5 Warning Signs for the Dating Christian
- Aaron Brown Contributing Author
- 2022 28 Jan
“Let your fountain be blessed, and take pleasure in the wife of your youth. A loving deer, a graceful doe — let her breasts always satisfy you; be lost in her love forever.” (Proverbs 5:18-19) These poetic lines speak volumes to the beauty and fulfillment of marriage. However, not many people today are enjoying the fruits of matrimony. Half the country’s single, and less than half of the country is married. If marriage is the destination, which it should be for Christian romance (Genesis 2:24, Hebrews 13:4), then how do we get from Point A to Point B?
Do we venture into the myriad of online dating apps? Do we try our best to meet people in person? Or do we sit at home hoping our future spouse will ring the doorbell?
The Bible doesn’t address the culture of dating, especially modern dating. There are no verses that address ghosting, or how to make a good impression on someone’s parents, or what constitutes as the best date.
Whatever playbook we use for the dating scene is one of our own making. We can only turn to Scripture for wisdom on how to treat other people, including our beloved, and how to avoid the entrapments of sin.
Back when Scripture was being written, Jews underwent arranged marriages. And they married in their teenage years. Imagine that! Say what you will about arranged marriages, but being given one choice takes away a lot of potential heartache, disappointment, ghosting, and bad communication found in today’s modern dating scene. The Jews would have also had an easier time saving their virginity.
Today is undoubtedly a different day, and though today bears unique problems of its own, there are solutions to be found. We can gain wisdom through prayer, learning from our own experiences, and the experiences of other people. Drawing from all the above, here are 5 warning signs for the dating Christian.
They say, “I’m working on myself.”
When someone enters a dating relationship, the presumption is that both parties are ready to do just that, date. Nowadays, making such a presumption could be costly. That’s where communication comes into play. Checking in with the man or woman from time to time about where the relationship stands and is heading, is a good way to stay on the same page.
Time after time, there are people in relationships who discover they want more than their partner.
He or she may justify their lack of commitment by saying things like, “I’m working on myself,” or “I’m still figuring things out.” They say this, all the while enjoying your time, money, and emotional investment. Clearly, this is not fair.
If someone expresses interest in dating you while also saying they can’t fully commit, do the work and investigate. Are they afraid? Have they had bad prior experiences? Does something about you concern them? The more you know about a person, the better your discernment will be.
Do you leave or do you stay?
Be honest with yourself, because sometimes leaving sooner rather than later is the best option. Not all relationships will last, no matter how much you want them to commit.
They say, “I just got out of a relationship, but we can be friends.”
Have you ever noticed how some people leave a relationship and start talking to someone else? They explain that they aren’t dating, they’re just friends. Maybe you’ve had such an encounter.
This is colloquially known as a rebound. The “friend” as they might put it, is the rebound.
There’s one sure way to escape such a situation - run. Run so far and so fast that you start panting.
People like this are not ready to be in a relationship. They haven’t yet recovered from their previous breakup and are trying to mend their wounds with a new romance. As with all distractions, they don’t last forever. The rebound gets left either for the initial lover, or because they then say, “I have to work on myself.” Either way, you end up hurt in the process.
Save yourself the trouble. Run.
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/fizkes
They can’t answer the question, “What are we?”
Asking the question “What are we?” is inevitable in any serious relationship. Friends experiencing romance will graduate to boyfriend and girlfriend. People in that stage will graduate to being fiancés.
We move forward in our relationships when we communicate. We move forward when we can answer confidently, “What are we?”
The people who don’t progress are the ones who can’t answer the question. And giving a wordy, confusing, and vague answer counts as not answering.
If you’re in a relationship with someone who cannot or won’t answer the question, take stock of your romance. Has he or she been saying this for two months, six months, a year?
How long will you wait for an answer that may not come?
With the nuclear family structure on serious decline for years now, most of us may fall into this category. There are men and women with father issues, or even mommy issues for that matter.
When you date someone, finding out about their family life will help you discern whether or not you’re compatible. Is your lover from a family that values marriage or is divorce the norm? Is your lover someone who relishes in family time, or prefers to be alone and independent?
Not having a good relationship with their family should not mean an immediate dismissal of the relationship, but is definitely an area worth talking about more.
The more you know, the more you’ll grow. The more you know, the more you’ll know whether or not you should grow together too!
Unreal or Unfair Expectations
Communication is key. Couples who’ve been married for years and have faced adversity will tell you this. Relationships that don’t discuss expectations or problems are doomed to end in pain and loss.
Voicing expectations about whatever is important to you is vital. Both parties should do this. Though we all make the mistake of not voicing something and getting upset when it isn’t met. More communication leads to less disappointment.
Furthermore, we also need to be realistic about our expectations.
If you’ve been dating for just two weeks, expecting to talk on the phone every day is not realistic. But if you’ve been dating for 6 months and you only talk once a week, how serious is the relationship?
Dating is meant to lead to marriage. We reach marriage by progressing the relationship, not regressing or tarrying at a standstill.
Make sure expectations in your relationship are both realistic, fair, and voiced.
“Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God—who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly—and it will be given to him.” (James 1:5)
Married, Catholic, and political pundit Matt Walsh has mentioned in his shows that he thinks the modern single person is up against a culture of people who don’t value commitment, struggle to communicate, and are unsure of what they want. People who don’t understand themselves won’t easily understand others in a relationship.
He adds that the once valued idea of courting has been replaced with the amorphous term people use today - dating. Maybe he’s right.
Modern dating has certainly replaced the idea of courting when my parents were growing up. Back then people married young, in their twenties. Now, people marry in their thirties, if at all.
Are we seeing the results of a society with an unsustainable dating culture? If so, then maybe we should do as Walsh suggests and return to the idea of courting. Two people get together, they date, and only for the intention of marrying. They aren’t just “talking” or “hanging out.”
And if you aren’t interested in marriage, don’t court.
Unlike the Jews of old, I and many others have dealt with the contentions of modern dating. There’s been plenty of heart ache, loss, and confusion to go around. But there is hope, there’s always hope because there’s always God.
We can ask Him for wisdom and direction for ourselves, and as a society. He has an answer for us while we wait in our singleness.
Photo Credit: © Getty Images/clownbusiness
Aaron Brown is a freelance writer, hip-hop dance teacher, and visual artist, living in Virginia. He currently contributes work to iBelieve, Crosswalk, and supports various clients through the platform Upwork. He's an outside-the-box thinker with a penchant for challenging the status quo. Check out his short story “Serenity.”