(Photo by Natalie Baugh)
Exclusivity and Dating
By Delaney Mowers
Choices are a powerful part of the human experience. In one sense, they give us so much freedom and chances to decide our fate in the world. On the other hand, they can cause us to become unsure of what we should choose . Having the power to choose is hard when there are good aspects and bad aspects to both sides of a matter.
This dichotomy is especially hard to figure out when it comes to dating and relationships. Particularly, deciding on dating versus exclusivity can become an extremely multi-faceted decision. However, as with any decision, light can be shown on choices by breaking choices into pros and cons that shed light on them.
When thinking about the topic of exclusivity, it is important to look objectively at the state of your relationship and at the state of your own heart. Proverbs 4:23 states, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” When evaluating relationships, looking at decisions in relationships through this lens can be a very helpful guiding force.
The first major question to ask is whether you are moving to fast in your relationship. It is important to evaluate whether or not you are confident in the person you are dating, and whether or not they have all of the qualities you look for for in a relationship. Additionally, it is important to ask yourself if you have dated this person or other people enough to truly know what you are looking for in a relationship.
Along these same lines, it is also necessary to evaluate whether you are ready for the kind of commitment that exclusivity requires. An exclusive relationship may limit the freedom that you have in other areas of your life. It also may the limit the amount of time and energy you have to focus on improving yourself. These aspects of an exclusive relationship are not bad, but should be considered before you decide to move into an exclusive relationship.
On the other hand, entering into or continuing forward in an unhealthy relationship is not living in the fullness of what a God-centered relationship can offer us. One way in which exclusive relationships can be unhealthy is when they become more about ownership than partnership. God created relationships to glorify him, and jealousy and ownership in a relationship do not follow in this plan. If relationships develop these aspects, an exclusive relationship might not be the best plan of action at that point.
Deciding how to move ahead in a relationship is a huge challenge, and one that should not be undertaken in a rush. Luckily, while being young does not last forever, it does allow us time to slow down and to figure out life and relationships. Exclusivity is not something that needs to be rushed into, and taking the time to make sure the relationship is developing in a healthy way is worth the time and effort.
However, if you are in the right relationship, there does come a point when exclusivity is what God has in mind for your relationship. While life is unpredictable and relationships even more so, God does tell us that he knows the plans he has for our life. In relationships, God will lead us to the right person. When the person you are dating is pursuing the Lord and has all the qualities you believe to be important in a relationship, exclusivity is the next step in taking your relationship to a deeper level.
Another huge pro of entering into an exclusive relationship is the ways in which God has designed humans to grow in the context of relationships. Romantic relationships give us the opportunity to develop the fruits of the spirit, and they give us the opportunity to practice truly loving one another. Entering into an exclusive relationship can allow both people to grow spiritually and mentally.
Choices are hard, but taking the time to examine your motivations and desires in light of these pros and cons, along with many others, can guide you in the right direction in relationships and with God’s plan for your future.