Setting Appropriate Emotional Boundaries While Dating
Christian singles who are equipped to date must not only avoid premature sexual intimacy but must also guard their hearts against overstepping healthy emotional boundaries. Since dating is a time in the life of the adult single when he is “testing the waters,” getting to know potential candidates for a future marriage, every necessary precaution should be taken to avoid inappropriate emotional intimacy.
Inappropriate emotional intimacy can be defined as sharing too much of one’s self and forming emotional ties with a person too soon. Getting to know your date needs a gradual yet steady approach. Avoid getting caught in the idea that strong relationships can be achieved instantly.
Entering the dating arena as an emotionally mature and well-rounded individual certainly has many advantages. This usually means that the person has formed a strong sense of self-identity, has sorted out the qualities he would like for his date to be a good match for him, and is primarily connected and secure in his relationship with the Lord.
A healthy, integrated person is very much aware that since dating leads to marriage, it is a time of heavy life investment that takes a lot of practice and relationship skills. It is also experimental in the sense that you’ll get to know several or even a lot of people before deciding on only one.
Therefore, to avoid too much emotional involvement, the adult single must have a life apart from a dating relationship. While romance can be wonderful and has value on its own, our needs can never be totally provided by just one person.
If you’re an adult single and dating, it’s still wise to pursue your hobbies and interests. Or if you’re involved in a worthy cause, invest as much time in it as you grow side by side in your dating relationships. That way, you won’t be prone to want another person to fulfill your emotional needs when you could be getting it by engaging in a hobby or a worthy cause.
Also, make sure that you are not getting your need for companionship from your date alone. Continue being accountable to your parents, friends, Christian mentors, and pastor. If you sense that there are still a few areas where you are emotionally weak, don’t hesitate to ask for help.
Learn to communicate your boundaries to your date by choosing wisely what to talk about. If you bring up the topic of marriage too soon, you know you’ve gotten way too serious too fast. Spend time talking about topics that will help you get to know each other better, like the kinds of books he reads or the type of music she listens to.
Aside from the usual dinner-and-movie settings, spend time in situations where you’ll most likely get to discern each other’s character. Maybe work behind the scenes in a church production, sign up for community service, or volunteer to serve in a nursing home.
Above all, commit every aspect of your dating relationship to the Lord through prayer. He has placed the desire for marriage in most of us, and should we submit ourselves to Him in this very important life decision, He will meet the desires of our hearts.
Article written by Ronali dela Cruz . Ronali is a freelance writer conceptualizing different types of feature articles for the print and Internet market.