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About the Book

Friendlationships: From Like, to Like Like, to Love in Your Twenties

By Jeff Taylor
Relevant Books
ISBN: 0976364212

On both sides of the passionate road of love is the less desirable stage of friendship. Anyone who’s ever been there knows the terrain is perilous. Friendlationships shares stories of those who are in your shoes and gives insight into how relationship issues can make or break your spiritual life. After all, relationship advice should be about more than sex or dating methods. Friendlationships covers all the stages between and during this thing called love.

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More articles for Singles on CBN.com

 
CONTENTMENT

Avoiding the Couples 'Cult'ure

By Jeff Taylor

CBN.com Meet Joe. Joe has three really close friends, and he does everything with them. They hang out all the time and have been compared to a band of brothers. Then Joe meets “her.” Guys, you know what I am talking about. She is cute, but not good-looking enough for Joe; she is nice, but not nice enough. After all, Joe desires a girl who is incredible, and this girl, well, she is just mediocre from your point of view. The problem is, however, that he really likes her. No, he really, really likes her. He likes her so much, in fact, that you hardly ever see him anymore. He spends all of his time with her, and the little time he spends with you is awkward because he is looking at you through the lens of “we-ness” (i.e. “WE do not like to eat Chinese food” or “We cannot go out because we always watch Felicity together”). You can even tell that he secretly pities you because of your singles solitude. Then, the realization hits: “Dear God, he has been infected by The Couples CULTure! He is one of them!”

The Couples CULTure is a group of couples who seek to separate themselves from the rest of society and hang out with others just like them. You can deduce their association with this group by their innate desire to be defined solely by their relationship. In essence, it would appear to those who knew the individuals BH (Before Him/Her) that they have lost all sense of self and identity. That is the stigma of couple-hood. These days, many couples are viewed the same way; as they begin a relationship, they forsake their own individual identities for the chance of acceptance. This is not always the case, but The Couples CULTure is doing nothing to hinder the stereotype. In fact, if you are different from those in The Couples CULTure, they will either ignore you or attempt to have you join and become “one of them.” Couples get a bad rap, and I think I know why.

The truth must be revealed.

We have all been in situations where we are hanging out by ourselves with a couple that does not seem to know you exist. They are so “into each other” that you are barely a blip on their radar. Any conversation you make somehow ties into the love they have for each other or is soundly ignored while they stare lovingly into each other’s eyes. It looks like “true love,” when in fact it is rude and disrespectful to the other person. “That will never be me,” many people state until they are assimilated.

You do have a choice.

Do not be fooled by the wedding band on my finger or the marriage license with my name on it. Alison and I utterly refuse to take part in that CULTure and have been ostracized. We are fine with that; after all, we strive for unity not uniformity. But some of you are in The Couples CULTure without even realizing it. Now, I would like to give you a few warning signs that you, my friend, might be taking part in The Couples CULTure.

1) Another couple instantly becomes your new best friends.

After all, single people can never relate to you anymore. Only couples can! You must be friends with a couple first and foremost. Why is this? You do not instantly become another person as soon as you are in a relationship, unless you are in The Couples CULTure. Your single friends are still your friends. Being in a relationship does not change that. For a short while Alison and I tried to find couples with which to hang out and spend time. Many couples we encountered were dull as dirt because they were too into each other. It was impossible for us to relate to them because all they knew (and frankly, all they wanted to know) was each other. They had their own little world and were content to be oblivious to everyone else. There was no way they could invest in us or help us grow, and it was very unlikely they wanted to be invested in either. After all, they had each other. I do not know if you ever listen to other people’s conversations, but a pair of couples that are best friends have some of the dullest conversation you can imagine. Everything is funny and/or wacky. Think about your friendships. Where are your single friends? Do you have difficulties identifying with them now?

2) You become increasingly awkward around single people.

If you are having problems being around single people, you have a problem. Being awkward with singles and embracing couples you barely know is a vicious cycle. Again, there is no need for awkwardness around single people. They do not need your pity for being single; they need you to be their friend. Throughout my life I have had many good friends who disappear the second they get a girlfriend. Then when they would make time to hang out with me, it was very weird. I have a friend who used to play me in Nintendo 64’s Goldeneye 007 all the time. It is a very fun game, and he and I would have a blast. As usual, I was dominating. (Trevelyan. Grenade Launchers. Temple. If you have the guts.) After his sound defeat, he looked at me and said, “It’s fine. You won this game. Now, I’m just gonna go hang out with my girlfriend. You know, since I actually have one.” (Note: This type of trash talking is typical among guys and is also grounds for a beating. Seriously, rappers have shot each other for this kind of talk.) You see, the joke belied a hidden truth. He felt as if he was lowering himself to play me in a video game. After all, he had a girlfriend; he had no more use for me. Anyway, she dumped him a month later. I even let him win a game of Goldeneye. Yeah, right. I am not that empathetic. My point is that your single friends still have value and are still people. Choose to be their friend, not their object of mockery and “why doesn’t she spend time with us anymore, that jerk” conversations.

3) You ask permission to do things.

“I do not know if I can hang out or not. I will have to see if it is OK with him.” Ouch. Remember when I said that in a dating relationship, the date is implied? True, a date is implied, but spending every spare moment with your SigOth (Significant Other) is not. It is actually healthy for you two to do things apart from one another regularly (as long as it is not harmful to the relationship). You are not married yet. You are not joined at the heart, so there is no need to be joined at the hip either. You do not have to ask permission to do anything. Of course, you need to show consideration, but there is a fine line between showing consideration and acting whipped. This applies to guys and girls alike. It is not, “I need to check with her and see if it is OK.” It is either, “Of course, let me call and let her know,” or “Well, I would love to, but I already have plans.” Make your time together a priority, but also respect each other’s need for time apart.

4) You feel the need to proselytize all of your single friends into The Couples CULTure.

In other words, you try to hook everybody up. Don’t bother. It is not your responsibility to put everyone in a relationship. Resist the temptation. After all, if you try to fix your single friends up, it confirms the fact that you have pity on them and that their life will not have meaning unless they are in a relationship. That is inaccurate and hurtful. It is wise to not transfer your insecurities onto others.

5) Your spiritual life is dependent on your SigOth’s attitude.

Remember the earlier statement about taking joy in a worship service because you felt you received approval from the person you had your eye on? This is what happens when you leave that problem unchecked. You find yourself spiritually dry because your SigOth happens to be in a bad mood. I have known dating couples who, if one person was sick and unable to attend church, the other would not attend either. In a marital relationship that is often necessary in order to help with housework and whatnot, but in a dating relationship it is not needed. You do not go to heaven in pairs.

If any of these apply to you, you have my pity. But all is not lost. There are many things that you can do to prevent finding your identity in someone else. One thing that you need to do is take at least one day a week off from each other. This gives you time to be alone and work on things that need attention. It also gives you a chance to hang out with your single friends who you may not get to see as much. Every person needs people of the same gender with whom to identify and encourage.

You also need to spend serious time working on your relationship with God. Is something lacking with God that you feel the need to look for in someone else? There might be some serious soul-work to do. Spend time intentionally building your relationship with Christ. The more you do this, the better SigOth you will become.

We do not achieve our “destiny” by being in a relationship. That is not our goal. Our goal is to grow closer and love God; you can do this as a single person or as one in a relationship. The people around us will all die someday; if we allow ourselves to be defined by them, then where does that leave us when they are gone?

People in The Couples CULTure hate being single. They utterly hate being alone and feel as if their happiness is defined by true love. Is it wrong to desire a relationship? No. Should that be your desire above all others? Absolutely not. Find peace in God, not in others.

Oh yeah, and don’t bring SigOths into your video game trash-talking.

To read part one of this article click here.


Excerpted from Friendlationships by Jeff Taylor, copyright © 2005. Used with permission from Relevant Media Group. All rights to this material are reserved. Materials are not to be distributed to other web locations for retrieval, published by other media, or mirrored at other sites without written permission. Visit the publisher's Web site at www.RelevantBooks.com.

 

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