Welcome to another “In My Chambers” interview where we Prepare, Inform and Encourage Christian Singles.
This month I have the privilege of interviewing Steve Johnson from Baltimore, Maryland on the subject of Dating with Children.
IMC: Welcome Steve. So glad that you’re open to this interview because we often hear from the single mother and not so much from the single fathers. So tell me, how many children do you have ?
Steve: Thank you. I believe that topics like this need discussion more often. I believe that every single and desirous Christian should know how to approach the opposite sex when there is an interest. And when it comes to dating with children there are fundamental guidelines.
I currently have 3 children, from one woman in a previous relationship; a son that’s 10 and two daughters ages 15 and 12. I have never been married, by the way. Usually the next question is why haven’t I married the mother of my children? Read on and the answer will come out. I found it not to be an uncommon thing for people to have children, whether in or out of wedlock, and still have a desire to date. We all have made decisions that turn out to be life-long; it is just that some of us carry the decision of being a father or mother.
IMC: When you became a father do you think you were ready for this life-long commitment and responsibility?
Steve: Of course not! I did make myself ready at all cost. I was 21 and in college at the time. Sadly, I allowed my flesh to overrule my spirit back then. By this point, some may wonder how is it that I can have three children by a woman and never marry. This is the part where humans push to make something work that shouldn’t. How many times have we heard someone say that they knew the marriage wouldn’t work but they thought that by marriage it would be considered “right?” We almost married but decided to cut it while it could be cut-10 years ago. She is married now and I have moved on.
IMC: Can you describe the relationship that you have with your children?
Steve: I have a very tight knit relationship with all three of my children. I believe it is so important for fathers to be active despite the relationship with the mother or not; married, single or divorced. It doesn’t matter. Each father is to pour back into their child or children the necessities to get through life, abundantly. I always knew that fatherhood is important and just a few years ago when my son was 7, that importance grew even stronger when he came to me and said, “Everything that you do I want to do. You are baptized and now I want to be baptized.” I was literally floored. Needless to say that within hours he was. As far as my daughters go, we have a tight relationship as well. I know the shoes sizes, dress sizes, pants sizes and under garment sizes. At 15, my oldest will start to shop for garments without me and consequently, I will persuade her to help her sister as well. That’s still a tough-tackling subject. However, for the sake of clarity, I will let it be known in great detail of the support system that I have for my girls. I also date my daughters. I take them to restaurants and I feed them well. I open all the doors and I know when to speak boldly and gently. I could go on and on so these are just a few things to show my relationship with my children.
IMC: You and their mother are no longer together. How do you help your children to understand this?
Steve: First, I had to help myself understand. This is the easiest and most productive way. No longer together usually, but not all the time, means that most things will be on a discord. From finances, schooling, maturity preparation etc. In this lifetime it is critical for parents to be honest. Mommy and daddy will not always get along. However, the kids shouldn’t have to go through the tragedies of seeing those disagreements in detail. We have not been together for over ten years so it is much easier now than it was then. I will say to the potential parent one important thing: does your spouse seem like the best role model for the child that you want to have? Think deeply on that…..very deeply. Next question please.
IMC: Being single I’m sure that you’ve met woman who are interested in dating you and vice versa. What does dating look like for a single father?
Steve: Good question Tanika. Let’s clarify my status on being a father. I currently have joint custody of my children. I see them as oft as I can. This means that I spend time with them during the week and on weekends. This could change at any given time to them coming to stay with me. This in turn means that whoever I am seeing will see a lot of us both.
IMC: What are some do’s and don’ts while dating?
Steve: Acceptance is the special word here for the special futuristic someone. I don’t believe that children should be introduced to mommy or daddy’s special friend. In the mind of a child they could possibly be seeing things totally different than us parents. While we see friend they see girlfriend-boyfriend. While we see hanging out they see date. While we see a girlfriend/boyfriend they see step-father step-mother. One major flaw that single parents make is letting a child meet their special friend too early. What if the child says that they don’t like Mr. So and So because he doesn’t treat me like daddy? Or better yet, they don’t like Ms. Jane because she’s trying to take the place of mommy. Those influences will impact your thinking greatly. You are the one that could potentially be spending the rest of your life with that person- not your child. Check this out as well. When children see their parent dating different men and women on the regular they may start to think that their parent is a little on the nasty side, especially if they see kissing and cuddling. I don’t want my kids thinking that daddy is a jiggaboo and not a gentleman. If you wait to the proper time then you will know that the person you have interest in will be worth the introduction. The best thing to do initially is to keep the kids out of it. This is where you are the adult and they are the child/children.
IMC: What do you have to give to your future bride?
Steve: This question caught me off guard because I have never thought it out in detail-shame on me. Well, here is my unrehearsed answer. We can start with the spiritual relationship that I have with my Father in Heaven. She can rest assure that our house will be a house that serves the Lord. Godly and goodly principles are a must. I will-fast for her-work for her-pray for her-give and pour in to her-make it my business to find out what motivates her sexually and emotionally- make sure that I will never neglect the bedroom, even in our worst arguments-give her that balance of satisfaction of knowing that she is not competing with any other woman, not even my daughters (I really better love this woman)-love her to the ends of the earth.
IMC: Are you available, ready and waiting?
Steve: As far as availability is concern, yes. But the availability that I speak of is spiritual more than physical. I had to go to God with my inner thoughts, secret prayers, natural desires (the ones that keep us single folk up at night), and words of commitment. Basically, I had to commit to God before I could commit to another. When it comes to readiness I must honestly say I am not ready for marriage. However, with my honest answer being spoken, it is only because I am in a personal transition when it comes to matters of my children. I don’t think that a woman should have to go through things unnecessarily when initially thinking about entering a relationship. No one deserves unwanted stress. I will say that I have been going through a preparation process for some quite time now. I had to rid selfishness, distrust based on past experiences, brokenness and a few other things. Now that I rule over those things I can safely rule over my house. While waiting is a good word to use, I don’t think that a godly man should wait to find his wife. The word of God gives man permission to look for his wife (Proverbs 18:22). Looking is another form of wanting to work. Men look for the best employment opportunities, the best cars, the best house, the best clothes and anything else we want so why not look for the best soul mate? So if I must use the word wait, I will say that a man should wait to find (look) the best apple on the tree.
IMC: Wow, you said some good stuff right there. Steve, kudos to you for knowing where you are and taking ownership of that. You are definitely on what I call a Truly Single: Whole Without Holes ™ journey. Which is one that I highly recommend all singles take before they become relationship ready. (SRW’s second book “40 Days to Becoming Whole Without Holes” will be released soon it will be another MUST HAVE)
Steve, I believe your words in this interview have helped other singles to self-reflect and know where they are right now. Thank you for being so honest!
Steve: I want to thank you Tanika for your time, support and motivation on being a part of your next great moves. I enjoy reading your work and seeing you make efforts to push people into happiness. May God richly bless your marriage for sowing back into the single community.
IMC: Thank you Steve for those words. Just walking out His purpose in me for such a time as this.
This has been another “In My Chambers” Interview with Tanika.©
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