Read Part 5 of the series here.
This is the last post in Suzanne’s and my dating series. We’re all out of wisdom and/or unwanted advice.
I thought it would be fitting to end with what I deem to be the most important aspect in any relationship — the two greatest commandments:
“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:36-40, NIV)
As Christians, our goal should be to spend our lives fulfilling these commandments. We’ll obviously mess up, but our desire should be to get better at loving God and loving those around us. Dating relationships are no different. If we focus on these things, I believe that our relationships will be healthier and more glorifying to God.
First of all, if we’re attempting to love God with all that we are, our hearts and minds will be in the right place. We’ll have our priorities straight and our energies will be focused on doing the simple things that God has asked us to do. Secondly, if we love our neighbor/girlfriend/boyfriend as ourselves, we’ll have much healthier relationships. We won’t be so caught up in our own needs or wants or preferences — instead we’ll be focused on serving and loving whomever we’re in relationship with. We won’t just be looking out for our own interests, instead we’ll be concerned with the needs of others.
And as I’ve mentioned before, I believe that much of this “love” we’re talking about is a choice we make. It’s not based on romanticized notions of love or unrealistic expectations. It’s based on finding someone with whom you serve the Lord well and then choosing to love that person in the good times and the bad, when you feel giddy about them and when you don’t. Our love should be based on the sacrificial example we see of Christ and His bride.
Friendships, dating, courting, marriage — all of them are difficult. All of them require risk. But we cannot be so concerned with guarding our hearts that we avoid relationships that God has called us to. God’s triune nature reveals that He is a relational being. He created us to be in relationship with Him and one another. And as we can see through His relationship with us, the type of community we’re supposed to foster with one another is loving, sacrificial and servant-hearted. In order to succeed in the “dating game” we must have the same attitude.
Finally, trust the Lord. He is good and His love endures forever. As you navigate the DTRs, the difficult conversations, the up-and-down feelings and the breakups, remember that you’re not alone. Ask God to bring you wisdom and guidance. Practice love and apply it to your dating relationships. And pray that God will be glorified.