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To Date or Not to Date

Kaylea Hutson

Wise Owl-BambiThe decision to date or to pursue a deeper commitment is at the heart of every relationship. The question is not Will love come but How does the dating relationship open the door to love—that magical, butterflies-in-your-stomach, moonlight-dancing-at-your-feet feeling that comes from being in a relationship with someone special? Perhaps this feeling is summed up best in the movie Bambi when the wise owl announces, “Nearly everybody gets twitterpated in the springtime.” Being twitterpated—meaning someone catches your eye and begins to work him or herself into your life in a good way—can seem magical.

Along the way, you make a decision to date or not to date. Let’s be honest: Dating is fun. It’s a chance to get to know a person on a deeper level—to focus on a single person, to get to know him or her beyond a “Hi, how are you?” friendship, to learn more about him or her (and yourself) in new ways.

For those who rely on faith to help guide their lives, the decision to date takes on a whole new meaning. Dating opens the door to the possibility not only of a life-long friendship but also of a life-long partnership in marriage. For a person of faith, the key is to see how God blesses a relationship. Galatians 5:22–23 (NIV) provides a road map for any relationship. A friendship, a dating relationship, or a marriage blessed by God exhibits “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control”—the fruit of the Spirit. In the early days of a romance, love is an easy fruit to exhibit, which is probably where being twitterpated comes into play. Feeling love is easy in a dating relationship. The true test of a dating relationship is how it reflects the other characteristics.

Frruit of Spirit rocks vertical image[1]

  • Joy. Happiness is fleeting and relies on external factors; but even in difficult times, joy provides a deeper level of satisfaction and enjoyment when you are with a person you trust.
  • Peace. While every relationship has times of turmoil, a relationship grounded in peace will experience calm in these times rather than chaos. Think of it as a deeper level of contentment.
  • Patience. Being patient means dealing with another person’s crazy quirks, without complaint.
  • Kindness, Goodness, Gentleness. Relationships built on these fruit are never abusive or manipulative. They bring out the best in both of you, motivating you and inspiring you to serve God together.
  • Faithfulness, Self-Control. These fruit enable you to remain faithful to your covenant, whether you are friends or a dating couple. They also help you to remain true to yourself, as a person created by God, and to refrain from trying to change the other person in the relationship. When God blesses a relationship, the fruit of the Spirit allow it to flourish.

When you step out on your own, without God’s blessing, relationships don’t last. How can you use the fruit of the Spirit to guide all of your relationships?

 

DIG DEEPER

Make a list of the fruit of the Spirit. Then take a good look at one of your friendships or your dating relationship. How do you see each fruit of the Spirit at work in this relationship? Invite your friend or significant other to create a similar list and to reflect on your relationship in the same way. Then talk about what both of you have discovered. Invite God to be a part of your relationship, to bless it, and to help you cultivate the fruit of the Spirit so that your relationship may flourish.

Kaylea Hutson , a journalist and children’s pastor, is currently working as the managing editor of The Grove Sun, a bi-weekly publication in Grove, Oklahoma.

—from devozine (September/October 2014). Copyright © 2014 by The Upper Room®. All rights reserved.

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