I have grown up going to church in a Christian home with Christian parents. I am currently unsure of my beliefs in God, but I have learned some important lessons about dating and romantic relationships from various Christians in my life.
- Unconditional love. No one is perfect and everyone makes mistakes. The Christians in my life, including my parents, have modeled unconditional love and taught me that this is an important aspect of a successful romantic relationship. Loving someone despite their mistakes, imperfections, and habits that can be annoying is tough but incredibly important. Love cannot be based entirely on emotions, because it will not last. This takes me to my next point, which is interrelated.
- Forgiveness. People hurt each other unintentionally or intentionally while driven by anger. Being forgiving and asking for forgiveness in these situations strengthens the relationship. It is not forgetting the offense or saying that it does not or did not matter or have effects, but rather it is moving on from that, not letting it have continuing effects and interfere with the relationship. It is important to not have an attitude of self-righteousness or of being better than others, but rather to care about the other person’s feelings.
- Faithfulness/Commitment. At a point of exclusivity, using the words boyfriend and girlfriend, or being a couple, not becoming romantically, emotionally, or physically involved with anyone else. I know it has been pointed out before, but I’ll say it here: Cheating not only breaks the trust of the other person, but it also causes emotional damage in the person being cheated on. The point of an exclusive relationship is to only be with that person and the relationship will last longer if there is faithfulness from both sides. This along with unconditional love and forgiveness will lead to a better, stronger relationship.
These are three lessons I learned about dating and romantic relationships from the Christians in my life that are applicable regardless of religiosity.