Dating, on one level, is very intellectual. You can write out your relationship and your boundaries and define what dating means. You can control most of that. But our emotions are very dangerous because they are very difficult to control. They can cloud our judgment.
Surely I’m not the only one who has experienced these moments of irrational responses. You know, when it’s 10:00 p.m., your husband has gone to bed, and you are peering into an oven that has thoroughly burnt the bread you were counting on. And here come the waterworks.
Or when I wake up from a horrible dream in which my husband, cleverly nicknamed “Dream Kevin” has been yelling and screaming at me in this nightmare. When I wake up, I am then beyond angry at him – for something he never did!
Women, more so than men, have emotional reactions to situations. We may not even realize that it’s happening. Women tend to be very concerned about other people’s feelings. We tend to sympathize intuitively. We want everyone to stay happy. We want to nurture everyone and everything around us – even inanimate stuffed animals.
So when Kevin and I started dating, he had no clue what an emotional boundary should look like between us. Quite frankly, at first, neither did I. But here are a few from the list we compiled together.
– Kevin did not need to be the first person I ran to with all my news – whether good or bad.
– I needed to preserve a good chunk of time dedicated to hanging out with my friends.
– I needed to feel free to tell Kevin how I felt – whether good or bad.
– I didn’t need him to know everything.
When you are dating, it’s easy to want to pour your entire life out to them – including how you feel at every moment of the day. But I needed to maintain a healthy balance between a dating relationship and a friend relationship. I didn’t want to become dependent on Kevin’s response to my every feeling.
One reason we need emotional boundaries is to remind ourselves to cry out to the Lord – not to a man – for help.
Romans 8:26 is a good reminder that the Lord can do more than just sympathize with our emotions, He can understand them:
In the same way the Spirit also joins to help in our weakness, because we do not know what to pray for as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with unspoken groanings.
In a dating relationship? Pray about your emotional boundaries. Not in a dating relationship? Make certain you have some of these same boundaries in your friendships. Everyone needs to take their emotions – both of joy and sorrow – to the Lord.