Dating Is (Seriously Not) Easy

Exploding the big myths about finding love.

Graham picks Brittany up, and they are hanging out in her room talking before they leave. As they chat, Graham’s stomach starts knotting up. Soon enough, he can’t focus on what she’s saying.

He finally excuses himself and goes to the restroom to calm down. He stares in the mirror, saying, “Be cool, man—this is ridiculous.” Finally he leaves the bathroom and, as he walks out, realizes he didn’t flush the toilet or turn on the faucet to cover for his nervousness. He sits back down again, but a few minutes later, he has to excuse himself for another pep talk.

Returning to her room, he finally confesses, “Sorry, I am just really nervous about this date.”

Brittany suggests they go ahead and leave so he might calm down. As they’re talking in the driveway, the world starts spinning. Acting on instinct, Graham takes two steps to the side and vomits all over Brittany’s driveway. He looks up to see shock and concern on her face. He vomits again. He looks up, and she is gone.

Graham does not have time to worry about her departure because he is busy trying to exorcise that day’s lunch from his digestive system. Brittany comes back, but she’s not alone—she went to get help ... from her mom.

So, on Graham’s first date with Brittany, he vomits and helps her mom clean the driveway. And do you know where Graham and Brittany are today?

Well, they never went out again.

What did you think I was going to say?

The history of dating is not one of successes (though they exist) but of many, many failures. What about dealing with the opposite sex makes us so awkward and weird? And why is it weirder in the context of the Church?

The two (wrong) ways

Traditionally, the Church has offered two schools of thought on dating: “It did not exist in biblical times and therefore should not be practiced now,” and “Everything in dating is acceptable as long as you do not have sex.” But both of these fall short.

Society today equates love and relationships with dating; we have been programmed to have a desire to love and be loved. People today express love and interest through dating and asking others out. To ignore this situation because it is “not the way you were raised” is to allow the devil a foothold in a place where churches can least afford it.

Meanwhile, premarital sex is one of the banes of the Church’s existence. Do not get me wrong; young people and adults should likewise be taught that sex is to be saved for marriage. However, other forms of intimacy that are not discussed are killing relationships and forcing people to leave with bitterness and discontent. Emotional and spiritual intimacy should be saved for married couples, yet we throw them away every time we date someone in the hope that they will love us.

Singles Satisfaction

Meet Ashley. Ashley is very active in her church and is always willing to lend a helping hand to others. Ashley has always had a boyfriend. After she breaks up with a guy, she immediately begins looking for another one. She was telling me one day how she was tired of being with horrible guys. I suggested that she take a break from dating so she could clear her head and know exactly what she wants. My suggestion puzzled her as she replied: “You don’t understand. I can’t not have a boyfriend. I would be too lonely.”

Things like this happen when a person does not find satisfaction as a single person. If you are looking for absolute fulfillment in another person, you are setting yourself up for failure. I once heard a man say, “If you cannot find peace in yourself, it is futile to search for it elsewhere.” You have to be satisfied with your identity as a single person; you have to have a growing relationship with Christ, or you will not be well-suited for a relationship. In 1 Corinthians, Paul shares some insight about the benefits of finding Singles Satisfaction: “Are you married? Do not seek a divorce. Are you unmarried? Do not look for a wife.” (7:27)

Translation: Do not date someone for the sake of dating.

By all means, keep your eyes open, but do not assume that because there is a mutual attraction with a person, you need to be in a relationship. You must assess the situation and circumstances realistically and, above all else, pray about it. As a believer, you are not above becoming attracted to a non-Christian or a married person. Also, do not simply date out of boredom. Dating, in the sense that I have defined it, is an intentional decision utilized to determine romantic possibilities. Anything done out of boredom does not imply a desire to love someone else, but a desire to remove the boredom by using the other person. You may be bored and want to date someone because you have nothing better to do. The person you are on the date with may already be planning the wedding. Feelings have a tendency to spring up when two people spend a lot of time together. If you are with the person for your own comfort, then you are dating for the wrong reasons. You need to date someone because you love them and they love you. Pity and boredom have no place in establishing a dating relationship.

The “right” one

“I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs—how he can please the Lord. But a married man is concerned about the affairs of his world—how he can please his wife—and his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But she can please her husband. I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord” (1 Corinthians 7:32-35).

Translation: Instead of praying for God to bring you the right person, pray that God will make you the right person.

Being in a relationship is a big responsibility that is not for the faint of heart. Every person in the world wants to marry someone who is awesome, sweet and outstanding. Are you asking God each day to improve your character? Remember that a relationship is not just about how you benefit from the other person; it is about how you can invest in that person’s life for the better. On another note, pray that God will make you the right person for the sake of honoring Him and not to attract others to you. God will do very little for you if your concern is not for His glory.

People in The Couples Culture hate being single. They hate being alone and feel as if their happiness is defined by true love. Is it wrong to desire a relationship? No. Should that be your desire above all others? Absolutely not. Find peace in God, not in others.

This article is adapted from Friendlationships: From Like, to Like Like, to Love in Your Twenties (RELEVANTBooks). This version appears in the RELEVANT Undergraduate College Guide.

81 Comments

85,389

Lucy McBees commented…

Yes, it is like language. I spend a lot of time researching with hope to find the answer for the many questions. Why? What? Where? Nothing happened.

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Lucy McBees commented…

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Anonymous commented…

Find and good. Be the man you want to be.

But where does one find a quality woman in today's culture?

Where do you find the sort of gal who'll stand by her man, who will be loving wife and caring mother, who'll support him in his career, while managing the family and home? You can see women like this existing aplenty sixty years ago (Mary from It's a Wonderful Life is an excellent example of a strong, loving woman), but today's it's a wasteland. Too many women have embraced the siren song of culture and forsaken their femininity, instead choosing to become men-in-skirts. At the same time, too many men have emasculated themselves and becomeembarrassedat their own masculinity, apologizing for their manhood in an attempt to placate radical feminists.

Where have all the good girls gone? Who now can find a worthy wife in the morass of cultural decay that makes up the West?

Michelle Young

6

Michelle Young replied to 's comment

The model of women in the 1950's was not, in my estimation, a complete picture of who God created all women to be, or how every marriage should work. If any marriage is centered around only one spouse being served and supported, that is not a truly loving relationship. A good, healthy, God-glorifying marriage is Christ-centered and based on the principle of both spouses serving and supporting one another equally. I am in no way negating the responsibility that women have to serve and honor their husbands as the head of their homes, or the honor they have of being a mother and managing the home; I am however saying that it should be a team effort. And that there is nothing wrong with a woman having a career as well. There is a Biblical balance to be struck here, and each marriage will look different. I also want to remind you of one specific example of a woman in the Bible who, while submitting to her husband, ran the nation of Israel for a time. Her husband had to have supported her in her calling, and she had to have honored him in his place as head of their home. What I wouldn't give to have been a fly on the wall in their home! You can read about her in the book of Judges, her name was Deborah. :)

Brett

139

Brett replied to Michelle Young's comment

ah Jeff, great article - just stumbled upon it now - you raise some really good points and it's good to just see the church [after all that's who we are, right?] addressing these issues at all and then so well...

i have a huge heart for Godly relationships and have actually blogged a series on different aspects of dating which you can read here - Some great posts on Dating

but thank you for taking the time and speaking into it and hopefully as we journey alongside those who are in that space and as married people give them space for all of their questions and struggles, we will see this happen a little better and maybe even easier...

all the best
brett fish

William Jorden

34

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