“I would like to argue with what the Creator of the Universe told your Mom”

Posted on October 13, 2010


My vocabulary was significantly boosted during my four years at a Christian college.

Along with phrases like “ring by spring,” I learned the definition of a “Relationship Defining Talk” (RDT) as a wide-eyed freshman.  This talk, I was told, was when two people decided whether they would start dating (kind of admitting they’d be married in a few months) or remain friends.

At first, I thought the term was ridiculous.  Looking back on my pre-Christian college life, I could only identify one or two such talks.  It seemed simple enough to me; you were friends or you were dating.  It didn’t have to be Talked about or Defined—right?


       Over the course of my four years at college, I had enough RDTs to learn the nuances, ins, outs and cop-outs.  RDTs were notorious for being at coffee shops, and taking more minutes than could be counted on all twenty of the couple’s fingers (whether they were interdigitating not).  But through experience, I have learned that there are ways to start an RDT that will effectively end the relationship… and the conversation.

      1) I have been talking with my mom and she says… ” This shuts down all arguments.  To disagree, you either have to question the integrity of someone’s MOTHER (“Let’s be real here.  Is your mom, who is 1,000 miles away, really qualified to Define our Relationship?”) or argue that perhaps your partner has a hearing problem and didn’t quite understand the words that she said (“Were you by any chance in a wind tunnel when she told you this?”).

      2)“God told me that…” This sentence is misleading at first.  God could be telling the person across from you that they should put a ring on it.  But don’t get your hopes up.  A sentence that starts like this is essentially a Biblical form of “it’s not you, it’s me.”  “God told me that I need to work on myself before I can truly love someone else,” someone once told me in the school cafeteria—after only two dates. Dessert was awkward.

      3) My mom has been talking to God and he told her…” This point emphasizes the importance of simple safety practices.  For example, whenever you enter a building, make sure you immediately identify the nearest emergency exit sign.  That way, if someone starts a sentence this way during an RDT, you can immediately get up (knowing where to find the nearest exit) and run. Escape is much simpler than saying “I would like to argue with what the Creator of the universe told your mom.”

If I had to recommend to you the best way to kindly DTRANADO (Define the Relationship As Not A Dating One), I would say be honest.  By the time that I met my current fiancé, I had learned to say “I like you, let’s date.” And, as my mom always told me (and God originally said), “the truth will set you free.”

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