Yep! Had to have one of these posts, what Christian blogger couldn’t? After all gotta get those follower numbers up… Just kidding, but while we’re on the topic I’ve hit 40 followers! I appreciate that immensely and I’ll be making the best content as I can these upcoming months tackling real-life Theology stuff and real-tough life stuff. (that rhymes if you didn’t notice!)
Anyways this is a post about my thoughts (and experience) with dating. I know many will want to use a different word, but I’ll just use dating to make it simple, I by no measure mean the way the world dates (hook up, shack up, break up) so don’t misunderstand me.
As I’ve gone through the past years of life there have been some very keen observations I’ve made through dating:
- The 1st being that you can’t just float. What I mean by that is that you either grow closer or further apart, you never just stay. Whether it be you end up not spending time with your family’s or you just don’t get to know each other more, things tend to drift when you don’t put some thought into why you’re dating and how you’re going to show Christs love to a significant other. An example for me was when things for me get into a predictable routine (hang out with her family, play a couple of games (Bananagrams pictured), watch a movie, repeat) it’s very easy to want to be content with just drifting along in a comfortable routine not knowing where exactly things are going. Imagine what would happen once I’m married if I took this approach? Never pursuing, never leading, never learning. Things would inevitably drift between me and my future wife if I make life a mindless routine. So while dating, I’ve learned that asking good questions, seeing what She thinks of this or that in the Bible, spending quality time, (and kissing doesn’t count as quality time if you’re not married!) and just learning more about Her heart has been a very encouraging and growing experience to be sure. (and it’s not easy all the time!)
- Secondly, dating can be a game.
This is when I put dating in the “world” category. Many people who i’ve noticed have gotten into the mentality of always pursuing “that next person” always looking for that next emotional high where they “feel” all good inside and never look for commitment. They date for a few months, find out that the other person is a sinner just like them, and then scrap them (not saying you shouldn’t if they’re not repentant, just to clarify).But if you read your Bible even a little God puts much more emphasis on commitment then feelings. After all, when you sin does God say, “wow, I really don’t feel great about you anymore, so forget you.” now that would be terrible. But no! He says there’s no condemnation in Christ. (Rom 8:1) I’ve heard from many married couples that you don’t always “feel” very endearing toward your spouse when they bug you and get under your skin. (which is inevitable I’ve heard) So with the modern (worldly) dating mentality, there’s not much surprise at today’s divorce rate! Just scrap them when you don’t get what you want. Reminds me of some great lyrics from Andy Mineo:
“It’s so much more, this ain’t no beauty contest
When you play that game then somebody’s always got next.
If charm is deceiving and beauty’s vain, then I bet
The standards that we judge most people with are nonsense.
I put too much emphasis on my preferences,
Dang, I’m feeling shallow just addressing this’
Cause God loves me despite of how much a mess I am.”
We’re all quite shallow when we’re left to our own devices. Though I know many have grown to love very selflessly, there’s always room to grow. (especially for me!) Though I understand that attraction and feelings are definitely important to an extent, they won’t ultimately keep you with that person after you marry. As Jefferson Bethke put it:
“I mean some spouses barely even like each other, and the marriage seems like a dead-end
You might share a checkbook and a house, but are you actually friends?
I mean, if marriage isn’t a commitment, then what’s the point of the vows we say?
‘”Til death do us part” really means ‘Until the feelings go away'”
- Which brings me to my Third and final (for now) thought:
Letting “till death do us part” sink in.
When we date, Biblically we’re looking for a potential spouse. For men, a helper to love and lay our lives down for. And for women a leader who you’ll respect and follow. The Bible leaves no room for “until the feelings go away”. So when we all eventually get off that “honeymoon high” we’re left with what? A weak commitment we said just to get married and have sex? The Bible says one man, one woman. For life. No “replacement” when you get bored, no leaving when you get angry. One man, one woman. And that’s it for the rest of your (and my) life.I know that sounded a little bit negative, but as marriage seems to be looming over the horizon I’ve been asking myself some very pointed questions about my view on love, marriage, and commitment. Over the past couple months this last thought has been sinking in, some things that came out of my heart weren’t very good (As Jeremiah said would be inevitable) and my willingness to commit had a very subjective view about it. My heart was along the lines of “until the feelings go away” rather than on Biblical commitment.
I’ve been letting things sink in. If I’m dating this girl, then we’ll either marry or we’ll break up. (or die, but I’m hoping that won’t happen!) So am I just in it for the emotional highs here and there? Or will I be willing to commit to the long-haul if/when that comes around? Once we all exchange our vows, we’ve committed before God to love and cherish this person till’ death. Not until we don’t feel like it.
Anyways, though I know marriages will grow in love if both parties are willing to grow in godliness, I also know from others that it won’t be a cake-walk either. There will be very wonderful times and very hard times. And the way we date will affect us one way or another either for good or for ill in our future marriages.
So what’s it gonna be? Will we let ourselves drift along, never seeking Christ in our relationships? Will we date like we’re playing a game hoping to “score” with as many people as possible? Or will we purposefully love the sinner we marry, joyfully giving our lives for, loving, respecting, and fully committing to a lifelong life of pursuing Christ?
I hope that when I’m married I will choose the latter.
Thanks for reading!