Friday, November 25, 2005

Habits of Highly Defective Dating, Part 1

1. Dating tends to skip the Friendship stage of a relationship.
In real friendships, you’re not pressured by knowing whether or not you “like” the other person or that they “like” you. You’re free to be yourself and to be able to do things together without spending 3 hrs in the front the mirror. In dating, romantic attraction is often the cornerstone of the relationship. The premise of dating is, “I’m attracted to you; therefore, let’s get to know each other.” The premise of friendship is, “We’re interested in the same things; let’s enjoy these common interests together.” If romantic attraction forms after the friendship, it’s an added bonus. Intimacy without friendship is superficial. A relationship based solely on physical attraction and romantic feelings will last only as long as the feelings last.

2. Dating often mistakes a physical relationship for love.
When we consider that our culture as a whole regards the words love and sex as interchangeable, we should not be surprised that many dating relationships mistake physical attraction and sexual intimacy for true love. Just because lips have met doesn’t mean hearts have joined, and just because two bodies are drawn to each other doesn’t mean two people are right for one another. A physical relationship does not equal love. Focusing on the physical is plainly sinful. God demands sexual purity. He does this because He is holy, and He does it for our own good. Physical involvement can greatly distort two people’s perspective of each other and lead to unwise choices. Physical involvement in a dating relationship does not equal love; it equals lust.

3. Dating often isolates a couple from other vital relationships.
By its very definition, dating is about two people focusing on each other. Unfortunately, in most cases the rest of the world fades into the background. In a relationship where both people are serious and are prepared to move toward marriage, then giving the relationship primary attention is not wrong. However, for people who really aren’t ready for commitment, this dating tendency is especially detrimental. Why? First, because when we allow one relationship to crowd out others, we lose proper perspective (Prov.15:22), therefore we have a much higher risk of making poor decisions. Second, if two people haven’t defined their level of commitment, then they’re particularly at risk for getting hurt. In Passion and Purity Elisabeth Elliot states, “Unless a man is prepared to ask a woman to be his wife, what right has he to claim her exclusive attention? Unless she has been asked to marry him, why would a sensible woman promise any man her exclusive attention?” Dating isolates a couple from other vital relationships like with their parents, siblings, friends, and fellow believers in Christ. Friendship, not dating, is a much wiser and safer route to go until you are ready for commitment.


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