What’s Your Relationship Status? (Status Part 1)
“I think it would be in my best interests to go out with someone more popular, better-looking, who drives a nicer car.” – Beth to her then-ex-boyfriend, Lane in Better Off Dead*
With that we introduce #5 of the TOP10 Dumbest Reasons to Date: “Status.”
The above quote is funny because who would ever actually say that to someone? And yet the sad truth is that many many people break up for just these sorts of shallow sentiments.
We know it’s criminal to base your relationships (romantic or otherwise) on fame, fashion and transportation, and yet the pull to date for social standing is hard to resist. That’s why Facebook asks you to share your relationship “status” in your profile.
Is dating important to your status?
What kind of dating status are you looking for?
- Dating a certain person (“If I could just get them to fall for me…”)
- Dating a lot (“MJ went out with over 30 girls his Freshman year? I can beat that.”)
- Accomplishing certain objectives on your date (“I at least want a goodnight kiss.”)
- Just plain dating (“Anyone want to date me? Anyone? Anyone? Beuler? Beuler?”)
Most of the time, the status I sought was rather uncomplicated. (“I just want a girlfriend.”) Sometimes it was highly particular. (“I want Sarah Bakely, the most beautiful girl in my third grade class.”) And for one year of my life it was slightly excessive. (“Let’s see just how many girls I can take out in one school year.”) Regardless of the current status I coveted, I wasn’t that much different from a politician.
The thing about a politician; he doesn’t care about you. He cares only about what you can do for him – namely vote for him. Likewise, in retrospect I realize that I cared much more about what a girlfriend could do for me than what I could do for a girlfriend. It was a huge blessing to all involved that I couldn’t get one until Julie.
The fact is, you cannot care about people and position at the same. If I’m dating to attain a certain status, I’m simply using people. And using people generally doesn’t build relationships. It tends to tear them down.
This reality is what made the sitcom, The Office, such a hit. Pretty much the rules of social engagement were as follows:
1. Resent those in position above you
2. Disdain those in position below you
Watching a bunch of office mates operating according to that philosophy could be pretty dang funny. In real life though it’s sad. And when it comes to dating, the “status conscious” relational pattern is disastrous. After all, getting used or manipulated or taken for granted by your boss doesn’t hurt nearly as much as getting used or manipulated or taken for granted by your lover.
In comparison, listen to Paul’s admonition in Phil 2:5-6 – Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.
Jesus really was God. We merely imagine we are (or wish we were). But though Jesus held the God “status” it wasn’t something He held onto. He decided He’d prefer to hold onto us instead. It’s the sort of tradeoff you can make when you’re completely secure in your Father’s love (John 15:5-20).
Do you truly understand how fiercely the Father loves you? If we really believe, we simply won’t cling to our need to establish and improve our status.
The status-seeking politician in you may not be as pathetically obvious as mine was, but search your heart and ask yourself, “Am I looking to get something or to share something on my next date?”
Or, forget about dating. Is the real status you long for – the one you believe will “complete you” – marriage? We’ll tackle that next week.
DNA: It’s What’s For Dating
The LoveEd study guide series, Beyond Sex & Salvation, is for those who want to be set free from their status-seeking ways when it comes to relationships. 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. You may not improve your social standing, but you’ll improve your relationships.
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* I don’t recommend the movie. It’s not that great and not that good for you either.