Dear Christian, I will go trigger-happy on that ‘like’ button if you change your relationship status to ‘engaged’ or ‘married’ on Facebook. However I won’t touch that button if you change it to ‘in a relationship’. Here’s why:
Changing your relationship status to ‘in a relationship’…
1. Implies that you are no longer single
However in God’s eyes you still are. Biblically we only stop being single when we are engaged. The ‘in a relationship’ status is a modern invention that finds no roots in the Bible.
2. Implies you have made unspoken vows
Unspoken vows along the following lines are implied by the change in status:
“I (name), take you (name) to be my boyfriend, to have and to hold from this day forward. I promise to love, comfort, honour, cherish and protect (name), forsaking all others, be faithful to (name) unless we breakup. Amen”.
The unspoken vows of being ‘in a relationship’ are similar to those of marriage because the girlfriend/boyfriend relationship is a marriage-like relationship. However these vows are not the type of vows God makes and I believe are illegitimate in God’s eyes. He does not promise to love and cherish us unless He breaks up with us. He promises to love and cherish Christians forever because love is not something that is supposed to fail (1 Cor 13:8). Vows that allow for a painful divorce-like split can’t please God.
3. Implies you belong to each other
“He’s my man”, ”I’m his girl” and ”We are together” are terms used when ‘in a relationship’. These are terms that suggest you romantically ‘belong’ to the guy. However in God’s eyes you do not. The guy is not “yours” and you are not “his”. You should rather see him as a brother in Christ who could be somebody else’s husband.
4. Implies there is something to celebrate
Once you change your Facebook status you will inevitably get a whole heap of ‘likes’ and comments such as “Congratulations!” and “I’m so happy for you”. However there is nothing to celebrate. The guy may not marry you. He may well marry someone else. Imagine you went to an interview and the interview panel cracked open a bottle of champagne five minutes in – before they’ve even decided to offer you the job or not. You’d rightly think such behaviour was inappropriate. You may not get the job and such celebration could give false hope.
Furthermore I think it’s unwise to change your status because doing so…
1. Adds unnecessary pressure
Once you go public you will inevitably provoke a lot of attention that can add a huge amount of pressure to your time of getting to know a guy. Pressure can be an attraction killer. It can lead to you or the guy feeling overwhelmed, smothered and then bailing out when you could have ended up in an amazing marriage. Equally, the pressure of going public can lead to people getting married who have serious and valid reservations – because they feel things have gone too far to back out.
2. Can lead to shame
Love always protects (1 Cor 13:7)
If things don’t lead to marriage, which they often don’t, then you and the guy must both very publicly change your relationship status back to single. If it was you who decided marriage was no longer on the cards then it could be quite difficult for the guy. Love protects and to protect another is to protect them from potential public shame.
3. Can create a false sense of security
Love does no harm (Rom 13:10)
Declaring your romance to the Facebook world can leave him ecstatic. It can hugely stir up his love and give him a false sense of security. If months down the line you then decide marriage is not best, the guy can feel far more rejected and hurt than if you had not made a public declaration. Likewise, you could end up with a false sense of security that could lead to more heartbreak for you.
So when I don’t ‘like’ your ‘in a relationship’ status on Facebook, please don’t think that I don’t care about your happiness. It’s because I care about your long-term happiness and the happiness of the guy that I won’t.
Want to know more?
I highly recommend the book: ‘God’s Way for Romance‘ by Stuart Burgess. WE HAVE 10 SIGNED COPIES TO GIVEAWAY. JUST LIKE THIS ARTICLE AND WRITE A COMMENT BELOW TO BE IN FOR A CHANCE OF WINNING! I would also recommend my article: Boyfriends vs Courtship (What’s the Difference?)