One of the most drama filled domains in life is a female college dorm. Fifty or more young women, all at a crossroads in life, stuffed into a small area to cry all over each other. On one day, college guys are considered immature and barbaric – and the next day, they are sweet, understanding, and godly. Just walking down the hall to the bathroom, you are likely to hear a thunderous display of fury as a sweet young lady clutches her phone in a death grip and screams out all of her boyfriend’s faults. The next day, the same young lady is surrounded by friends as she fixes her hair, puts on her makeup and giggles about the man of her dreams who is taking her out for cheap pizza and a dollar movie.
Dating during college brings a new level of drama to the table. This is the time of life when, whether male or female, we are expected to begin thinking about marriage. This is a societal expectation – not one you will find in Scripture; nonetheless, many of us are strongly interested in the prospect of marriage by the time we are nearing the end of our college years. College can bring on a plethora of worrying and bad relationships to one’s life. “Is he ‘the one?’ Is she ‘the one?’ Am I in God’s will by being with this person?” The time of life many of us could not wait to experience (i.e., college) can easily turn into a time of torment.
In my senior year of college, the hall I lived on had a Spiritual Life Director (a peer who applied and was accepted by university leadership to be a spiritual mentor for the hall’s residents) that had enough of the drama. This girl was the real deal and she did not like to see her girls constantly distracted from the things of God by ungodly relationships. At the beginning of the year, roughly 90% of the girls on our hall were in relationships. As you may imagine, there was constant emotional turbulence in our midst. After bed checks at night, she went and prayed over each room on our hall. She continually asked God to end any relationship that was not honoring to Him! So, what happened?
In a matter of two weeks (maybe even shorter), we went from having 90% of my hall mates in relationships to only 20% in relationships. To this day, I am so thankful for her wisdom. I was one of the 90% who was set free from a distracting relationship. Shortly after leaving this negative relationship, my friend (Eric) began to pursue me – the difference in this new relationship was night and day.
Eric drew me closer to God; whereas, my former relationships did not. He encouraged me to take hard looks at my heart. His words were not always pleasant, but he always had my growth and best interest at heart. He embodied Proverbs 27:6: “Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but deceitful are the kisses of an enemy” (NASB). When I needed to hear something difficult, he took the risk and let me know. Other guys I dated only would tell me pleasant things about myself. Of course, their flattery felt good at the time, but I did not grow in my faith during those relationships. In fact, I drifted from the Lord during those relationships because I became so engrossed in the good “feelings” I received from hearing sweet nothings day after day.
Are you wrapped up in a distracting relationship? If you are in a relationship, and you are wondering if you are honoring God (or if you already know that you aren’t), honestly ask yourself, “Have I grown in my faith and closer to the Lord as a result of being in this relationship?” If you are finding it harder to find time for devotions, that is an indication that you may be wrapped up in a distracting relationship. Do you find that you are dwelling less on the things of God and more on the person you’re dating? Are you putting your hope in this person in areas where you used to put your trust in God? If so, it is clear that Christ is not at the center of your relationship.
On the flip side, are you excited to discuss the Bible or spiritual topics with your boyfriend or girlfriend? Do you leave his or her presence feeling closer to God (or further from God)? These are important questions to ask. After all, this is someone you could marry someday. If your relationship is based on giddy feelings, with little spiritual foundation, you should expect a weak, easily breakable marriage. If your relationship is grounded in the Word of God and both of you are striving hard after Christ, you can expect a strong marriage and God’s blessing. However, please don’t misunderstand me: every relationship that draws you closer to the Lord is not automatically the one that should lead to marriage. Still make sure to get good pre-engagement counseling and premarital counseling. Since your marital options are very likely going to be limited to only those whom you have dated, it is extremely important to only date those individuals that challenge you to grow spiritually closer to the Lord.
In your dating relationship, where is your focus?
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