Photo by Everton Villa
How Do We Do It Right?
Dating can be daunting. It can be a season full of confusion and self-doubt. But it doesn’t have to be. We can do it with confidence and wisdom. And whether we end up marrying the person we date or not we can glorify God either way.
I want to give you a few tips that will hopefully help you in your dating journey.
Need versus value attraction.
Attraction can be a good thing. But it can also be a bad thing. Sometimes, in dating, we have no idea why we are pulled to a person. We can assume that because we are attracted to them it’s our go-ahead to be in a relationship with this person.
Before jumping into a relationship ask yourself this question Why am I attracted to this person? What is it about them that attract me?
This is where we figure out if our attraction is out of need or out of value.
When it’s out of need, we are subconsciously looking for this person to meet a deep need in us. We could for example be looking for a father’s affirmation in them or a nurturing mother in them. Often we are trying to satisfy an unmet need in us.
Need-based relationships tend to be toxic, unhealthy, and co-dependent. Nobody should be our one in all “need meeter,” only God can do this for us.
When we first go to God to meet our deepest needs, we are more likely to build healthy relationships because we’ll choose people out of value and not out of need.
When our attraction is out of value we can see the value that we can both bring into the relationship. We can for instance; see purpose in a man and automatically know that because they are living purposefully the relationship we build will be purposeful. Or we can be attracted to their godliness or by the way they pursue God which in turn makes us want to pursue God more.
How do we set healthy boundaries in dating? In a culture that glorifies a lack of boundaries in relationships. How do we set boundaries that tell people about the God we serve?
A favorite question with Christians is, “how far is too far?”
We want someone to give us the dos and don’ts of dating. Sis, you are in a relationship with God. God wants to lead you in dating not give you a set of rules to keep. He wants to relate with us even in our dating lives. When we allow the Holy Spirit to guide us and give us wisdom we’ll be able to build healthy relationships. We’ll be able to date well and in turn, build great marriages that glorify God.
Passion is important in boundaries. Most of our problems come from our lack of knowing what to do with the way we feel when we are attracted to someone or when we are falling in love with someone.
Passion is a great thing. It’s a God-given gift but it’s a gift we’ve been given to steward. Passion is also like a fire. In the right environment, a fire is great. Under control, a fire is a good thing. But take it out of control and it will burn your house down.
Another thing is we cannot build a healthy relationship based on passion and physical intimacy alone.
A healthy relationship is built on mutual trust and respect, shared interests, and emotional intimacy. Then in marriage, we can add physical intimacy to all these to build a wholesome relationship.
Physical intimacy is like the topping on a cake. It’s not the cake and without all the other ingredients that make a cake, it isn’t much.
When we build relationships on physical intimacy, we’ll end up with an empty shell of a relationship. We’ll have a false sense of connection that isn’t built on anything and with time it will sizzle out.
When this happens, people part ways because they think they are no longer in love. You were not in love; you built a false sense of intimacy through sex and called it love. You didn’t figure out why you liked each other. You didn’t find out whether you had the same values or not. You didn’t find common interests. You also didn’t build emotional intimacy first.
Begin by building emotional intimacy. Get shared interests, get to know each other, build mutual trust and respect. Then, in marriage, you can consummate that love with physical intimacy.
A love that’s unripe.
We can awaken love before its time.
Promise me, O women of Jerusalem, not to awaken love until the time is right. Songs of Solomon 8:4
About 4 years ago God gave me this verse because I was running ahead of Him and awakening love before time was right. I was giving my heart to a man that wasn’t ready to take care of that heart the way God would want him to. I had to put that love back to sleep and wait for the right timing. Eventually, the timing came and we both could pursue a relationship with maturity. We could also choose each other out of value and not out of need.
I know ladies we want marriage and babies like yesterday, but sometimes he is not ready. God has to grow him a little bit or you’re not as ready as you think you are and God wants to put some solid stuff in you. He wants to prepare you for marriage.
Marriage is a big deal, take your time and make sure you are in God’s timing. There are so many people trying to leave marriages that they got in too quickly. Others are trying to heal from relationships that were out of the timing of God.
We can also awaken love accidentally by what we are consuming. for example, watching romantic movies, listening to love songs, looking at couple goals on Instagram. Sis, I had to shut these down to concentrate on the season I was in. I grew in God. I got to know myself apart from a relationship and I started pursuing my purpose in God.
I pray that you’ll allow God to lead you in this season. If it’s not time yet, don’t fret your time will come and it will be so worth it. Let God do His part. Do yours and trust Him with the how and when.