After a recent Preparation for University stream, a participant left us with the question “Do you have any relationship advice for during university from a Christian point of view?”. Yes, we do! Your time at university could be the place where your calling comes alive! As disciples, part of that calling is to let our light shine before others (Matthew 5:14) wherever we find ourselves, whether in a relationship or not. Your view of relationships as you prepare for university has the potential to help your calling come alive, or become a distraction from it.
Will your light shine before others? Or will it be hidden?
Sam and Viki from the Fusion team answer 5 questions that will help you to think through how you might approach relationships during your time at university.
To read Viki’s thoughts from the girls’ perspective, click here.
Can I be truly happy when I’m single?
A great question, and one that I think we’ve all thought at some point, even just in passing. The short answer, and you probably already know this, is yes. However, I know that it might not always feel that way for you. Singleness, lads, is a blessing. You may go through phases where it feels like more of a blessing than other times, but it is still a blessing! This issue is really about your contentment.
Can you find contentment where you are? Is your striving for a relationship indicative of a deeper issue? Will you find yourself striving for the next thing as soon as you find yourself in a relationship? These are some important questions to ask of yourself.
Is my life complete without a relationship?
The short answer again, is “Yes, of course!”. I know, similar to the first question though, it may not always feel that way. A good thing for you to do will be to start establishing what the objective truths are when it comes to relationships and dating.
This is a highly emotive area of life, and our judgement can become clouded easily. If there’s one liberating truth we can take from scripture, it’s that we are made complete with our relationship with the Father (Isaiah 54:10). Not anything of this world - and that includes relationships.
Who should I involve in dating/a relationship?
I know it seems like the answer here ought to be “well, the other person”, but it’s worth remembering the role that community can play here. Chatting things through with your mates, a mentor, or someone else you trust is generally a very, very good idea. We need to be held accountable in relationships. Who will be asking you the questions that you might try and avoid yourself?
This may seem really awkward to do at first. But let me encourage you in seeking the counsel of others when it comes to relationships and dating. Lads, we’re pretty hopeless at talking about this stuff. Let’s face the awkwardness head on, and get real with the people around us.
Should I be setting boundaries?
Definitely. God gives us the prospect of sex and relationships to create something with. When we’re creating, we have to stay within the limits of creative freedom to make something worthwhile. A great piece of music (Style by Taylor Swift if you’re asking me boys) pays respect to key signatures, time signatures, rhythmic progression - and the result is great.
It’s the same with sex. God’s given us a brilliant thing in sex, and we need to be aware of how to use it well. The world around you at uni is likely to view sex pretty casually. You have an amazing chance to treat it differently!
I want to encourage you to think about what healthy boundaries might look like for you, both with respects to sex and other areas of relationships and dating.
What if it goes wrong?
I wish I could promise you lads that it will be simple and easy for your dating life at university. It might well be! However, there’s a strong likelihood that you will encounter some kind of difficulty. The person you like doesn’t like you back, breakups, shockwaves being sent through friendship groups - all of these can leave us feeling a great deal of pain.
Pain is part and parcel of being in the world. Jesus assures us of this (John 16:33). He felt it too.
There are some things you can do for when you find yourself with a wounded heart, however.
- Surround yourself: We mentioned the role of the community in helping you to process dating and relationships, and it’s no more prevalent than here, in assisting with the fallout of pain.
- Be real: You’ll probably feel a lot of pressure (both internally and externally) to ‘be better’, and to ‘get over it’. There are no time limits on how long it will take you to heal.
- Be kind: There’s a really cool part of the book Micah in the Bible, right at the end. It says that God shows us unfailing love because it delights him to do so. God loves to love. It might seem like the last thing you’re capable of after someone has hurt you, but think about what it would look like to pray for them, to love them, and to be kind to them. Oh, and be kind to yourself too. I can’t stress that enough. Don’t hold the failure of whatever it was that went wrong over yourself too much, especially if the people around you are telling you it wasn’t your fault. This is a huge part of the healing process!
- Accept grace: You’re gonna get some things wrong at times too lads. We can set out with the best of intentions, but sometimes it doesn’t go the way we planned, and a large part of the blame can lie at our door. It happens. We need to take the chance to repent here, and to accept the grace of God that was so freely poured out for us on the cross.
Fusion is committed to preparing you well before you go to university. Why not reserve your place at our free Prep for Uni sessions now?
If you’d like to learn more about who God has called you to be, why not get a copy of A Call Less Ordinary?