I’ve read a lot about Christian dating recently. Not because I went out looking for articles on how us twenty-something Christians should be dating each other, but because I’ve seen countless different articles shared by hundreds of different people on my Facebook news feed. Some are great, some are horrible, some are better than others. But all of them have one thing in common: they’re shared by people who are single. I really didn’t want to get involved in the conversation but it’s gotten too ridiculous for me to just not do anything and as someone who has been dating the same girl for over 4 years, it became somewhat of an obligation to add my two cents.
I get that people my age are all about dating. They’re trying to find “the One.” Even though they say they “trust God with it,” they still want to find him or her right now. I’ll admit that if I wasn’t in a 4+ year relationship right now that I would probably be doing the same thing. And as someone who has been dating the same girl for over 4 years, I understand wanting to speed up the whole process. However, I will say that, as someone who has quite some experience in dating, it kills me to see some of my single friends idolizing it the way they do.
Like with anything else in life we have to strike a balance. Dating is a big deal, but it’s not that big of a deal. I was talking to one of my friends about it the other day and he said that because Christian’s think they can only date to find their spouse, they feel pressure to take it way too seriously. He thought that if we could just stop seeing it as marriage-prep then we could take the pressure off of ourselves and lighten up about it all. I partially agree with him and partially disagree with him. Here’s why:
Dating for Marriage
It’s hard to say that dating for marriage is completely biblical because the Bible says absolutely nothing about dating. However, I do believe it is the closest thing we can get to the kind of pre-marriage practice of the Bible. We have to remember that dating didn’t exist in the Bible. It was either arranged marriages or the man basically bought or worked for the woman from her father; but both of them did happen with marriage in mind.
When we date someone we should have the possibility of marriage in mind. After all, that is the whole point in dating. However, you don’t have to put so much pressure on yourself to get it right. Don’t over-think a date so much that it’s not fun for you or the person you’re on a date with. You’re there to get to know them, not to propose. Take it seriously enough that you get a feel for whether or not this could be someone you could see yourself with for the long run but not so serious that it saps any joy out of the dating process. There’s a give and take on both sides.
The ladies have a point. You must communicate with them so they’re not left in the dark. Sure, it may not have to be as quick or as thorough as some articles have been suggesting lately, but that’s no excuse for not communicating. If it’s a date, let them know. If it’s not, let them know. If you don’t want to hang out or go on any more dates, don’t just leave them hanging. Tell them and tell them why.
We want to treat you well. We really do. You don’t have to tell us every 10 minutes how you deserve to be treated. You go on and on about how you deserve to have the door opened for you, how if your husband doesn’t cry when he’s walking down the isle then you’re going to walk away, and how your man better have the abs of Ryan Gosling. That’s a lot of pressure. Instead of looking for a Disney prince to kiss you in your sleep, how about you look for a man who will love you like Christ loved the Church?
Finding “The One”
Here’s what I’m not going to say. I’m not going to tell you that if you just “become content in the Lord, he will bring you your prince.” I’m not going to say that a guy should just “pursue God and He will give you a girl to pursue.” Both are stupid. God didn’t save you to wait on Him. God saved you to get busy for Him.
There’s some faulty logic at work here in the young Christian dating scene. Both guys and girls are being told to wait and let God bring them “the One.” According to that logic, both parties are doing absolutely nothing which means that you will never see the person God puts in your life when He does.
Also, I don’t believe in “the One.” Not because I don’t like the idea but because it’s not biblical. The only biblical case you could make for “the One” would be Adam and Eve but they were also the only “ones” on the planet at the time. So that doesn’t count. There’s another reason I don’t believe in “the One.”
The idea of “the One” implies that there is one perfect person out there for you. The truth is: no one is perfect. Not you, not your significant other, not your parents. No one. The idea of “the One” makes it seem as though the moment you meet that person that your relationship is going to be perfect, you’re never going to fight, you’re never going to have any problems, and everyone will be telling you how perfect you and you’re significant other is. And it’s not true.
I have tons of flaws and baggage and problems and if you spend enough time with me then you’re going to have to deal with them. That’s true of anybody. When two people commit to each other then they bring all of those flaws, baggage, and problems with them and you both will have to deal with them.
There is no perfect relationship. Every successful relationship you’ve ever seen is the product of hard work, determination, sacrifice, and selflessness. Let me be very clear here:
“The One” is the one you decided was worth fighting for.
“The One” is the one you decided was worth going through the best and the worst with.
“The One” is the one you decided was worth loving no matter what.
“The One” is the one you decided to put yourself aside for and pursue with everything you have.
All that to say: no pressure.
Think about it.
You’re not out to find the perfect guy or girl. You’re out to find the one worth fighting for. That may not come on the first few dates and that’s fine. If you aren’t playing around and you are truly looking for the person you can spend the rest of your life with then the pressure to walk away is off because a decision like that can’t be made lightly. But you have to be real about it. You have to be transparent. You have to be willing to go through a lot. When you find that person, you have to be willing to not give up the moment it gets difficult – and it will get difficult.
Stop over-complicating things. There is no magic formula to this thing. There is no right equation. If you are in it for the right reasons then you will do the right things.
Check your heart.
Men: Are you lazy? Are you scared?
Women: Are you selfish? Are you unrealistic?
When you can answer “no” to those questions, then maybe, just maybe, you’re ready to date someone.