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We leave the safety of the doctor’s office and choose the freedom and ease of the gas station convenience store.Instead of getting the qualified perspective and direction we desperately need from people around us, we walk away eating a candy bar for dinner, again, and washing it down with Dr. Real friendship, with real life-on-life accountability, may not offer the same amount of information or advice, and you will not always like what it has to say, but it will bring one new critical dimension to your dating relationships: it knows — your strengths and weaknesses, your successes and failures, your unique needs.They knew where I had fallen before in sexual purity, and they weren’t afraid to ask questions to protect me.They have relentlessly pointed me to Jesus, even when they knew it might upset me — reminding me not to put my hope in any relationship, to pursue patience and purity, and to communicate and lead well.These guys didn’t guard me from every mistake or failure — no one can — but they played a massive role in helping me mature as a man, a boyfriend, and now as a husband.And I wish I would have listened to them more in dating.

The first rule in dating is the first rule in all of life: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” (Mark ).These people know you as a sinner, and sinners who are never being confronted or frustrated by inconvenient truths are sinners drifting further from God, not towards him.The truth is that we all need a third wheel — in life and in dating — people who truly know us and love us, and who want what’s best for us, even when it’s not what we want in the moment.The scary reality is that we can find an answer somewhere to justify what we want to do — right or wrong, safe or unsafe, wise or unwise.The advice we choose might be from a book by a doctor, or a random conversation with someone at church, or a blog post by a teenager, or just something we found on Pinterest.

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