insideahallelujah asked: Throughout my life, I have never had a ‘best friend’— until a few months ago. I have known this guy for a long time, but we are both really shy and didn’t know we had a lot in common until we officially met. Now, we’re inseparable. We happen to love all the same things, have the same values, are even going down the same career path, yada yada…the thing is, everyone (including us) kind of knows that we’re slowly starting to realize that God *might* POSSIBLY be leading us into something more romantic.
But neither of us want to ruin our great friendship or start something that really might just be us admiring each other a whole lot…as friends. And honestly, I don’t want to be the first to say the dreaded words “I like you” (isn’t that his job?). We’re both 21, have never dated, love the Lord, have high standards, and are not interested in just playing the dating game with each other (or anyone) to see ‘how it goes.’ So… how do you know when it’s the right time (if ever) to move from ‘best friends’ to ‘more than best friends?’
Unka Glen answered: Oh honey, you passed the right time to move forward on all this several moves back. In fact, I’m not sure what you think would be a good reason to still be holding back. So let’s break it down…
According to you, on one side we have these qualities:
- Best friends
- A lot in common
- Love all the same things
- Have the same values (I’m assuming that includes spiritual beliefs, etc.)
- Going down the same career path
So, looking at this list, what other criteria do you think is missing in a potential dating partner, that you’re waiting to develop here? I certainly can’t see anything. Trying to get a picture in my mind of your situation, it’s like an avalanche of romance that wants to roll down a mountain, yet something huge is holding it all back.
Let’s look at what that might be:
1) You don’t want to ruin your friendship. Male/female friendships are awesome, they’re a very important part of adolescent and early adult development, and they are very short lived. One of you will start dating someone, and you’ll find that friendship to be as fleeting as it was fun and important. So this really isn’t a decent reason to put off dating.
2) You have high standards. This one doesn’t make sense either. Sure, high standards are important, and there’s nothing wrong with knowing what you want and waiting for it. But this is a case of having all kinds of good stuff going on, and still not being sure. That would indicate that your standards may be a bit vague. So that doesn’t work either.
3) You’re both chicken. This kind of makes sense, you’ve both put off dating until way later in your lives, and that’s bound to make it seem like a much, much bigger deal than what it is. And you don’t want to be the first to speak up, but is this a decent explanation for why this avalanche of romance is being held back? I don’t think so.
4) You’re not sure, as you mentioned, if God might possibly be leading you into something romantic. Here’s the thing about that, why wouldn’t you ask God about that way back at the beginning? Why not pray it through the first moment you feel attracted to him, and if you get the green light, why not run headlong into romance? You aren’t putting off dating because you want to the Lord’s approval, you’re putting off dating AND getting the Lord’s approval.
5) You don’t want to “play the dating game” and “see how it goes”. Um, okay, I think we might be getting warm here. The actual, real, healthy purpose to dating is get to know someone and see how it goes. You’re not playing games with dating when you meet a cute guy, find out you have all the right stuff in common (especially the Jesus stuff), and then ask him if he’d like to get some coffee, and from there see how it goes.
This super-serious view of dating is not Biblical, and it isn’t Christian. We’ve already noted that God hasn’t been consulted yet at all. But the truth is, all of us have had the idea, in one part of our walk or another, that the best course, the most Godly and righteous course, is the extreme course.
We figure there’s no need to bounce any of this off of the Lord, because the Lord is always in favor of us going to extremes, right? Extreme faith? What could be wrong with that? Extreme commitment to the church. You’re welcome God. Extremely careful about dating to the point of never dating. God can’t be against that.
He can be, and in some cases I think He might be. It’s the enemy, beloved, that deals in extremes. God calls us to balance. You can have “extreme” faith, but faith becomes a curse if you lack the wisdom to know where to point it. Wisdom, without faith to act on it, is pretty useless. Faith and wisdom compliment and balance one another in that way.
You can be extremely committed to church without being committed to God at all, and end up forgetting your Biblical responsibility to be committed to your family’s spiritual health. This mentality of “I don’t need to check this with the Lord, because it has to be right”, that mentality needs to go away and never come back.
Let’s face facts here, you’re part of a generation that isn’t quite sure where the physical boundaries should be in dating relationships, and they struggle to know how to manage the emotional component of dating, because of an often rushed physical interaction. But spiritually, your generation knows even less about the healthy, righteous elements of dating than they do the emotional or the physical.
In the end, when you’re off the map, and you don’t even know where to start, turn to the Lord in everything, seek His face on it all, draw near and listen to His voice. Depend on Him in ways you never have before. In this way, your walk will improve no matter what happens in your dating life.