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[updated: 8/26/20]

When it comes to pursuing a serious relationship, are you afraid of commitment? Or something else?

Fear of commitment is a popular explanation for why someone might not want to take a relationship further.

But many times it’s not the correct explanation.

It’s not that I think people are lying when they say this – at least not to other people – but I do wonder if they’re lying to themselves.

Of course, you should feel confident about a serious relationship commitment before proceeding. Because the sad reality is that many who feel confident about their readiness for a serious relationship later discover it was only a feeling. It wasn’t reality

Indeed, if you doubt your readiness for a serious commitment I would urge you to consider whether you should be dating at all.

Now some may not blame fear, but time, saying, “I just don’t have time for that kind of commitment.”

Though this may be true in many cases, might I suggest that some conveniently pull the “commitment card” because they know it’s an accepted excuse for withdrawing from a relationship without further explanation.

However, more than commitment, I have begun to suspect it’s relational intimacy many of us are afraid of.

We desperately want to grow closer, but we don’t think we can afford to get too close.

We’re afraid to let our guard down and allow someone to get to know who we really are.

Many of us don’t even know ourselves. But we know enough. Enough to know we have weaknesses.

And fears.

And failures.

And sin.

But admitting that (even in the vaguest sense in which I just did) already requires more vulnerability than really seems prudent, and so we say, “I’m afraid of commitment.”

When the truth is, we’re just plain scared.

And you may have good reason. Your parents have let you down. Your whole family has let you down. Your friends have. Coaches and teachers have. The church has.

And yes, perhaps even past loves have let you down as well.

And so your heart aches for healing that seems illusive. (Can you see how dangerous dating could be for someone in this situation?)

But it doesn’t have to be that way, and it can’t be that way if you want to walk in the high calling God has placed on your life.

Do you believe God can heal you from your past?

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. – Romans 8:28 (NASB)

Do you believe God actually brought His beloved son back from the dead?

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? – Romans 8:31-32 (NASB)

Our God is the God of the resurrection! His healing power is perfect, infinite and unchanging. Your pain is not. The God who can calm the sea can calm your soul!

For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 8:38-39 (NASB)

Do you believe those words from Romans? Really?

I hope so, because if you can believe in this God, you have someone you can trust to walk you through the process of growing in intimacy. And you can avoid the siren call of the numerous intimacy impostors which will tempt you to abandon this arduous endeavor.

This is a commitment you cannot afford to pass up. If you will trust God, He will not only reveal who you are and why you’re here, but He will empower you to walk in your true identity and purpose.

Hope this blog series becomes a signpost along your journey. Next week we’ll look at the daunting requirements for healthy intimacy. Then we’ll compare them to the seemingly easy prerequisites for the intimacy impostors.


  • Have you ever said, “I’m afraid of commitment”? Do you think that’s really what you’re afraid of? Why or why not?
  • Is letting someone know the “real you” scary? If so, why? (list the reasons) If not, who knows the “real you”? (list them)
  • If you’ve been hurt by loved ones in the past, what have you done to deal with that hurt so you can establish a healthy, whole relationship with a new loved one?” Is there a next step you feel you should take? Would you pray for the courage to take that step?

Date Night Advice (DNA) series: Relation^ology
Part 1: The Deepest Need of Your Soul
Click here for the next post in the series.

Prefer to watch instead of read more on why we can be so afraid of true intimacy, check out this episode featuring the life lessons of Michael Phelps from our LoveEd series, Relation^ology, on our FMU YouTube channel.

DNA: It’s What’s For Dating

Dug this weekend’s DNA? Be a good friend and share with your friends on the social media platform of choice: Instagram, Youtube, Facebook, or Twitter.

The LoveEd discipleship series, Beyond Sex & Salvation, will empower you to prepare for relational success when it counts: BEFORE you fall in love!

It’s NOT for couples, but for any wise individual who thinks they might want to get married sometime before they die. And would like to learn how to better build healthy relationships in the meantime.

Check out all three study guides in our store. You can walk through them on your own, but it’s more fun with friends (that and it kinda makes sense to grow in relational success in actual relationships with others), so consider putting together an FMU LoveEd small group study.

Even better? And ask a rock star married couple you respect to lead it!

[originally published: July 23, 2014]