Dating & Marriage: Is It Love Or Infatuation? And What's Important…Fear of God, Looks, Money, Power, etc.

If you are like me, living in LA, it’s hard not to be star struck, even if you have lived here for years. The fascination may have waned over the years, but you still get a little excited when you see someone out in public. Like the time i saw Adam Brody, also known as Seth Cohen from the O.C., out at the Coral Tree, and in line with Dustin Hoffman. Or the time I saw Arnold Schwarzenegger and his family at the Coral Tree as well. Hmm, maybe that’s a good place to see stars, which is probably why I stopped going there.

And with our fascination comes our tendency to elevate them to a certain status level, where we want to read all about them, dress like them, go where they hang out, and eat and drink. Why do you think the tabloids sell so much? We want to be like them. And because of this fascination and curiousity to catch up on what they are doing we begin to build a sort of false familiarity and intimacy, thinking we know who they are, what they are like, based soley on their public persona, and no first hand experiential knowledge.

I do this. We all do this. So I was somewhat surprised when I was driving to the gym tonight and I heard on KROQ that Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston split. I was sort of shocked because I thought they were different. They seemed like an ideal couple. But how would I know? I don’t know them. My perception of them and who they were, and are, was solely shaped by the movies they were in, the photos we saw of them, the interviews they gave, and the things People, Us or In Touch magazines touted about them. Hardly credible evidence to claim any knowledge of someone.

Ultimately, I think most of us were infatuated with Brad and Jenn, “the couple”, and who they were as status symbols of looks, money, power, fashion and more. We all want to have that sort of image to those around us. We all want to be in a relationship that has some of those qualities. But as a Christian we are also looking for something different. I don’t know anything of Brad and Jenn’s spirituality, but I do know that for those of us who want to seriously consider dating someone, the other person’s spiritual life plays the most important part. Or does it? Should it? Is it balanced out with other components as well? Wherever you come down on this issue, I think we often sacrifice the spiritual role in a relationship for the more immediate and tangible things.

Much of scripture has many different things to say on this issue. In the Old Testament Proverbs 31:10-31 makes the case for a woman who fears God over charm and looks:

30Charm can mislead and beauty soon fades.

The woman to be admired and praised

is the woman who lives in the Fear-of-GOD.

31Give her everything she deserves!

Festoon her life with praises!

In fact, if you think looks are so important over and against everything else, you better take a look at the humorous comment earlier in Proverbs:

Proverbs 11:22 (New International Version)

22 Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout

is a beautiful woman who shows no discretion.

So when choosing a “Wife of Noble Character” as Proverbs describes it, or a husband of the same quality, fear of God seems to be the overriding factor. Not looks, money, power, sex, fashion, etc., etc. Why? A simple but true statement would be to say that most of the Bible proclaims a fear of the LORD as more important than any other quality one can have. I guess that’s why I was somewhat surprised at one of our online Quest polls a couple of months ago. When asked what quality was the most important when finding a boyfriend or girlfriend, the response “seeking God” finished tied for second with “intelligence” while “attractiveness” finished in first, almost five percentage points ahead.

So how does this play out in my dating life? What about dating non-Christians? What about marrying non-Christians? Well, a proper answer would take more time and space than this entry will allow, so I will turn your attention to Paul’s writings in 2 Corinthians 6:14 (New International Version) where he states the following:

14Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?

Wow! That’s a difficult statement to understand and read at times. So I will allow you the thinking and reflecting and praying about these issues that have been discussed. Ultimately, I think that just as we were infatuated with Brad and Jen and their supposed ideal relationship, we too become infatuated with someone, sometimes being blinded in our infatuation to what God’s Word says is really important.

I am no expert in this field. I have just recently gotten engaged to the woman I have been dating since May of 2003. But through our relationship I have truly learned what is important for us as a couple, and what things fade and are inconsequential, and what is meant to last and endure and prosper. I am almost 30, so I have waited a while to find myself in this position, but many of you are dating, or are thinking about dating, and you may never know when that times comes. That’s why it’s important for you to develop and form healthy dating habits now, because it’s not like one day you will just decide to throw on the switch and make the right decisions in relationships.

So as we soon head into a series on sex, talking about dating and marriage, and as we get closer to that much loved, and much hated holiday, Valentines Day, I know that dating is on your minds. That’s why I would like us to be in open dialogue about these issues, as well as providing some resources for you.

The first article are questions that one should consider asking of themself when they are thinking about dating someone.

12 Questions to Ask Yourself About Someone You Might Date

The second article is about 12 Tests that can help determine if your relationship is based more on love or infatuation.

12 Tests of Love by Chip Ingram

I as well as others would like to hear from you. So fire off any comments you may have.

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