It’s Time to Change Your Relationship Status (Status Part 2)
I know this series is called the TOP10 Dumbest Reasons to Date, but as I considered Reason #5, “Status,” I couldn’t help, but think about the many who only desire the status of “dating” in the hopes that they can eventually win a promotion to the status of “married.”
If that’s not you, skip this post and read another one like, I’m Not Sure I Want to be Married or TOP10 Things Sex has in Common with the Apocalypse.
If, however, you’re one with marriage on your mind, read on.
Now on the surface, my concern about marriage-status seekers might seem surprising. After all, FMU does stand for Future Marriage University. It’s not Future Dating University.
Admittedly, my wife, Julie, and I do believe quite a bit in marriage. In fact, we have found marriage and raising a family to be the single most life-changing, life-challenging, life-defining and life-giving endeavor we’ve ever undertaken. That is to say, WE LOVE IT! (Even when we don’t like it.)
Beyond that, we believe that the vast majority of God’s children were made for marriage. Not a marriage entered into only after you’ve exhausted yourself in the pursuit of your own personal dreams, but a marriage which transforms your personal dreams into shared dreams, even as it transforms the two into one (think of Pixar’s Up). This isn’t a marriage you accidentally stumble into, like a bar, but a marriage you intentionally and intelligently prepare for IN ADVANCE, like a successful career.
But here’s the deal: I don’t care what someone’s Facebook profile says, marriage is not a status. It’s an awesome calling; a relationship of inestimable value requiring ferocious commitment and sacrifice.
This is not semantic. This is seminal. Status-seeking is far more damaging in marriage than it is in dating. Those who date for status can break up when the going gets tough and then seek out a new status symbol – I mean significant other. Sure, it’s ugly, but not nearly as painful as divorce. Especially when kids are involved. (Either you, or someone you’re close to, knows this from experience.)
If status wasn’t a major marriage motivation in our culture, then there would be no “ring by spring” phenomenon on Christian college campuses, YouTube wouldn’t be full of elaborate marriage proposals, Bridal magazines wouldn’t be thicker than a retro Sears Christmas catalog and the average wedding wouldn’t run 25K+. (And dare I suggest that maybe a few still marry just to get rid of the dreaded status of “virgin.”)
So if status-seeking is the disease that’s plaguing your dating life (as you pine for married life) what’s the cure?
Learning contentment. Discontent singles find a new love interest only “cures” them for a time. Discontent lovers find that marriage doesn’t provide the cure either. Because contentment isn’t someone you’re going to meet. It’s not something you’re going to get. It’s something you have to learn.
In Phil 4:11-13 (ESV), Paul says, “Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”
Ironically, people love to quote, this “I can do all things” passage in support of why they can succeed at accomplishing some desired achievement: an education, a job, a marriage, a family. However, in context, the “achievement” Paul is pleased to attain isn’t a new status. It’s simply contentment.
If you want a marriage that raises your vision instead of your status, make sure you date not for status, but to grow in relationship. And don’t wait to learn contentment, begin learning now. In fact, why not change your relationship status to: Contented.
For more help check out the Beyond Sex & Salvation Guidebook that addresses contentment. Here’s a couple of excerpts:
DNA: It’s What’s For Dating
It’s no accident that the first of Three Critical Life Lessons addressed in the first guidebook in the LoveEd study guide series, Beyond Sex & Salvation, is LEARN CONTENTMENT. Check out the first two study 8-lesson study guides in our store. Then put together an FMU LoveEd small group study with same-gender friends. Learning contentment is more fun in community.
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