This phrase has been rolling around in my brain for the past week or two, and hasn’t let me go, so here’s my thoughts. First, I want to assure you that I do think there are those times in life where God does indeed have you in a season where having a significant other just wouldn’t be healthy. But I also think hiding behind an excuse like “I’m focusing on my relationship with God right now” is being dishonest with yourself and/or the person you’re having that awkward DTR with. If you are not focused on your relationship with God while in a dating relationship as much or more than when you were single, I think you’ve made that significant other an idol. That’s not a healthy relationship, Jack!
“But Jonathan, if I’m dating someone, I’m thinking about her all the time! Isn’t that idolatry?” (I know the guy’s side better, so I’m going to stick with it mostly) Well, hypothetical 20-something male, what is your thought life like now? You’re probably thinking about how single you are. You probably spend a good amount of time thinking about the various interactions you’ve had with your crush (or crushes, let’s be real here), reading into every little detail, wondering if there’s a chance for you. Okay, so what if you would man up and get into a relationship? Now your thoughts might be more “Dear Jesus, don’t let me mess this up!” Okay, that might be a little shallow. But seriously, wouldn’t you want to make sure that you’re going down the right path? Wouldn’t you want to pursue her heart purely? Guys, your girlfriend will most likely look to you to lead, so you better not disregard your relationship with God if you care about her.
I feel like I should probably give my definition of dating at this point, just make sure we’re all on the same page. At it’s most basic level, I see dating as making sure you would enjoy having the other person being around you for the rest of your life. You should’ve already gotten to know this person pretty well before pursuing something as serious as marriage. Now does this mean that on the first date, you’re thinking about marrying that beautiful girl across from you? Heck no. Don’t be rushin’ stuff, Ivan! That being said, I don’t believe that there is a model that all dating relationships should follow. I think that for different couples different things work and don’t work. It’s fine.
So if you’re choosing not to date with the excuse that you’re focusing on your relationship with God, I’d challenge you to make sure you are actually consecrating yourself to God, not punishing yourself for past mistakes you’ve made in relationships, or putting another label on being afraid to date. Be real with yourself, and don’t lie to people.