I’m a HUGE fan of dating.
My husband and I love reminiscing about our “dating days”- strolls through the art museum, trying really yummy restaurants, sipping coffee and reading for hours at a bookstore, me crushing him in games of mini-golf….(okay, maybe I’m exaggerating that part a little- but whatever, this is MY blog – I can dream, can’t I?).
We loved dating so much, that we still “date” whenever we can (only bummer is that now we have to pay for dinner AND a babysitter).
But for far too long, the overall Christian sub-culture has been down on dating! It’s been blamed for relationship problems, pain, and even been equated to a lack of trust in “Waiting on God”.
As a Professional Counselor and a woman who “dated”, I see dating as an incredible opportunity to glorify God and get to know the people around you in hopes of finding true love. In fact, I wrote a whole book about it.
But for as much as I’m a fan of dating, I can’t say that it’s always for everyone. There are times and stages in a person’s life when dating may not be the right thing because it might not be the right time. So how do you know if you are at a place in which dating is not right for you?
1. You believe a relationship will make you feel better about yourself: I interact with some young men and women who believe that a relationship is the means to their end. As if all problems, insecurities, fears, and worries will dissolve in the embrace of a lover. If you are looking to a relationship to solve your problems and absolve your fears than hear this: You probably shouldn’t be dating.
There’s got to be an understanding that true security and value must come from within, before you will be able to invest fully to another. Relying on another human being to fill those insatiable needs is a recipe for disaster—because no one human being has the capacity to offer you what is needed for true value and self worth. True security must be rooted from the intimacy of your relationship with God, and founded in the value He has placed upon your life. Relationships and the joy that they bring are simply overflow. Seek to understand your true value before trying to find it in the eyes of another.
2. You just got OUT of a relationship: This is what we like to call, the “Rebound Relationship”. We all know that individual who is bouncing around from one relationship to the next, getting over one break up by jumping into the arms of someone else. The problem with this philosophy is that it never allows for healing, maturity, and growth. When a relationship ends it’s a signal that something was wrong.
Rather than quickly starting over- it’s important to take the time to heal, recover, and redefine yourself now that you are standing alone. It’s important to review the former relationship and learn from your past wounds before you seek to try again. Give yourself time, a chance to heal, because that healing (or lack thereof) will follow you right into the next relationship.
3. You are too young: I know, I know, this one is going to get me some hate mail. But the reality is that sometimes, a person is just too young to be dating. We all know that couple who were high school sweethearts and found love at a young age. But that’s not the case for most individuals. In fact, I heard a recent stat that less than 2% of them actually get married and stay married. Seriously! Less than 2%!!!!
While there is no “right” age to date, there is no denying that the older you are, the more mature, and the more prepared you will be to maintain a healthy relationship. And let’s be practical, it’s a whole lot easier to date when you are not relying on your mom to drive you around in the family mini-van. When it comes to dating, there is “power in numbers” in that each year gives you an opportunity to invest in the most important factor of a healthy relationship- getting to know yourself. Which brings us to the next point.
4. You haven’t invested in getting to know yourself: I am known for saying that the most important person you could EVER date, is yourself. For you to really have an understanding of what you need in a partner, you have to have an understanding of who you are. I would venture to say that the number one determining factor of whether or not you are ready to date is how well you know yourself. Though this is a lifelong process, your past, your present, and your future are all important parts to you that need to be understood and worked through for the prospect of true love to become a reality (More on this in Chapters 1-4 of True Love Dates)
5. You don’t feel ready: Sometimes it comes down to this one thing- timing. For some people, the adventure of dating is one that they are not quite ready to jump into. Maybe the timing is not right or maybe they are at a point in life in which their concentration needs to be invested in other things: school, career, ministry, or simply getting their life together. No matter the reason, it’s important get a green light within your heart and led by God’s spirit in order to go ahead and step into the world of dating.
Dating can complicated- I get it. But it can also be a really special adventure! In order to pursue the rewards of dating and minimize the risks, it’s seriously important to make sure that the timing is right and you are ready. Take inventory of where you’re at in life and then seek God as you take the first steps. I’ll say it again, I’m an advocate of dating- but if you’re going to date, be sure to date well.
Debra Fileta is a Professional Counselor, national speaker, and author of the book True Love Dates: Your Indispensable Guide to Finding the Love of Your Life. You may also recognize her voice from her 100+ articles at Relevant Magazine or Crosswalk.com! She’s also the creator of this True Love Dates Blog, where she writes candidly about dating, relationships, and how to find true love! Connect with her on Facebook or Twitter!
1. Are you ready for Love? Take my FREE Quiz right now to find out!
2. Want to know how to find and keep the right relationship? Check out my book True Love Dates: Your Indispensable Guide to Finding the Love of Your Life! Plus, get the Top 25 Dating Questions of All-Time answered in Section 4!!
3. The #1 Mistake singles reported making last year was not taking a risk to start a relationship! Why do Christians tend to be so passive when it comes to relationships? Join hundreds of other singles and take a course that will teach you the top lessons I’ve learned in my career as a Relationship Counselor, and totally change your love-life in 21 Days! Learn more: 21-Day Program to Jump Start Your Love-Life!