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Letters to a Romantic: on Dating | A Book Review

The season of dating often poses awkwardness and difficulty, and that’s before you get asked out or you ask someone else out. The combination of two people figuring out if they like each other, with the opinions of family, friends, and mentors sprinkled in, can create a chaotic and confusing scene. Thankfully, Sean Perron and Spencer Harmon have written Letters to a Romantic: On Dating to help navigate this tricky chapter of life.

Letters to a Romantic: On Dating cultivates helpful conversations between you and your significant other and trusted mentors at your church. While no one can answer the difficult questions you face in your specific relationship for you, Sean and Spencer offer timely wisdom and counsel on a variety of topics. And while the range of subjects covered are broad, they have not sacrificed depth in each chapter. Letters to a Romantic will challenge you as a follower of Christ and as a member of a local church. The premise of this book is founded on three realities:

  1. God deserves glory from everything – including romance.
  2. We experience true happiness when we seek to glorify God – including romance.
  3. God tells us everything we need to know in the Bible to enable us to bring him glory and us joy – including our romance.

 

With these as foundational guidelines, the reader is continually pointed to Christ, His Word, and His church, helping you grow not just as a person in a relationship, but as a follower of Christ.

One of the many helpful chapters discusses the importance of your vision of dating. Is it defined by the world or God’s word? Spencer fleshes out the idea that our expectations of dating come from how we visualize desirable relationships. But if that vision has been defined by the secular culture, you are setting yourself up for a relationship that will be fruitless.

On the heels of expectations comes contentment (or discontentment.) Contentment can often be fleeting, and as believers we are to constantly remind ourselves and others where our hope is grounded. Sean addresses the issue of contentment as a matter of the heart, not just as a goal to be pursued. If you are not a content single, you won’t be content in dating. (And neither will you be content in marriage.) As Christians, we are not called to chase the things that we want for happiness and contentment. Rather we are called to imitate Paul who learned to be content in all things.

The beauty of Letters to a Romantic is found in the commonplace of the questions asked at the beginning of each chapter. Without a doubt you have at some point in your life had some, if not all, of these questions rolling around in your head. So jump in and experience biblical clarity to the questions you have already been asking.

 

Helpful Quotes:

  1. The temptation is to let our vision of dating and relationships be informed by man’s world rather than God’s word. This is significant because our vision of dating creates our expectations for dating.
  2. The most radical thing you can do for your future relationship is to prioritize the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22) that you find in God’s word.
  3. Comparison ultimately dishonors God by limiting God’s creativity to your own box of preferences.
  4. The joy of the Christian is equally composed of the work of God in his or her life and the work of God in the lives of fellow Christians.
  5. Notice the inevitable cycle: discontent singles become discontent marrieds. The season of dating and engagement are just canals in between.
  6. What matters most is not what you call [dating], but who you are in it.
  7. It is a sin to have ungodly character, but it is not a sin to be socially incompatible.
  8. Invite the church into your life and don’t be afraid to ask them whether or not you are concocting the right ingredients in your Christian chemistry.
  9. Resolve now, before you begin to walk down this path, to be committed to your relationship with your parents.
  10. The centerpiece of a marriage should be looking forward to the marriage supper of the Lamb that will take place when Jesus returns.
  11. A relationship that is maintained by manipulation has lost all sight of true love.
  12. It is true that we reap what we sow, but for the Christian this falls under the category of discipline and not punishment.
  13. …guarding your heart really means guarding your worship.
  14. If you are habitually falling into sin, breaking up will allow you to focus on pursuing holiness before romance. There is nothing more important than knowing the presence of Christ.

 

If you are dating or walking through romantic relationship dynamics with another person, this book will be a helpful resource. If you would like more information about romantic relationships and preparing biblically for marriage, join us for the ACBC Annual Pre-Conference, Crafting a Covenant, where Sean Perron and Spencer Harmon will be speaking on the topics of counseling those in romantic relationships.

 

 

Renee Hoskins

Renee graduated from Boyce College with a degree in biblical counseling. She works for Crossings Ministries as an event planner and lives in Louisville, KY with her husband Coty. They attend Carlisle Avenue Baptist Church and are expecting their first born son this Christmas.

Renee Hoskins
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