Godly Dating Principle #8: Accountability is Key
“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” ~Galatians 6:2
Bearing with each other means helping each other live the life of faith. Every one of us has things with which we struggle and areas in which we are weak. We are never meant to overcome these things alone. We need people in our community to help us stay on track–especially in living out godly relationships.
Another word for this is accountability. It entails bringing a third party into the relationship and giving them permission to ‘check in’ on how things are going from time to time. It is good for the woman to find a woman and a man to find a man whom they can trust and can count on to be firm with them in asking whether they are upholding their commitments to God.
I have a girlfriend who is engaged and about to married. She and I have agreed to be that person in each other’s lives who asks the real and yes, sometimes awkward questions. It doesn’t have to be anything super formal or formulaic, just an agreement between two people to hold up your end of the bargain and really keep checking in. The way it works with my friend is I’ll just ask her every now and then how things are going in her relationship–emotionally, spiritually, physically–and she gives me the honest answer. If there are areas in which she is struggling, such as sexual temptation, we will pray about it and talk about ways she can overcome it, for the Apostle Paul says God will not allow us to be tempted “…beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it” (1 Corinthians 10:13). An accountability partner can be there for support, encouragement and prayer in the face of temptation.
Here are some other real life examples of how others have incorporated accountability into their dating lives:
- “I met with my accountability partner as soon as we started the dating relationship and put in writing all the values/standards that were important for me to uphold in the relationship. I signed it and gave a copy to my accountability partner to keep so that when I suddenly became blinded and weakened by love, she could help me ‘stick to the plan’ during the relationship. It worked like a gem and I was so grateful to have her prayerful support!”
- “I had my accountability partner meet the person with whom I was in a relationship so she could get to know and observe how we interact as a couple. I thought this was really crucial in how she would later be able to advise me in situations.”
- “I meet weekly with my accountability partner as a way of ‘checking in’ and remaining transparent. I have learned to be really open and honest and it has helped me keep my relationship in perspective in the context of my faith. Having this safe outlet has been such a blessing to me!”
- “I inform my accountability partner when I am going out on a date and have her call me at 10pm. Knowing she is going to call helps me to avoid putting myself in compromising situations where I know I will be tempted.”
- “I have promised my accountability partner that each time I compromise on my stated values, I will be completely honest in telling her. Knowing I will have to do this really makes me think twice before crossing boundaries.”
The person to hold you accountable should be someone of your choice. It doesn’t have to be a pastor or a licensed professional. It simply needs to be someone in your immediate community (ideally in the same city, but long distance is okay if it is the only option) who knows you well, whose advice you trust and in whom you feel comfortable confiding about the ‘real’ stuff.
Including a third part to hold you accountable may sound like one big fun killer. But stay with me! If we really are serious about honoring God in this aspect of the relationship, it calls for serious measures to be taken.But serious measures do NOT mean there is no fun to be had! It just ensures that you are paving the way for a relationship that honors and pleases God and in turn will receive the maximum benefits and blessings–emotionally, spiritually and physically–for both you and your partner.
So don’t delay, if you are in a dating relationship, find an accountability partner who will be willing to walk this journey of faith with you and help you to bear the burden of maintaining a godly relationship. It’s so worth it!
**This is the 8th Principle of Godly Dating out of a 10-part series. Please join in the conversation and share your thoughts, questions and comments! And stay tuned for next week’s Godly Dating Principle #9: Stay Connected to Community. See you then!