I recently had a talk on the phone with a cousin, and since she had registered for an unlimited call, our conversation went places. We talked about her upcoming birthday, her situation in the place she’s living in, and other personal things. One subject we unexpectedly treaded on was dating.
Believe me, I’m the last person you’d be talking to about this subject, but upon hearing her views on dating and the “standards” someone should have about a future hubby, I just had to say something. (Just so you know, not all of the misconceptions written in this article was mentioned by my cousin. I added some to hopefully help and clear out other confusions about dating.)
Misconception No. 1: You date mostly for fun, not for marriage purposes.
Dating, as twisted as society and the media make it look like, is really serious, and was made by God to help you make the right decision in choosing a life partner. According to my cousin, dating is merely for “fun”, and when you go out on a date, it’s not like you’re ready to get married. Well, I am definitely not buying this angle.
Dating “for fun” is like staring at fire. It can be exciting and beautiful at first, but the longer you stare, the more your eyes start to hurt. You get so consumed by the fire in front of you that you don’t realize that there’s a better, cooler object to gaze at. It’s like enjoying a long carousel ride, but once you see something better and more to your liking, you find yourself too dizzy to get off. It’ll take you longer to settle down than those people who decided to go directly to their target ride. The point is, why spend time on worthless, unrewarding relationships when God gives us the chance to experience something beautiful from the start?
My stand in this is simple: you date someone with the purpose of evaluating a relationship. You ask yourself, *“Does this relationship have the potential to go beyond friendship?” For example, you meet a guy at work, and instantly have this connection. You become friends and get very close to each other, and soon, he’s asking you out on a date. Now think before you respond to this invitation. It may be rude to decline all at once since he’s a friend, but your reasons for agreeing to go out with him are also very important. Are you going to say yes simply because you’re scared to ruin a friendship? Are you going to say yes because you feel pity for him and you want to be extra friendly? Are you going to say yes because you feel it’s a responsibility as a female? Or are you going out with him because you’re interested in the idea of him being a potential husband and father to your future kids?
You might still be an adult who feels too young to get married, so you might say, “I’m not going to marry anyone just yet! I just want to experience being on a date before I get really serious.” That may be, but the whole idea of dating is centred on marriage. It will always be. That’s final. No but’s, no what-if’s.
In Jesus’ time on earth, dates weren’t common – if there ever were dates at all. Mostly, the first time you see the man you’re engaged to is merely a few days before your marriage. That isn’t easy, so we’re super lucky to have the freedom to choose our relationships. God gave us the wisdom to choose wisely, not just for the sake of choosing. We, as Christians, carry this wisdom, so we are expected to use every bit of it to choose a relationship pleasing to God.
Misconception No. 2: It’s okay for Christians to date Non-Christians.
There’s no doubt about the Bible’s stand in this matter. It says in 2 Cor. 6:14, “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?” All Christians know this verse, but not all of them realize what it means. The Bible directly says that we shouldn’t marry or even date unbelievers; meaning those who don’t believe in Jesus as the Saviour and Son of God. Harsh? Strict? On the contrary, God is merely securing us from anything that will hinder our relationship with Him.
Let’s say you do date an unbeliever, justifying your actions by saying that he/she will eventually turn to God because of love for you. I’ll tell you one thing: not all relationships turn out this way. There are special cases where it really is God’s will, but most of the time, and as much as possible, we are only to go out with fellow believers. Besides, if your guy/girl really loves you, he’ll want to learn about God and the Bible from the beginning. If he truly respected you, he’ll do his best to make things right with God before attempting to take you out on dates. Other men/women will easily give you up if they aren’t serious about having a deeper connection with you, but some instantly go into an evangelism class and come out truly saved. That would be amazing!
But these types of conditions have dangerous consequences. Some who say they yearn for salvation might have the wrong motives in mind. What if he/she just wants to be saved and be born-again so marry/you’ll go out with him/her? What if he/she acts this way temporarily just to look good to you? Not only will he endanger your relationship, but he’ll also put his own life in jeopardy. Pretending to be Christian is as much a sin as committing murder.
An “inter-religious” relationship may seem alright to start with, but as time passes, you’ll see how much damage it will inflict between you and God. If your faith isn’t deeply rooted, you’ll be the one dragged into the darkness of the world, not him to God. It may have been your plan to direct him to God in the beginning, but it really won’t go your way unless it was God’s doing. That’s why I find it really important to pray for everything in our life. There’s nothing wrong with asking God for wisdom in choosing your partner – in fact, God actually wants you to.
Back to 2 Cor. 6:14; most Christians tend to argue, “How can we share the love of God to others if we don’t mingle with them?” God didn’t say you couldn’t mingle or talk to unbelievers. What He said was that you shouldn’t form bonding relationships with them. You shouldn’t get too close, as there are boundaries to your friendships, as there are between light and dark. It isn’t sin to be a friend to unbelievers, but choosing to be with them and do the things they do is bound to cause trouble. You want to be friends with someone at school? Then go, as it may even be an opportunity to share the gospel. You want to go to the dinner they invited you at? Then go, as they may distinguish God’s child from the worlds’. None of these are wrong, but what you do during such events may make all the difference. One thing will lead to another, just as going to parties with non-Christians might lead to trading church time for a trip to the beach with them. The more we hang out with them, the more we get comfortable with their way of life. Before we know it, we’d have stopped attending church and begin seeing it as a nuisance.
Ever heard of the Domino Effect? You let one domino fall, and the next one falls, and then the next, until all the others are down. It’s a great illustration for letting your guard down against works of the enemy. You open a door for things of the world, and you begin to enjoy it so much that one by one, you allow the walls that set you apart from the world to drop one by one. No “domino” is left standing to protect you from the enemy.
This is another reminder by God never to let the enemy in, even just a little bit. Entertaining dates with unbelievers is that small gap that might lead to bigger problems. And as a Christian, knowing these things about marriage and dating, why would you date an unbeliever if you know you can never have a relationship with him/her? Why would you risk falling in love with someone you can’t be with?
Misconception No. 3: Dating just anyone is reasonable when you’re “old”.
I can’t believe how many times I’ve heard women say they’re getting too old to be picky. Most women at the age of 30 and above tend to set their standards lower, and men do the same when they reach 40. The question is, should they be rushing up to get dates and marry? Or should they continue to wait for God’s timing?
Christians often mistake their actions as God’s plans for them, so they head straight on for unstable relationships. Some think that their “well is starting to run dry” and that they won’t be able to have babies anymore. My cousin mentioned this in our conversation, and she sounded really serious. This big lie that Satan wants us to obsess about is just that – ONE BIG LIE. Christians take this bait for fear of spending their life alone, but to tell you the truth, we’ll never be alone. Cliché as it might sound, God is always with us. He is Emmanuel! If we truly believe in His promise, we wouldn’t have to worry about being lonely. And didn’t God design us to have partners? He gave Adam a companion in Eve, and He’ll do the same for us.
Still, others might disagree and push to take matters into their own hands. “We’re just going to help God choose among the people we’re going to date. It’ll make things easier.” In truth, it’ll only make things more complicated. What if you fall in love with an unbeliever? Could you still say that it was God’s plan to bring this person to you? Most often than not, it’ll lead to blind judgement, and instead of really asking God to verify these feelings and praying about it, you make conclusions. “This is definitely God’s plan for me! After all, God allowed me to meet this person – and I’m just at the peak of my age! He might be an unbeliever, but things will be okay. I just know it.” NO, you don’t know it. This is you justifying your actions. You took things your way, and now you’re saying God planned for your relationship? I think not! I believe this to be God’s submissive will, born out of your own brash actions.
My dad and I spoke about this a few times, and from our talks, I understand this type of will as God permitting us to do things our way temporarily, for our own benefit. How? Well, he may allow us to date that person. Then, He also allows us to marry. But things don’t work out between you two, and you end up broken and abused. You then decide to turn to God and ask for His help. That’s when it hits you, that everything that has happened had its reasons. God allowed you to make a mess of your life so that you could be stripped of your cloudy judgement and see things clearly. He allowed you to enter that relationship so you could see just how wrong you were in allowing your fears of ending up alone get in the way of His plans for you. It was for your own good.
*“Don’t stay in a relationship because you think it might be your only shot at love. And if you have to compromise your purity or your faith, then it’s not love and it’s not worth it.”
All I can say is this: never rush things up, especially things that will last your lifetime. God has His timings and He has set everything in motion even before we were born. He knows what’s best for us, so when He says no, don’t. When He says wait, we wait, no matter how long it takes. Remember, God has His own way of giving us what we need. Don’t think we can do God’s job of match-making. His standards are best, and when you have an agent like God, you’re bound to be happy with His choice for you.
Before I try to wrap this thing up, I have to say I’m not experienced in dating at all. I just happen to be observant of the people and things around me that I get to write about this (as If I do know!). Of course, God is with me, and is giving me the wisdom I need to write this for other teens (and not so teens) who are confused about the dating world.
I know my list of misconceptions is still incomplete, but I think this will be okay for now. The bottom line for this whole article is trust and faith in God’s plans. Every misconception has been triggered by the enemy’s lies, and the only cure for them is constant prayer to God and faith that He has your best interests at heart. God is in control of everything. All we need to do is trust, have faith, and believe. :D