When I was a single gal in my late teens and early twenties, this is what I envisioned for my dating life: I would meet the man of my dreams and we would date for a short time, get engaged, have the perfect wedding, and ease right into a long life together. I basically wanted the fairytale story without any bumps or hurdles along the way.
Little did I know that the dream I concocted in my head was just that...a dream. I did find a husband who was more than I could ever want, however, it wasn't all fairytale.
Too many people spend more time in their head dreaming up the perfect person [who doesn't exist] with their lists and sometimes impossible standards instead of being real, in the moment, and open to possibilities they never dreamed of!
Here's what I'm getting to--don't spend more time dreaming up the perfect person than living out an authentic life devoted to what God has called you to. Be open to the possibilities in your dating life!
Now, once you've found that person you want to date and explore a future with (and you should be ready for a future!), go into it with eyes wide open. I just wrote an article for Propel Women about how I didn't do this and it cost me big time; I hope you'll check it out here. In it, I share how my lack of awareness, openness to weakness, and boundaries had devasting effects.
This is what I want to share with you today.
Be aware - that the enemy would love nothing more than to take a godly couple and isolate them. To use the excitement and newness of the relationship to have them drift from church, their community, and God's desire for their life. It's here he wants you so that temptation can get the best of you and lead you into sin.
Be open to your weakness - which I go into in great detail in the Propel article. Peter was not open to what Jesus said about his coming failure and so he did not properly prepare for the moment he would be tempted (John 18). Peter was not open to his weakness and thus did the very thing he never thought he would do.
Establish boundaries - so that you can properly guard yourself. This might mean never being alone together, or waiting to kiss, or I don't know, but you do! Know your weaknesses and do what you must to protect yourself from going there.
Dating is fun, adventurous, and exciting! However, if not pursued with realistic expectations, it can leave you confused, hurt, and with baggage. It goes back to what I shared last week regarding being single: first and foremost you must stay connected to Jesus. Without Him, your dating life is just asking to be a mess, in all honestly. Furthermore, your first love for him will allow you to love others better.
Pursue dating in a way that is as healthy as possible. Stay connected to Jesus, be open to possibilities (good and bad), establish boundaries, and take your time. There's no rush to get married! My husband's mom once told him to date someone for at least all 4 seasons so that he can get to know a girl. We did that cycle 5 times, haha, but I'm so glad we didn't rush it. I went into my marriage really knowing the man I was marrying and it's made being a newlywed a bit easier.
Make smart choices and have fun!
[To read more about my dating journey and some of the struggles I faced along the way, check out this 3-part series I did for Single Christianity Magazine!]
Something I thought would be fun to do is share a slideshow of me enjoying these various stages of life! Here are some of my favorite moments from when my husband and I dated...enjoy :)