While Gareth and Jenny were dating, they didn’t need anyone else. Since it meant spending time with jenny, Gareth had no problem giving up Wednesday night bible study with the guys. Jenny didn’t think twice about how little she talked to her mother and sister now that she was dating Gareth. Nor did she realize that when she talked to them, she always started her sentences with “Gareth this…” and “Gareth said this…” Without intending to, both had foolishly and selfishly cut themselves off form other relationships.
By its very definition, dating is about people focusing on each other. Unfortunately, in most cases the rest of the world fades into the background. If you’ve ever felt like a third wheel hanging out with two friends that are dating each other, you know how true this is.
Granted, of all dating’s problems this is the easiest to fix. Yet Christians still need to take it seriously. Why? First, because when we allow one relationship to crowd out others we lose perspective. In Proverbs 15:22 it says:
“Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisors they succeed.”
if we make our decisions about life based solely on the influence of one relationship, we’ll probably make poor judgments.
Of course we make the same mistake in any number of non-romantic relationships. But we face this problem more often in dating relationships because these relationships involve our heart and emotions. And because dating focuses on the plans of a couple, major issues related to family, marriage, and faith are likely at stake.
And if two people haven’t defined their level of commitment, they’re particularly at risk. You put yourself in a precarious position if you isolate yourself from the people who love and support you because you dive wholeheartedly into a relationship not grounded on commitment, in Passion and Purity, By: Elisabeth Elliot, she states, “Unless a man is prepared to ask a woman to be his wife, what right has he to claim her exclusive attention? Unless she has been asked to marry him, why would a sensible woman promise any other man her exclusive attention?” How many people end dating relationships only to find their ties to other friends severed?
One of the saddest tendencies of dating is to distract young adults for their God given abilities and skills. Instead of equipping themselves with character, education and experience necessary to succeed in life, many allow themselves to be consumed by the present needs that dating emphasizes.
When Gareth and Jenny mutually decided to stop dating, they were surprised to find their other friendships in disrepair. It’s not that their other friends didn’t like them; they hardly knew them anymore. Neither had invested anytime or effort in maintaining these friendships while they concentrated on their dating relationship.