Summary: Part two of this series focuses on the dating relationship.
What Is Jesus Costing You? Part 2
Scriptures: John 11:2-12
Last week I shared with you the first stage of establishing any relationship and that stage was the getting acquainted stage. During that stage we begin to find out the basics about a person as we determine if this is someone we really think we would want to be in a long term relationship with. Again, I am using a natural process that we are all familiar with to illustrate a spiritual process that we go through as we decide what type of relationship we want with Christ. Paul compared the marriage between a man and a woman to the relationship that Christ has with the Church. If we truly consider this relationship, our relationship with Christ should be like a marriage and that is where we are going with this series. This morning we will examine the second stage which is dating. Again, we are working our way towards the committed relationship of marriage as we focus on that union that we should have with Christ.
After we have gotten acquainted with someone, we come to the point of making the decision of where to go with the relationship. Either we will invest more time to determine if this could be the long term relationship we want or we decide to stop the relationship at this point and just remain acquaintances or friends. If we decide to continue the evaluation, we enter into the second phase that we call dating. This is an interesting phase of any relationship. When you are just dating someone, how you “date” them is totally dependant on where you think the relationship will go. If you are just going out as friends with no romantic interest in each other, you do not always worry about where you go or how you are dressed – unless you’re dressing up just in case you see someone of interest while you are out with your friend. However, if you are dating someone that has “potential” then you put a lot more efforts into the actual date.
When you are dating someone that you’re really interested in there are many emotional pulls on you every time you get ready to go on a date. Some people are so stressed that they will change their clothes 3 or 4 times before settling in on the right outfit to wear. Some people spend hours think about what to wear and even more hours actually getting ready just so that they can always make the best impression. Everything must be perfect – from the hair to the makeup to the cologne to the shoes. Everything must say that you are interested in them enough to put your best foot forward whenever you are in their presence. The goal is to ensure that this date will not be the last date. During the dating phase we determine how much time, energy, mental capacity and finances we are willing to invest in this person. We also determine how much of ourselves we are willing to “give up” or share. What I mean by this is that we determine how much sensitive information about ourselves we are willing to share with the person. It is also during this stage that people will use the internet to do their own background search. Back in the day we did not have the internet and we had to resort to word of mouth from family and friends to get the background on a person. But that information was limited and sometimes wrong. Today through the use of the internet you can find out almost everything you need to know about a person for just $29.95.
Dating is a crucial stage in the development of a long-term relationship because spending time with the person you begin to pick up on little things that you did not know or could not find out through your background search. For example, during the dating phase you can see if they chew with their mouths open; how they treat the waiters and waitresses that serve them; do they pull the chair out and open the door for the woman if they are the male; and when they pay the bill is their credit card accepted? You can determine if when you are alone in their presence are they in the moment completely and giving you their full attention or are you just a part of other things they are focusing on at the moment. During this phase you can begin to pick up on how they think and some of their basic beliefs. You can determine if you visit their home, if they are neat or if they are slobs. All of these things and more you notice about the person the more time you spend with them. Every date is new and exciting because there is just so much to learn about this person. During the dating phase one of the most prevailing question that will be answered but never asked is “What’s in it for me?” We do not always focus on this, but it is always in the background, just lurking, waiting to come to the surface. The dating phase can be called the “investigational” phase as we are truly investigating one another, looking for the gaps.