By Cally Logan, Crosswalk.com
As we turn the corner into the part of the year where celebrations and family gatherings are frequent for many, there can be pressure to find a date for the season. "Cuffing season," or "Holidates," is when you date someone from the period of Thanksgiving (or just before at Halloween even) until just past Valentine's Day in order to have someone as a plus one through the holidays. Although this can appear harmless at first, vulnerable human hearts are at stake here, and it has the potential of detrimental consequences. Don't let being lonely and dating someone out of loneliness be the drive to get into a relationship.
We all have that one relative who is just a little too into your business around the dinner table at holidays. Typically, the questions arise about your career and dating life, and for many, the latter is the more difficult one. Especially coming out of a Pandemic, dating is challenging to say the least. Instead of bringing a date to stifle those interrogations that occur, take the opportunity to share truthfully where you are and where your heart is. As intimidating as it may seem to share vulnerably with family members about your personal life in dating, it could also be an opportunity to invite them into prayer over your journey towards finding a spouse. Vulnerability breeds communication and connection, and it opens a door for them to share in their own struggles and paths. How did those around you come to find their spouse, or what are nuggets of wisdom they can share with you? Don't let the fear of showing up to family dinner alone make you open other Pandora's boxes. Instead, take off the saving face and dare to be real. Imagine how much closer your family could become with some courageous honesty.
Think of Your Date
Over the years, Hollywood has attempted to explore the ins and outs of what cuffing season can produce. Although it is far more dramatized and comical than reality, typically, film writers do a good job of capturing an important accuracy; human hearts involved in anything have the potential to be broken or bruised. The invitation to introduce someone you are going out with to your family and friends is a big step and not something to be taken lightly. It gives the person you are dating a sense of a serious relationship, and they will, in turn, feel the allowance to invest in those you are with. Your date will also feel secure with you when you bring them into the inner parts of your world. This is where heart and soul ties can be formed, and if you break up just after a holiday, it can cause serious heartbreak to the other person as well as trust issues. This is where the Golden Rule stands as a reminder; do unto others as you would have them do unto you. No one likes to feel used.
Think of Your Friends and Family
Friends and family are not often considered in those who could be hurt from a cuffing season relationship, but they ought to be. When you bring someone into your inner circle for holidays, there is an unspoken understanding that friends and family should connect or at least get to know your date. Especially if this dating period spans several months and important milestones of the year, there exist multiple opportunities for your date to connect with your friends and family. If then suddenly after Valentine's Day, there is a breakup, that can hurt those around you. I remember one of my friends from college began dating a girl for a few months and would bring her along through the holiday events, from apple picking to tacky lights. The other gals in the group and myself really enjoyed getting to know her and became fast friends. When they broke up in March, it then became a gray area of knowing where loyalties should lie and if it would be improper or not to continue a friendship with her. Thankfully, that gray area lasted only a few minutes until we realized that we valued her presence, her friendship, and who she is as a person, and all the girls and I chose to continue to get to know her even if she was not dating our guy friend. I am glad this was the case, as she continues to be one of my dearest friends to this day. But it is essential to consider that your actions do not only affect you and your date; consequences can also reach those around you.
Think of Yourself
Consider yourself as well in the idea of cuffing season. Are you drawn to date someone because you authentically have a pure connection with said person, or are you just feeling the aches of loneliness? It is not preference or aspiration to ever experience loneliness, but it is in that place that we have the crossroads of forging our own paths of distractions or vices or going to the Lord as a place of refuge as we wait. As difficult as it can be and as dark as those days can seem, know that the Lord has a time for everything, and if you are seeking His wisdom, guidance, and direction, you won't miss what He has for you. God's best is always our best option, even if it requires trusting Him in the unknown.
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Date with Intentionality
Ultimately, this is where dating with intentionality is important. That isn't to say that if you ask someone out, you need to be willing to buy a ring the next day, but it does mean that you need to make choices with consideration. It is not just a good idea but a great gift to connect with the Lord in your dating life. Invite Him into every facet of your journey and ask Him if it is a good idea to date someone or not. Whether they are a spouse or a stepping stone, making such choices with God is never a mistake. Don't let the season make or break that decision to ask someone out with the green light of God. He might have tender memories to be made with this person in this specific season, and because you are seeing each other with purpose, there is no fear in the back of your mind or their mind that this is just for cuffing season. Continue with the rhythm that the Lord has set for your life, and march onward with confidence.
Cuffing season is a real and common practice, but that doesn't mean it is for you or even healthy in general. Consider the consequences of your actions because every action has a consequence. That consequence can be good or bad, but those choices do matter. Invite the Lord into this season that is swiftly approaching, and let Him be your guide in dating. Whether this is a season to enter into a relationship with purpose, or it is a season to continue to wait on the Lord for your time, this season will be a blessed one. Don't let social pressures, nosy family members, or really wanting a box of chocolates at Valentine's persuade you into selfish dating. You never know what God might have in store when you let Him lead the way.
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Cally Logan is an author and US History teacher from Richmond, Virginia. In her free time, she enjoys mentoring youth and spending time in nature. Her book, Hang on in There, Girl! Will be available everywhere on April 1, 2022. Check her out on Instagram and Twitter, @CallyLogan and TikTok Cally_Logan.