Monday, August 15, 2005

Dating: Timing

By the time the sun came up and al fresco chilling was a possibility, Pre-dating Woe-ed Man had figured Target was worth a shot and was still keen to continue his venture. So Lager (Lard-butt) Lad continued:

Christian relationships are to be very different from pagan ones. Instead of being marred by selfishness, self-centredness and gaining what you can from a relationship, you are to center on God and what is best for the other person in the relationship.

In considering whether to take your friendship with her to a different level, how can you be centered on God and do what is best for her?

  • effect of dating relationship on her relationship with God: is she a new Christian or a Christian who has just started taking her faith and her relationship with God seriously? Will starting this relationship take away time and energy from her getting to know God better and building a strong foundation for her faith in the solid study of God's word and living out her faith in a wide community of believers? (Don't kid yourself that you can lead her in bible studies and be her mentor. Both your motives will be confused and uncertain.) If she is desperate for a relationship or marriage, she will depend on you rather than depend on God. She will love you more than she will love God. You will be more important than God in her life. You will become her idol. By asking her to be your girlfriend, you will be consciously setting yourself up as a false god and taking her away from the true and living God. Her relationship with God should be strong enough to that your intrusion into her life will not usurp God's rightful place in her life.
  • effect of dating relationship on her overall situation: is starting this relationship now best for her? Is she already going through a period of high stress, upheaval, change?
  • how will expressing all your feelings for her at this point in time in her life serve her?
  • how will starting a dating relationship now affect your relationship with God?
  • if all goes well, will you be prepared to marry her in a year or two? To lead her gently and lovingly to grow in Christ? To serve her with everything you have and to lay your life down for her even at the lowest point of your marriage when she hates you and wishes to ruin you?
  • are you prepared emotionally to enter a dating relationship? Are you stable enough for what might be a lifelong commitment?
  • if neither of you are ready for a relationship, then are you being impatient? Could it be due to your own selfish short-term desires? What are you motives for wanting to start the relationship?
  • how well do you really know her? How real is your perception of her? Has it been blinded by sheer emotion and rose-tinted glasses? Have you considered her in the harsh cold light of day? Have you observed her in various situations? Have you sought the counsel of objective third parties? [Note: parties eager for you to marry cannot be considered objective third parties.]
  • how solid is your friendship with the lovely lass? Are you rushing into a relationship before you have a good foundation of mutual camaraderie, respect, appreciation of each others' good and irritating points and failings and weaknesses? Do you really care for each other as brother and sister?
  • how certain are you about Target? Do you have unresolved nagging doubts? Then don't waste her time but continue to get to know her better in group settings.
  • have you prayed about it and committed this venture to God?!!
The myth of romantic love (itself merely a modern Middle Ages concoction) is that love just happens, at first sight, with a shot of Cupid's arrow, is inexplicable and beckons irresistibly. We are not victims of circumstance. We are responsible, self-controlled beings who are committed to God and the well-being of others. This means that we do not follow whatever stray emotion that might be equally brought on by a tummy-ache-inducing badly-cooked fish or an endorphine-producing molten chocolate baby cake. We are not to behave like animals in heat but are to make sound rational biblical decisions based on God's word and objective evidence so that we do what is good and right under God for us and for our sister-in-Christ.

[Ed: This might sound coldly utilitarian but I do know of married couples who'd started dating not having any romantic feelings for each other. But they both appreciated that they were travelling in the same direction, were committed to God and committed to seeing if they could help to build God's kingdom together as a couple. And in the course of dating, they fell in love. Of course their marriages aren't all fun and games. No marriage is. But their strong common basis stand them in good stead: they resolve problems, conflicts and miscommunications without horrid personal attacks and emotional blackmailing and make up some of the loveliest, sturdiest, most loving marriages I have seen.

Apparently, when Martin Luther and Catherine von Bora got married, they didn't do so out of romantic love either. Luther had his eye on another and wasn't actually very fond of Catherine at all and thought her too haughty. But to cut a long story short, what started as marriage as an expression of Christian discipleship and love for God rather than each other, gradually developed into one of authentic and realistic love for each other because of their commitment to serve God through marriage.]

Dating: Target
Dating: Timing

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At October 14, 2009 11:25 pm , Blogger The Nonny Mouse said...

Hi there, I have been following your blog with much interest for their relevance to the ARPC DG teaching and sermons. May I ask if you know of any useful resources for Christian ladies on singlehood/dating in Christ? Elisabeth Elliott doesn't really seem very relevant, unfortunately... Thanks a lot in advance.


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