Between singleness and marriage lies the journey of dating. Want to make your road as smooth as possible? Set and maintain healthy boundaries -- boundaries that will help you grow in freedom, honesty, and self-control. If many of your dating experiences have been difficult, Boundaries in Dating could revolutionize the way you handle relationships. And even if you're doing well, the insights you'll gain from his much-needed book can help you fine-tune or even completely readjust important areas of your dating life. Written by the authors of the best-selling book Boundaries, Boundaries in Dating is your road map to the kind of enjoyable, rewarding dating that can take you from weekends alone to a lifetime with the soul mate you've longed for.
Boundaries in Dating provides a way to think, solve problems, and enjoy the benefits of dating in the fullest way, including increasing the ability to find and commit to a marriage partner.
The authors deliniate the boundaries of modern dating, arguing that couples must learn self control and discipline.
Boundaries in Dating
Copyright ? 2000 by Henry Cloud and John Townsend
Requests for information should be addressed to:
Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49530
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Boundaries in dating: making dating work / Henry Cloud and John
ISBN-10: 0-310-20034-2 (softcover)
ISBN-13: 978-0-310-20034-5 (softcover)
1. Dating (Social customs) 2. Dating (Social customs)?Religious aspects
?Christianity. 3. Single people?Conduct of life. I. Townsend, John Sims,
1952- II. Title.
HQ801. C59 2000
The examples used in this book are compilations of stories from real situations.
But names, facts, and issues have been altered to protect confidentiality while
illustrating the points.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy
Bible: New International Version?. NIV?. Copyright ? 1973, 1978, 1984 by
International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.
Published in association with Yates & Yates, LLP, Literary Agent, Orange, CA.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a
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Interior design by Laura Blost
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Why Boundaries in Dating?
So what do I do, set a bomb underneath his chair?? Heather
exploded, only partly in jest. She was having lunch with her
best friend, Julie. The conversation focused on her ongoing frustration
with Todd, Heather's boyfriend for the past year. Heather
cared deeply for him and was ready to pursue marriage. Though
he was loving, responsible, and fun, Todd had shown no sign
of making any real commitment to the relationship. The couple
enjoyed being together, yet anytime Heather tried to talk about
getting serious, Todd would make a joke or skate around the
issue. At thirty-three, Todd valued his freedom and saw no reason
for anything in his life to change.
Heather's outburst was a response to something Julie had said:
?You really need to help Todd get moving forward.? Heather?s
words were tinted with frustration, hurt, and a good deal of
discouragement. Frustration because she and Todd seemed to
be on different tracks. Hurt because her love felt unrequited.
And discouraged because she had invested so much of her heart,
time, and energy into the relationship. For the past year, Heather
had made Todd a high emotional priority in her life. She had
given up activities she enjoyed; she had given up relationships
she valued. She had tried to become the kind of person she
thought Todd would be attracted to. And now it looked like
this investment was going nowhere.
No Kids Allowed
Welcome to dating. If you have been in this unique type of
relationship, you areprobably familiar with Heather and Todd?s
scenario. Two people are genuinely attracted to each other and
start going out. They are hopeful that the relationship will
become something special that will lead to marriage and a lifelong
soul mate. Things look good for a while, but somehow something
breaks down between them, causing heartache, frustration,
and loneliness. And, more often than not, the scenario repeats
itself in other relationships down the line.
Some people blame dating itself for all of this, thinking that it?s
not a healthy activity. They would rather find an alternative, such
as group friendships until two people have selected each other
to court exclusively. Though dating has its difficulties, we would
not take this view. We believe in dating. We did it a lot personally,
having been single a combined total of seventy-five years. And
we think it offers lots of good things, such as opportunities to grow
personally and learn how to relate to people, for starters.
However, dating does have its risks. That is why we say, no
kids allowed. That doesn?t mean teens shouldn?t date, but it does
mean one's maturity is very important here. By its very nature,
dating is experimental, with little commitment initially, so someone
can get out of a relationship without having to justify himself
much. Putting lots of emotional investment into a
relationship can be dangerous. Thus, dating works best between
two responsible people.
Problems in Freedom and Responsibility
This book is not about the nature of dating, however. You cannot
do a lot about that. Rather, we are writing about theprob-
lems people have in how they conduct their dating lives. There
is a great deal you can do about that.
Simply put, many of the struggles people experience in dating
relationships are, at heart, caused by some problem in the areas
of freedom and responsibility. By freedom, we mean your ability
to make choices based on your values, rather than choosing out
of fear or guilt. Free people make commitments because they feel
it's the right thing to do, and they are wholehearted about it. By
responsibility, we mean your ability to execute your tasks in keeping
the relationship healthy and loving, as well as being able to say
no to things you shouldn?t be responsible for. Responsible people
shoulder their part of the dating relationship, but they don?t tolerate
harmful or inappropriate behavior.
Dating is ultimately about love. People seek it through dating.
When they find it, and it matures, they often make deep
commitments to each other. Freedom and responsibility are necessary
for love to develop in dating. When two individuals allow
each other freedom and take ownership of the relationship, they
are creating an environment for love to grow and mature. Freedom
and responsibility create a safe and secure environment for
a couple to love, trust, explore, and deepen their experience of
Actually, these two elements are necessary for any successful
relationship, not just dating. Marriage, friendship, parenting,
and business connections depend on freedom and
responsibility in order for the attachment to flourish. God
designed love so that there can be no fear (loss of freedom) in
love, for perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4: 18). We are to
speak the truth in love to each other (Ephesians 4: 15), taking
responsibility to protect love by confronting problems.
We believe that healthy boundaries are the key to preserving
freedom, responsibility, and ultimately love, in your dating
life. Establishing and keeping good limits can do a great deal
to not only cure a bad relationship, but make a good one better.
So, before we take a look at the ways that dating problems
arise from freedom and responsibility conflicts, let's take a brief
Helping readers avoid pitfalls of dating, "Boundaries in Dating" unfolds a wise, biblical path to developing self-control, freedom, and intimacy in the dating process.