Relationships 4.0: friendship vs dating – how I started

It’s funny how I finally got inspired to write something about relationships during the craziest midterm week of my life. Well, here goes…

My story

Sweaty hands. Beating heart. But I’m excited. This is the time. Finally, after being friends for so long, I’m going to take the jump.

I’m just sitting in a Starbucks Coffee, but I haven’t ordered coffee. Not yet. Like that would help my bouncing knees… I can’t make them stop. Just stop, guys. Please! Words ring through my head: “Want to go talk? I’ll get you coffee.” Did I say them alright? Man, why were those words so hard? But over the phone is nothing compared to what I’m going to ask face to face.

… I hear a car drive up, and there she is! Yup; she. That, my friends, was just the start of the story.

As you might have guessed, I was just about to ask the girl of my dreams if she wanted to start courting. It was a nerve-racking experience. In a way, it might be worse than a proposal, because you are jumping into the unknown. I had a lot of thoughts running through my head: “What if she says no?” “What if she’s already found a guy at ACU and hasn’t told anyone?” “Does she even like me anymore?” “Gosh; I don’t want to ruin our friendship.”

Almost four months later, and I’m wondering took me so long. Toni and I had known each other for about 6 years. In highschool, we debated together and won several awards; we were a pretty awesome team. I had liked her for a really long time, but something had held me back from starting a serious relationship.

Fear. If I’m honest, that’s what stopped me from going from friendship to dating. Sure; I could make up legitimate excuses like too much school, not enough money, no car, etc. but really all of those things were problems I could fix if I would just get over that lump in my throat. If I took all these excuses to their logical conclusion, then I wouldn’t start dating until I was finished with school, working hard, with a house, no mortgage, and… I would be in my 40s.

Which is stupid. Truth is, real men risk rejection. But it’s deeper that that; relationships don’t work unless we start with the right attitude. So, what’s the right spirit to approach your crush with?

The spirit of Fear VS. the spirit of Faith

When looking to the bible for wisdom on courtship, some people (*cough* ATI *cough*)  use verses like “Guard your heart” or “abstain from every appearance of evil” (which is a misstranslation, apparently, and another reason to not go solo KJV). Neither of these verses specifically talk about dating, but what they are concerned with is external actions.

Let me suggest that we look at a few verses that aim at the heart instead.

For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” – 2 Timothy 1:7

And here’s the crux of the issue:

…whatever is not from faith is sin.” – Romans 14:23

Which really kinda shatters my worldview. I used to think that it was safe to not date. Once you entered the dating world, then you had to guard your heart. You had to watch out for sexual sin and watch not only that you stayed on the path, but also that you didn’t become a stumbling block for your partner.

Now this is not completely false, but it is the wrong attitude for a Christian relationship.

It turns out that if the reason you’re not asking that girl out is because you’re afraid of rejection, (or even afraid of sexual sin) you are, in fact, living in sin. You need to reject the spirit of fear and have faith.

Similarly, constantly seeking out a new girlfriend because you are scared of being alone is wrong, too. God should be your portion. Have faith; you don’t always need to be dating.

I don’t mean to point a finger, because as I said I needed a kick in the pants when it came to overcoming my fear of losing a good friendship with Toni. There can be Godly reasons to not date, and there can also be Godly reasons to fall head over heels in love. But may I submit that it’s mostly an issue of your heart? So check your attitude.

I propose that we’ve been going about trying to “fix” dating entirely the wrong way. Maybe the solution is not necessarily to kiss dating goodbye, but it’s to live without fear! To embrace the spirit of faith; and reject the spirit of fear.

This post has focused on the attitude of purposeful Christian dating. Next, I’ll suggest some practical courtship tips. So stay tuned, and leave comment below. I always appreciate your advice.