I’m no expert on love, but I’ve been around enough healthy and God-glorifying relationships to have an idea of how it should work. I think those two things, healthy and God-glorifying, have been swept under the dirty rugs of something I’ve only recently learned about and am not a fan of—cuffing season.
After extensive research in the form of googling, I found out that cuffing season is a phenomenon that occurs due to the cold weather and holidays, with people rushing to enter relationships so as to not brave the chilly nights and intrusive family questions regarding your current relationship status alone. While two may seem better than one, relationships like these become defined by both partners’ inability to be alone and the fleeting feelings that come with hand-holding and cozy sweatshirt-stealing, rather than an actual relationship.
I suppose it’s important to define my terms, rather than relying on common definitions, most of which I disagree with. A healthy and God-glorifying relationship between a guy and a girl is not a marriage covenant, and isn’t characterized by those aspects that make marriage indeed marriage, namely physical and emotional intimacy. However, it is intentional, holy and ultimately, a prerequisite for marriage. Fewer people see dating as something more than fun and casual—though it certainly is a lot of fun. It’s ultimately a way of seeing if you two are ready and compatible for marriage. And, rather than enter a relationship, I’ve known people to blur the lines between friendships and relationships. I guess that’s easier than the long-term benefits of acting like an actual adult in a real-adult relationship.
With those definitions in mind, cuffing season bothers me. And treating another brother or sister in Christ as something more than that without the commitment of actually being in a relationship frustrates me as well. It cheapens something that could be beautiful, fun and holy. The Bible calls us to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, and something like grabbing the nearest warm body to curb your lonely holiday season seems very antithetical to this call.
My two-cents—date or don’t. There’s nothing wrong with being in a relationship or staying single, but riding that line between dating and not dating isn’t fair to you, the other person or God. So the next time you’re lonely and feel like snuggling, grab a body pillow or go crash at your best friend’s place. You won’t regret spending your time with them.