Everywhere you go you hear people talking about relationships, especially young people. This is a positive thing because they are expressing their desire to be with and see others in serious and joyful partnerships–I’m not using that word in a business sense. However it can be negative if it becomes the sole focus at the expense of other important matters, such as one’s relationship with God, studying for school, etc.
Since everybody has been sharing the positives and negatives of their experiences, I thought I would take a crack at it. Usually, only experts are invited to speak on a subject, but in the domain of relationships, there are no experts. There are only people who are doing better than others, and even they can’t claim to be doing it perfect 100% of the time. This is the beginning of my series on relationships. I will be speaking within a Christian frame of mind (worldview), seeing that I am one, however, this is not a biblical treatment of the issue so don’t expect to see biblical quotes.
Sometimes things are best understood when you start with personal experience. Lessons are not only learned from the right way of doing things, wrong ways are consistent reminders of our handicaps and that there is no such thing as a super human. A great fault of the human mind is the ever increasing danger of viewing some that we respect and look up to as super heroes, incapable of error, in fact, infallible. Then when things go wrong our world comes crashing down.
Courting, Dating, Oh My!
The best place to start is to tell you of the only reason that I think one should enter a relationship. The only reason that you should enter a relationship is if you intend to marry the person one day. Now there has been a lot of fuss made over the word dating and how courting should be used instead, and I agree. But my real concern is not with your vocabulary but with your understanding. You can call it dating, courting, or whatever you want. The essential is that once you enter into the domain of relationship with someone you should have marriage in mind.
Have I always thought like that? No. In fact, I don’t know of many that do. I came to that knowledge through bible study. Even with the best intentions I wasn’t perfect in the practical application of these studies, but the end of the matter still remains to be seen since I’m not married or in a relationship at this time. What was the result? Trouble, complaining, rivalries, bitterness, any word that you can think of that describes people at odds. So my current motto is, “if you won’t marry them, don’t bother.” I don’t know about you, but that is the way it will be with me.
Don’t Believe the Myths, Beauty Counts
In Christianity, especially, there is a devaluation of beauty. If you hear enough sermons on how to pick a mate you might draw the conclusion yourself that Adam and Eve were two very ugly people. In fact you might think that the Bible doesn’t talk about beauty at all. Often times, these speakers are married to or dating beautiful people. I’m not saying that beauty is the most important factor in your evaluation of potential mates, but I argue that it shouldn’t be too far from the top. Anyone that you will have to spend the rest of your life living with should be attractive to you.
It is important to also realize that the person you’re attracted to may not be attractive to your friends and family. This shouldn’t detour you, seeing that you’re the one who has to live with them. Not everyone is attracted to the same person. If we all looked the same then that would of been possible, but we don’t. So I don’t judge people’s decision, nor do I allow people to judge mine. You like what you like, it doesn’t get any simpler than that. This is not to say that a family’s counsel is not important.
I also can’t fail to mention that we have a variety, a range of people that we are attracted to. For example, I happen to think that Shakira is gorgeous, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t think the same thing of Beyonce. Do they look the same? No, but I think that both of them are attractive. In the same way we may find several people attractive, but fortunately that is not the only criteria with which we make our choices.
Personality and Belief System
The first thing you see when you meet somebody is what they look like. However, this is not the only thing that you will notice, you will get a glimpse of their personality. As time goes by you will get to know them more and more and will be able to determine whether or not you are attracted to their personality. You may meet someone with a personality that you like but see them more as friends. Personality is one half of the most important factor in choosing someone. Of course from a Christian point of view, God’s counsel must be sought throughout all aspects of the process.
The other weighty factor to consider is the person’s belief system. Since I’m a Seventh-day Adventist, I believe that it is highly beneficial to find someone who has that same belief system. It’s not a matter of right and wrong, it’s a matter of compatibility. A union with no ideological foundations will either shatter or drag on with minimum proficiency. If I claim to be an Adventist but don’t live like one then someone who does live like an Adventist shouldn’t consider me because I don’t share their beliefs.
There was a point in my life when I didn’t care too much about being a Christian and so I dated people who weren’t Christians. I wasn’t uncomfortable in these relationships because we were in sync. To spend a long period of time hanging out and doing things with someone, there has to be more there below the surface. When I got serious, I didn’t see the same kind of people as relationship partners anymore because we were living different lifestyles.
After typing over a thousand words, I think I should take a break for now and allow you to give some feedback on the points presented. Don’t forget to sign my guest book.