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How to Avoid Falling in Love With a Jerk


John Van Epp

Heart of Dating is kicking off  a BRAND NEW Season with a BRAND NEW Episode! We welcome Season 5 with an incredible conversation with John Van Epp!

Before today’s episode we felt the need to stop and recognize what is happening in the world. Although the conversation in this specific episode does not reference these topics , we are still grieving with the world right now. We are hurting with our world in the face of COVID-19 but moreover right now we are pained alongside our black brothers and sisters.

We are grieved, heartbroken, and sick over the injustices and acts of hatred regarding the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and countless others within the black community...murders and injustices that have been going on not just in this last year, but for hundreds of years. Not only do we mourn, but we are committed to doing even better as a community, podcast, and ministry when it comes to talking about social injustice, racism, white privilege and white supremacy, as well as many other conversations surrounding these topics.

We wholeheartedly support the movement for equality and justice and we commit to being joining forces and standing with our black community to use our ministry as a voice to fight against racism, not just today but day after day after day until we break the terrible bonds of racism in our country.We commit to becoming allys, and we stand with our black brothers and sisters for for justice, truth, and love.
We want to be clear, we are not leading this cause. Our role is rather to listen and learn from our black brothers and sisters who have carved the path. To follow black leaders, friends, artists, voices, and creators who have already paved the way, begging for change to happen for hundreds of years.

As for future of the podcast, we are actively looking for more diversity in our guest lineup and plan on having more episodes regarding race and ethnicity in dating. We would love to invite YOU, our amazing listeners into this dialogue as well. Please email us with any suggestion you have :) Our ears are open:

Moving into today's episode... HOW TO AVOID FALLING IN LOVE WITH A JERK!

John Van Epp is a therapist, former adjunct professor, author and lecturer. He wrote the book, How to not Fall in Love with a Jerk and is the President and Founder of LoveThinks, LCC, an organization dedicated to the development of resources that promote healthy individuals and relationships.

In this episode we talk about how we connect in dating and why recognizing our heart vs. our head in a relationship is vital. Kait and John have in depth and practical conversations throughout this episode as they discuss how you can avoid... falling in love with a jerk. 

Could you share a little bit of who you are, what you do, and why you wrote the book How to Not Fall in Love with a Jerk?

  • John currently runs Love Things which shares resources on developing healthy relationships.
  • He has a ministry background and began getting involved in relationship ministry in the mid-90s.
  • He’s worked with social agencies and non-profits and his business offers valuable courses that people can both take and teach.
  • He’s had over 100,000 kids who have taken his courses in public schools that have been able to learn about sexual risk avoidance and how to build healthy relationships.
  • When he started everything, He had a real heart for singles. In which over the last 25 years, most heads of households are now single and more than half of babies born to millennials are born to single moms… there’s a huge need to not only talk about parenting but also talk about the partnering process.

Could you give us your thoughts on the idea that “Love is Blind?”

  • In terms of the Netflix show, there are some issues with it.
  • Marriage has been approached differently over the course of history.
  • Arranged marriages, which are still done in some countries, are done by the families of the couple in which there are high requirements.
  • The getting to know process is more than “just talking” but togetherness in different situations is a part of the love process.
  • You can't get around the necessity of taking time to really getting to know someone”
  • Our culture isn’t patient, so we’re looking for ways to “speed up” relationships. Time is essential and there’s no way to get around it.
  • John talks about having a 90-day probation period when entering a relationship.
  • Intimacy = Togetherness + Talk + Time
  • Sexual touch, intimacy, or cohabitation are some culture trends that accelerate a relationship.

How do we begin to approach this in a healthy way without rushing the timeline?

  • “The head and the heart need to work together. “
  • “What I cannot define, I cannot control” If we can define how our heart is bonding with a person, then that definition increases our ability to be intentional in a relationship. 
  • Three T’s of a relationship: Talk, Be Together, Do it over Times
  • When we feel somebody knows us, we feel connected to them. Knowing and Trusting are the first two ways we connect in our hearts.
  • Relying on someone is how someone meets your needs and how they meet yours! Be wary that sometimes abusers and narcissists will take advantage of using reliance in a relationship.
  • Knowing, Trusting, and Relying all interact with each other and are parts of a whole.
  • Commitment is not just the promises you make, it’s also how in your heart you’re making the other person a priority.
  • Touch is affection but your physical involvement should never exceed the levels of knowing, trusting, relying, or committment.
  • Accumulation effect of getting burned from past relationships shape the culture of the undercurrent in dating we face.
  • “God holds us involved in running our lives. We’re not passengers on the ships of relationships or lives.”
  • Dear friends, you always followed my instructions when I was with you. And now that I am away, it is even more important. Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. -Philippians 2:12
  • Relationships don’t run themselves or correct themselves.

Can you dive into the 5 “Head” aspects of dating that we can week to get to know better and learn about?

  • The Click Factor of Compatibility: Do I have chemistry? Is there attraction? Compatibility is not just chemistry, there’s a sense of personality values and lifestyle. 
  • Relationship Skills: How do they handle conflict?
  • How they Treat Others:  How do they handle their other relationships in their life?
  • Family Patterns and Backgrounds: How you are raised sets many of the templates of how you interact in your relationships. It’s not what they to
  • Maturity of Their Conscience: Ends up being a product of the other buckets. Look for maturity, empathy, and understanding of others. 

How do we start going into dating and knowing we are readjusting these aspects of the head and the heart?

  • “We should move with hope and confidence in the growth process by the lives and examples of biblical giants.”
  • If you have relationship baggage or shame, sink into the love of the Lord and step into a practical relationship sanctification process.
  • Educate yourself on dating healthy! What a lot of people drastically need is input.

What is your final nugget of dating advice?

  • The head and the heart are meant to work together. 
  • If you’re single this the perfect time to get ready for a future relationship and practical these skills

Other Resources:

Follow Love Thinks on Instagram HERE

Discover more about John's Work HERE

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