Dating Around?

I recently shared a link on the subject of dating called Courtship in Crisis. It mainly addressed the benefits of traditional dating vs. courting. It provided some good points and guidelines, and I thought it was great (hence why I shared it), however, after some prayer, guidance, and study, I began to wonder if the idea of dating around was really the best idea.

As a late teen (a proud 19-year-old as I write this), the idea of dating has been on my mind recently, as I’m sure it is on many around my age. I began to study up on the idea in the Bible, and through what others thought on the subject. If one were to google Christian advice on dating, waiting on God for a spouse would be the most common answer. It’s said that He will provide one’s spouse in His time if we trust in Him. This doesn’t mean we can’t desire a spouse, that desire is a treasured thing, but it simply means to be patient for that person we want in our lives. Why is patience required? Because a spouse is something we don’t just want, but need. This is a view I endorse completely. However, if you’re a teen like me, full of questions, we need an answer to why dating around isn’t such a great idea, and why waiting is the best thing.

Firstly, I want to be clear that I’m not looking down on this man’s work. I’ve read his book, and he offers some truly great ideas. However, one thing addressed in the post and book was, if one dates enough, he/she will eventually get an idea of what they want in a spouse. It sounds logical, right? How do we know what we want, until we test things out? This is flawed for a number on reasons. Firstly, we may know what we want, but we hardly know what we need. Secondly, the special person God has for you will be completely unique, a person you didn’t even know you wanted and needed. He/she will be different from anyone you’ve ever met, not simply a collective number of qualities you found you liked. When you meet this person, you’ll be completely unprepared, and no experience can ever be of benefit.

When we date around (a date, in this case, being a man and woman alone getting to know each other, not those group hangouts dressed up as a date), we carry baggage from each person, because our hearts get in the way. One can say, as I have myself, that dating isn’t a serious, romantic meeting, but a casual hangout to find what we like. But can we be truly honest with this statement? If one is dating, they must be somewhat attracted to the other person, or else one wouldn’t go on a date with them, right? I can guarantee no one truly wants dating to be the above description. We’re all hoping things will work out and get romantic. So when we date around, we leave a small piece of our heart behind with each person, and when we move to the next date, they’ll only remind us of the person before, and the person before that. And so when we do finally meet the one we’re to marry, we carry those memories, those ties to previous women or men behind us. It’s a baggage that is incredibly hard to drop.

In the end, though it may be painful, it may feel like an eternity, the best thing to do is wait. Wait for the person you’ve been dreaming about but never thought existed. She does exist, and she is waiting for you. She is waiting for God’s perfect timing when you really need her, and she needs you. You’ll dance in a marriage that mirrors God’s love for His bride, what better dream is there to hold?


6 thoughts on “Dating Around?

  1. If you’re referring to Thomas Umstattd Jr.’s work, I’m quite familiar with it. I can understand the women being told to ‘wait’, but most christian resources I’ve read indicate that ‘men initiate, women respond’ or ‘men pursue, women are pursued’ if men are also ‘waiting’ then it’s no wonder why the younger generation is the least married and has fewer children than the ones before them. At least they can’t claim younger people are godless if all they’re doing is waiting for God to be their match-maker.
    There’s actually some toxic theology there – the idea that we have to keep our hearts pure, guarded, as few soul-ties and baggage to other people as possible. It suggests that love is a quantity, it disappears with use and is entirely possible to be ‘gone’ by the time that God sends ‘the one’ into our lives. It’s also true that one can avoid loving people, avoid caring about people, avoid forming friendships and as a result become some of the most unloving people there are. The core of Jesus’ theology was to ‘love your neighbor’ and not to avoid relationships.
    As one of the older millennials, I’ve seen how ‘True Love Waits’ and ‘I’ve Kissed Dating Goodbye’ have done a lot of damage sending the wrong message about navigating the mysterious waters of finding ‘the one’, but I’ve come to realize that if we’re all playing by different rules, then we can hardly expect to be on the same page, whether it’s betrothal, courtship, dating, or some new innovation, we need to find a way to just ditch the fear and connect to one another.

    1. You sound just like me, my friend. I completely understand where you’re coming from as I had those same questions and concerns. I want to point out first the concept of waiting. A lot of Christians take waiting on God to mean they’re to do absolutely nothing, even when that one they’re to marry does come along. I’ve found many times that waiting on God simply means waiting for Him to open the door. When He opens it, you take action and walk through it. He has made us men, so I think He expects us to take some manly action at some point haha. I’m actually about to send my novel to a publisher today, if I had of waited on God to do everything, I wouldn’t ever send it in. However, He’s opened the door to a publishing company that is perfect for my type of book, so after some prayer, I’m going to take initiative and step through.

      “There’s actually some toxic theology there – the idea that we have to keep our hearts pure, guarded, as few soul-ties and baggage to other people as possible. It suggests that love is a quantity, it disappears with use and is entirely possible to be ‘gone’ by the time that God sends ‘the one’ into our lives.” This was my concern with the idea as well. However, I must point out that there is a difference between a friendly relationship and a romantic one. I put myself out there to spread God’s love and compliment people all the time. I don’t ever expect a romantic relationship from women I compliment, I just love to spread worth and value. So I agree that love isn’t based on quantity. However, I believe it’s because we want to love each woman we date, we do leave a piece of our heart with them when we find they’re not right for us. The thing is, I think there is always something one likes in a person, and if the one you’re to marry doesn’t hold that characteristic you liked in the previous woman, it does create a barrier. Like I said, the one you’re to marry will be different from any one you’ve ever met, so it’s all too easy to fall for a quality owned by a woman that’s not meant to be your wife, and then will want that quality in the woman you’re to marry.

      In the end, I agree that books like the ones you mentioned have caused damage because, as you said, they place more fear into the person than is healthy. The idea that waiting on God and guarding your hearts means you can’t ever love or care for another person because they could be a person God doesn’t want in your life is something I think the devil may have some part in lol! We’re called to love EVERYBODY. But to give our hearts into a romantic relationship without prayer and guidance is a completely different matter.

      1. Sometimes I think the difference lies in what somebody means when they say something and what somebody else understands – they can be totally different concepts. This is the first church I’ve been to where I’m not the only one my age – and it’s still isolating because there’s no interaction with others around my age. I figured that they were all thrown at each other long enough that they got tired with the expectations they were burdened with and never really got to enjoy life a day at a time because so much time and effort was required for them to know the Bible well enough to be spiritually superior leadership material or prove they’re motherhood material by cooking or watching the young children. The people who give this advice swear that all young men are watching to see which young women are most motherly and all young women are watching to see which young men are most fatherly. I think it’s more of busy work – to keep people from thinking about the specific rules change with each generation and they’re playing by the wrong rules. It’s a sad testament to unintended consequences when a person thinks they’re teaching one thing and everybody understands it to mean something entirely different to be preaching the gospel of marriage preparation and forgetting to make sure that there’s something for them where they’re at and not where you want them to be five, ten, fifteen years down the road.

  2. Hi Luc
    I think some of the trouble with the whole idea surrounding “finding your life partner/dating/courtship/waiting/etc” is that we are looking for a blanket “how-to” answer for all Christian singles. I know that at this time in your life when the desire for your mate is growing (God places that love within us as He knows best and planned for man to be united with woman) our thoughts wander to what they’ll be like, where they are now, how we will meet and the type of life and future we will have together. All these yearnings are natural and a picture also of how our Father yearns for us. It’s important, however, that these imaginings do not overtake our focus and distract us from what God has for us today.
    I love reading bios of great men of God who talk of their first meeting of their wife-to-be. A few have similar stories of standing before a gathering of believers, preaching the word of God and seeing a lady in the crowd and God says “that’s your wife!” Often she is experiencing the same kind of conversation from the Lord herself!
    What I notice in these instances us that these men and women were focused on, and going about “the Father’s business” and I think therein lies the key to “waiting”. We will naturally connect with both men and women through the practical out working of our faith and as such will connect with “the one” in His timing if we walk in obedience to Him. If our first love is The Lord and our eyes are fixed on Him, we will certainly “see” all He has for us.
    As the world around us lures young people’s eyes to inappropriate relationships, it is all the more important to keep your eyes fixed on Him. There are few whose hearts are not led astray and I know there is them who will receive a great blessing in marriage.
    Five Peas

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