11 July 2010

Relationships Part I

As I sat down to write this post with my thoughts on the "Biblical Dating" articles, I was thinking "Didn't I write a post on relationships already?" So, I looked through my past posts and discovered that I had, indeed, written a post on it back in October. However, I apparently never published the said post, probably because it is still in need of some polishing and not a complete overview of my thoughts. However, since complete overview would take a lot of time, I thought I'd go ahead and publish my older, unfinished, post here before discussing the articles:

This semester I've been participating in a "Journey" study with my college BCM (Baptist Collegiate Ministries) group called "Bible and Pop Culture" where we've been evaluating various aspects of our modern pop culture from a Biblical point of view. One lesson we've done has really stuck out for me and helped me continue to think through some issues I've been putting a lot of thought into since the spring. The object we evaluated in this particular lesson was the movie Napoleon Dynamite. Now, if you're anything like me you may be thinking "What deeper meaning could there possibly be in Napoleon Dynamite!" Well, there was a lot more than we expected! The big thing, though, the Josh, our BCM director, pointed out was that, at the end of the movie, the characters have (almost) all found contentment/happiness/meaning in relationships. We discussed that, in our society today, people often define their happiness and worth by the relationships they're in. As Christians, we realize that, ultimately, this idea that relationships give us meaning points to Christ, the one relationship which does define us and give us meaning. He is the lover of our soul, our heavenly, bridegroom, and in Him we find our purpose, and, as His followers, we view ourselves and those around us based upon our relationship with Him.

However, all this does not change the fact that, even as Christians, we desire other meaningful relationships in our lives. This was brought home for me yet again at a friend's wedding I attended this last Saturday. Besides the bride and groom, there were multiple couples at the wedding in varying stages of their relationships from dating to engaged to newly married to old married. There were also multiple singles at the wedding, and the reaction of the older singles who attended was rather showing. Some (at least a couple of the boys) declared their dislike for weddings while others (a couple of the girls I talked with) sighed wistfully for the day they would stand before their friends and family and exchange vows with the man of their dreams. My conversation with my brother on the way home continued in this vein as we discussed the fact that many to most of our friends are currently in relationships of varying degrees of seriousness, we have simply reached that season of life.
All of this, of course, led me to think more on myself and my own views on relationships (something I already put quite a bit of thought into this summer). I'll be perfectly honest in saying I'm frequently one of those girls at weddings wistfully wishing for the day it will be my turn, and it certainly doesn't help any when my little brother tells me "You're old! When are you going to get married?" or to have a pretty consistent barrage of questions from relatives along the lines of "So, have you met any interesting boys at school?"

So, all that to say, I've decided to write a post regarding what my current thoughts are on relationships. Now, these thoughts have evolved quite a bit in the last couple of years, and its entirely possible that they will evolve more in the years to come, but, for now, this is where I am. (Note, these are not necessarily in order of importance, simply in order of how they come out of my head.)

1. I have no interest in dating just to be dating or having a boyfriend just to have a boyfriend. As I see it, the purpose of dating/courting/whatever is to get to know someone better for the purpose of marriage. As such, I would not go out with someone I wouldn't at least consider as a marriage prospect, and, if I decided that a relationship was not heading towards marriage sometime in the reasonable future, I would end it. This is not to say that every relationship will end in marriage. You may get to know someone better and decide that, no, he or she is not the person you're meant to marry. However, marriage should be the purpose in pursuing a relationship.

2. Personally, I don't see any point in long dating relationships. If you can't see yourself married sometime in the relatively near future, then you shouldn't be dating. As my mom told my dad way back when, "We should either get married or not, but I'm not going to date you happily ever after."

3. All Christian relationships should be Christ-centered. If He's the center of your individual lives, shouldn't He bet the center of your life as a couple too? The initiative toward this should be taken by the man who should assume, from the beginning, the position of spiritual leader in the relationship, preparing himself for the day when he will be responsible to lead a wife and family.

4. Your relationship should be pure and above reproach. Yes, you're getting to know this person better and contemplating the possibility of spending your life with them, however, there is still the potential that they're not right for you, and, during the dating phase of your relationship you should take that seriously, treating them with all respect and holiness as your brother or sister in Christ and keeping in mind that there's a possibility that other person is someone else's future spouse. Do all you can to ensure that your relationship is above reproach.

5. Any man interested in a relationship with me must go through my parents and have their permission before he is allowed to pursue me. Yes, that mean's that he must ask my Daddy's permission and possibly be interviewed before I'll go out with him.

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