Do You Consumer Date?

We live in a crazy consumer culture.  I mean we always have to have the latest thing that will somehow fulfill our latest need.  Have the Iphone 4? Don’t worry the 5 will be better, faster, more features.  So you better have it – and right now!  I had the same phone for like 6 years.  Now I get a new one every year. (Full disclosure – I’m so totally going to go get the Iphone 5)

We used to save stuff, protect stuff and use it again.  Nothing was disposable.  Now almost everything is.  Now granted with harder economic times this has changed a little. But not much.  We have a desire, there is a product to meet it.

This attitude of consumerism has leaked into every area of our culture – including the church and for sure dating and marriage.

It starts with the idea that dating and marriage is about meeting my needs.  This is part of the problem with the idea of THE ONE.  The idea that there will be one perfect person that will satisfy me or meet my needs.  This is of course false – Jesus is the only ONE.  But that isn’t what we often think.

This can cause us to go through date after date or even relationship after relationship.

We try them all on and see if it fits just right.  Which it never does.  As soon as we figure out that this person isn’t meeting our needs, it’s over.  There must be a better product (person) out there for me.  Time to trade in the Igirl 4 for the newer model.

The truth is there will always be another person.  There’s always someone hotter, who gets me better, who will meet this or that particular need.  There will always be someone else. Always.

This can also keep us from ever having a date.

It’s like all we do is window shop.  We look at someone and determine before we ever meet them if they could be THE ONE.  We determine they aren’t because of this or that factor.  We might even test drive them.  Let’s all hang out together and get to know each other as friends.  Really?!  We end up ruling people out before we ever even pursue them. Why – well I’m not attracted to her this week etc.

Some of this happens because we are just flat afraid of choosing wrong.  We’ve seen so many relationships go bad.  But some of it is we just need to get over ourselves.  I mean when we consumer date we are basically saying, “Hey I’ve got all my stuff together so I need someone who can meet my desires and needs.  So as long as you do that we are good to go.”  Everyone wants to consumer date, but no one wants to be consumer dated.

Here’s the best part – sometimes in Christianity we accidentally reinforce this idea.

We tell singles (young ones especially) that the person they marry should have all these traits.  We tell them what they are looking for – the Proverbs 31 woman or the Ephesians 5 guy.  Hahaha.  I mean who lives that out perfectly?  I can remember as a young Christian making a list of “requirements” for this person (plus she had to be hot of course – I mean you have to be attracted).  This did keep me from marrying the wrong person I guess, although it also helped keep me from marrying any person.

Now I’m not suggesting that we should have no standards – especially as a follower of Jesus.  But at the same time you don’t marry a list.  You marry a person.

This is why our understanding of marriage is so important.  It’s a covenant not a contract. It’s not a freaking purchase.  It’s a commitment for life.  Think about the vows you take (at least most of the time).  They are all about what you are going to do.  You don’t say, “I promise to be with you as long as you love me the right way.”  No!  “You say I promise to love you no matter what happens.”

This is soooo hard for most of us.  It really is.  But changing this mindset changes everything. All of a sudden I’m not looking for this person who can meet every need the way I want.  Instead I’m looking for this person who I’m going to choose to love no matter what.  Those are two totally different things.

So, are you a consumer dater?  What is it you are really looking for?