We have all seen it happen. We watch with excitement as an awesome Christian boy and an awesome Christian girl begin hanging out more and more. They gradually show signs of being interested in each other, and before you know it, you have a new couple on your hands. All of their friends are excited—until it becomes clear that this couple no longer needs friends. Their relationship is exclusive, isolated even. Two people who formerly had a solid support system of friends now have only each other. Cupid has struck, and the only thing that matters is the relationship.
This is unhealthy for several reasons. First of all, nobody likes a couple that is always isolated in a love cocoon, even when they are in public settings. It’s just not fun to be around; it makes everyone feel awkward.
But there are more important reasons why this is unhealthy. At the top of the list, God is the most important relationship we will ever have. Anytime our human relationships are pulling us away from our relationship with God, those relationships have become idols.
It’s also important to remember that God designed us to function in the context of the church body. Your relationship with your boyfriend or girlfriend is important, but it is only one of the relationships God has given you. You still have a responsibility to the other people God has placed in your life. This may mean sacrificing some of the time that you want to spend with your boyfriend or girlfriend, but a dating relationship doesn’t give you a free pass to be unfaithful in other areas of your life.
Beyond that, I can’t think of a more effective first step toward falling into all kinds of sin than isolating yourself from the body of Christ.
The reality is that God has placed you and your dating partner in the church body so that you can be an active part of what God is doing around you. An essential part of glorifying God is you actively using your gifts to be a blessing to the people around you (see Eph. 4:1-16 and 1 Cor. 12). So if isolating yourselves as a couple means you are no longer ministering to the church body, then you are in sin.
When couples get so introverted that the rest of the world ceases to matter, breakups are literally the end of the world. When the relationship ends, you have to redefine yourself. You also have to start from near-scratch in making friends and building a support system.
And I know, you and your boyfriend or girlfriend will never break up—you’re one of the world’s great love stories, like Romeo and Juliet or Edward and Bella—but do you really want to be setting yourself up for that kind of failure?
While we’ve all seen the isolationist couples in action, most of us have also seen couples who are very into each other, but who also make the people around them feel welcome and appreciated. These couples are able to show their affection to each other while also reaching out to and serving the body of Christ.
So let’s ditch the whole love cocoon that makes everyone else in the room feel like a third, fourth, fifth, or fifteenth wheel. Let’s learn to see our dating relationships as one of our God-given relationships, and strive to be faithful to all of them.