Summary: The third part of the series focues on the commitment in the boy/girlfriend relationship and how it compares to our relationship with Christ.
What Is Jesus Costing You? Part 3
Scriptures: Matthew 9:9-13
To date we have discussed the first two phases of the establishment of a long-term relationship between a man and a woman which is similar to that of our relationship with Christ. In the first phase there is a time of getting acquainted. This is the time where you quickly decide how close you will allow this person to get to you. If they have the potential to become something more, often times you will start dating without there being a commitment. Dating is the second phase of the development of the relationship. During this phase you are investigating the person to determine if the relationship will end or if things go well, move to the next phase.
This morning we will discuss the third phase – becoming boy/girlfriends. Making the decision to become boy/girlfriends and only dating each other requires a commitment. This is the first real test of where the relationship could go because in order to be in this relationship you must say no to all others. This is where some people get in trouble. They say they are committed to the one relationship but they still find themselves not being able to say no to other relationships. But I am getting ahead of myself. Let’s look at what happens with a boy/girlfriend relationship.
I. Making The Commitment
Now that you have met the person and went on several dates, at some point both of you decide that you want to date only one another. Maybe this decision was made after you saw them with someone else, but whatever happened, now you want the person to be with you only. To get to this point in the relationship requires both parties to commit to the relationship. The word commit is defined as “to bind, as by a promise.” So by making a commitment, you are binding yourself to the other person and for this particular time period, only spending time with them. Your former boy/girlfriends do not have the same influence over you as they had while you were together now that you are in another relationship. The first commitment that must be upheld is that you will be with that person and that person only. When you commit to a one-to-one relationship with a person, the costs increase. Now you will be giving a lot more of your time, mental capacity, attention and finances to the relationship. While you were casually dating you may have thought about giving them a gift out of the blue, but once you become committed, now you purchase gifts for any of a dozen reasons. There is the celebration of the first month together; the first holiday (Christmas, etc); the first birthday; first year anniversary; and don’t forget the “please forgive me” presents after you have done something stupid like looking at another person while you were with them. The list of reasons to buy a gift during this phase of the relationship is vast.
Now that you have officially committed to each other, small things begin to change. Now you begin to have deeper discussions about life, expectations, marriage, kids, finances, etc. You begin to get an understanding of who this person is and how they came to be this way as you discuss their family and past experiences. Your investment of mental capacity triples as there are so many things to think about and process as you focus on this new love of your life. One of the defining moments of the relationship is when you begin to tell others, especially your family and close friends that you are in a committed relationship. You begin to bring the person around to meet your friends and family during holiday dinners or family/friend get-togethers. Unlike when you were casually dating, you now take on a more “possessive” attitude when referring to the person. You begin using terms like “my boyfriend or my girlfriend.” Some times we have special names for them like “my sweetie peachy dumpling” or my “cutie poochy-woochy”. These are terms of endearment that only you understand that result from the closeness of the relationship.
The real, true test of the commitment comes in two waves. The first wave is when someone you truly loved comes back in your life. Maybe it is the first boy or girlfriend that you ever truly loved and never fully got over. When they come back into your life, the old flames that you never let die begin to burn again. If left unattended, those flames will lead you to violate your commitment. The second wave comes when that person that was always just out of reach of you finally notices you. Have you ever noticed that no one wants you when you are alone and as soon as you have committed to someone everybody is all of a sudden noticing you? This is not by mistake but by design. When the person you’ve always dreamed about is now ready to explore a relationship with you, if you’re not careful, you can forget all about the commitment you’ve made to someone else. There have been many great relationships destroyed because an outsider wanted to test and see if they could break the couple up. Both of these situations happen all the time; even after someone has been happily married for years. The same thing happens spiritually when we commit to Christ. First we cut off the old relationships we had and commit to the new one. When old “flames” come back, we put them out by focusing on the new commitment.