Read Part 3 of the series here.
So I like you. You like me. We’re spending time together. But we’re not dating.
I’m going to avoid terminology we’ve used in the past simply because I’m tired of it. Relationships are complex and each one is different. I wrote an article called “Not Your Buddy” to address the frustration many Christian singles feel when they have a special friend that seems to stay just that. The person obviously has the potential to be more — otherwise he or she would be “special.”
But how do you move from that ambiguous “we’ve got a connection” to something more intentional? It’s not easy for either the guy or the girl. From the article by Jason Illian that Denise referenced in Part 3, the author makes this observation:
The normal model of male-female relationships is quite simple — you are either dating or you are not dating. But the current Christian model is quite different. Perhaps we got held underwater a little too long during baptism, but our model looks like this: become friends, hang out, get to know one another, see where it goes, talk about possibly getting involved, discuss the north wind and how it may affect the relationship, talk to the youth pastor about it, pray about it, fast over it, court (which may mean dating), date (which may mean courting), and finally, date. Instead of having or not having a romance, we add a million meaningless micro-steps which muddy the already difficult waters.
So is the problem a lack of decisiveness (as discussed in Part 2 of the series, “Holding Out”)? Is it an unwillingness or lack of desire to commit to one option, even if it seems promising? Or is it general confusion about how to navigate the process when it seems so much is resting on it?
The last time I was getting to know a Christian guy, I almost felt paralyzed by all the dating and courtship advice I’ve absorbed over the years. I had a strong desire to do it just right. And I think that’s the point Illian was making. We’ve made it more complicated than it needs to be. Just commit to it. Like any process in life — getting a job, making a move, choosing a major, selecting a church — courtship and dating require a certain degree of commitment to the process. And answers to big questions are revealed through that commitment — not apart from it. Sometimes the answer will be yes, sometimes it will be no. Everything doesn’t need to be decided before engaging in the process.
If you’re wondering about the viability of a relationship with someone, take a few simple, intentional steps to test your theory. Being direct and seeking clarity will provide more answers — and satisfaction — than hanging on in a relationship shrouded in mystery. And if you’ve made things complicated for yourself, start afresh … the simple answer is often the right answer.
Copyright 2017 Suzanne Hadley Gosselin. All rights reserved.