The Christian Blog Post is finally here…
When you’re dating with the intention of marriage, sometimes you have to put the idea of your ‘perfect man’ aside and ask yourself what’s God’s ‘perfect man’ for me? I was convinced I had a certain ‘type’ but since the day I fell in love with Jordan, there’s no doubt in my mind that he is the one. I’ve never respected a man’s character, ambitions, and heart this much before. Mutual interests, attraction, and chemistry are important but ultimately, man chasing God is my type.
Photo Credit: Jessica Whitaker
There is a lot of hoopla out there on Christian dating advice. Some of it is biblical, some of it is cultural, and other bits of it I don’t know where it actually came from. I wanted to try and break down what I believe to be both practical and applicable. Now, I want you all to know that I am speaking very authentically here. I am not an expert but I can always promise that I am going to be real with you about what I feel I have learned over the past couple years.
COMMUNICATE INTENTIONS. Picture this. On my first date with Jordan (aka some rando guy I had never met before), he picks me up. Before we even make it to the restaurant Jordan says to me, “I wanted to ask you on a date because I could see you as my wife.” To be honest, I didn’t freak out or anything. In fact, I respected his courage and appreciated him telling me his intentions but I was a senior in college nearing graduation and had no intentions of marrying this rando. Fact of the matter was, a free meal that night was better than my frozen Lean Cuisine in my fridge, so I played along. God had a different plan for me (us). First, I fell in love with Hazel, Jordan’s mini golden retriever, and not longer after, I fell in love with Jordan.
Falling in love with Jordan was pretty easy because I knew where he stood. He was in it for the long haul and I didn’t have to worry about some dude who just wanted to have a good time or didn’t take me seriously. If your intentions are nothing serious at the time then that’s okay! But that also may mean that you aren’t ready to be in a relationship. I believe that in dating where feelings get hurt and character is jeopardized is when intentions are left unclear. Jordan pursued me because he knew what his intentions and desires were. He was clear. It left me to decide if I wanted to play a game or get to know him better. Clear intentions are so attractive in a man but are also equally important for a woman to express too.
BE INDEPENDENT. When I first started dating Jordan, I told him I didn’t want to go to church together or pray together. Initially, this was my way of guarding my heart and focusing my attention on seeking God above all else. It can be really easy to be motivated to go to church or pray because of a boy. As we really dive into a relationship with God, it’s important to stay focused. I had girlfriends that lost it when they broke up with their boyfriends because they felt like they were losing a part of their relationship with God. I prayed and attended church with my girlfriends because I knew these ladies would be there at the end of the day. As Jordan and I grew more intimate in our relationship and shared our intentions of marrying each other one day, things did change
It’s important for each of us to always seek God’s will for our lives. Until marriage you are independent of another. Until I am engaged, I won’t make my plans the same as Jordan’s. The first year we dated, I didn’t know if we were going to get married so I kept with the plans I knew the Lord had for me. I didn’t change my degree to match Jordan’s and I didn’t start planning on living where he was. I didn’t plan my life around him but around what I knew God had for me at that moment in my life. Codependency is real and there are so many ways we can protect ourselves from this. Being guarded and being independent are two different things. Allow your heart to feel, love, and be loved. But keep a part of you that is completely yours and in due time that independence will foster maturity in you individually and your relationship.
DATING A NON-BELIEVER. I don’t label guys as “christian” or “Non-Christian.” Rarely will you hear me say, “Is he a Christian?” because labeling someone’s religious affiliation is not what gives me the okay to date someone. I am sure there are a lot of Christians out there that don’t live a life of obedience or a life like God has called us to live. Instead, I ask myself, is this man chasing after God faster than he is chasing after anything else? Is this man able to lead me in a relationship where we serve God above ourselves every day? Does this man love God more than he loves me?
What kind of relationship do you want with God? Do you want to be obedient in prayer and service? Do you want to trust God with your life? Do you want to worship God with all your heart? Then ask yourself, is the man I am dating going to help me get there?
Following Christ is one of the most important decisions of your life and it’s so important to choose a spouse who will challenge you and support you in that relationship. The Bible is pretty clear when it comes to this topic. This isn’t to say that unbelievers can’t be good people and of course, you never know what plans God has for their lives, but I am saying I’d discourage you from dating someone who isn’t on the same spiritual foundation as you. It’s going to mess you up, confuse your heart, and potentially smother your soul.
And ladies. If you are hoping to be the “one” who changes a boy’s heart and encourages him to chase after God. I won’t sit here and tell you that’s impossible (because God can do anything) but I want you to think about what God wants for you in a relationship right now. Dating someone that does not have the same values as you and surrounding yourself with someone who isn’t able to hold you accountable usually means they cause you stumble. It’s okay to protect yourself from this and ultimately, you won’t be able to change someone, only God can.
We are holistic beings, and in order to truly connect, we must find someone with whom we can connect with on every level.
SET BOUNDARIES. Ladies, you deserve to be with a man who chases after God so hard that he is willing to set boundaries with you to avoid sexual sin. Communicate these boundaries and just don’t go there! What works is being in public, avoiding time alone with just the two of you, and not putting yourself in temping situations. I think singles have a tendency to think more highly of their own self-control than they should. So, I think dating in groups, or dating in public, is important. The longer that you are dating, the harder that this will get. It is something that culturally is becoming more relaxed. However, the Lord is very clear that this is a sin that will blur the clarity of your relationship with Him.