Just what you were looking for. Unsolicited advice on a topic with which the writer has no personal experience. Buckle your seat belt. It’s going to be a wild ride.
A few things before we begin. I hope to encourage you, not discourage or judge you in any way. I do not claim to be the expert on dating, however, I firmly believe you can learn a lot from observing others and learning from their mistakes (or good choices!). I also believe you don’t have to be young and crazy if you want to be old and wise. “Experience” does not always equal wisdom.
- You Don’t Have to Kiss a Bunch of Frogs to Find Your Prince.
Dating has become so much about consumerism and it’s almost been reduced to shopping for a car. You have to try it before you buy it. No. Sorry. I think that would make God an unjust father who purposefully leads his children down dead end roads so they’ll know what they like, and often their hearts will be broken in the process. I’m not saying having multiple relationships before finding the one can’t happen or automatically means you’re not in the will of God, but I’m proposing that if we completely surrendered our future marriage to the Author of Marriage, He might just write a story with fewer characters and less heartbreak.
2. Involve Your Parents.
Relationships birthed in secrecy are almost always destined for doom. If you can’t be open with your parents about the potential FATHER OF YOUR BABIES, maybe he’s not the one. Just saying. Parents are so full of wisdom and experience and they have an unbiased perspective that has your best interest at heart. If Mama doesn’t like him–LISTEN to her. She is probably right. I realize not everyone has exemplary parental figures. If you don’t feel your parents can serve as a covering for you, find another established couple and seek their counsel. You won’t regret it.
3. Don’t Separate Dating from the Ultimate Goal: Marriage.
There has been a good deal of controversy over how detrimental Josh Harris’ I “Kissed Dating Goodbye “theory crippled Christian youth from approaching the opposite sex and as a result we have a lot of people who think dating is a curse word, and a lot of people who have become serial daters claiming they find freedom in this. I don’t think getting to know someone is wrong. I don’t think going on a date=a proposal. But I also don’t see a lot of dating in the bible. I know it was a different time then, and girls married just after being able to reproduce, not leaving much room for coffee dates or moonlight walks in the pasture. However, God creates things that last. HE created marriage as a lifelong covenant-designed to bring glory to him in all things. If you’re in a relationship and you’re approaching it with temporary eyes, I’d encourage you to rethink. If you think this is not someone you could possibly marry, you’re probably right. If you’re dating for the fun of it without seriously considering God’s ultimate intent which is to bring glory to him, then honestly you’re just making out with someone else’s husband, and that’s gross.
4. If Your Friends Don’t Like Him ,Listen.
This is similar to your parents. Your friends see things you don’t. You’re lovesick. You can only see how he treats YOU. Your friends see how he treats everyone else. Live in community. Don’t shut people out. Your people love you. And if you’re surrounded by people who don’t have your back and aren’t willing to be honest in a loving way, find new friends.
5. Don’t Be Married to Your”List.”
I made my first list when I was thirteen, and I’m pretty sure it said “He must bring me flowers more than once a year,” and “He won’t ever cuss.” Noble goals, but certainly not deal breakers. There are a few things I believe we should all have on our list that we do not waver on. Strong relationship with the Lord, Vision, Leadership–these are important for a husband. Wise, honest, kind, family-oriented–these are important for a wife. Then there might be a few that are special to you. I have a few of those. But if your list gets beyond 10 or 15, you’re not looking for a husband or wife, you’re just playing a game, and you’ll be really disappointed when your 6 foot 3 tall, dark haired Georgian with piercing eyes is instead a short blond with a dad bod. Make a list, but don’t be so married to it you miss what God has for you.
6. If You Desire a Relationship Because of What You Will Get, Reconsider.
From what I can tell, marriage is a whole lot about giving. It’s a tangible earthly way of dying to self for someone else’s sake. It’s an opportunity to be like Jesus, walking on the earth. It’s not about how happy they make you (although they may make you happy and hopefully will). It’s not about how attracted you are to them(although you probably should be). It’s not about fulfilling a desire to be wanted or needed. It’s about finding the person God created for you and then running the race hand in hand and being a mirror of his love, bride and Christ, for as long as you both shall live. It’s not about Valentines Day and sex every five minutes and cute pictures. From what I see, it’s more about sacrifice, and sharing the load, and making a life together. Yes, it’s intended to be full of joy, but we don’t enter the covenant to be made happy, we do it to be made holy.
7. There is a Divine Order.
I believe God created men to pursue, and women to respond, and not the other way around. Ladies, don’t ask him out! Don’t pursue him! Wait, be patient, if it’s supposed to happen God will quicken HIM, because He’s a good father to his sons and daughters. Girls, respond to him, wait for his leading. If you take the lead now, I think you’re setting a lifelong pattern outside of God’s design. Gentleman, don’t be afraid to pursue if you genuinely feel God is in it. There are a lot passive men in the church. I know women are largely to blame for that, but there are so many of us women who wish men would take initiative and quit leading us on with flirtation and mysterious comments. Lead. Step up. We need you.
8. Be VERY Careful What You Give Outside of Marriage.
It’s not just a kiss. It’s so much more. God created the physical realm of relationships to be experienced a lasting and safe setting. He knows we get ahead of ourselves, though-that’s why he has to say “do not awaken or arouse love before it so desires,” like 56 times in Song of Songs. Until you are committed, view that person as someone else’s spouse, and think about it that way. I’ve heard lots of stories from people who wished they’d waited. I haven’t heard any from people who wish they’d done more.
9. Trust God.
He’s so faithful. He’ll lead you in the path of righteousness. His plans for you are good. He won’t make you marry an ugly old man that you hate. He longs for you to experience the glory of the covenant he instituted in the garden of Eden. He knows you better than you know yourself. He knows what you want, but even more than that he knows what you need. Trust him. He’s got this.
10. Focus on Who God is Molding You to Be.
Don’t get so caught up planning your wedding you miss this season where God has all to himself. Let him mold you into the wife or husband he wants you to be, and maybe focus a little less on looking so intently for the missing link. Cherish this time. don’t view marriage as the start button on your life. today is the day to seek God and experience his great love for you.
That’s all for now, friends! Thanks for reading!