON | MORAL REVOLUTION
Until you can teach something, without notes, you haven’t really learned it. It’s only when you can teach something that way you know it’s become part of you.
Most people think marriage is a box full of everlasting love, unconditional love, beauty, adventure, money…etc. We think love is this big box and you just open it up and there it is and it’s ready for you and it’s been waiting for you.
Love is not a reason to stay together. Don’t marry someone because you love them. And don’t marry someone if you don’t love them. You’ll fall in love with a lot of people in your lifetime if you give yourself enough time. There is not “the one.” But we don’t realize that when we’re in the middle of a relationship. We think, “Of course it should work. We love one another but we want different things for our lives.” We have a misconception of love.
So what is love? On the most fundamental level, it’s needs/boundaries/commitment. A lot people mix up passion and love. Love is the commitment. It’s steady and it will always be there— forever. Passion is feelings. When you’re looking into someone’s eyes and say, “I love you,” you’re in the passion genre. The love side is saying, “I choose you. I’m committed to you. I want to better your life. And I want you to better my life.”
What’s inside of that metaphorical box called dating? Nothing. There is nothing in there except what you decide to put in there. Nothing will be inside your relationship until you put something inside of it. You can’t get anything out of it that you don’t put into it. Put down the bridal magazines and skateboard and pick up some information that will better you so that you have beautiful things to give to one another.
Hollywood has taught us that there is such a thing as Superman. And then we project that onto ourselves and think we’re going to come in and be this hero or this woman who takes this guy’s heart a melts it. And a year into marriage you’re like, “Where did my cape go? Oh yah, I sold it on eBay to pay the rent.”
Every person you respect has flaws. The best thing you can do in dating is have the right perspective and expectations, not the perfect steps.
When an expectation goes unmet it leads to disappointment and disappointment is painful.
Disappointment always leads to pain.
How do you increase the beauty inside of a relationship? For the rest of your life you’ll be doing that.
If you’re single, you should be working on yourself to increase your chances of having a beautiful relationship.
If you’re not cultivating beauty inside of yourself you’ll go everywhere looking for it. That’s one reason we’re attracted to things we shouldn’t be attracted to— like the tree in the garden that Eve wasn’t supposed to eat from— it was beautiful.
Once you recognize what you’re trying to do, you’ll know what to pour energy into. It will also tell you what season of life you’re in.
Make beautiful relationships. It’s what you will be doing the rest of your life.
The things that affect you most in life aren’t work-related. You can get through a really rough day if you know you have beautiful relationships to come home to. But if you don’t, it can ruin even your best day. Work harder now and forever on relationships more than you do anything else. It puts rose-colored glasses on the rest of life so you can handle more than you otherwise could’ve.
When someone is dying, they don’t want a highlight reel of all their successes. They aren’t checking their bank account. They aren’t worried about closing on a deal on a house. At the end of their life they want to look at the beautiful relationships they’ve created with people they’ve committed to loving their whole life. They want to say, “I love you” one last time, even though every one there knows he loves them. What he’s trying to say is, “What we’ve built together means something to me.”
If you can, just walk away from this conversation saying, “This is so important. I have to learn this— for the girl I love, and for myself.”
WHAT IS HEALTHY? |
Being able to live in such a way that the world benefits from all that you are.
That’s how you know that you’re ready to date again.
That’s how you know that you’re ready to have kids— are your kids going to benefit from your life? If not, don’t have them.
If the girl you want to date isn’t going to benefit from your life right now, you’re not ready. Everything doesn’t have to be perfect. But don’t use that as a cop-out to go start something that you aren’t going to be able to finish. Because if you don’t have the willpower to do it then it becomes really painful. Then you’re going on a couple of years together and you still don’t have the willpower, and you begin talking about getting married and breaking up in the same breath and it’s super painful.
If you have self-control problems, communication problems, willpower issues, etc… those are all game enders. You’re done before you start. Deal with your stuff. Make yourself beautiful inside so you have something to give. When you’re ready to add your strength to somebody, ok, date.
And again, when a relationship goes bad (whether in dating or marriage), the next person has questions they need answered before they add themselves to you. “What is your track record? What are you doing about it? Who are you today?” Trust is not built by the absence of mistakes, it’s built by how you clean up the mess.
Ultimately, when you’re ready to leave somebody better off than you found them, whether they marry you or the relationship ends— you’re ready to date. If you don’t think you can ever do that, don’t ever date. If you can’t do that, you’re just creating messes.
Every relationship has some pain inside of a breakup. But if they didn’t feel nurtured, cared for, thought of— better— it’s a failure. You’re not ready to move forward.
If you can do it in your normal relationships with people, it’s a really good indicator you’ll be able to do that in your dating relationship.
Emotions are horrible decision-makers. At the same time, if you have no emotions that is also horrible.
Never make a decision when you’re “under the influence.” Don’t make a decision to propose at 11 o’clock at night when you’re tired and super high on emotions.
Whatever you don’t process during the day consciously, your brain processes in the night sub-consciously while you sleep. It’s ok. It means nothing. Maybe you dreamt about them 3 nights in a row. Ok. You’re infatuated with the person. Let it play out. Don’t make a decision based off of it.
If your emotions are the only thing confirming your theory on whether or not they’re the “right one,” you’re in trouble. People get in trouble when their emotions are the driver and not their willpower. Take your emotions and hand them to someone who you trust and who loves you and they will give you perspective.
Objectivity is the ability pull your emotions away from you, stand back and make a clear decision without being influenced by your emotions (and know if you’re on track).
Guys, you are always taking the most emotional risk. Always.
THE RELATIONSHIP LADDER | BUILDING TRUST
Any question you ask yourself that you can’t answer leads to to anxiety. Keep anxiety out of your relationship and answer the questions appropriate for where you are in the relational journey.
(Example: You go out for coffee together. She shouldn’t walk away and ask herself, “is he the marrying kind?” The only things she should be asking herself are, “Did I have fun? Can he hold a conversation?”)
All of these are equally as important. Don’t skip any. Start from the bottom.
17 - Forever is not long enough. (Do you want to put as much effort and energy into this future as I do? Because there’s a lot of hard work between now and there and I don’t want to do it by myself.)
16 - We are both powerful.
15 - We agree or win/win on God, money, and kids. (Those are the top 3 marriage-ending things.)
14 - Unconditional love (you know all of me and vice versa). (Somewhere right in here is where you spill your guts— that’s how you know if they are able to love you unconditionally. You cannot have intimacy without this.)
13 - He knows how to take care of me (this is nearing “I love you.”)
12 - He knows how to do conflict.
11 - Both have needs and boundaries. (Does he care for and nurture himself?)
10 - Our communication is life-giving.
9 - We are building consistency over time.
8 - Are we going to the same place?
7 - Do our core values line up?
6 - Is God in his God-spot? (Game changer.)
5 - Can we be best friends? (Do you have common interests? Like the same types of things? The more things you don’t have in common the more stress it puts on your relationship and the more you have to overcome. Look at the friends you have in your life. Chances are they have a lot in common with you. If you are not best friends, but they are nice and fun, it is not enough. You will alway be wishing you had a best friend.)
4 - Can we have fun? (Game changer. If that can’t happen, you have to bring the married couples back into the dating phase and teach them how to have fun.)
3 - Does he know how to do relationships?
2 - Is he safe?
1 - Does he want me to ask him out?
Don’t let you level of intimacy exceed your level of trust— ever. When you get married your foundation will be that of a mobile home instead of a skyscraper.
ONE: How much of our past is healthy/beneficial to share in a dating relationship? It all depends on how far you are into the relationship. There’s a balance. As you move forward on the relationship ladder (see below) into intimacy, you open up. It’s going to be different based on maturity levels. Remember, if you’re 18 you aren’t just trying to figure out if you two work out well together, you’re trying to figure out your calling, passion, career, how you plan on taking care of a family, how you’ll make money, what accomplishments you have or don’t have yet.
TWO: Having thoughts like, “I wonder what they’d be like to sleep with” when trying to date with purity? Don’t automatically assume that’s you being perverted. Ask yourself, “What need is that?” Any time you violate yourself it’s a need wanting to be met. This is a huge key for life. If you understand that, you can look at your life without putting yourself in a negative category of “violator” you can find a healthy way to meet your needs and break cycles. For Jason, a lot of time his need is for a sense of adventure. His personality needs something to look forward to all the time.
Any time you take ownership of a thought, you’re stuck. Say to that third party thought, “I don’t know who you’re talking to, but you’re not talking to me.” If you resist the enemy he will flee. He doesn’t have perseverance. You do.
THREE: How important is it to be attracted to a guy’s/girl’s body while dating? If you don’t have any feelings of sexual/physical attraction to the person you’re with it’s probably a really bad idea to continue moving forward. If Lauren married Jason just because she only liked his personality and wasn’t attracted to him physically he would feel ripped off. Jason is one of the pickiest people in the world when it comes to finding someone to marry. He doesn’t like certain things and didn’t feel bad about it. He didn’t think trashy thoughts. He just asked, “Am I attracted to her?”
Guys marry up all the time. It’s rare that a girl marries up. The guy that marries up, most often, will be an emotional genius and light that girl on fire inside.
FOUR: Why is there so much tension in the dating culture here? 80% of all the major decisions you’ll make in your life happens in your 20s. You’re at a point where you’re asking all the major questions right now: What am I going to do with my life? Who am I going to get married? Do I want to get married? Do I want to have kids? What am I passionate about?
Everyone is peaking out and feeling more comfortable with this stage in their life all at the same time. They’re feeling less afraid and more empowered to risk.
FIVE: How soon after a break up is it safe and healthy to start dating again? The next day. Get them on the rebound. As long as you can keep dribbling that ball, take it. Haha
Really, though, it’s different for every person. But mostly, when you’re willing to be hurt again and you aren’t afraid. When your past relationship isn’t something you’re lugging around with you.
SIX: How do I know if I’m dragging my last relationship into my next one?
Have you solved the problems from our last relationship? The worst thing is guessing where you’re at. Work at it until you know where you’re at. You don’t want to get into another relationship hoping you’re going to do the next one better is lack of preparation. There are ways you can test it out in community. The 2nd marriage divorce rate is 70%. The 3rd is in the 80s percentages. When a relationship goes bad (whether dating or marriage), people have questions before they add themselves to you. “What is your track record? What are you doing about it? Who are you today?” Trust is not built by the absence of mistakes, it’s built by how you clean up the mess.