Dating is a tricky thing. Now, don’t get me wrong-there is so much of dating that is fantastic and necessary. It is a joy to have a confidant, comedian, caretaker, and caretakee who gets to invest in you and whom you get to invest in. It is such a blessing to have someone of the opposite gender to give you biblical wisdom and advice. It is important to know somewhere ever so well before you marry them! It’s also great because of little things like, having a best friend who thinks you are really awesome, getting to do out to dinner with your best friend who thinks you’re really awesome, and especially lounging in yoga pants and a sweatshirt looking like a homeless bum with your best friend that thinks you look ridiculous and yet still thinks you’re really awesome.
But there is no much of dating that feels…unnatural, impossible, and often times frustrating. For example I wish I could better understand and implement how I am supposed to “guard my heart” because he may not be my husband, but also “be vulnerable and transparent” in case he is going to be my husband? And Lord knows I am not the only one who gets frustrated with years of being intimate in these acceptable ways, A, B, C…but not these ways: X, Y, Z. All while planning on probably, most likely, aiming for, trying to, might, perhaps, hopefully marrying this person-but with no real guarantee that you two will make it to the alter.
Date with the intention of marriage they said. It’ll be fun they said.
Fun until you fail.
In February, I just broke up with the man I had been dating with the intention of marrying for almost two years. When that happens, when you get to the end of your relationship, and it’s culmination is not what you have been working for-you feel like a failure. Your goal was not met. You did not succeed in fulfilling its purpose. You did not win. You failed at dating.
And it is so very painful.
There is a lot I would do differently in that relationship-maybe God in His wisdom will gives us a chance to try again. If that happens, do you know what I am going to do differently? Well, there are quite a few things, but one of the primary things will be to change my heart’s goal. I want our goal instead of being marriage, marriage, marriage- to be to date with the intention of godliness.
If we date with the intention of godliness, and at the end of our time together we realize that we aren’t compatible in marriage-that is okay! Because that wasn’t our goal or purpose. My goal is simply to help him to grow in holiness, and his is to help me grow in mine. Dating with the intention of marriage can accidentally encourage sexual sin, whereas godliness forbids even a hint of sexual immorality and there is no crutch of “going to be’s” to lean on in sin. If we date with the intention of godliness, the man I do end up marrying would be able to thank my relationships for investing in my holiness and righteousness, for making me a better woman! And vice versa.
I thank God for each of my dating relationships, but appropriately mourn over parts of them. I pray for the day that I honor God in dating a man that leads to honoring God in marrying that man. And I pray that He blesses us with the opportunity to teach ours sons and daughters how to and how not to date for the glory of God and the intention of godliness.
What do you think? I know this doesn’t “solve all the problems” of dating? And I know I didn’t lay it out in much detail-but does it make sense? Is it possible (and or profitable) to do?