Relationship advice is like those weird cousins who refuse to eat anything except mac and cheese and crackers and make weird animal noises when it is definitely not appropriate to be making weird animal noises. Everyone’s got some. Your dad has dating advice, your mom’s got dating advice, your uncle, your piano teacher, your soccer coach, your homeroom teacher, the kid that eats glue, the jocks, the nerds, your pastor, your friends, your dentist; the list goes on and on.
At Point Loma Nazarene University, it’s easy to get caught up in the world of dating. When crammed into close quarters with a large number of people, one begins to participate in such a past time. Given the circumstances of dorm life and the newfound freedom that college offers, love is bound to bloom. It’s human nature. This love can be beautiful; it is beautiful, but it’s also difficult to navigate.
I started dating someone my freshman year and it was a brand new experience for me. It was exciting and fresh and fun, but during my junior year, it ended. Without a doubt, that relationship was one of the best things that happened to me in my life. Growing with another human being, who you love dearly, is a precious gift that is offered to us, and seeing them grow throughout the process is doubly rewarding. Even though a majority of the relationship was filled with beauty, laughter, and joy, there were indeed moments, peppered throughout, of hardship, pain and emptiness.
It’s hard to work your way through the unknown waters of dating and relationships. No one has all the answers and very few have any answers at all. It’s a serious affair that can either lead to a happy ending or a tragic downfall.
A lot of people put an incredible amount of weight on dating and relationships, like I’ve just done in the previous sentences. That pressure can lead to overthinking, anxiety, paranoia, apprehension, fear, fill-in-the-blank with whatever handicap you prefer. Dating at our age, and in the Christian community that we find ourselves in at PLNU, can be a one way path to thinking, “I’m never going to find anyone that loves me and I’m going to spend the rest of my life alone and die with no one except seventeen cats by my side.” A valid thought, but one that might be slightly hyperbolic.
Yes it’s true that relationships and dating can be a very confusing road with bends and sharp turns, mountains and valleys, and it’s true that dating is a serious thing. Investing one’s time into another human being isn’t some fun ‘hobby.’ When done with love and intentionality, it takes time, patience, and overall a clear sense of personhood. Easier said than done.
With a culture that places a great deal of importance on dating, I think it’s crucial for us to take some air out of the topic. To lighten it up some bit. To joke about it. To poke fun at it. To play around with it and laugh together over the messiness of it all. That’s my intention with this column. To take the topic of dating and relationships and crack it wide open for all of us to look at and realize how intrinsically funny and backwards it can be. Like I said, it’s human nature for us to be interested in other people; so why not have some fun with it?
This is a place where I will be taking all of your dating, relationship, and love questions that you have and attempting to write some insightful, lighthearted, and comical words on it. So if you have questions, concerns, or complaints about what it’s like to date in a community like PLNU, during the year of our Lord 2021, send them my way and we can laugh, cry and enjoy them together.
By: Brennan Ernst