Monday, March 23, 2009

Christian Dating Ain't Easy

I know I said I wasn’t going to talk about dating on here again, but I need to get this off my chest. Dating as a Christian is not easy. There are so many issues I never thought much about before. If you have truly made God #1 in your life, it will affect your dating life. You’ll try to not let it impede on your relationships, but once you have a relationship with God, you can’t keep it totally separate from this part of your life.

Nor should you.

The main purpose of dating is to find a life-partner for marriage. In the past I didn’t always treat it this way. It was more about spending time with someone I enjoyed and was attracted to. It was about having fun and feeling loved. But now if I am being really honest with myself, I just don’t want to waste any more time like that.

I’m not saying I am in a rush to get married. Yes, I want to find a partner for my life. Yes, I want to be in love. Yes, I want to shower someone with all my affection and silliness. But I am at a point where I don’t NEED that like I used to.

I already feel loved by God. I already can take care of myself and have a direction in my life. I don’t need a boyfriend to make me feel whole.

So this time I am taking my time and trying to find what I really want and what fits well with me and where I am headed in my life.

The shape this has taken for me, doesn't line up with society’s rules for dating. Most of the time people just fall into a committed relationship before they even know each other. It is normal to have sex within the first few months. It is normal to even live with your significant other before marriage.

All of those things I do not want to do.

I felt bad for trying to do things differently this time. I felt bad about asking so much out of a guy and doubted for a while that I would be able to find a guy that would put up with all of this. But I am sure of my decisions. I know this is the right way for me to find what I am looking for. If someone I date doesn’t want to put up with that, then I guess it wasn’t meant to be.

Please realize that I am not saying this should be everyone’s path. Just take the time to figure out your own. Some of it may be “learn as you go”, but once you make a decision, stick to it. Set some guidelines for yourself. As an example here are some of mine:

1. Be open-minded. Sure there may be red-flags about someone, but those one or two things don’t define the whole person. Take time to get to know the person.

2. Keep things light in the beginning. There will be enough seriousness stuff later down the road. Just have fun on those first few dates.

3. Don’t jump into a relationship. It is so easy to just fall in to a boyfriend/girlfriend role with someone you like. But as soon as you make that commitment to one person, you are shutting yourself off from all the other possibilities out there. Take your time and make sure it is what you really want before falling head over heels.

4. Watch the physical stuff. For me, it is VERY difficult to separate my mind, body, and heart. Physical closeness can intensify a relationship, but often times it is a false intensity. Don’t get me wrong, sex is awesome- one of the best things in a relationship. And I know…it is crazy and probably won’t go over well with some guys, but I really believe waiting is the right thing to do. Last year our pastor did a whole series on sex and it totally clicked with me. One of the best analogies he used went something like this: If someone asked you if you would like to have a nice fire in your fireplace, you would love it, but would you want that fire on your furniture, drapes, and/or anywhere outside of the fireplace in your house? Well, that is how God intended sex to be- best enjoyed within the confines of marriage. Outside of marriage it can be dangerous and destructive to the relationship. You can listen to the whole series of sermons on sex here: Exposed

I write about what I am going through in my life on here, so I am sure dating will come up again. And I can’t not write. Writing helps me sort out my thoughts. It lets me get other viewpoints and opinions on here. But I will promise to stick to broad topics and not make it too personal from now on.


heidi said...

I'm glad you're back!

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this... you're right, it's important stuff to think about!

Tabitha said...

What a refreshing post about dating! I read so much in the blogosphere about people who are all out for sex and action and fulfilling selfish desires, so I enjoyed your perspective here! Thanks for sharing. :)

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Joe said...

I agree, Christian dating is very difficult. It can be very tempting to give in to desire, but if you can find a good, like-minded partner, you can stay strong.