Keep Things Out in the Open (Part IV)
Date Night Advice (DNA) series: Keep Things Out in the Open
As I’ve done almost everything, but get on my knees and beg you to keep things out in the open when it comes to your dating life, have you been thinking:
“MJ, You’re not getting this. No one else knows about this issue we’re struggling with! It’s too embarrassing to share.”
If this is your situation, please stop a moment and pray for God to open your eyes to the danger of where you are. BEFORE YOU READ ANY FURTHER.
Are you and your significant other grappling with some issue no one else knows about? Is that why you don’t feel you can keep your dating life out in the open?
- Are one or both of you carrying heavy baggage from the past?
- Do you suspect one or both of you have an addiction?
- Is there physical abuse taking place in your relationship right now?
- Have you totally given in to sexual temptation?
- Is someone pregnant?
- Was someone pregnant, but they aren’t any more?
Do you understand what I’m saying?
You can be in a crowded room and still be completely alone. If they are not careful, two people can be together in a relationship and at the same time be totally alone in their relationship.
It’s like these verses from “Brick” by Ben Folds Five (If you aren’t familiar with the song you might want to check out the video.)
For the moment we’re alone
Yeah she’s alone
Now I know it
She’s a brick and I’m drowning slowly
Off the coast and I’m headed nowhere
The way the chemicals of love work on the brain, two lovebirds can become so enamored with each other that they shut the rest of the world out. And in the initial stage of this kind of relationship it feels wonderful – euphoric – like you’re the only two people truly alive. But again, this is a chemically induced feeling, and at some point those chemicals stop working. Just like a beer buzz the feelings of being “in love” are intoxicating, but they don’t last forever.
However, the impact of limerence (that’s what psychologists call falling in love) last way longer than any drug high (anywhere from 3 months to 2 years) which makes what you’re feeling seem all the more real, and persuades you to trust those feelings all the more confidently. But in the end, you realize that pushing everyone else out of your life so that you could bask in the glory of your love interest has left you completely isolated. And now you have a problem that you two can’t solve by yourselves.
Are they alone… are you alone… and now you know it?
Alone is a dangerous place to be. People who are alone drown with no one to save them. So here’s what I would urge you to do: You each need to tell a trusted friend what’s going on right away. Even better, pick a couple you both respect and share your struggle with them together.
- Know and love you well and
- Know and love God well.
And if neither of you have a friend like that please seek out a pastor or counselor and share your concerns with them. They may not know you well, but if they know God well He can give them insight into your situation that will blow your mind. God’s kinda like that.
Believe me. I understand your reticence in doing what I’m asking. Personally, I prefer to save myself embarrassment and solve problems on my own, but which is worse:
- Embarrassing myself, but getting the help I need.
- Maintaining my image (whatever that’s worth), but suffering in silence.
To be straight up, here’s what my fear of exposure says about me:
- I care more about my appearance than my health. (In other words, I’d rather have people think I’m doing well than to actually be doing well. The motto being: It is better to look good than to feel good.)
- I care more about my reputation than my character. (In other words, I’d rather have people think highly of me than to actually possess high moral character. The motto being: It’s better to play a great character than to have great character.)
In the end you want to be free! But lies enslave, secret sin destroys and buried pain decays and poisons.
In the end you can find forgiveness, grace and wholeness. But the prerequisite for forgiveness is confession. You can’t receive forgiveness if you won’t confess. The prerequisite for grace is repentance. You can’t walk in grace if you won’t repent. And the prerequisite for wholeness is brokenness. You cannot experience wholeness if you won’t admit you are broken.
Some think they have to be perfect to receive God’s favor. Some think they have to be at least good. I’ve given up on being either.
Instead, I’ve chosen to confess, repent and admit my brokenness. Over and over again. I encourage you to do the same! If you haven’t been able to keep your dating life out in the open, the time is now to expose your sin and hurt to the light of truth and love. Bring someone into your world and do not remain together and alone any longer!
We’ll conclude this DNA series next week as we address one final objection to keeping things out in the open. We’ll talk to those who don’t have a problem with their relationship per se, but a personal problem they’ve never shared with anyone. A secret they know they feel they need to share with their partner. Until then, keep things out in the open!
DNA: It’s What’s For Dating
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The LoveEd study guide series, Beyond Sex & Salvation, will empower you to prepare for relational success when it counts: BEFORE YOU FALL IN LOVE! It’s NOT for couples, but for any wise individual who thinks they might want to get married sometime before they die. Check out the first two 8-lesson study guides in our store. You can walk through it on your own, but it’s more fun with friends, so consider putting together an FMU LoveEd small group study. Even better? And ask a married couple you respect to lead it!