“Oh, we’re just talking.”
We’ve heard it many times – maybe even said it ourselves. But here’s a question: Are we scared of commitment? Because “we’re just talking” seems to be the code word for it nowadays.
Everywhere on the world wide web, people are lambasting the need for labels. We hear things like “Why should we be tied down by something that’s so subjective?”, “How would I really know he/she is the one for me if I don’t try it out?” and “Why is there a need for labels when we both know what we want?”
What I’m really hearing is we’re afraid of losing out. We want the best of both worlds and to keep our options open. We want the choice to jump ship if someone better comes along.
When things end up going down in flames, suddenly everyone’s hands are raised as if to say, don’t look at me, I never said I wanted this in the first place.
HANDLE WITH CARE
The prospect of dating in church can be daunting. We get crippled by the possibility of things turning sour, especially when the both of you have to be in the same space every week. And still be Christian about it.
If you’re not ready to deal with the potential eventuality that things might get awkward, then you’re probably not ready to date.
It doesn’t always have to be awkward. Dating can be responsible – and it needs to be – since it has to do with something as fragile as our hearts.
The problem isn’t in trying to see if things might work out romantically with someone; it only becomes a problem when it’s done with selfish intent and without consideration of the other person’s feelings.
After spending almost all my life in church, I’ve witnessed my fair share of successful and unsuccessful relationships. Here’s what I think we all need to consider before we decide to date.
5 TIPS ON DATING WELL IN CHURCH
1. Stay away from people who like to stir up romantic drama
“I heard so-and-so finds you cute.” To which you should say, so what? If there hasn’t been any clear communication straight from the horse’s mouth, be on your guard.
People forget that emotions are a very fickle thing. Our hearts can be easily swayed and a careless comment can stir up unnecessary emotions. If things end up one-sided due to incessant teasing, who would be left to pick up the pieces? That’s right. You.
All these needless and irresponsible comments are the opposite of what Solomon said in Song of Solomon 8:4. So please, don’t awaken love until both parties are willing and ready.
2. Always check your signals
Mixed signals – they’re the bane of our romantic existence. Much to their discredit, some people unknowingly come across as overly flirtatious to people of the opposite gender.
So own your behaviour. Have you been getting unwanted attention? Check yourself to see if you’ve unknowingly been giving someone the wrong impression. Maybe ask a good friend for their feedback.
If things are getting ambiguous with someone and you’re sure that your feelings towards them are purely platonic, don’t be afraid to spell it out lovingly and gently. Nothing curls our toes more than someone who is callous and careless with our feelings.
3. Keep your eyes open and stop guessing
I’m a firm believer of the saying “if someone likes you, you would know”. Trust your gut and keep your eyes open. If someone seems to be paying you more attention than usual — and only to you exclusively — you can almost always be sure something is up.
Bring it up with the other person if you need to be sure. Don’t be left in the limbo of guessing what things are. If the feelings of affection aren’t returned, make it clear. Protect the other person; don’t lead him/her on and limit your time alone together.
On the other hand, we may find ourselves confused by those who are hot and then cold. All the more, we must know what we’re worth (1 Peter 1:18-19). Don’t settle for someone who is undecided about how they feel about you.
Remember, God pursues us relentlessly. We should hold ourselves and each other to a standard that mirrors the kind fervent pursuit that God first showed us.
4. Honour God and each other with your feelings
The day will come when we meet someone whom we find attractive. And sometimes, our heart can get ahead of itself. But we can honour God with our attraction to someone by first seeking Him, taking our thoughts captive and not giving in to mindless daydreaming.
While we may find ourselves imagining how things with someone else might work out, let God order your steps. Don’t let a fantasy rule your life. Instead, ask God what He would have you do with your feelings for someone.
Not only should we choose what we spend our time thinking of, we should also protect the other person by being wise with our actions and our words. Until we’re sure that we want to pursue something deeper with someone, let’s honour each other by acting in a way that leaves no room for doubt or second guessing.
5. Be brave
If someone has caught your eye and you’re ready for a relationship, then do something about it. If you’d like to get to know someone better, ask them out!
Getting to know someone cannot take place from a distance. It requires us to put ourselves out there and be vulnerable. Sometimes the fear of rejection can cripple us, but the worst thing that could happen is to be turned down. That doesn’t make you any less of a person and neither does being told “no” determine your worth or identity.
When you’ve met someone whom you’ve decided to pursue, invite the wise counsel of those older than you and listen to their advice (Proverbs 11:14). Let the Holy Spirt and the wisdom of those who have gone before guide you in this new and exciting journey.
Dating doesn’t have to be scary. We were created to enjoy relationships within certain boundaries. So don’t be afraid of the lines. Step into them and remember to have fun.