Series Code: MOC
Program Code: MOC170029A
00:26 Welcome to A Multitude of Counselors.
00:28 We're so thankful that you've joined us today
00:30 for our program.
00:31 It's going to be an awesome program
00:33 because we're going to talk about a relevant topic,
00:35 and that is Christian dating, courtship,
00:39 finding a life partner, and all those kind of things.
00:43 So I want to start with a little bit of the history
00:45 of Christian dating.
00:47 Historically, dating really didn't exist.
00:50 Marriage was a very functional thing.
00:52 And you know that historically
00:54 many marriages were determined by the parents,
00:57 the parents matched the married couple.
01:00 But there are still some cultures
01:03 in which that is active today.
01:06 But marriage was always
01:07 historically a very functional thing,
01:10 even in early Western culture, very functional,
01:13 particularly before the Industrial Revolution.
01:16 So let me give you an example.
01:17 There was a man
01:19 who put an ad in a paper to try to find a wife,
01:22 and this is what he said.
01:23 This is in 1800s,
01:25 and this is what he said, he said...
01:26 This man was from Arkansas,
01:28 so let me try to sound like him.
01:29 He said, " Any gal what got a bed,
01:31 calico dress, coffee-pot and skillet,
01:34 knows how to cut our britches,
01:35 can make a hunting shift,
01:37 and knows how to take care of children
01:39 can have my services till death parts both of us."
01:42 So that man really didn't care about the relationship so much
01:45 as he cared about how that woman functioned
01:48 because it was all about survival.
01:50 Well, the Industrial Revolution came along,
01:53 and it wasn't just about survival anymore,
01:55 there was more leisure time, there was more money,
01:57 more prosperity,
01:58 people could actually think about relationships.
02:01 So it was in that window of time
02:02 that courtship really started to develop.
02:04 And the way it looked initially was this that
02:06 the girl would sit in her parlor,
02:08 in her home with her family,
02:10 in other parts of the home,
02:11 and the boy would come and visit with the girl
02:13 in the parlor.
02:15 This way, the girl was protected by her family,
02:17 they were within earshot,
02:18 and the power balance was with the girl.
02:21 But eventually, the poor girls thought,
02:23 "Well, I want to date or court too,"
02:25 and so they started to meet in public places.
02:29 And often, it was a restaurant or somewhere
02:31 where there was something that needed to be purchased.
02:33 And typically, the male was purchasing.
02:35 So the power balance shifted to the male,
02:37 and in addition,
02:39 the parents really didn't have
02:40 as much to do with that relationship.
02:43 Then beyond that,
02:46 dating, as it came to be called,
02:47 started to be about the thrill of the relationship,
02:52 very focused in
02:53 on the romantic thrill of dating
02:55 and less functional, and less serious,
02:57 less intentional.
02:59 Christian dating pretty much followed that pattern
03:03 until the purity movement
03:06 and until a certain book came along.
03:08 In about 1997, young man named Joshua Harris,
03:12 21 years old, wrote the book, I Kissed Dating Goodbye.
03:17 And in that book,
03:18 he recommended returning to the courtship model
03:21 where the parents would have
03:22 much authority over the relationship,
03:25 the couple would restrain themselves
03:27 from any kind of physical or emotional enmeshment
03:30 during that courtship process,
03:32 and they were very much focused on ascertaining
03:36 whether that person was a suitable marriage partner,
03:40 so it was very serious.
03:42 Well, that went on for about 20 years.
03:46 And then 20 years after the courtship revolution,
03:50 you might call it,
03:51 the author of
03:52 I Kissed Dating Goodbye kissed the book,
03:55 I Kissed Dating Goodbye, goodbye.
03:58 And I want us to hear from him
03:59 because he really had a process of thinking about
04:03 what he put across in that book
04:04 and what might have been some things
04:05 that needed to be corrected.
04:07 He said, in an article,
04:09 "I'm just beginning the process
04:10 of revisiting the message and impact of my book.
04:15 Over the years, I've heard from people
04:16 who have been helped by the book,
04:18 but I've also heard a growing number of voices
04:19 of people who have been hurt by it.
04:22 I want to understand this better.
04:24 I'm starting by listening."
04:26 Then in a TED Talks, he said,
04:28 "I gave the impression that there was really one formula
04:31 you could follow,
04:33 and that if you follow that, you would be happily married,
04:34 God will bless you,
04:36 and you have a great sex life and marriage.
04:37 Probably, one of the things that I regret the most
04:39 was that there was a lot of fear inside me
04:42 and that fear transferred into my writing.
04:44 Fear of messing up, fear of getting heartbroken,
04:46 fear of hurting someone else, fear of sex."
04:50 When I read that, I realized that
04:52 he was identifying some of the things
04:53 that I had experienced as flaws in the courtship model
04:57 or maybe limitations in the courtship model.
04:59 But I want to say this
05:01 that I think the courtship model
05:02 was an improvement on the dating model.
05:04 And I, myself, went through dating
05:07 according to the world's formula,
05:09 and then went through courtship according to this formula,
05:13 and I married my husband after that kind of courtship,
05:16 and we're still married about a million years later.
05:18 So something was working that I would say
05:21 it's more what we did after the marriage,
05:23 which is, I think, true for everyone.
05:25 But on the other hand, there are, perhaps, limitations
05:29 or things that needed to be corrected,
05:31 but let's not start from scratch here.
05:33 There are some really good things
05:34 about the courtship model.
05:36 I think the one thing for me that was missing was
05:38 there was no opportunity to get to know the opposite sex
05:41 before a very serious relationship such as courtship.
05:45 And so when I counsel young people, I say,
05:47 "Start out with friendship dating
05:49 where you're just kind of enjoying,
05:51 getting to know different people,
05:52 in public places,
05:54 not in these very private situations
05:56 where you might be tempted,
05:57 but do get to know a variety of people."
06:01 I was stumbled on an article
06:02 that said basically the same thing
06:04 by a man named Thomas Umstattd.
06:05 And he said that he was originally
06:07 a courtship enthusiast,
06:09 but his grandmother told him, "It's silly, "
06:11 and he sat down with her to find out why and she said,
06:13 "In my generation, there was one rule,
06:15 you couldn't go out with the same person
06:16 twice in a row
06:18 unless you were ready for a serious relationship
06:20 because going more than once with the same person
06:22 was going steady."
06:24 And I thought that was why is that it's good to go out,
06:26 get to know people, and get out there,
06:28 and yet we have to have some restraints.
06:32 So our guests today are Jason and Natanya Vanderlaan.
06:36 They're very special to me.
06:38 They've been very recently,
06:40 you know, discovered each other,
06:42 met each other.
06:44 I don't know if you call it courting or dating,
06:46 whatever you did, but then they ended up married.
06:48 Yes. So something worked out.
06:49 And they're going to tell us that story.
06:51 And it's so exciting
06:53 because they met at one of my seminars,
06:55 so I get to take some credit.
06:58 But I want to introduce my panel today.
06:59 I've got David Guerrero, biblical counselor,
07:01 and Dr. Nivischi Edwards, professional counselor
07:05 and university professor.
07:09 And again, David...
07:11 I'm sorry, David.
07:12 Jason and Natanya Vanderlaan...
07:14 Did I say it right? Yeah.
07:16 And you're from where?
07:18 We live in Burlington, Vermont now.
07:19 Burlington, Vermont.
07:21 So let's start with your story.
07:22 Where did you guys meet?
07:24 Well, I just told them where you met but, you know?
07:26 Take us from the beginning
07:27 and let's weave some of these ideas in.
07:30 And I wanted to start with this one thought.
07:32 There is not any one particular formula
07:34 that works perfectly for each and every person.
07:37 I think that's what I've come to.
07:39 I think biblical principles are always appropriate,
07:41 they're always in place,
07:42 restraints on human passion are always necessary.
07:46 But being filled with the Holy Spirit,
07:48 He may lead one person in one direction
07:49 and one in a little bit different one.
07:51 Let's not be formulaic about something as really...
07:55 Dynamic. As relationships.
07:57 Good word. Amen.
07:58 Yes. Yeah.
08:00 It's just so beautiful
08:01 that we didn't plan this this way.
08:04 But your history mirrors so very much.
08:08 Our experience,
08:11 you know, Jason and I
08:12 were coming from two very, very different spaces.
08:16 So tell us about it.
08:17 What was your space like, Jason?
08:19 So I definitely came from more of the purity movement mindset,
08:23 and I related to a lot of that,
08:26 and took, not exactly the courtship approach,
08:28 but a lot of the principles from it.
08:30 What about it appealed to you?
08:32 I really appreciated that
08:34 it caused me to look at my actions
08:37 in the individual counters that I had,
08:40 and I realized that they had longer impacts
08:43 than just in that very moment.
08:44 And where did you get that model from?
08:47 I read some books.
08:49 I think I probably read I Kissed Dating Goodbye.
08:50 There was so many of them at that time.
08:53 And they also had some people come to our school
08:56 and do purity conferences and stuff like that.
08:58 And I just...
08:59 I did a lot of reading early on and discovered that.
09:01 So you did research on your own, you were reading,
09:04 and then you were putting together some,
09:06 you know, like your own paradigm, right,
09:08 and model and you said,
09:10 "This is what I'm going to follow
09:12 and everything's going to just be just fine."
09:13 Yeah. Yeah.
09:15 Where there are any...
09:16 You went through some personal experiences
09:18 and then had some background
09:20 that made you really cautious about relationships?
09:24 Not that I want to blow you right up...
09:27 I mean this is great,
09:28 you know, Joshua Harris
09:30 talks about the fear of being a part of it
09:31 and trying to, like, protect himself.
09:33 And so I think part of what drew me
09:36 to the purity model was...
09:37 It was like,
09:38 "This is a foolproof formula to not get hurt."
09:41 And that seemed good at first.
09:42 And then after the first,
09:44 like disastrously failed relationship,
09:46 and I was like, "I really need this."
09:47 Oh, you did that with the courtship model,
09:50 the first disastrously failed relationship?
09:51 Yeah. You still failed?
09:53 Yeah, I did.
09:54 Still what? Failed.
09:56 And still got hurt
09:58 and then it was like even more so like,
10:00 "Definitely, don't experience this again."
10:02 So you kind of like double down on a lot of...
10:05 And you put on the full armor?
10:06 Yeah. Right.
10:08 So, you know, it sounds like it was more of your response
10:10 to what didn't happen for you
10:13 and then it caused you to then put together...
10:16 Well, what you shared was it caused you
10:19 to even tighten the ship.
10:22 Yeah. Yeah.
10:23 And it's an interesting dynamic, as you said,
10:26 because there are so certain parts of the model
10:29 that I took value in and I felt to be inspiring
10:32 and then other parts that,
10:33 you know, I began to realize, were inhibiting me
10:36 from actually being able
10:38 to experience intimacy in any form.
10:42 It's a weird thing for a vegetarian to say,
10:43 but eat the meat and leave the bones.
10:46 You know? Yeah.
10:47 Really there is some value there.
10:48 So you were saying that
10:50 you came from a totally different headspace,
10:51 can you expand on that a little bit?
10:54 So we both loved to read coming up.
10:56 I was very much inspired
11:00 by the women's liberation movement.
11:03 And it wasn't even about dating at all, right?
11:07 I wanted to express myself,
11:09 and I was reading all these incredible authors,
11:12 and I wanted to understand the why oftentimes.
11:16 And so I was introduced
11:17 to I Kissed Dating Goodbye in school,
11:21 I went to like a traditional Bible school,
11:23 and the girls and the boys
11:24 were separated from Bible class.
11:26 And I felt like there was a lot of shame involved
11:28 in this teaching where...
11:31 Often, it didn't even have a lot to do with the book
11:34 but the way how do you dress, how do you behave,
11:37 and so much of the weight was placed on...
11:40 On your behavior. Exactly.
11:42 And I didn't feel that it was very meaty.
11:45 And so it's funny
11:46 because we were talking about dating
11:49 and different dating philosophies
11:51 and the book title came up.
11:53 And I wasn't sure how to tell Jason
11:57 what my interactions with the book were, you know?
11:59 What were your interactions with the book?
12:01 I burnt it in the school parking lot.
12:04 It was an act of...
12:06 Early act of...
12:08 You know, actually, to be totally honest,
12:11 I wasn't very successful.
12:12 It's hard to burn a book.
12:13 It wasn't entirely burnt.
12:15 It might not even have been that the book
12:16 was so bad or some of the things...
12:18 It was the way that it was put across.
12:19 No. Exactly.
12:20 It was the way it was projected.
12:22 To be totally fair, I think that there's a lot of value.
12:24 So did you think when you told him
12:26 you burnt that book that he'd be like,
12:27 "Oh, I don't want to be with you,"
12:28 you know, kind of thing?
12:31 I was a little apprehensive
12:32 because I didn't want to offend him.
12:34 You know, we were just getting to know each other,
12:35 and I never even read the book.
12:37 It was more a symbolic gesture if that makes sense.
12:40 So, Jason, what did you feel when she told you that?
12:45 I thought, "Okay, this might be interesting,"
12:48 but I had also,
12:50 you know, come a long way from there
12:51 where I could see
12:53 why people didn't like the book,
12:54 and I had experienced my own
12:56 like reservations with certain aspects of it.
12:58 You guys were at polar ends, it sounds like,
13:00 in your philosophies.
13:03 How do you reconcile being together today
13:06 coming from those two worlds?
13:07 If it had not been for the Lord on our side.
13:10 Amen. Really.
13:11 It was God and God alone that totally
13:14 through the power of the Holy Spirit
13:15 and prayer...
13:17 So get into the story.
13:18 Fused our perception. Yeah.
13:20 So do you want to start or do you want me to...
13:21 I can start.
13:23 So it would be easy, you know, to say that we got together
13:25 and we worked out like a middle ground
13:27 where our two views came together,
13:29 but we didn't do that at all.
13:30 You know, it was just like
13:32 the spirit was forging new ground
13:33 and we were trying to keep up with Him.
13:34 It's really how we felt in our relationship.
13:36 Well, can I start just a little part here?
13:37 Yeah. Yeah.
13:40 So Jason and Natanya were at a seminar that I did.
13:42 Now here's the background.
13:44 I did the same seminar about 10 minutes
13:45 from where Jason lived in Philadelphia.
13:47 He didn't make it to that one. Yeah.
13:48 So he was determined to come to this one I did happen.
13:51 New Hampshire was like six hours away.
13:53 And the guy powered through, his battery failed,
13:56 he made it up there, he gets there.
13:58 And then we're all at this seminar and we're at...
14:00 Natanya's parents that night
14:03 sitting in the living room with Jason and everyone.
14:05 And you Couchsurfed, I think,
14:06 just to find someone to stay with.
14:09 You went through a lot of hardship to get there.
14:10 And then...
14:11 And I think, "Why is this guy so motivated
14:13 to come to my measly little seminar?"
14:14 We're sitting in the living room
14:15 and all of a sudden, I'm looking back and forth
14:17 between the two of them going, "That's why."
14:20 And I didn't know he didn't even know her.
14:24 He didn't even know she was up there.
14:25 So you saw the spark even before they did.
14:27 I saw that.
14:29 And then within like a few weeks,
14:30 I see the stuff on Facebook, and I'm like, "Wow!
14:33 God did something here."
14:34 So anyway, sorry, I didn't mean to filibuster your story,
14:36 but go for it.
14:37 Yeah, that was definitely it.
14:39 You saw something and we believe,
14:40 you know, God, when He saw us,
14:41 He saw me smiling because He knew what was up.
14:44 Yeah. We had no idea.
14:45 And we had no idea.
14:46 I thought...
14:48 I looked at the two of you and I know both of you,
14:49 and I'm like, "They'd be perfect for each other.
14:50 They're perfect."
14:52 Wow. Well.
14:53 So when did you become aware that there was something?
14:54 What happened?
14:56 It wasn't until about two months later.
15:00 I had been given a book that I wanted to...
15:04 It was a prayer challenge, 40 days.
15:06 I wanted to do it with someone
15:07 and I couldn't find anyone in the world to do with.
15:09 And then finally, in frustration, I said,
15:11 "God, who do you want me to do this book with?"
15:13 And very quickly, it was Jason.
15:15 You know, we lectured God, I said, "Oh, but, Lord,
15:17 that would be very irresponsible,
15:19 I've already friend-zoned him."
15:20 And you know, it's funny, in retrospect,
15:23 we both thought that
15:25 the other was like not our type,
15:28 like, "Oh, she's nice, but..."
15:31 We saw a lot of obstacles.
15:34 In paper, we looked at our lists individually
15:36 and we were like, "This is not going to work."
15:38 Yeah, but God knew better.
15:40 So we got started and, you know,
15:42 it was short little prayer exercises every day.
15:45 So you were going through a prayer book?
15:46 Like a prayer challenge book, I mean, together?
15:49 Yes. On the phone.
15:50 Okay. On the phone.
15:52 Did you ask him if he would go through the book with you?
15:54 Yeah, I asked him if he would do it with me.
15:56 And it's actually kind of funny the way it worked out
15:58 because I was still, like, very reluctant.
16:00 God told me like,
16:01 "Maybe this would be a good idea," I said,
16:03 "No, God, I don't think so."
16:04 And then that night,
16:05 that was maybe the third time
16:07 we'd ever spoken on the phone,
16:08 Jason starts asking me questions about prayer
16:09 'cause he knows I'd done prayer seminars
16:11 and workshops and it was like my thing.
16:14 And I was like, "Oh, man, this is a sign from the Lord."
16:16 So I suggested that he'd do it by himself.
16:21 But two days later, we spoke again.
16:24 I said, "Actually, I have the book," so...
16:27 And I got on Amazon Prime in two day shipping,
16:28 I had the book.
16:30 Yeah. And we were ready to go.
16:32 And what was supposed to be 10-15 minutes a day
16:34 turned into well over an hour.
16:36 We were having to change our schedule.
16:38 And talking about, like, prayer and meeting in the middle,
16:42 I didn't come from a space
16:44 where I was creating healthy boundaries
16:45 in my relationships.
16:47 And I was praying about it.
16:49 I said, "Lord, this is new.
16:52 What boundaries would You have for me?"
16:54 And, you know, God is funny, He says,
16:56 "Well, you can talk to Jason
16:57 only half as much as you talk to Me."
16:59 So I was changing my schedule
17:02 entirely where there were days
17:04 where I would wake up early and I'd be praying
17:06 for like three hours
17:07 so that I could have an hour and a half
17:09 nearly to talk to him.
17:10 And it was really amazing how everything unfolded.
17:14 It was only five days before we knew that,
17:18 you know, this was something of God.
17:21 And it ended on his birthday, 40 days in.
17:24 And just 4 days after it...
17:25 What do you mean ended on his birthday?
17:26 The 40 days of prayer. Oh, the 40 days.
17:28 Okay. Ended on his birthday.
17:29 Not the relationship. No, no, no.
17:33 Yeah, it's important clear up.
17:35 And he proposed to me...
17:36 On his birthday?
17:38 No, four days after. Four days after.
17:39 Four days after. Yeah.
17:40 Remind you we were living over six hours apart.
17:42 Forty days of prayer, his birthday...
17:43 Forty days of prayer, his birthday,
17:45 and then the proposal.
17:48 All in all, we dated just short of a month.
17:49 Was there a point
17:50 where you decided you were dating
17:52 and told the world that you were a couple or no,
17:55 it just sort of happened?
17:58 It was maybe a couple of weeks into the book,
18:00 I went up and visited her.
18:02 I drove up from Philly to Vermont,
18:03 and we had...
18:05 We were pretty sure by that point
18:07 but, you know,
18:08 it was actually like meet together in person again,
18:10 and then like...
18:11 What was that drive like from Philly to Vermont?
18:15 I'm just curious.
18:16 So as we can kind of see in a lot of things,
18:19 I'm a very cautious and a methodical person,
18:22 and I was very eager to get there.
18:24 I got my first speeding ticket ever on that trip.
18:28 You never speed normally?
18:29 Yeah. Never.
18:33 So the woman who's driving across the country with Jason.
18:36 Yeah. Right.
18:38 So your story is amazing,
18:41 And there may be people in the audience wondering,
18:43 "Well, how do you know?"
18:45 Like you talk about hearing God and having assurance
18:48 and having the affirmations
18:50 based on your different experiences,
18:52 but how do you say to somebody, "I knew because?"
18:56 Yeah, good question.
18:57 That is a good question.
18:59 You know, I had a plan for how I would know,
19:01 and my plan was like a five-year plan.
19:03 Of course, because you're methodical.
19:05 Yes, very much.
19:07 Meet the girl, get to know her for a year.
19:08 You were going to date for five years.
19:10 Oh, I see.
19:11 Date for two years, engage for two years,
19:12 they you get married, it's great, it's perfect.
19:14 And somewhere along that line, you feel...
19:16 It turned to 40 days. Yeah.
19:19 I would imagine that I would feel
19:21 very strongly about my decision
19:22 and then I would ask God for some confirming sign,
19:25 and He would help me out somehow,
19:27 and I would do it.
19:28 But obviously, that's not how it worked out at all.
19:30 Not this time.
19:31 And so...
19:33 I don't know.
19:34 We found ourselves praying together and...
19:36 That's the key.
19:37 It was, like, every day, like she was saying,
19:39 we were praying before we met together for,
19:42 you know, maybe an hour or two each,
19:44 and the things that God was revealing to me,
19:46 He was revealing to her.
19:48 And so when we would share together,
19:49 everything was just aligning together.
19:52 And it felt like every day was a revelation
19:55 that we were supposed to be together.
19:58 And I don't know if this really answers your question
20:00 'cause it's really hard to give a formula.
20:02 A concrete answer.
20:03 Did you counsel with your parents
20:05 with their some involvement?
20:07 What was the nature of it too, like was it like veto power
20:10 or advice and busing or what was it like?
20:13 So that was another affirmation for me personally.
20:15 I'm very close to my parents.
20:17 And my poor father,
20:19 we'd had a conversation shortly before all this
20:22 where I told him that marriage was a case of pick your poison.
20:26 You know, I was very cut and dry.
20:28 And really talk to me about...
20:29 The case of picking your poison.
20:30 Picking your poison. Picking your poison.
20:32 So it works better for some than others.
20:34 And you know, hopefully, you get better odds
20:36 but really nobody's perfect, we're all human,
20:39 we're all going to fail and disappoint each other.
20:41 So hopefully you get something that's a little less painful,
20:43 and that was it.
20:45 And so he was using that as an illustration in sermons,
20:48 my father is a minister.
20:50 It was difficult.
20:51 And then fast forward, I call him on the phone,
20:55 I said, "Daddy, I'm in love with Jason,
20:58 I think I'm going to marry him."
21:01 And what did he say? That's poison?
21:02 No. No.
21:04 Actually, he was putting his suit jacket on
21:07 to go on the platform to preach, he says,
21:09 "Can we talk about this another time?"
21:12 But he gave his blessing.
21:15 He gave his blessing. My mom gave her blessing.
21:18 And it was so assertive from their point.
21:23 Then I was like, "This is God,"
21:25 'cause I knew how much they love me.
21:26 What do you mean by assertive?
21:27 They were very affirmative.
21:29 It was very strong short answer.
21:31 Like yes.
21:33 "Yes, definitely.
21:34 This is great even though it was quick."
21:36 And he wouldn't expect that normally from you.
21:39 My mother...
21:40 Had they met Jason?
21:41 Yes, they had met Jason
21:43 actually at Jennifer Jill's seminar.
21:45 So it was a brief meeting.
21:46 And so they saw something in him too?
21:50 My mother was trying to hook Jason up
21:53 with one of my friends.
21:56 It was very, very honest, like it was out of the blue.
21:58 She was thinking this would never work.
22:01 But they saw in him a nice young man.
22:02 She would eat him alive. Her words.
22:06 But they saw in him a nice young man.
22:08 They saw Jesus in him, you know?
22:09 There you go.
22:11 And I see Jesus in him every day.
22:12 And if I could give advice to our young people,
22:15 like we were both looking for Jesus
22:18 and we didn't stop until we found Him.
22:21 And that's where the rubber meets the road.
22:24 So when you say you both were looking for Jesus,
22:26 can you expound on that?
22:28 Were you looking for Jesus in each other
22:30 or looking for Jesus asking Him
22:33 for His divine guidance or both?
22:35 I think both.
22:36 Yeah, I think I was looking
22:37 for always a fuller and fuller experience of Jesus.
22:41 For yourself? Yeah.
22:43 And wanting to partner with Him
22:45 in every aspect of life,
22:47 and that included marriage and the relationship.
22:50 And so one of the key moments for me was,
22:52 after we had began praying together,
22:55 we started praying at every conversation
22:58 I mean, not just our "prayer time."
23:01 And if we were trying to make a decision together,
23:03 we'd pray about it.
23:05 And like just this part of inviting Jesus into,
23:08 like 24/7 part of the relationship,
23:10 I was like,
23:11 "This is what I've always wanted."
23:12 You know, it's...
23:14 I had other relationships that...
23:17 You know, it was good cultural Adventist experience,
23:20 but it wasn't like a holistic, dedicated experience.
23:25 I found that in her. Amen.
23:27 What would you say to young people
23:29 that feel the urge to find a life partner?
23:33 And what would you say to them?
23:36 Would you say...
23:37 Find Jesus, right? Yeah.
23:39 He is first and foremost
23:41 because not everybody's going to find a life partner,
23:44 that's the reality of the situation
23:46 or an appropriate life partner.
23:49 So what would you say to them?
23:50 Like if someone's like, "I really want to be married, "
23:52 what's your response?
23:54 And I'm sure you address this because aren't you doing...
23:56 and we'll get into this in the second half,
23:58 the ministry that God is bringing
24:00 out of your marriage.
24:01 Yeah. Amen.
24:02 And I'm sure you're getting questions like this.
24:04 So what's the nutshell answer that you give
24:05 in two minutes or less?
24:12 I mean, it sounds a little cliché(C)
24:13 but like really dedicate
24:15 to getting to know Jesus first.
24:17 And that doesn't mean like you're saying
24:18 you can't have friendship dating,
24:20 you can get to know a variety of people
24:23 and learn your dislikes and likes.
24:25 But really, like as we experienced,
24:28 we had...
24:29 I mean, we were both around 30 years old,
24:32 we knew our dislikes and likes.
24:34 And yeah, when we compared ourselves to each other,
24:36 we thought this is not going to work,
24:38 it's not a good match,
24:39 but it was only through prayer that we could see as God saw.
24:44 And He was like,
24:45 "You guys are perfect for each other."
24:47 Compatibility is not necessarily seamless, you know?
24:49 Yeah. Yeah.
24:50 And eventually, you know, as we continued
24:52 to get to know each other and pray,
24:53 our eyes were opened to see,
24:55 "Wow, we are perfect for each other.
24:56 This is like really amazing."
24:59 Do you think that someone's desire
25:01 to find a partner is sufficient reason
25:04 to approach it in an intentional way
25:07 'cause I kind of lean that way,
25:08 like if you feel like
25:10 God is calling you to a partnership,
25:11 be intentional about it
25:12 and put yourself in situations where you may meet someone,
25:15 don't hide in your room
25:17 'cause there are some people do,
25:18 "God is going to bring me someone."
25:20 Yeah. I think that's unrealistic.
25:21 However, with the advances of modern technology today...
25:25 You can meet them in your own room.
25:26 You know...
25:28 With a lot of dating websites.
25:29 But what I'm hearing is also that
25:31 there was some intentionality in what you both did,
25:34 you just did it to prayer and seeking God and His faith
25:37 and inviting Christ to the process.
25:40 And we all have to be intentional
25:43 in doing that in our lives with everything
25:44 and very importantly with dating
25:47 or seeking a life mate.
25:48 And it sounds like you kind of relinquished yourself
25:51 of your predisposition.
25:53 Yeah. Conceived with ideas.
25:55 Yeah, totally.
25:56 There was an incredible amount of trust in this space.
25:59 I don't know if there's time for a quick story.
26:02 Go for it.
26:03 So we're dating, newly, newly dating,
26:07 and we decided,
26:08 "You know, Canada's only an hour and a half away."
26:10 So we go on a wonderful date in Canada
26:14 and we're coming back across the border
26:16 and, you know, you have those quiet moments
26:18 in the evening where you're both tired,
26:20 you had a full day, and out of nowhere,
26:23 Jason looks over at me and he's just like,
26:27 "You know, God has called you to Vermont, I believe it.
26:32 And I'm willing to leave everything right now."
26:36 At that point,
26:38 he was very engaged in ministry,
26:40 working with REACH,
26:41 and he had a lot of things going on.
26:42 In Philadelphia. Yeah. Totally.
26:44 He said, "I'm willing to leave all of that
26:47 to come and be were God has called us to be."
26:51 And were you engaged at that point?
26:53 No. Wow.
26:56 That would have been either like great or, "Uh-oh."
27:00 But that realization hit him real time.
27:03 And he's looking at me and it's dark,
27:04 so it's kind of forgiving,
27:05 but the tears just started streaming down his face.
27:07 Someone's willing to sacrifice for you.
27:09 He's leaving his family, he's leaving his friends,
27:12 he's leaving everything for me.
27:13 And I think no greater love than this than a man,
27:17 you know, would lay down his life,
27:19 you know, for his friends, for his love, you know?
27:21 Amen. Oh, I love it.
27:23 And there is second segment of this program,
27:26 Prayer Partners Become Life Partners.
27:28 We're going to go into how that sacrificial love
27:32 really enables the couple
27:34 to get through the difficulties of marriage.
27:35 Everybody has difficulties in marriage.
27:38 And really what makes the marriage
27:40 is what happens after the altar.
27:42 We're so glad that Jason and Natanya
27:44 did some really cool things
27:46 and followed Jesus before the altar,
27:47 but they're going to get into the nuts and bolts
27:49 of what life is like
27:51 with two sinners living under one roof
27:53 and how to resolve that conflict.
27:54 Please join us for that program.
27:56 We look forward to seeing you.