At the beginning of this year God ignited within my heart the importance of relationship- with Him, with myself, and with others. Life’s stresses come from relationships. I remember in my post grad Diplomacy and Negotiations class, the professor stated that it’s never a situation that’s complicated; it’s the people that complicate situations.
This week I want to talk about dating. If we are truly walking with God, our dating lives will be much better, we won’t settle to date just any kind of person, and we’ll know the right kinds of boundaries to establish in our dating lives.
Before a potential dating mate comes along I think we need to resolve beforehand- while we are still single- and decide the type of person we are-> what is our personal mission statement, what do we want from life, where are we trying to get to, what are our boundaries, etc. Once we know who we are and where we’d like to get to, we will have a better idea of who we’ll allow ourselves to date and keep dating.
I want to cover 4 parts, which I admit, are quite random in this “Relationship-Dating” post: 1) For the Christians 2) Window Shopping 3) What dating really is 4) Tools v Genuine.
“Being there for someone when they really need you- that’s all relationships are.”
–Ellie, from That Awkward Moment, film.
1). For the Christians:
Don’t date a non-Christian! Now, God won’t force you to not date a non-Christian. He respects our boundaries of free will. But, His Word is clear- “be equally yoked” (2 Corinthians 6:14). What fellowship does light have with darkness (2 Corinthians 6:14-17)? And Scripture gives a really big reason to not date a non-Christian: you are at a higher chance of turning away from God. Look at King Solomon. You may think that "I'm not King Solomon," but you are a fallible human being! You're playing with fire if you think you can do this.
Let’s look at the Prophet Ezra:
In Ezra 9, a difficult problem arose when some of the men married unbelieving women. When Ezra heard this, he fell on his knees and cried in confession and shame for his people. In the next chapter, others joined his confession of sin, and an effort was made to restore purity to the people of God.
You should only be yoking yourself with someone who is chasing Jesus at the same speed as you are, someone who can encourage you in the Word and with prayer. I hear Christians rationalizing their choice to date a non-Christian with “I could lead this guy/girl to Christ.” Listen! God doesn’t need you missionary dating. Yes, it’s your job to tell people about Christ (Matthew 28: 16-20), but it’s His job to bring people into full salvation. It’s too much for you to try, as well as expect with your heart for someone to become a true follower of Christ + be their partner.
I’ve been there and it’s the most discomforting and loneliest walk to date a non-Christian. They won’t get Jesus. And it’s not worth getting into patterns of hoping they’ll change, skipping church activities to be with them, or not being able to talk to them about what Jesus is doing in your life.
I’ll end with this and I’m confident when I say this, even though I’m going to disjoint some noses: when we choose to date a non-Christian, it is a clear reflection where we are in our own walks with Christ. And, I think you know what I’m trying to say. As Dr. David Jeremiah so nicely put it:
“God has called us to be in the world but not of it, and that principle applies to dating, love, and marriage. The best way to honor God after marriage is to honor Him before marriage. Every marriage begins with a first date, and it’s worth writing on the flyleaf of your Bible: “I make a commitment now that I’m not going to date anyone who doesn’t know the Lord.” He will bless you for it out of His true endless love.”
“Someone has paid for me with blood. How that knowledge lifts my sights beyond the moment’s hot desire.” -Elisabeth Elliot
2) Window Shopping:
As you move past uni to mid-20s and up, dating should be done for the intent of marrying that person. It’s a waste of time, it’s selfish, you’re playing with someone else’s feelings and hopes, and it’s immature. I’ve noticed with guys that they’re perfectly content dating a woman they don’t intend to marry. Listen to how he/she talks about you in the future tense after some time of dating has passed. Look at their actions towards you. If there is no “we” talk, I’d say you’re possibly "Ms or Mr. right now" not "Ms or Mr. Right" in their eyes. If you’re not ok with being the "right now" then leave the relationship!
3) What dating really is, what it isn’t:
Get to know the person you’re dating before it’s official you’re dating. Observe them and see if they’re worth a long-term relationship. Dating isn’t marriage so don’t unleash marriage expectations on a gf/bf. Dating, specifically the early stages of dating, is to let both sides get used to the idea of being together- of getting to know one another. Don’t rush things, don't try to awaken love before it blossoms (Song of Solomon 2:7), and guard your heart above all else for out of it flows the fountains of life (Proverbs 4:23). As Carl Lenz puts it-> [Occupy Your Street].
If you know your worth then you won’t settle for "tools" or for "schmucks." Listen to what they are really saying. When a person tells you who they are, oh my goodness- BELIEVE THEM! And a person will tell you a lot about themselves within in the first few meetings as opposed to later in the relationship, so listen a lot and talk less.
Also, dating isn’t a time for sex. Sex is holy and must be done within the confines of marriage. More on marriage and sex in future weeks!
4) Tools v. Genuine:
I recently watched the 2014 film called “That Awkward Moment” with Zac Efron, Michael B. Jordan, and Miles Teller. I think that the movie really embodies how dating is viewed in my generation, and exemplifies the selfishness of men (women can also be selfish too).
In the film Zac Efron’s character, Jason and Miles Teller’s character, Daniel were total tools. A "tool" in American slang is someone who uses someone else for their own gain. Stay away from guys or girls like this. They will only give you stress, heartache and pain. They might look good on the outside, but they are so ugly on the inside. These people have large egos, are trying to look cool in front of others, they are in a deluded state of mind of who they think they are that they can’t even see themselves and how they are hurting dating partners.
Put up some boundaries, know your worth, and move on! When people put themselves around tools they need to do some self-introspection and find the root of where their low self-esteem of letting low rate people into their lives. If you have the courage to leave a tool, and they don't repent and chase you, you will see what you really meant to them all along. God doesn’t want His children chasing or getting bread crumbs. He wants you to have the whole loaf of bread!
Genuine men and women will respect your boundaries, they will exhibit the Fruits of the Spirit in their relationship with you, they won't say shallow mean hearted words, they will be there when you need them, they will treat you mentally and physically well, they are mature, their yeses will be yes and their no’s no, and they will uphold your self-worth. Date the opposite of Efron and Teller’s characters.
Our relationship with God, ourselves, and others are spiritual. We're not designed to be in relationship (platonic or romantic) with everyone, because some people are certifiably toxic! That's why we must be strong pray'ers,' and ask God if a friendship or relationship with a specific person is wise. I strongly advise Christians not to date non-Christians, and instead focus their time and attention and their walk with Christ. Don't waste time window shop dating. If anything, just stay single until you mature and/or sort through the baggage that might be causing you to be below par dating partner. Understand what dating really is. And, stop dating tools/ schmucks who fit your idea of a Baywatch babe, and date genuine person who will treat you with dignity.
Happy Friday! xx