Refocused Romance, Pt. 3: It’s About Commitment, Not Feeling.

Perhaps one of my favorite movie romances is between Will Hunting and Skylar in the 1999 film Good Will Hunting. I love the movie, but the romance is quite interesting.

Will hails from the dirty streets of Boston, while Skylar is an English lass who has come to America to get an education at Harvard. They couldn’t be more opposite. Will is a janitor at MIT who has a penchant for getting in fights and hangs out with a group of guys you’d avoid on the street. Skylar is intelligent, beautiful, gives piano lessons and is planning on going to medical school at Stanford.

In one of the movie’s many pivotal scenes, Skylar and Will have an intense argument which ends in them breaking up. Skylar asks Will to move to California with her, and Will says no. Skylar asks him why, asks him what he’s scared of.

“You live in this safe little world where no one challenges you and you’re scared s***less to do anything else because that means you’ll have to change,” Skylar says.

Will emotionally responds and ends the relationship. He’s clearly being led by his feelings. He’s afraid to commit, afraid to devote himself to something. He lives his life on emotion, he makes decision based on emotion. Earlier in the movie, he picks a fight out of nowhere with a guy who bullied him as a kid just because he felt like it.

So often, high schoolers approach relationships that way. Their relationships are based on how they feel. We lament the world of teenage dating because it’s so temporary and so fleeting. Well, look around at adult dating and marriage. How many marriages end in divorce? How many times is it because of “irreconcilable differences” where people are living off their feelings instead of the commitment they made?

It’s not necessarily the high schoolers’ fault that they think relationships work that way. That’s how things are displayed on television and movies and in songs. And often we don’t even take the time to explain it to them.

Here’s the crux of this: commitment, not feeling, is the center of any romantic relationship.

Some people might think that so far in this series I’ve been a little lax on things. Let me toughen up a bit.

Dating is not something to be messed around with. It’s not something you take lightly. It’s not something you flippantly enter without prayer, thought and counsel. It’s not something you do just because you want to. There’s got to be serious reason and foresight and purpose behind you dating someone. It’s a serious deal.

That’s why commitment is important. Feelings come and go. They are strong one day and weak the next. Feelings can be the start of something, it’s what can draw you into a relationship initially, but at the end of the day romantic relationships are all about commitment. There are going to be days you don’t want to pursue romance. There are going to be days you’re overwhelmed with other things that you don’t want to invest in a relationship. There are going to be days you simply don’t feel like it.

You don’t need to wait until you get to college or adulthood to be thinking this way. You can start right now. It’s simply an echo of how Jesus relates to us, a commitment.

Something to think about though: if you’re thinking about a relationship, you don’t need to be ready to make a lifelong commitment before dating someone. All you’re doing is committing to seeing if this is something you might eventually want to make a lifelong commitment.

And that’s why dating is a serious business. It’s a good thing, it’s a great thing. But we shouldn’t take this flippantly. And that’s one reason I’m writing this series. I want to help people take this more seriously, but not so seriously they never try. It’s worth it.

Refocused Romance, Pt. 2: High standards, not impossible ones

Author’s Note: This is the first part in a 5-part series called “Refocused Romance,” in which I explore different aspects of dating that often get little attention, particularly in the high school context. By this, I hope to simply bring up thoughts and questions by which we as a body of Christ can grow in our understanding of one another and of how we can honor God in the dating realm.

This second part is about how high standards are important to have, but not impossible ones when it comes to dating.

One of the most common things you’ll find as part of the discussion of dating in the Christian world is how to handle your “negotiables” and “non-negotiables.” Negotiables are the things that you’d ideally want in a spouse, but aren’t required and can be changed. Non-negotiable are the things that are requirements.

For example: a negotiable for me would be that the person I marry would be a soccer fan, particularly of my favorite team, Arsenal FC. That’s something that I could get over if she wasn’t. Fortunately, my lady is! Well, she became one. One of the reasons I love her.

But there’s really only one non-negotiable for believers, and this gets to my point.

Setting impossible standards for who you’re going to date is a waste of your time because you’ll never find anyone. The only non-negotiable that Scripture commands of believers is that they marry someone who is a Christian. That’s it.

I used to end up in this rut where I would have to evaluate the girl I was interested in by so many categories and so many things that I thought she “had to have” or “had to be.” Is she enough of this? Does she believe exactly this set of doctrines? It was overwhelming and exhausting.

What this kind of thought process often leads to is an impossible set of standards that absolutely no one can stand up to. We begin to expect perfection, and expecting perfection in a relationship is a waste of time.

Why? No one will ever be perfect. No one will ever be able to honestly say, “I am without sin.” 1 John 1:8 precludes that – “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” If we expect the person that we date or marry to be perfect, we’re deceiving ourselves, we’re ignoring truth.

So when you’re looking for a date or a mate, don’t look for someone perfect. You won’t find them.

Most posts would end there, but I want to add something: don’t expect yourself to be perfect either.

Like I said earlier, there can be a lot of pressure to feel like you have to fit a mold or be somebody specific before you get married or even start dating. You won’t be perfect either.

Of course, there’s some ideals you’d like to get to. When it comes to dating, it’s ideal that you’re able to afford to drive your date somewhere and you can pay for dinner. But besides that, there’s really no honest biblical restriction. Expecting yourself to reach perfection before you start dating means you won’t date, you won’t marry.

One thing I want to emphasize: dating when your identity is in that person instead of in Jesus is scary and potentially deadly. I’ll talk about that more tomorrow.

As a teenager, there’s a lot of pressure from Christian sources as far as who you “have to be” before you start dating. You don’t have to be anything. You’re going to face a lot the same struggles in teenage dating that you’ll face in adult dating: placing God before that person, physical interaction temptations, arguments and disagreements, etc.

Don’t expect yourself to be perfect or even good at relationships. I hope I never get to a place where I think I’m good at relationships.

But I always want to be learning, striving to know more, be more, grow more. My lady, and my God, deserve more. Just because we won’t ever be perfect doesn’t mean we can’t grow. 

This is the Gospel displayed: God doesn’t ditch us because we’re not perfect. But He desires better for us. And it’s a good idea to bring into the dating world.

Refocused Romance, Pt. 1: Dating in High School is a Good Thing. Here’s Why.

Author’s Note: This is the first part in a 5-part series called “Refocused Romance,” in which I explore different aspects of dating that often get little attention, particularly in the high school context. By this, I hope to simply bring up thoughts and questions by which we as a body of Christ can grow in our understanding of one another and of how we can honor God in the dating realm.

This first part is about how dating in high school is a good idea. 

I remember not even as long as a year ago, maybe even six months, that I’d never allow my kids to date in high school. I said, “Not in my house.”

Since then I’ve realized two things. First, sometimes it doesn’t really matter all that much what you say as a parent. Kids will do things behind your back and “dating” in your eyes might be different than what “dating” looks like in your kid’s eyes. Second, dating in high school is a good thing.

Full disclosure: I had three dating relationships in high school. One lasted three months, one lasted three weeks and one lasted over a year. These were all Facebook official relationships, and they were cornerstones of my high school experience. I’ll share bits from them throughout this series.

Of course, one of the things to keep in mind when you talk about something like “dating” and “relationships” in the high school context is that there are different definitions for different people. For the sake of this piece, this is my working definition of relationship: you have romantic affection for one another and it’s mutually agreed upon that, at least for the foreseeable future, you’re not looking for anyone else.

OK cool. Now that we’ve got that established, let’s get into the real stuff.

One of the main reasons Christians give for not dating in high school is the “distraction” idea. Bloggers can go crazy on this idea. One blogger I read wrote this:

For the Christian teenager this whole business of dating can be very distracting.  As Christians, our primary focus, especially in our single years, should be on our relationship with God.  Rather than spending their energy pursuing the Lord, they are distracted by the dating culture.  Rather than spending their evening in prayer with the Lord, they spend it texting their girl friend. (FYI, Teens don’t talk on the phone anymore, they just text)  Teenage dating is unwise because it can distract you from pursuing the Lord.

First of all, I don’t know if anyone spends their entire evening in prayer with God. If you do, please know you don’t have to do that. God doesn’t judge us or our faithfulness based on how many minutes we pray.

Second, and this is the bigger point: every single situation in your life is going to have distractions. If you’re going to have this caveat that you can’t get into something if it’s going to distract you from your walk with Christ, might as well not get a job, get married, have kids, own a pet, have a hobby, etc. Maybe this is a logical fallacy, but if we follow that line of thinking to its logical conclusion, from my perspective at least, we shouldn’t do anything if it distracts us from following Jesus. Eating can distract us, going to the bathroom can distract us.

One of the reasons you date is so that you can learn how to be a Christian and to be in a relationship with someone of the opposite sex. It can be a delicate balance, but it’s a balance you’re not going to learn by sitting on the sidelines.

Another reason some give is the temptations for sexual intimacy that come in dating relationships in high school. I can speak from personal experience – it’s not like it gets easier once you get older. I’d argue that it gets harder. If we ran away all the time because of that, we’d never get married.

Yet another reason I saw is that “break-ups are messy” and they’re likely to happen. Yet again, if we spent our whole life avoiding awkward situations, we’d never grow and we’d be nice, sheltered little Christians who never took risks.

Not dating in high school just because you might sin or you might do something bad is a cop-out of the highest order. We encourage kids to take this route in order to “follow God” when really we might be scaring them out of one of the most beneficial and beautiful experiences of their lives.

Let’s be honest: the only difference between dating in high school and dating in college and beyond is the age and the likelihood of marriage. Everything else is exactly the same: overanalyzing text messages with your friends, awkwardly wondering when to go in for that first kiss, the nervousness of meeting the parents, the goofy nicknames, all of it. A dating experience is all about learning about yourself, your significant other and how to love someone, whether or not you use the word “love” in the dating relationship. And those are skills that are best developed, oftentimes, within the context of a dating relationship.

What we’re often afraid of is that our kids “can’t handle it” or “they’re too young” or “they don’t know what they’re doing.” I got engaged last week, and I don’t know what I’m doing.

The point of having God on your side is that He can help you through everything through His Holy Spirit, through His Word and through fellowship with believers. Even you teenagers who are dating in high school, pursuing things with your boyfriend/girlfriend in a godly way can be an exciting and challenging thing that, by God’s grace, you can learn a lot from.

Yes, odds are your relationship will fail. But that doesn’t mean it’s pointless.

The story is told about Thomas Edison when he invented the incandescent light bulb that he failed 999 times to get the construction and engineering of the bulb just right and succeeded on the 1,000th time. A reporter asked him what it was like to fail that many times. He reportedly responded with something like this: “I didn’t fail 999 times. I just found 999 ways to not make a lightbulb.”

If you date 30 girls and marry the 31st, you didn’t waste the 30 relationships prior. You just found 30 girls you weren’t going to marry.

Dating in high school isn’t a waste of time. I promise. And I hope over the next few posts to share some wisdom I’ve gotten, however little, in the dating scene, based on questions and thoughts I’ve heard from real teenagers about dating.

I think the Church has often failed youth on speaking to the real thoughts, real difficulties and real questions about dating because we treat it so superficially. There are people who do tackle it properly, who do go about it the right way. But it’s rare, so kids are still left with these questions.

Let’s go for it.

On Engagement: The Gospel and Christmas + An Announcement

If marriage is symbolic of the relationship between God and man once justification has happened, what is engagement?

This is the question I was asking myself this morning as I pondered my own engagement, which started around 5:45 p.m. yesterday. I asked my girlfriend if she would marry me, and she said yes. It’s a pretty big deal. Here’s a picture of us below:

IMG_2386

Once it was posted on Facebook a few hours later, the notifications started pouring in: comments on the photo, comments on the “life event” and hundreds and hundreds of likes. I was trying to figure out how I could write about this (typical writer of me), and I had this thought.

Engagement is such an announcement. I’ve had Facebook and Instagram notifications out the wazoo. And I’m so thankful for all of them. I’m thankful for all the people who love and care for me enough to think about Sarah and me.

But of course, I had to think of some spiritual tie-in. And I thought of Christmas.

We often think about Christmas as an announcement that Christ has come and that the forgiveness of sins is at hand. And that’s what I think of when I think about engagement.

Giving Sarah a diamond ring means I’m planning on marrying her. It means I’m planning on making a lifelong commitment. It means I’m committing to be committed. And that’s wild for me, because I’m terrified of commitment, I’m terrified of absolutes.

But when I look at Christmas, I see an announcement. It’s announcing that a wedding is coming, a relationship and a unity is approaching, between God and man. It’s one based on unconditional love, one based not on feeling and emotion but on commitment and faithfulness. It’s God committing to be committed.

2 Timothy 2:13 says this about God: “If we are faithless, he remains faithful— for he cannot deny himself.” God is faithful. He can’t stop being faithful. As Sarah and I prepare for marriage, I’m going to hope that I can be faithful as God is to me. He’s my guide for marriage.

Marriage is designed to reflect the Gospel, first and foremost. And I certainly hope Sarah and I can reflect the grace of God and the relationship between God and man in our relationship.

So whenever you see an engagement posting on Facebook, I encourage you to think about Christmas. Jesus coming is God saying, “Hey, relationship is upon you. Get ready. Prepare yourself. It’s going to be awesome.”


Just for fun, here’s a video I showed to Sarah before I proposed to her:

The Christian Bachelor: My Exploration of Christian Dating Culture

Savannah and Maggie go with Caleb to church on Sunday. Caleb is asked to speak at his church during the evening worship service about the process of the show and what to look for in a relationship. There’s a Q&A at the end and Caleb is asked if he’s made a decision yet. He chuckles and shakes his head. “I’m not going to answer that,” he says. “Both Savannah and Maggie are wonderful sisters in Christ. It’s not an easy place to be. I’ve got a tough choice to make.”

Some of the congregants want to take pictures of Caleb with Savannah and Maggie afterwards. Caleb complies, but later, as he talks to Savannah, he’s not sure that was a great idea.

Caleb: “I just wonder what that means. Am I putting myself on a pedestal as a celebrity through this, when really I’m just trying to see if I can find the person I want to spend the rest of my life with?”

Savannah: “I understand, Caleb. Was there anything about it particularly that bothered you?”

Caleb: “I became a celebrity. And I don’t want to be a celebrity.”¹

I recently finished the eight-episode run of The Christian Bachelor, my first foray into Christian satire. That part of it was a lot of fun. But really, I wanted to poke fun at while explore the ramifications of reality dating shows as well as Christian dating culture.

Here are some things I wanted to hint at through the story.


The celebrity culture of reality TV meets Christian culture.

You know those trashy magazines in the grocery store aisle? I know this is a cliché, but I often see Bachelor and Bachelorette contestants gracing the covers and some of the stories teased on the cover. Sometimes, contestants do something so nuts and so crazy that it makes national news. For instance, Sean Lowe, the 17th Bachelor and self-professed Christian, stirred conversation when he announced he was saving sex for marriage and was labeled the “Virgin Bachelor.” There’s a sense of celebrity that’s attached to the central character of Bachelor/Bachelorette shows.

In the scene I shared at the top of this post, there’s a glimpse of that in the church Caleb attends. Anytime a Christian makes waves in some mainstream culture institution, the church goes nuts over it. “It’s one of ours! Look at the platform! Look at the opportunity for the Gospel!” There’s a lot of pressure on those people that is not necessarily fair.

But that’s the Christian celebrity culture. Those people in the spotlight have to be perfect. They have to do everything right. If they slip up once, there’s an instant judgement.  And we see all their slip-ups because they’re in the spotlight. It’s unfair. It’s unrealistic to expect that people will be perfect. The best ones admit their weaknesses as part of their growth in faith.

Christian dating is chock full of rules and expectations.

Let’s go over the format. There are six dates planned over a period of five weeks, and Caleb will also spend time in the houses with the women as well as go to church every Sunday morning and night and Wednesday night during those three weeks to help determine who will be the blessed woman he will pursue.

Two women will be eliminated after dates 1-5, which leaves two women for the final date, a trip to Israel to walk around the Holy Land, walk where Jesus walked. All the dates will be in public. No bachelorette will be given alone time in a room with Caleb. Caleb must leave the Bachelorette residence by 10 p.m. during the week, 11 p.m. on the weekends.²

The rules of Christian dating have a stronghold on evangelical culture. I can’t tell you how many lists I’ve seen that describe rules for dating, things to look for in a husband, five kinds of girls you don’t want to marry. That kind of attitude towards dating puts a lot of pressure on relationships.

If we look at Scripture, there are no clear rules for what dating is supposed to look like, the speed, the timeline, the “steps.” Just about the only rule that applies to dating is that you save sex for marriage. That’s it! Yet in Christian culture, we outline all the “requirements” for a good relationship. The fear then becomes for some that, if we do one thing “wrong,” we’ve screwed up the entire relationship and there’s no hope and it must be ended.

Dating is a huge risk! Laying your feelings and your desires out there is a risk. “Guarding your heart” is mostly done, I think, out of fear instead of some righteous desire. So what if you feel really strongly about someone, or you really like a lot about someone? Feel it! Express it! What’s wrong with taking the risk?

We date in ways similar to the world. And that’s perfectly OK!

I think the world dates a lot better than we do sometimes. Are there differences that are destructive? Sure, the sexual freedom being the biggest one. But the world has set up the proper, in my mind, blueprint for dating. Long phone conversations, double dates with other couples, dinner and a movie, all of those things aren’t in and of themselves Christian.

For instance, the first one-on-one dates during The Christian Bachelor. Caleb gets dinner and has an after-dinner activity with the prospective bachelorette. That’s such a normal dating thing to do. Sometimes we get so obsessed in Christianity with doing things so differently than the world (a good motive) that we completely rule out everything the world does (not good). The world came up with a lot of awesome things that we rip off! I mean, I ripped off The Bachelor concept for this blog. The world is often a lot more creative than Christians.

So don’t ditch things the world came up with just because it’s from the world. They’ve got some good ideas. Also some bad ones, but not everything they do is awful.

Chick-fil-a would be the best sponsor for a Christian television show.

I mean, seriously, come on. Not even close.


I hope you guys enjoyed this look at Christian dating and reality TV cultures. If you want to see the full “show,” just click here!

The Christian Bachelor: Episode 8 – Season Finale

Last Week on The Christian Bachelor: Caleb spent days in Ottawa and the surrounding area with Maggie and Savannah separately. This week, we find out Caleb’s pick.

On Friday, Caleb hangs out with Phil, his brother Aaron and his brother’s girlfriend, who had been spending time with Savannah and Maggie on days off for each woman. She spoke with the group about what she saw and what she learned.

Caleb: “Talking with Aaron’s girl was really helpful. Just like discussing things with my mom and with my sister, it’s always good to get some female opinion. I know my brother values her very highly, so it’s good to hear from her.”

The Final Decision – Ottawa, Ont., Canada – Saturday afternoon, week 5

The Saturday was set aside for the final decision. Caleb sat outside the Canadian Parliament building on a bench and each girl was given a walkie talkie that matched one Caleb held in his hands.

He buzzed Maggie first.

Caleb: “Maggie. You’re not the one I’m picking. You’re a fantastic girl. You love Jesus, you’re talented as a musician, you’re funny and you’re beautiful. But I think I see you more as a sister in Christ and less as a romantic partner, potential wife. I hope and pray you find a great guy somewhere out there soon. And thanks for going on this journey with me.”

The two hug and Maggie leaves the bench.

Maggie: “I’m a little disappointed, but it’s clear that God has different plans for me and Caleb. And I’m ready to follow those all the way.”

Caleb then calls Savannah to come down to the courtyard. He’s standing with a rose when Savannah arrives.

Caleb: “Savannah, I pick you. Will you allow me to pursue you?”

Savannah: “Yes. Definitely.”

Caleb: “You’re a wonderful representation of Jesus in how you speak and how you act. You’re thoughtful, you’re loving and you’re not afraid to tell me how you feel. I want to see what’s going to happen with us. I want to take that first step to possibly being married. And I want you along for the ride.”

Savannah: “I’m ready to go on that ride with you!”

The two hug and begin to chat some more. Caleb reaches for Savannah’s hand and they grasp each other’s hands. The two speak to the camera later.

Caleb: “I’m really excited to start dating Savannah. I love her personality. She’s a very peppy, excited and enthusiastic person who loves Jesus and I think has a pretty big crush on me. I’ll take that!”

Savannah: “I can’t wait to see where God leads Caleb and I. I have hopes, but I’m submitted to whatever the Lord has for us. He’s got so many fantastic qualities, most importantly that he loves Jesus.”

This has been the first season of The Christian Bachelor! We hope you all enjoyed it and we hope you come back next year for season 2!

Did Caleb pick wisely? Where do you see the relationship between Caleb and Savannah going?

If You Missed An Episode…

The Christian Bachelor: Episode 7 – Down to the Wire

Last Week on The Christian Bachelor: Rebecca was eliminated after family dates, and Caleb got a brush with fame at his church, which threw him off a little bit. This week, it’s time for the final dates. It’s crunch time.

Date 6: Day Dates in Ottawa – Ottawa, Ont., Canada – Tuesday and Thursday, week 5

The trio arrives in Ottawa with Caleb’s brother and girlfriend and Phil. Caleb says it’s important that he travel with dudes he can trust, and with a big decision coming up at the end of the week, it’s important that he’s got guys he can bounce ideas off of.

A coin flip determines who goes Tuesday and who goes Thursday. It’s heads, which gives Tuesday to Maggie.

Caleb: “I’m really looking forward to spending time with Maggie in Ottawa. It’s a beautiful city with some great sights. And we’ll get to see a Hillsong concert, which will be a lot of fun. The benefits of going on dates like this is I get to spend a whole day with her. So that will really, really help.”

Maggie and Caleb start their day by meeting outside Maggie’s hotel. Caleb brings Maggie’s favorite coffee from Tim Horton’s, a Canadian version of Dunkin’ Donuts. The two spend the morning walking around the city and doing some shopping. They eat lunch together and then take a car ride to Toronto to walk around that city too, visit the Hockey Hall of Fame and cap off the evening with dinner at Wayne Gretzky’s restaurant and a Hillsong United concert.

One of the bigger conversations Maggie and Caleb have is about personality differences and what they can and cannot live with.

Caleb: “Personality differences can be really helpful. There’s ways in which people balance each other out. But there’s also some ways in which the differences can pull people apart. With Maggie, there’s some crucial differences that may or may not be a breaking point. That’s one thing that these dates are about. We got some alone time to really talk some things through as I see if this is the girl I’m going to pursue.”

The Hillsong United concert was a particular highlight for Maggie, who has sung many of the band’s worship tracks in her church. She also enjoyed getting to see Caleb in a free-reign worship space.

Maggie: “He’s got the hands-raised idea down, and he’s actually not too bad a singer. Wouldn’t be a bad idea if we decided to sing a couple duets together.”

The next day, a Wednesday, Caleb, his brother and Phil go play a couple rounds of golf outside of Ottawa and get away from the busyness of the show. We talked to Caleb when he got back.

Caleb: “I think the best part about getting away is just being able to relax and not take things so seriously. But at the same time, I got to have some really good conversation with my brother and Phil, who’s like my brother. We discussed Maggie and talked about what was coming on Thursday with Savannah. I’m really excited to see what happens on Thursday.”

On Thursday, Caleb pulls up to Savannah’s hotel and she climbs in the car. There waits a couple donuts each from Tim Horton’s as well as a cappuccino for Savannah (Caleb doesn’t drink coffee). The two drive an hour to Outaouais (pronounced oo-doo-eh), where they enjoy a scavenger hunt in the small towns of the area. Lunch is served at the same golf course where the guys played on Wednesday.

After a drive back to the city, Caleb and Savannah walk around Ottawa. Caleb reaches for Savannah’s hand at one point but then he pulls back. The pair attends an Ottawa Senators hockey game that evening and Caleb takes Savannah back to her hotel and walks her inside. The two chat in the hotel lobby for an hour before Caleb leaves.

Caleb: “I think there’s something special about Savannah. Can’t really put it into words. She’s just so caring and understanding. She’ll ask hard questions and she’ll challenge me when I need it, but she also listens and cares. She’s also a lot of fun and is goofy as I’ll get out. Her love for Jesus is really evident. She lives out the Gospel, and that’s what you really want in a girl.”

Savannah: “I love his heart for truth. Caleb really cares about what God’s Word says and wants to follow it. Plus he’s super-caring about people. He loves Sienna and, well, maybe he loves me too. I don’t know. I guess we’ll find out.”

Next Episode on THE CHRISTIAN BACHELOR: Caleb makes his final decision. One girl is sent home, while the other gets to embark on the journey of dating Caleb Christian.

Who’s going to win? Comment below with your opinion?

If You Missed An Episode…

The Christian Bachelor: Episode 6 – All in the Family

Last Week on The Christian Bachelor: Anna left the show after Carrie and Hayden were eliminated, shaking up the whole process. So there’s just three left: Rebecca, Savannah and Maggie. This week, family dates.

Date 5: Family Dates – Sanford, N.C. – Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, week 4

First up, Rebecca. The group has a delicious dinner of honey-baked ham with mashed potatoes and green beans, one of Caleb’s favorite combinations. The family thinks Rebecca is a swell girl, but they’re concerned that she might be too serious for Caleb. Caleb is a serious fellow, yes, but they’re afraid there’s no fun there. Caleb debates this with his parents the next day in the reflection time.

Caleb’s mom: “I know Caleb loves having serious conversations, especially theological ones. We’ve had some of those ourselves. But I feel like he doesn’t have real fun with Rebecca.”

Second on the docket: Maggie. Caleb’s brother Aaron is an accomplished musician himself, and the pair lead the family in some music selections. This is an attractive thing to Caleb. As Jack told us before, Caleb is all about musicians or people with musical skill of some sort. Maggie also strikes Caleb as a really fun girl. He thinks back to the picnic date and claims that as one of his favorites.

Caleb’s brother Aaron: “I think Caleb has got a keeper in Maggie. I know how much he loves to sing, even if it’s not all that great. Maggie seems to enjoy it though. And enjoy him. And that’s all I want for him.”

Third: Savannah. Savannah brings Sienna to the dinner on a Saturday night, as Caleb’s dad cooks steaks and grilled asparagus. Caleb’s younger sister Kaitlynn gets along splendidly with both Savannah and Sienna as they play games. The dinner is wonderful and Savannah and Sierra seem to fit in quite nicely with Caleb’s family.

Caleb’s sister Kaitlynn: “I really like Savannah. She’s a great mom and I think she’d be a great wife for Caleb.”

With this elimination round, since Anna left, there only has to be one elimination before the final week trip to Israel. But there’s been a change of plans. Security issues in Israel leave the team scrambling. The trip has been moved to Ottawa, Canada, one of Caleb’s favorite destinations. Caleb has a tough decision to make, but it seems to be one of the easier ones.

Caleb: “I’ve really grown attracted to Savannah and Maggie. I’m really kind of stuck between those two. I hope that the trip ahead will help decide it. As for Rebecca, great girl, but you can’t build a relationship solely on agreed theology.”

Rebecca is eliminated. Remaining Bachelorettes: Savannah, Maggie.

Savannah and Maggie go with Caleb to church on Sunday. Caleb is asked to speak at his church during the evening worship service about the process of the show and what to look for in a relationship. There’s a Q&A at the end and Caleb is asked if he’s made a decision yet. He chuckles and shakes his head. “I’m not going to answer that,” he says. “Both Savannah and Maggie are wonderful sisters in Christ. It’s not an easy place to be. I’ve got a tough choice to make.”

Some of the congregants want to take pictures of Caleb with Savannah and Maggie afterwards. Caleb complies, but later, as he talks to Savannah, he’s not sure that was a great idea.

Caleb: “I just wonder what that means. Am I putting myself on a pedestal as a celebrity through this, when really I’m just trying to see if I can find the person I want to spend the rest of my life with?”

Savannah: “I understand, Caleb. Was there anything about it particularly that bothered you?”

Caleb: “I became a celebrity. And I don’t want to be a celebrity.”

Savannah nods and puts her hand on Caleb’s shoulder. He turns and smiles at her.

While discussing things with Maggie later, she decides to push him a little bit.

Maggie: “Did you really want to speak on this?”

Caleb: “I want to help people understand what relationships and romance within the Christian context is really all about.”

Maggie: “Do you think this was the wrong context to do that?”

Caleb: “I don’t know.”

It’s nearly time for the final dates. Maggie and Savannah pack up. Savannah spends a few hours with Sienna playing at a park. Maggie plays guitar in her room at the house. Each woman has a house to themselves now that the rest of the girls have left.

Savannah: “I’m really hoping to find someone who cannot only be my husband, but who can be a father to Sienna. Caleb has been really good with Sienna, and he’s been an awesome partner with me so far. I’m hoping that he picks me. What do you think, Sienna?”

Sienna nods and smiles.

Maggie: “I think that Caleb and I have a lot of fun together. I love his heart for the Lord and what he values in life and in other people. I think it’s a good match!”

The camera talks to Caleb one last time before the trip to Ottawa.

Caleb: “Despite all the mess around everything that’s gone on, this has been a refreshing experience. I’ve made some friends, I’ve had some great experiences and I’ve been able to really have some great conversations. I think I’l be friends with people like Monica and Anna for a long time. It just goes to show that you don’t have to be in a relationship with a girl to have a solid friendship. The point is that the friendship is all based around Jesus. I want to find someone who is going to be my best friend. Someone I can share anything with and they’ll be understanding, they’ll give grace, but they’re also willing to challenge me on things when I’m wrong. But in a graceful way. I’ve got a ton of growing to do, a ton of maturity and sanctification. I want someone who will push me towards the cross, not away from it.”

NEXT EPISODE on THE CHRISTIAN BACHELOR: Caleb spends full days in Ottawa and the surrounding areas with Maggie and Savannah as he gets the last chance to get to know them before making his final decision. Tune in on Monday for the next episode of THE CHRISTIAN BACHELOR.

Who has your vote? Which girl has stood out? Did Caleb make a mistake in sending Rebecca packing? Comment with your thoughts below!

If You Missed An Episode…

The Christian Bachelor: Episode 5 – One-on-One

Last Week on The Christian Bachelor: The girls took Caleb swing-dancing, where they got to see that he truly has no rhythm whatsoever. Some of them had fun with it, though. Two girls got eliminated, but one, Maggie, got a particular thumb’s-up from Caleb’s friend Jack. This week, it’s time for the first one-on-one dates.

Date 4: One-on-One Dates – Sanford, N.C. – Monday-Saturday, week 3

Maggie goes first. She brings her acoustic guitar and the two sing worship songs and a couple other of Caleb’s favorite songs while munching on a Christian staple, Chick-fil-a. “I’m afraid I’m going to get tired of Chick-fil-A this week,” Caleb says. “But it’s hard to. It’s so good!”

This show is sponsored by Chick-fil-A. We didn’t invent the chicken, just the chicken sandwich.

The next night is Rebecca’s turn. The two get into a deep conversation about Romans 8 and how awesome it is that salvation is by grace alone. On Wednesday, Hayden and Caleb take a break from the picnics and go to the Wednesday night service. Hayden makes a couple comments that Caleb’s not too sure about regarding being picky about the order of service and the music being played.

Caleb: “Hayden’s a funny girl who’s a lot of fun to hang out with, but in a sense she seems to be more interested in being ahead of everyone in what they know.”

Thursday night is Carrie’s turn. Caleb takes her on the picnic and then to his aunt and uncle’s house to hang out with his little cousins. Caleb gets to see Carrie in her element, hanging out with kids. They have a great time with the group.

Next is the woman who already has a kid, Savannah. Caleb seems to be at ease with Savannah. Savannah brings along her daughter, Sienna. The three enjoy a wonderful picnic and then Caleb and Savannah play with Sienna. Sienna and Caleb almost immediately hit it off.

Caleb: “I must admit, I’m falling for Savannah. But I don’t know if I’m 100 percent ready to be a father. I’m still young. I don’t know if I’m prepared.”

Finally, Saturday night brings a dinner date with Anna. Caleb, who had been fancying Anna up to this point, finds her distant and removed. He still is crushing on her, but there seems to be something different about her. She’s having second thoughts about moving forward with the show, it turns out. Caleb encourages her to keep going. He gives her a hug and prays for her, that she would make the right decision.

At the end of the week, Caleb has yet another decision to make. He cuts Hayden and Carrie.

Caleb: “This was perhaps one of the tougher couple cuts I’ve had to make. I liked a lot of what Hayden had to bring to the table, but I think we’d just be too nit-picky about the same things. And Carrie is great, but there just wasn’t a connection there. I tried to give it a shot but it just wasn’t there for either of us, I think.”

Carrie and Hayden are eliminated, but unfortunately for Caleb, there’s another drop out. Anna leaves the show.

Anna: “I prayed about it and sought some counsel from some older women in my life, and it just makes sense for me to leave. I really do like Caleb. He’s a great guy. But there’s other things I need to be paying more attention to in my life right now.”

Caleb: “I really liked Anna. She was not afraid to be herself, which I really admired. I liked her. It stinks that she’s gone but I wish her well and will be praying for her with what’s going on.”

Remaining Bachelorettes: Savannah, Rebecca, Maggie.

The next dates are crucial. Again, it will be a one-on-one date, but each with Caleb’s family, who lives in Sanford. It won’t be a long trip for the bachelorettes. The family dates are planned for Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday of week 4, to give each girl a date and a day to make an impression with the family.

NEXT EPISODE on THE CHRISTIAN BACHELOR: The girls get to spend time with Caleb’s whole family in Caleb’s family’s house for dinner. Also, Caleb gets a reality check on the fame he’s getting. Tune in on Thursday for the next episode of THE CHRISTIAN BACHELOR.

Who has your vote? Which girl has stood out? Did Caleb make a mistake in sending Hayden and Carrie packing? Comment with your thoughts below!

If You Missed An Episode…

The Christian Bachelor: Episode 4 – Dance the Night Away

Last Week on The Christian Bachelor: The group went on a big date to see Christian rapper Lecrae perform in concert. After the concert, two bachelorettes were eliminated. The girls also got to spend time with Caleb’s mother, who cooked them a surprise dinner. This week, the contestants let their guards down a little bit.

The Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday pass by with small talk, Caleb just spending time hanging out with the girls informally. But there’s also conversation with Monica about her future. The difficult moment comes when Monica mentions her deep passion for going overseas, something Caleb isn’t all too sure about. He’s open to the possibility, but not 100 percent sure. This is one of the more difficult conversations Christian couples have, exploring different options for the future.

Date 3: Swing-Dancing – Greensboro, N.C. – Thursday night, week 2

Caleb takes the eight young women to a swing-dancing class and three hours of music. Caleb is not the best at it, which makes Savannah chuckle. She helps Caleb with a couple of specific moves. He nearly falls over himself with one of them, and Savannah catches him.

Rebecca is all into the swing-dancing. She is clearly experienced with swing-dancing, and impresses Caleb. They have a fun time dancing together. Maggie and Caleb talk about the musical merits of swing, with artists like Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin. Sonya is also skilled at swing-dancing. Carrie and Hayden struggle a little bit with the dancing part, but Caleb finds dancing with Hayden funny because of the struggles.

Later that night, the group gets fro-yo together. Once again, Caleb and Monica begin chatting about future ideas. It doesn’t go well.

It’s time for the eliminations. Caleb: “I really enjoyed the swing-dancing, even though I’m pretty bad at it…I’m eliminating Monica and Sonya. Sonya, I think we’re just too different in our personalities. She’s awesome, but not what I’m personally looking for. And Monica, I love her heart for the nations, but I don’t really see moving overseas anytime soon. I don’t want to hold her back.”

Monica and Sonya are eliminated, leaving six bachelorettes into round 4.

Remaining Bachelorettes: Savannah, Rebecca, Maggie, Anna, Hayden, Carrie

The next dates are set for the next week, all of them one-on-one dates for the first time, Monday through Saturday nights. In the meantime, the remaining girls get together for a day without Caleb as he hangs out with the guys in his small group to talk about the process.

The girls talk about the different dates so far. Carrie and Savannah talk about how great a father Caleb seems to be. The girls find a lot of positives in him. Hayden is afraid that Caleb isn’t as “indie” as she is, and that might be an issue, but she’s willing to be ahead of the curve and look past it.  

Caleb is a pretty chill guy who loves hanging out with the dudes and needs that time every now and then. He also wants to discuss the girls with the guys. Among the group is Phil and Jack, who have been with the girls a few times. Caleb mentions Anna and Savannah prominently in the conversation with the guys. Jack really encourages Caleb to check out Maggie too.

Jack: “Caleb isn’t really that talented musically, but he’s always liked girls who were musical in some way, whether that was with singing or an instrument. Obviously Maggie fits the bill very well in that regard.”

Caleb leaves the conversation ready to keep Jack’s advice in mind. Because of that, he picks Maggie as the first one to go on a one-on-one date with the next Monday.

NEXT EPISODE on THE CHRISTIAN BACHELOR: The first one-on-one dates take place, which allows Caleb to get to know the girls on a more personal level. Also, a favorite begins to have reservations about the whole process. Tune in on Monday for the next episode of THE CHRISTIAN BACHELOR.

Who has your vote? Which girl has stood out? Did Caleb make a mistake in sending Monica and Sonya packing? Comment with your thoughts below!

If You Missed An Episode…