Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Is there really such thing as "Taking it Slow?"

I while back I had several of my close Christian friends reassure me that their relationship was 100% focused on God.  How do they reassure me?  With the ever-frightening phrase, "We're just taking it slow."

I always sigh in disappointment as I read the text with that phrase in it.  Taking it slow.  Taking it slow compared to what??  A worldly relationship?  Because all that means is that you haven't slept together yet.

Let me explain a few things that have really helped me grasp the nature of relationships.  First of all, relationships are progressional.  That means it's a one way street.  Relationships are constantly moving forward.  There is no backwards, even if you break up and go back out again, you will still be starting where you left off.

Think about it.  Every relationship has the same basic rules of progression.  Initial attraction, extensive talking, friendly physical touch, and so on and so on.  The most common relationship I see at my age and generation is the deceitful "talking" relationship.  This is what the majority of Christians consider a slow relationship, however they are completely wrong.

I'm not sure if this is a regional term, so I will explain.  Talking is when a couple shows sincere interest in one another but they don't necessarily want to make the commitment of a dating relationship.  Therefore they hang out together, talk on the phone in mass amounts, and text each other fairly often.  I guess the term comes from the idea that most of the relationship is based on talking rather than doing.

The problem with this is that it's not at all slow, and it's not at all safe, especially when you're talking about guarding your heart.  A texting conversation is like being completely alone with another person.  You have freedom to talk about whatever you want without fear of anyone walking in, asking questions, or interrupting.  Each party has more control this way because the conversation only changes by what is typed.

  Facial expressions, initial reactions, and surrounding distractions are put away and out of mind in this situation.  That leaves your heart right there in the open for the other person's entertainment.  Would you spend 16 hours a day in an empty closet facing this person face to face in conversation?  Would you share the things you have shared with them if you had been face to face?

No.  Truth is that we all feel more comfortable and confident through writing.  Ask any professional writing student and they will tell you that they are most vulnerable when they are on paper.  In real life they are quiet, shy, and reserved.  Writing is an escape to share your true feelings and ideas, whether that writing is through journaling, blogging, letters, Facebook, or texting.

Just like you and your resume, a person who presents themselves through writing is giving you part truth and part fictional character to some degree.  This is why so many young couples do better "talking" than they do actual dating and hanging out together.  It's much easier and less complicating to fall in love with a fictional character.  50% of it is what your mind makes it.

Secondly, because relationships are progressional, there is no such thing as slow.  All relationships have one of two outcomes: marriage or break-up.  They are all headed towards one of these two ends.  Now because I don't know anyone who willingly walks into failure and heartache, I'm going to assume you did not know this.

With that being said, let's stop and ask ourselves a few questions.
  • Are you ready to get married right now?
  • Can you support yourself and a house payment financially?
  • Are you finished living for yourself as an independent individual?  Tired of going out with the girls every Saturday night and staying out as long as you want?
  • Have you finished school and all the adventurous, silly things you want to do before settling down?
  • Do you have a place to live?  Can you fully afford the bills, groceries, and necessities?
  • Are you completely joyful with God and only God, or do you feel empty?
  • Have you found your soul and healed your wound?
Then why are you looking for marriage?
Better yet, why are you consumed with dating?

God can heal whatever hole that is within you.  Take your loneliness, pain, hurt, and discontentment to him first, not another human being.  Matthew 6:33

Talking is the modern version of dating.  It's uncommitted, adulterated heart exposure that leads to heartbreak and counterfeit bonding.  As my good Lord says, please guard your heart.  Prov 4:23  It's too precious not too.