Below is another post in the ongoing effort between myself and a fellow blogger to prompt good discussion on Christian relationships. This week approached the somewhat undefinable topic of “casual dating”. Check out the full discussion here.
You know the situation, surely you’ve been there before. You just started dating someone, one, maybe two months ago. It’s going well, they’re cute, funny, and don’t cheer for the Chicago Bears so no major red flags yet. Then you’re sitting at lunch with your best friend one day, and they ask you the inevitable question.
“So…have you two discussed the big “M” word yet?”
You pause because suddenly the discussion got awkward. “Mast-“
“*Marriage*.” They clarify.
“Oh.” Now it’s even more awkward. You hadn’t thought about marriage yet; heck, you were barely to the point of seeing past your next date. And yes, your significant other is nice and all, but…. marriage? Lifetime? Kids? Commitment? IN-LAWS!?
“Well I hadn’t really thought about it,” you say, “I guess I’m just dating casually.” Or maybe you didn’t say that, but something along those lines. This can draw varied reactions within the Christian circle. Contemporary meanings of the term “dating casually” usually equate to “sleeping around”. But that’s not what you mean at all. You’re just looking to get to know this person better and have a fun time doing so. Is there anything wrong with that?
In a situation like this, the first thing to address is whether or not the relationship is glorifying to God. Marriage relationships are designed to be a representation of Christ’s love for His church. Dating, on the other hand, is a fairly recent invention driven partially by the sexual revolution, feminist movement and a certain sense of egocentric thinking. The point of most dating relationships is me. What do I want in a person? What do I want in a relationship? I need to get out of this relationship because it’s not good for me. This person isn’t right for me…etc. For instance, if dating casually does relate to the fulfillment of a selfish desire and/or some sort of physical lucidity, then yes there is something unhealthy about that. But, if your form of dating casually involves two people getting to know each other on an intentional but not-entirely committed level, then it can most certainly glorify God. The necessity, as in any relationship, is not to ask “what’s in it for me?” Instead ask yourself: Are you dating this person “casually” because they make you feel good about yourself? Because you have fun with them? Because it’s nice to have someone to cuddle with during Finding Nemo? Or are you pursing this relationship as a way of giving more than you receive, are you seeing it as a growing opportunity and a chance to deepen a relationship with one of God’s children in a manner that elevates them and humbles you? These can help you identify your motives and, thus, the actual situation.
Your thoughts on ‘casual dating’ are interesting. I don’t entirely disagree with them.. but perhaps we’re operating on two different definitions of the concept. When I think of ‘casual dating’ l still think, “What’s the point?” It’s seems non-committal and it seems like a place that you can be dating different people simultaneously….it seems like there’s absolutely no thoughts of a prospective future with that person. If you’re not interested in looking for something for the long haul, how beneficial can the relationship actually be? Bryn mentioned that honoring the Lord is a crucial aspect of relationships…and I wonder if that’s even possible when dating “casually”? Would it be perhaps be more honoring to the Lord to refrain from entering into a romantic relationship where the likelihood of breaking someone’s heart seems quite feasible? The more you spend time together, invest in each other, and come to really care for each other on an emotional level the more I think we are entering into a territory that is intended for marriage.
….read the entire article at Always Second Chances. What do you think? Can you date casually?