So, you want to know who to date?
Close your eyes. Imagine the man of your dreams. Say a prayer. Open your eyes, look to your left, and the next guy you make eye contact with is your answer.
That, and all the other gimmicky, formulaic, and shallow directions are not going to get your dating game strong.
First: what’s the point of dating? Well, the end goal in mind is ultimately marriage. But don’t panic. Dating doesn’t imply this year’s valentine is the one you’ll walk down the aisle with. It just’s perspective to keep in mind that when you date someone, you mean business. It means that you wouldn’t get into a relationship with someone you couldn’t picture making a marriage commitment to sometime in the future. Don’t date haphazardly, date with intention.
Dating is a relatively low stakes commitment. It’s designed to help prepare you for that time. It’s meant to be taken seriously but to be taken with joy and fun. Trust God. Trust the process. Enjoy the journey.
Let me get one common misconception out of the way. The first part of Proverbs 31:30 warns us that “Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last…” If that’s true, then why do so many of us enter into a relationship based on how the other person looks and how they make us feel? Take caution to go in based on these qualities alone. When the good looks fade and you begin to see though the charm, there are only a few pillars of a relationship that make it strong, make it enjoyable, and make it last.
So what are they? What do you look for in someone to date?
1. Date a person of strong character.
More specifically, if you are a person of godly character, date someone who’s character reflects God’s, too, and don’t settle in this area. Godly character is revealed over time and circumstance. You’ll need to see the other person in hard times to see their character shine or shake. It’s easy to be charming for a flash-in-the-pan moment, but being a person of integrity has to have patterns of consistently for a lifetime. Finding out that quality is only built up by walking with God personally, and only demonstrated by walking together throughout various life experiences.
2. Date a person you have authentic chemistry with.
Yes, it’s okay to be attracted to someone of the opposite sex! In fact, God created us that way. Relationships aren’t just about compatibility and practicality. There are rushes of endorphins, all the happy feels, that sensation of butterflies, laughing till your gut hurts… You should genuinely enjoy each other’s company. Chemistry isn’t a guarantee that everything will be warm fuzzy feelings along the way, but it does ensure that when our beauty fades, the sparks don’t. Now, I can’t stress enough that I am not talking about physical chemistry. The way kissing and touching releases chemicals that can feel like the kind of chemistry I am talking about can really mess with our brain, literally, and our heart, emotionally. I’m talking about the way your personalities, aspirations, senses of humor, intellect, and quirks all interact with each other. Those are all best judged with the clearest lens: being sober-minded, abstaining from out of context physical interactions that make us feel “in love” and ultimately cloud our judgement. But that’s another blog post.
3. Date someone who’s moving with the same current.
It’s important that two people intertwining their lives together are moving in relatively the same direction. Some of the biggest conflicts I’ve seen in relationships has been because two people locked arms and then wanted to walk two separate ways. Keep that up, and someone’s shoulder is going to pop out out of socket. Relationships thrive when both people are flowing in the same direction—meaning pressing forward with a similar life-vision, not meaning working at the same place, doing all the same things, and thinking all the same thoughts. Your lives each have an aim, and as you move towards it, you see your person is still right beside you. That’s because you’re about the same thing, and moving at the same pace. When two currents diverge that are moving in different directions at different paces, it causes an undertow. Don’t allow your dreams, purpose, future, influence, and abundant life ahead of you to be sucked under and drowned out by a current that doesn’t flow with yours.
I hope these three C’s of dating help you quickly identify compromises that could sabotage your future, as well as bring clarity and perspective to the experience as a whole. I personally echo the overarching recommendation for the book Single. Dating. Engaged. Married. by Ben Stuart. Much of this post was inspired by the wisdom I’ve received from diving into that book at the end of last year. It truly revolutionized my view of each stage of relationships!