Dating. What is dating?
Is it a sort of pretrial run at marriage? Guy and girl date to see if they fit together well enough to make a life long commitment?
The scenario I practiced and see others practice is about the same. It’s the same practice even in the Christian culture. This is the scenario: Guy meets girl. Guy and girl date. Guy and girl are inseparable for a long period of time doing everything together including co-signing a loan for a car, putting both names on title. It’s almost like they’re married only they don’t live together. They make important decisions together, consulting one another to be sure the decision is ok with the other partner.
Now, I’m just spit-ballin’ here, so correct me if my view is wrong, but why have we turned dating into another level of commitment like marriage?
Is dating really just another level of commitment that is a step below marriage? Or is it an interview to see if the person is really the right fit for God’s plan in your life?
I rarely talk about dating on here and it’s mostly because I’ve read so many books on dating. Yes, ad nauseam! Hence, my gag reflux at the topic of dating. Not that the concept is bad, I’d just rather be talking about other things.
Going through some tough dating relationships that ended badly, I turned to books for some wiser, more seasoned advise to figure out what I was doing wrong. I’ve read them all from “I Kissed Dating Good-Bye” to “Boundaries In Dating“. (For the record, I did kiss dating good-bye for awhile and then I had a reintroduction. 🙂 ) I’ve read many books just on singleness. I recently counted my collection of dating/single/marriage books and they total up to 41. You can understand my aversion now to the topic of dating.
I used to want to date the way I described in the scenario above. I got the idea from everyone around me. This is the way we date in America. This is how we roll in the dating scene. You meet someone and then that person becomes your life. Maybe you’ll get married. Maybe you won’t. You don’t have to figure that part out right away. Just have fun and be attached at the hip for awhile.
Then after a few relationships ended and I was left with broken pieces of a shattered heart once again, God showed me something. I gave my heart away way too soon. The guy didn’t make a commitment to be the keeper of my heart. I just gave it away hoping he’d catch it and keep it.
In a sense, I said “I do” to whatever guy I was dating before I actually got to the altar. How much sense does that make?
I said, “Here’s my heart, Mr. Maybe. Please catch it and take care of it always.”
Mr. Maybe said, “We’ll see. Maybe.”
I’ve seen ladies in my life date a guy for a few years and pretty much fulfilled all the duties of a wife except for the physical part. Clean guy’s apartment. Do his laundry. Run his errands for his business. Co-sign a loan for a car. Submit to his leadership, doing whatever he said. The ladies tried so hard to make the relationship work. They tried so hard to make it survive.
Until it didn’t.
And on the ground were left broken pieces of a heart and the ashes of a life wasted.
Ladies and gentlemen, dating and marriage are not the same thing. I think we need to define dating as a stage in a relationship where two people are getting to know each other to figure out if the other fits into God’s plan for their life. Which means, the dating relationship does not need to succeed. It’s not a commitment. It’s a pseudo-commitment, not a real commitment like marriage.
Marriage is the commitment stage of a relationship, a lifelong commitment, which means everything that can be done to keep that commitment should be done. Everything that can be done to save the marriage should be done.
God made a commitment to us written in the blood of Christ and then He asked for our hearts. God never asked us to give all of ourselves to Him before He made a commitment and I don’t think He wants us giving our whole hearts to another before they make a commitment to us. He wants us to guard our hearts and only give it to those who are willing to commit to keeping it for the long haul.
Save the “I Do” for marriage. Recognize the dating stage of your relationship is a way to seek God for the best fit for His plan for your life. Doing so I think will save you some time and heartache and you will have a whole heart ready to be given away once you do reach that altar.