At 2 am, the pillow fights always stopped. The third chick flick went to credits, our young voices grew hushed, and the serious conversations began.
Those middle-of-the-night moments were always my favorite part of sleeping over with friends when I was growing up.
I cherished the rare honesty spurred on by sleep deprivation, and the bonds we forged sharing about our deepest fears, dreams, and heartaches.
When I started dating, I fell in love with serious conversations even more. We didn’t need to wait until 2 am to open up our hearts.
As much as I value serious conversations, though, I’ve learned that having them most or all of the time is not healthy — whether you’re just friends, dating, or married.
In my own life, I’ve seen four toxic beliefs related to serious conversations surface again and again.
If your boyfriend has ever said he feels like “you never have fun together” or you feel that way yourself, consider if you’re giving one of these false beliefs too much credit.
1. We need to solve every problem together
Yet relationship problems are rarely resolved overnight. Change takes time. Healing takes time. These are active processes, but they don’t need to consume 100% of your video calls.
With most relationship problems, I’ve found that the bulk of the work needs to happen in my own heart.
After you’ve identified what change needs to happen, continuing to talk about it together can be a sly cover for avoiding talking to God about it.
The next time you want to talk about a relationship problem, try saying what you’re feeling to God first.
Tell him all of your concerns and hurt feelings, then pray and pray and pray for humility.
2. Wise dating is always serious
The primary purpose of Christian dating is to determine whether you should get married. Dating “just for fun” or without any thought to the future is harmful to both of you.
And yet, dating only to determine whether you should get married isn’t healthy, either.
If your conversations sound like pre-marital questionnaires, you’re getting ahead of yourselves. And talking too much about marriage will lead you to shaky emotional purity.
Dating should be a delightful experience! Because your joy and God’s glory aren’t mutually exclusive, you can embrace lightheartedness and grow in holiness at the same time.
Truly, I think this belief comes more from fear of marrying the wrong person than it comes from fear of the Lord.
Trust the Lord to guide you in the decision to marry, and trust him to create beauty out of brokenness if you make a bad decision.
3. Maturity = serious conversations
I loved serious sleepover conversations as a 13-year-old because it made me feel mature. We were too old to play sardines all night because we had real problems to deal with.
Ironically, my mindset isn’t all that different now. Most of the time that I feel like I’m being mature, I’m actually blindly immature.
We’re trying too hard to be adults when we believe that maturity equals only having serious conversations. Life is a lot more fun than we make it out to be.
If you’re struggling with this belief, ask yourself who you’re trying to please. It may be your boyfriend, your Bible study leader, your boss, or yourself. Whatever the case, I’m guessing it’s not God.
Jesus says in Matthew 18:3-4, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”
Jesus’ words reveal that seeking an appearance of maturity hides a tangled mess of pride. God delights in those who are humble enough to enjoy simple gifts without caring what others think.
4. I am not a fun person
“I’m just not capable of being fun.” Have you ever thought that?
I don’t believe that’s true. You may never be a comedian or the life of the party, but you can learn to have fun with others in your own unique way.
Sometimes, though, you might be facing very real roadblocks to joy. Maybe you’re struggling with depression, anxiety, or just a lot going on in your life.
When I experienced some of those things a year and a half ago, talking with a counselor helped me a lot. I’d encourage you to do the same if you’re struggling with this false belief.
If you’re not sure where to find a Christian counselor, I’d recommend Restore Counseling Services. They offer flexible, online appointments to accommodate people in any time zone. I know the couple who runs Restore personally, and they are kind, godly people.
There’s no shame in talking with someone about what you’re going through. You’re not in this alone.
Infuse Fun Into Your Conversations
To recap, four toxic beliefs about serious conversations are:
- We need to solve every problem together
- Wise dating is always serious
- Maturity = serious conversations
- I am not a fun person
Do you struggle with one of these? Before you jump over to a new tab to search for online games and date ideas, think about this:
Infusing fun into your conversations begins by finding joy in Christ.
Practical ideas are useful and helpful (that’s why we have an Ideas section on Dating at a Distance). But they can’t solve the deeper problems of toxic beliefs about serious conversations.
When you seek joy in Christ more than joy in your relationship, you’ll end up with more of both. Start there, at the heart level.