Jump directly to the content
Why Jesus Isn't Your Boyfriend: A Critique of Dating God

Why Jesus Isn't Your Boyfriend: A Critique of Dating God


Jun 25 2012
Christian women need a better framework for relating to God amid their singleness.

It's no secret that marriage is on the decline in the United States. The most recent Census revealed that 32 million Americans are now in single households, and that married people are no longer the majority. Some are single by necessity or life circumstances, others by choice or career aspirations. And then there those who are functionally single but married to themselves. Yes, I'm talking about self-marriage, complete with marriage ceremony, commitment papers, and vows. A recent CNN article points to a segment of single people who are choosing to "marry themselves" rather than another person. These are hardly lonely, disconnected people who simply cannot find a spouse. Instead, they are choosing self-marriage to show how happy they truly are as singles. As one woman put it, marrying herself allowed her to see that all the love she needed was inside herself. "I started discovering that the love I need, it's in here," Nadine Schweigert said, pointing to her heart.

As the article states, this is hardly a developing trend. It is doubtful that people will begin seeing "Karen and Karen Are Getting Married!" invites arriving in their mailbox this summer. But before we begin writing these people off as a fringe movement in self-love, we should note that Christians just as easily embrace false notions of what it means to be single.

My mom once told me about a girl she knew in college who would pluck petals off a flower, slowly reciting, "He loves me, he loves me not, he loves me." On the occasion that she would end with "he loves me" she would exclaim for the entire dorm to hear, "He loves me! Jesus loves me!"

Jesus, in her mind, was her boyfriend.

It was not uncommon at my conservative Christian college to overhear girls say that Jesus was their "boyfriend" until God brought the right man along. I once had a girl tell me she could not hang out on a Friday night because she had a "date" with God. In our churches, many of our praise and worship songs border on the "love song" language, leading many girls to equate those warm and fuzzy feelings that come with attraction with Jesus. This is a dangerous place to be. Not only is it an incomplete picture of who our Christ is, it also sends the message that the girls (and women) who are truly devoted to Jesus equate contentment in him with a romantic relationship with him.

Just as self-marriage misses the mark for what God designed marriage to point to, "marriage" to Jesus misses what his work accomplished. Marriage to Jesus while waiting for a husband can often trivialize our Savior in a way that makes him more like a sweet boyfriend who takes us out on dates, rather than the God-man who paid for our sin on the cross. Jesus did not accomplish redemption to marry us individually. He died for the church corporate, of which we are apart. His death accomplished something much greater than simply meeting our deep-seated desires for a significant other. That is what Paul is getting at in Ephesians 5:22-33 when speaks of the mystery of marriage.

Related Topics:Dating; Doctrine
From: June 2012
Support our work. Subscribe to CT and get one year free.

Comments

To add a comment you need to be a registered user or Christianity Today subscriber.

orSubscribeor
More from Her.menutics
Q+A: Why Letting the Dishes Go Can Save Your Soul

Q+A: Why Letting the Dishes Go Can Save Your Soul

In her latest book, Shauna Niequist trades “competition, comparison, and exhaustion for meaning, connection, and unconditional love."
After Childhood Abuse, How Can I Trust Others with My Kids?

After Childhood Abuse, How Can I Trust Others with My Kids?

I equip my daughters to protect themselves and their bodies in ways I didn’t learn to.
Too Many Transitions Can Traumatize Our Kids

Too Many Transitions Can Traumatize Our Kids

I know from experience what happens when children face moving, divorce, or other stressful life change—and how we can help them.
The 5 Truths Stay-at-Home and Working Moms Can Agree On

The 5 Truths Stay-at-Home and Working Moms Can Agree On

After interviewing 120 women, I saw glimmers of a truce in the Mommy Wars.
Include results from Christianity Today
Browse Archives:

So Hot Right Now

The Truth About Living with an Invisible Illness

God sees me and my pain even when others cannot.

Follow Us

Twitter

  • Why Shauna Niequist is giving up on perfect @sniequist #presentoverperfect https://t.co/sXsy7n5Sjb
  • @KuoAlexandria Thanks for sharing!
  • RT @KuoAlexandria: In light of current events, great advice 4 Christian women @CT_Women : "Six Tips for Women Afraid to Talk Politics" http2026
  • The lovely @sniequist is chatting with us today! (Interview by @AndreaPalpant) https://t.co/sXsy7n5Sjb
  • RT @lorewilbert: I LOVE this short piece from @gloriafurman on discipling younger women. Sharing life and speaking the word: https://t.co/c2026


What We're Reading

CT eBooks and Bible Studies

Christianity Today
Why Jesus Isn't Your Boyfriend: A Critique of Dating God