“I Need a Boyfriend” and Other Lies
About the Guest
Have you ever known someone who couldn’t function without a boyfriend? Today on the broadcast, Pure Freedom founder Dannah Gresh and “Revive Our Hearts” host Nancy Leigh DeMoss, co-authors of the book, Lies Young Women Believe, talk with Dennis Rainey about some of the most common lies young women believe about love and relationships.
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Have you ever known someone who couldn’t function without a boyfriend?
Bob: The message of the Gospel is counter-cultural. So how do you help a teenager withstand peer pressure and live counter-culturally. Here is author Dannah Gresh.
Dannah: One of the most heartbreaking things, as we listen to these 1,000 women across the nation, young women, was a middle school girl in a Christian school that said, "I really don't see myself being able to delay a relationship with guys and maybe not even sexual activity, because everyone I know in my Christian school is caught up in that.
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Friday, April 18th. Our host is the president of FamilyLife, Dennis Rainey, and I'm Bob Lepine. Is your teenage daughter facing pressure to conform to the culture around her? And if she is, do you know how to help her? Stay tuned.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today, thanks for joining us. It's been a long time since you sat down with a group of teenage girls and just kind of got clued in on what they're thinking, hasn't it? I know you used to do that in your sixth grade Sunday school class. You had 12- and 13-year-old girls there, right?
Dennis: Well, I used to do it when I was a teenager.
Bob: That's not what I had in mind.
Dennis: I wasn't sure where you were going with that, Bob.
Bob: No, no, no, I'm thinking about when your kids were teenagers, you used to sit down with groups of your kids' friends and ask them questions.
Dennis: Oh, absolutely. In fact …
Bob: In the car you'd cross-examine them.
Dennis: I'd ask them what their worldview was, and my kids would roll their eyes back and, "Oh, Dad."
Bob: Moan and …
Dennis: "Why are you trying to embarrass our friends? They don't know what a worldview is." That's part of why I was asking them.
Bob: But there is something very revealing about spending time with teenagers if they're being open and honest and transparent. You get a picture into where they are and where the culture is, and it can be a little scary.
Dennis: Every parent, every mom, every dad, must be a student of their teenager's friends and especially today. We want to talk about what's taking place with your daughters and how you help them embrace the truth.
You know, if you don't do this, you're going to be overtaken by the culture. The culture is trying to take our sons as well as our daughters captive with lies.
Bob: Well, the reason I brought this up is because the two ladies who are joining us on today's program just spent some time with some teenage girls and, in fact, as part of the research for the book that they've written, "Lies Young Women Believe," they got a lot of input from a lot of teenage girls across the country.
Nancy Leigh DeMoss and Dannah Gresh are joining us again and, ladies, welcome back to the program.
Nancy: Thank you.
Dannah: Thank you.
Bob: You wanted to make sure, as you sat down to address how young ladies today are being deceived and about how they embrace the truth, you wanted to make sure that you were connected with what's really going on in their lives, and so you spent a lot of time with these girls, didn't you?
Dannah: We certainly did. We talked with 1,000 young women across the nation, either in intimate two-hour small-group conversations or through surveys. And last night was really affirming because from those 1,000 women, we developed a list of 25 of what we believe are the most commonly believed lies that young Christian women in the nation are believing.
And last night we said, "If you were writing the book, what would be on the list?" And these young women, having no knowledge of what the book looks like, went through the lies that we have chosen, one by one, and listed them, and they said, "This is what's breaking our hearts."
Dennis: Dannah, you had more experience than just this survey. You've been working with young people now for the past decade, right?
Dennis: And, of course, Nancy, you speak all across the country not only on your radio broadcast, but you're rubbing shoulders with a lot of parents.
Nancy: Who are burdened for their teens and want to know how they can help them.
Dennis: Exactly, and all these lines seem to come back to a few basic lies that I think can capture a young lady. One of them has to do with boys, okay?
Dannah: You think?
Nancy: Actually a number of them have to do with boys.
Dennis: Well, I was trying to reduce that, but …
Nancy: In fact, we've got a whole section.
Dennis: I think you're probably right. These teenagers, though, they really do feel like they need a boyfriend. It's almost like a collection or something, isn't it, Dannah? Help us understand how girls collect guys, how that works.
Dannah: I haven't exactly figured it out, but I haven't met too many young women who have gone through their teenage years without at least a heart that's breaking for attention from young boys, even some of the young women who really believe, "I want to submit to my parents' desire for me to delay courting" or dating, whatever their family preference is.
Those same young women still have a heartache in this area. There is a disconnect between the truth that they are valuable just as they are, and the world's philosophy that to be valuable, you must have attention from guys.
Dennis: I'm not trashing parents at this point, but a lot of young ladies go through those teenage years feeling like they have been abandoned by their parents to be preyed upon by these young men. Their parents weren't there interacting with them about what was going on, they weren't talking about the attraction with the opposite sex, they weren't talking about the sexual nature of life and sex drives and what boys are like and all those issues and, really, this is a place where parents, as uncomfortable as it feels, they must engage.
Nancy: And you add to that, Dennis, the fact that parents have allowed their children to be exposed from earliest childhood to so many forms of entertainment that are promoting and pushing this highly sexualized worldview, and so they've seen love and romance defined in all the wrong ways and assume that this is natural, that this is the way it's supposed to be.
Bob: Yeah, in fact, one of the young ladies you heard from last night talked about the difference between real love and Hollywood love, and she recognizes that Hollywood love – well, listen to how she put it.
Teenager: I think that there is an artificial, I guess, perception of love being given in those movies and in the books, and the things that we say like, "Chick Flicks" where it always ends up in the fairy tale ending, and it's love, and I think it's just very deceiving because that's not how relationships are.
["Maria" from West Side Story]
That's not even really what love is because usually in those movies and in those books and stuff, it's kind of surface deep, you know?
Love in the movies is always like physical or something emotional that really, you know, pricks our girl heart. It's like, "Oh, he sang a song," "Oh, he wrote a letter," "Oh, he came after her." And that's not necessarily love.
Bob: You know, you hear that, and you think, yeah, everybody wants to be pursued and wanted and have somebody writing and coming after them. I mean, there is some attractiveness to that, but you've got to understand what real love is, don't you?
Dennis: You do. And I think you also need to understand how a young lady is wired. It seems to me, parents really need to understand how young ladies filter things through that emotion gate, and this is where they get hooked with a lot of these issues with the opposite sex, and moms and dads, as they help their daughters understand the lies – that a lot of those lies come through the emotion gate; how it makes them feel.
Bob: And part of the message that the culture is sending to girls is not just you need a guy, but you need to go get one. You need to …
Bob: Yeah, you need to get out there and compete in this arena. One of the girls you heard from last night was talking about the fact that she didn't have a boyfriend, but that didn't mean that she wasn't paying attention to boys.
Teenager: I was completely happy being single, but I was happy being single because I was leading other guys on at the same time.
[Song, "That Little Town Flirt"]
Teenager: Even though I wasn't in a serious relationship, it was, you know, I could flirt with one guy and flirt with another the next day, and I ended up with a bad reputation because the guys found out and, you know, because I guess I felt like I needed that in my life, I ended up hurting guys.
[Song, "That Little Town Flirt"]
Bob: You know, Nancy, you hear these girls talking – what's really going on in their heart is they're trying to say, "What makes me worldwide and valuable? Where is my sense of self-worth?" and the culture is saying, "You'll find it here, you'll find it there," they're not going to find it. Those are all imitations– those are lies, aren't they?
Nancy: They are, and I think that's why, as an adult generation, parents and friends and mentors and youth leaders, we need to be working at pointing these young people to a relationship with Jesus Christ, and that may sounds super-pious or we want Jesus with flesh on, we want a real man, a real human being to touch me, but I find that in my own life, as a woman, from the time I was a teen to this day as an adult woman, that to the extent that I'm finding my security and my worth and my value in my relationship with Jesus Christ, then I'm able to put these other things, whether it's guys or beauty or whatever else the world says should be worthwhile, I can put those things in proper perspective.
We don't want young women to think, you know, boys have cooties or they should never have any interest in guys, or that there is some sin in having those feelings or desires or attraction. We want them to go to the right well to get their cups filled, and if they don't have the relationship with Christ, and I don't mean just that they're professing to be a Christian, but that they have a growing, vital, relationship with Christ who is the truth, then they are going to fall prey, even kids in good homes, are going to fall prey to those lies.
Dannah: In the book we have comments from young women, these 1,000 young women we spoke to, and one of them we spoke to said, "I recognized I was boy crazy because my parents confronted it, and my mom challenged me. She said it's because you don't have a deep enough grounding in your relationship with Christ. And, with my mom, she challenged me to set one year of my high school years aside to have a really amazing relationship with God, and I took the time that I had spent being boy crazy, and I invested it in being God crazy. I spent Friday nights kind of with God instead of with a guy. The time that I would normally e-mailing a guy or writing a note to a guy, I journaled something to God."
She said, "After a few months, I was kind of like – Guys? What guys?' because this hole in my heart was full of Jesus instead of these unfulfilling relationships with guys. So it really does work, what you're saying is not just what God says, but we've seen it practically worked out in young women's lives.
Bob: When you think about the lie that "I have to have a boy to be worthwhile, to be significant," the truth is, the Scriptures teach, that significance comes from God. Significance comes from a relationship with Him from the worth and value that He has created in you. You are created in His image, you are fearfully a wonderfully made, I'm trying to think of the passages here, you know, that help reaffirm that, we adopted sons, that God delights in us. All of these things, when we recognize that, then when the temporal relationships that tend to cause our emotions to go up and down and one day we're happy and the next day we're sad because of how somebody acted, those get evened out because what really matters is how God views us, not how a guy at school views us.
Nancy: And I think the other thing that helps teens and adults alike, is taking a long view. You know, it's the nature of the flesh to say, "I have to have it now. I need that instant satisfaction." When you're 14 or 15 or 16 and lonely, and all your friends are going one direction, and you're going a different direction, how hard is that? It's hard for us as adults. It's hard for them as teens.
But as adult leaders, to be able to paint a vision for these kids, which I want to say is something that I think, speaking of dads, my dad did an incredible job with us. My dad's been in heaven now for over 30 years, but I can still remember him painting a picture for us and for our future and for our lives and of what God wants to give to us in the long run; of the rewards, the long-term rewards of faithfulness and sacrifice and hard choices.
And so there are some things you don't have now, you're willing to defer, to delay the satisfaction. But for these kids to know, we're not trying to be killjoys, and God is not a killjoy. God wants for you something that is spectacular, so wonderful, so precious, so good, that for which He made you and through which you can glorify Him, that it's worth waiting, hard as it is, in order to enjoy that fullness in a godly marriage, long term, and if you're willing to wait for that, then you'll have something that you can't enjoy any other way.
Dennis: Nancy, when you started talking about the long view, what I thought you were going to talk about was when your children fail – giving them grace. I think, as parents, when we start talking about the truth and lies, our kids are going to embrace some lies, just like we did. But, as parents, we need to give them the freedom and the ability to make some poor choices on their own while they're still at home so we can take the time to give them the grace and forgiveness that they need to experience. But also, then, instruct them about how to believe the truth.
There is one other lie that you all talk about in your book that we have to talk about here very quickly, and that's how teenagers can be one person at home and another person at school.
Bob: And, in fact, in the book, kids were right up front, saying, "That's okay." One of the lies is I can be one person at home and a different person online or a different person with my friends, and they didn't see that as a problem.
One of the girls you heard from last night was a girl who said, "That's kind of how I was living my life, and I thought I was doing okay," and I thought her comments were very interesting.
Teenager: [from audiotape.] I ended up living two different lives because I was such a people-pleaser, I lived one life in front of my parents and the people that I wanted to think that I was a good, sweet, godly girl.
Teenager: [from audiotape.] And went in front of the people that I wanted to impress.
Teenager: [from audiotape.] And wanted them to think that I was just like the world, and that I could fit in the world and still be homeschooled and a Christian at the same time.
Bob: You know, you hear a girl say that, and you think, "She's thinking that this is somehow okay. How – I mean – that's just kind of like such obvious hypocrisy, how can a girl think that's okay?
Dannah: Well, and, sadly, she is in the majority of the Christian young women we spoke to – about 84 percent of the 1,000 young women across the nation we spoke to said it's okay to have this dual persona, and while the moms of this generation of teen girls may have sensed that a little bit, what's throwing a wrinkle into it and making it really complicated is the Internet. Because they can go on the 'Net and be someone that's not even close to who they are, and we found that most of the young women that we spoke to, Christian girls, remember, were likely to use gossip, mild to wild profanity, they were talking casually to guys about sex and female functions. They were very likely to be mean to girls, to write the e-mails that just said, "You stink."
Like, one girl said, "I can't believe I did this, but in middle school I sent an e-mail to a girl, and I said, 'You stink, get some deodorant.'" And there's – this same girl goes to church, and she's a leader of the youth group. She's the one telling everybody about Christ, and there's a strong disconnect between who they are at church and at home and who they are on the Internet and in their social world.
Dennis: You actually found that 84 percent of those that you surveyed agreed with the statement that they would represent one persona at home and another with their peers?
Dennis: Really, it doesn't surprise me, honestly, but it is a big lie they believe.
Nancy: But you know what was so redemptive about the story of the young woman that we just heard was that her friends' parents got involved, her parents got involved and confronted her. And I talked with this gal recently, and I said, "How did you respond to that?" Well, she was not very happy about it initially. Her mother found her out, and God used that exposure to make this girl realize she had grown up in an amazingly solid, godly home, but she came to realize, based on this hypocrisy, that she had never even become a Christian at all; that she was not born again, she didn't have a relationship with Christ, and in the last few months that girl has come to faith in Jesus Christ.
So parents who were willing to engage and not take this lying down but said, "This is something we need to deal with." They got into her life; they loved her through it. She reacted at first negatively. She bolted some, but then the Holy Spirit used that and brought conviction to her heart, and she is a new, new girl today. It was really precious to see.
Dennis: It's about parents, first of all, taking responsibility for their own lives.
Dennis: To spot lies and embrace the truth in what they model. Secondly, to take responsibility for their assignment from God; to raise and train their children, and that means to instruct their children about what the lies are in the culture today and then how they can learn to believe the truth; and then, third, if necessary, confront your teenager in the midst of a lie, and don't be afraid you're going to lose them because you do the hard thing.
I've heard those voices as a parent. "If you say that, you're child is going to run away, your child is not going to like you." Well, it's not a popularity contest. It's a matter of raising the next generation and, Bob, both Dannah and Nancy have done a great job in their book of equipping parents to not only spot those lies but also a game plan for how to approach it.
Bob: Yeah, I know what you're hoping for is that a lot of moms will get a copy of this book and then sit down with their daughters, go through it, and not just say, "Do you think you believe this lie?" But say, "What might be some ways in which your life shows that maybe you're tempted to believe that lie?
Nancy: And then listen, and lots and lots of love in the process.
Bob: We've got copies of the book, "Lies Young Women Believe," in our FamilyLife Resource Center, and I'd encourage our listeners, go to our website, FamilyLife.com, and one way to encourage the kind of conversation we're talking about is for a mother and daughter to go through a book like this together and have some dialog around the subjects that are covered in this book – lies about God or lies about Satan, lies about ourselves or about guys or about relationships or about faith, about sin, about the media, about the future.
Again, the book is available from us here at FamilyLife. Go to FamilyLife.com, and on the right side of the home page you will see a box that says "Today's Broadcast," and if you click on the "Learn More" button in that box, it will take you to the area of the site where there are transcripts of today's program, you can listen back to it online, if you'd like, there is also a place where you can leave comments about today's program, and there are other resources we have available for parents and teens. You'll find all of those listed on our website as well.
And you can order a copy of "Lies Young Women Believe," directly from us, or you can call us at 1-800-FLTODAY, that's 1-800-358-6329, 1-800-F-as-in-family, L-as-in-life, and then the word TODAY. Someone on our team will make arrangements to have a copy of those book or other resources you need sent to you. And, again, the website is FamilyLife.com.
Let me also mention that in Chicago in October, you're going to be meeting with some of these young women and with some of their moms. There's a conference that "Revive our Hearts" is sponsoring called the True Woman Conference. Moody Bible Institute is helping to co-sponsor that, Moms in Touch, FamilyLife Today is helping to co-sponsor it. We are all hoping that there will be thousands of women and their daughters who come to this national conference in Chicago and, Dannah, you're going to be meeting with the younger women who come and talking about this stuff, right?
Dannah: That's right. We're going to try to just give them an early start on what true biblical womanhood is.
Bob: And, Nancy, you want to make sure that all of the women there are thinking biblically about being a woman, right?
Nancy: This is a great opportunity for women to join together and saying "We're willing to go against the culture as needed to be God's women in our generation."
Bob: Joni Eareckson Tada is going to be speaking, Janet Parshall is going to be there speaking. Your wife, Barbara, is going to be there speaking, John Piper is going to be speaking, and I would encourage you to get more information and get registered to attend this national conference in October in Chicago. All the details about the conference are on the TrueWoman08.com website, or you can go to the FamilyLife.com website, and you'll find a link there that will take you right where you need to go.
And, real quickly, let me mention that all this week we have been making available a free resource for our listeners, and this is the last day this two-CD set is going to be available at no cost to you. It's a series of interviews we did a number of months ago with Dr. Emerson Eggerich, the author of the book, "Love and Respect." We're making those two CDs available this week to listeners, especially to new listeners who are just finding out more about FamilyLife. We'd love to send these two CDs out to you, hope that you'll listen to them, and that you'll pass them along to others. And all you have to do to receive them is call us at 1-800-FLTODAY, 1-800-358-6329, that's 1-800-F-as-in-family, L-as-in-life, and then the word TODAY. Ask for the "Love and Respect" CDs, and we're happy to send them out to you. But today is the last day we're making these CDs available, so give us a call today.
And, with that, we've got to wrap things up for today. I hope you have a great weekend. I hope you and your family are able to worship together this weekend, and I hope you can join us back on Monday when Barbara Rainey is going to be here along with Dr. Robert Lewis, and we're going to talk about what is at the heart of being a true woman in this culture. That's coming up next week, I hope you can be with us for that.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, and our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine. We'll see you Monday for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
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