The following article is for any single, dating adult reading this today, who one day plans to be married. It is my hope that this will challenge you to re-evaluate the manner in which you approach relationships.As I approach my seventh-year wedding anniversary, and after working for several years in ministry with college students, as well as young adults, there is one thing I have come to know for sure:
We (as believers) have really messed up this whole dating thing!
It is amazing how so many twenty-something and thirty-something believers have aligned their values and perspectives regarding relationships with that of today’s mainstream culture.
Now at the risk of sounding like a broken record, since there seems to be a new book on Christian dating emerging every day, I decided to take a different approach.
The following is a checklist I compiled to help someone you know discover whether or not they are in an unhealthy dating relationship.
I call it The “We’re Just Talking” Checklist.
If you (I mean someone you know) has a dating relationship that shares more than three of the following ten warning signs, it may be time to get some serious help.
1. You and your date talk more on the phone / or via email than you do in person.
2. The only time you spend a considerable amount of time together is at night.
3. You continue to refer to your date as your brother / or sister (in Christ) in public.
4. The Lord has begun ’speaking’ to only one of you about marriage.
5. You feel embarrassed to show affection in public / yet amazingly free in private.
6. Not one friend or family member knew about your relationship until after your first fight.
7. You begin to try to define together what the ‘technical definition’ of having sex is.
8. You offer to pay each other’s personal bills. All the time.
9. Breaking up has become a common ritual.
10. You spend the night at each other’s home. Sorry, marriage has its privileges.
I actually had a few more to add to the list, but I figured this may be enough for now. However, one of the biggest indications that a dating relationship has become unhealthy is when the two involved are afraid of placing a real label on their relationship.
Labels (whether some would like to use them or not) help define things.
They describe openly the contents of what may be hidden from plain view. When believers refuse to place a real label on their relationships, they lessen the importance of making a true commitment to one another, and sooner or later, the relationship they care so much about has no true identity.
Some of the false labels couples use today like “We’re Just Talking”, “We’re Just Kickin’ It,” or my all-time favorite label, “We’re Just Friends,” often are used because one of the individuals involved may not yet be confident about whom they are dating, or worse, that they are afraid of experiencing rejection should the relationship not work out as they planned.
When properly labeling and defining your relationship, you not only insure that it is aligned with the will of Christ, but you also insure that your intentions with each other are pronounced.
Pronounced (according to Webster’s Dictionary) means to be strongly marked. Relationships are something to be proud about, not embarrassed about.
I encourage you today (sorry, I mean that other couple you know who needs this) to begin pronouncing your dating relationship in the sight of God and others. The more you begin to pronounce your relationship today, the more you both may be ready for the greatest pronouncement of all one day…
…Husband and Wife.