Always Second Chances: Casual Dating?

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

ME: 
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.

DEBBIE:
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?

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8 thoughts on “Always Second Chances: Casual Dating?

  1. Okay here’s my thought… are you ready for this? Just like how we as Christians assume the Kingdom of God to be in a state of “now but not yet” my (now) husband and I took a similar approach to dating… we’re together now but not yet. If you DO end up marrying the person you’re with right now, what will your marriage relationship look like if it carries over the same habits you have in your current dating relationship? Do you break up and get back together again over and over? How are you communicating? Do you have eyes (or other body parts) for other people? Are these things going to lead to healthy patterns in your marriage? No one can say for sure in the first few dates if they’re going to marry this person, but if you’re looking at any relationship you’re in with marriage goggles on, you start to see things differently AND you’re better able to tell if this person really is the person you want (and God wants you) to marry. So, yes, you can date someone and then break up with them without ever talking about marriage but no, you can’t date someone without THINKING about marriage! Sure, it’s more complicated than I can work out in a comment, but it really made sense to me! And I can see where it really helped us set good habits as a married couple.

    1. Heidi, thanks for reading and I think this is great input– especially what you’re saying about the trends you see early on in a relationship. Habits in dating become habits in marriage, in fact I’ll wager (though it’s been a while since I was married) that marriage magnifies trends you see in dating. So it’s good to address them early on.

      Question though: do you think there really is one person God wants you to marry? I’m curious whatcha think…

      1. Well, that’s tough. I don’t want to limit God and say that there aren’t couples out there he has specific plans for but I think that’s a dangerous mindset. I mindset of “the one,” whether God is involved or not, creates in many people a feeling that if things aren’t all rainbows and puppies that the person they’re with isn’t “the one” and that’s so dangerous! Can God bring people together? Yes. Should Christians pray about their dating relationships and ask if the person they’re with the the person that God has for them? Absolutely! But if I had married someone other than my husband, would God want me to love and respect him and would He have big plans for us? Mos’ def. I think it’s more about having a God honoring relationship with your spouse – whoever they might be – than it is about being nervous about finding some magical person that will ensure some kind of future happiness.

  2. Oh, I agree whole-heartedly with your take on this. There are so many kinds of love, and it takes a while to determine which kind a unique relationship will create. Love can be real, mutually beneficial, and beautiful, and still not be the kind of love that will foster a happy marriage. Time will tell. And honoring the partner and the relationship by taking that time to really understand them/it seems anything but “casual” to me.

  3. I love the question you posed and the views connected with it.

    I struggle with this one myself and consequently don’t date. It’s too much to just be casual about something that can become forever, yet it’s hard to commit to anything without all the facts. Funny thing is I seek advice about matters in my life from my priest. This however is a subject that I just am not sure he would know what to say about. Someday I’m sure in my own way I can sort it all out.

    alison

    1. Thanks for reading Alison. I think that’s why so much of dating is painful and some people do avoid it altogether, which…well there are worse things in life. For what it’s worth, I wouldn’t write off your priest’s advice completely. Love is not something found only in marriage, just exhibited within it- I’m sure your priest has loads of wisdom and a completely different perspective on love than many married people. That perspective could go a long way in helping you understanding it.

      Just a thought:) Thanks for reading.

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