Defining a relationship can be tough. Maybe you’ve experienced it. You’ve got butterflies for someone and they have butterflies for you. You spend a lot of time together. You spend a lot of time on the phone (or the Snapchat, the Facebook, or some other Interweb tomfoolery). Everything might be going great but you’re not quite in the “official” stage of the dating process just yet. You might say that you’re “just talking” or “casually dating.” And that’s great. At least until you’re put in a situation where you have to decide one way or the other. Like when you’re introducing this “special friend” (as my grandpa calls them) to new people. You’re going to say “This is [insert name here]. She’s my…” Hold it. The next words out of your mouth are crucial. If you say “…girlfriend” or “…future wife,” you might scare off your special someone. On the other hand, if you say, “…friend,” you might be telling your special friend that you’re not even entertaining the idea of anything other than a friend-relationship. So how do you respond?
I have no idea. What I do know is there is a reason we have these different “stages” of relationships. It’s built upon the idea that every relationship (romantic or not) has three unavoidable qualities:
- Feelings. Kids call it “the feels” nowadays. Relationships are based partly on feelings of affection; whether they be romantic, familial, or friendly.
- Actions. In a healthy relationship, feelings of affection are matched with actions that show those feelings. We do things for our friends, “special friends”, and family that we wouldn’t do for just anyone (like spot them the cash for dinner for the umpteenth time knowing we’re not getting paid back). In short, we’re there for our friends and family when they need us.
- Commitment. This is the big one. This is why we run into situations like the painful one mentioned at the outset of this article. When it comes down to it, relationships don’t mean much without a firm commitment. When the feelings of affection come and go, it’s the commitment that keeps the relationship alive.
When you take a look at your relationship with GOD, do you see those three qualities? Do you have the feelings of affection for Him inherent in agape love? Do your actions line up with your feelings of affection? Are you committed to your relationship with Him in the face of any struggle or hardship? It isn’t difficult to know whether or not you’re relationship with GOD is healthy. If you draw near to GOD through prayer and HIS Word, HE will draw near to you.