“Situationships” is “slang for relationships of an undefined nature. They solve some animalistic need for intimacy or companionship with potentially zero strings attached,” writes Andrea Mew of the Independent Women’s Forum.  Mew calls our attention to the selling of Sweethearts candies traditionally sold for Valentine’s Day.  She informs us that the Sweethearts candies with their cute sayings (though sometimes smudgy and illegible) have been reintroduced in a new marketing campaign.  Sweethearts are now being sold online as “Sweethearts Situationships,” and touted to display “messages as blurry as your relationship.” 

Mew tweeted, “This Valentine’s Day, feel reaffirmed by your holiday candy selection to ditch the commitment and romanticize having shallow, casual relationships that provide short-term satisfaction at best, and damaged attachment styles at worst!”  Situationships, she warns, are a “modern rebrand of ‘friends with benefits.”’  Sweethearts candies essentially capitalizes on a mediocre product by repackaging and rebranding it as “Situationships.”  Another tweet had this response: “Filled entirely with sweet, meaningless nothings and literal mixed messages, this special box of candies is blurry enough for any undefined relationship.” Mew warns us, “We’ve cheapened sexuality by erasing the mystery of promiscuity and destigmatized what was once a normal dose of taboo and shame.” 

In the end Mew ponders, “Is it any wonder why people seem so down on dating when they’re not really getting to know each other on an emotionally intimate level, there’s no consistency and expectations, and there’s no talk about a future together to look forward to?”  

When I read about “Situationships,” I thought of Paul’s words in I Thess. 4:3-5: “Keep yourselves from sexual promiscuity.  Learn to appreciate and give dignity to your body, not abusing it, as is so common among those who know nothing of God” (Message).  It is well known that the Gospel flourished in a culture that was every bit as promiscuous as ours.  The growing church brought about a significant cultural shift in how men and women related to each other.

As one who lived through the sexual revolution and has now been married for 58 years, I give testimony to the blessing of having been a “one woman man” all my life.  I identify with the words of Proverbs 5:18-19, “Let your wife be a fountain of blessing for you.  Rejoice in the wife of your youth.  She is a loving deer, a graceful doe.  Let her breasts satisfy you always.  May you always be captivated by her love” (NLV).  Having an unblurred 58-year relationship has been both a great blessing as well as a great commitment to savor.

I take issue with a candy company reinforcing the idea that an intimate male-female relationship can be “situational.” No – the relationship is holy, established by the Creator and meant to last for a lifetime.  God made man and woman in his image, and has given us the sacred relational gift of “marriage.”  It is meant to be a covenant relationship lived out in the presence of God. Jesus reminds us that “a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.  So they are no longer two, but one.  Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate” (Matt. 19:5-6). 

My advice is the same as I shared with students at Drake University in the mid-1980’s. The secret to a successful relationship is prayer, because three vital elements of relationship are then put in order.  First, the spiritual; second, the emotional; and lastly, the physical.  A blurred relationship messes up the order, with the physical being first, and thereby blurring what God intends to be holy.