The modern dating scene is a mess. This can be perceived in the modern day ‘love songs’. Our love songs are getting angrier and angrier. A lot of us have felt the sting of dating, having tried to get close to someone and it going south. There is real pain in this dating scene, as a result many people look at it and ask themselves ‘Why would I even enter such a scene?’
Here is the reality, the most recent statistics on Millenniums state that 93% of this generation wants to be married, even people who say that marriage is a dead institution, ironically still want to get married. Now, somewhere between the longing for marriage and the actual entrance into marriage, there is a process of evaluation. But this process is flawed with many perils. It has always been flawed.
Different cultures have engaged in this process of evaluation in different ways which include arranged marriages, courtship to name but a few. Generally, there are different ways in which this process has been done; in different times, in different cultures and different settings. Much of the confusion in our culture is when you start to call this process a status. The reality is that everyone can get a date and everyone can get married if you set your standard low enough. However this often ends in some sort of resentment.
On the contrary, to have a great dating experience, one that you rejoice in and not regret. Here are two basic factors to consider (1) Who you date and (2) How you date namely, the person and the process. Dating is a process of evaluation. You are evaluating the person to see if this is the person you would like to spend the rest of my life with. The natural question is ‘What qualities should I be looking for in a person’ this is related to the ‘Who’ question. And another question is ‘What’s the best way to move through this process to arrive at suitable person’, that’s related to the ‘How’ question.
Let’s first look at:
One of our modern problems in dating is that we tend to look at characteristics rather than character. By characteristics I mean, we tend to look at the features of a person and it’s not a bad things to take notice of such but they are bad foundations to base your marriage on. The other problem with our world today is that we have taken on a consumer mentality and we’ve let that govern our relationships with human beings. We treat each other like products now. We reduce each other to a list of features and we base our relationships on whether or not that person works for me and whether or not those features work for me. We tend to become consumers of people but people were not meant to be treated like that. You are not an assembly of features but you are a person. It’s important that we get away from this consumer mentality because it’s toxic. It does not help us.
It’s worth understanding that as you walk into dating, you are not a consumer trying to pick which one works for you. Contrary to that you are meant to come in as a contributor and a community builder – this changes the game. You are not meant to be a ‘taker’ in order to build your own life however you are meant to use your gifts to build up other human beings. So, with this mind shift, what is it that one should pursue in the dating quest? Here are a few godly suggestions:
A believer in Jesus Christ
If you are believer in Jesus Christ, you want to marry another believer in Jesus Christ. So this means you would want to date a believer in Jesus Christ. You want to be aligned with them on the most important focus in your life. If Jesus Christ is your North Star, you want to date someone who is sailing towards that North Star. It’s an issue of allegiance and direction. You are going to have differences in your relationship. So when it comes to major issues in life, you don’t want ask ‘What’s the least common denominator’, but you want to be uncompromisingly aligned
A pursuer of Christ
Anybody can say that there are Christians, Hitler did. It does not matter a bit when someone says that there are a Christian. You want someone who has an anchor of love and morality outside of themselves, an anchor rooted in Christ.
Running at the same pace
You want someone whose pace you can compliment. This is pace of life in general – faith, work & play. When you enter life with your partner, your desire should be to double their effectiveness in service to the Lord. You don’t want to cut it in half. The point is you want to run with someone whose pace you can double up. Someone you can help play their best game and vice versa.
There are many other things to be mentioned here but I believe that those are the 3 things that should be non-negotiable, you would not want to compromise on those.
How should I date?
Prayer releases anxiety and fear. When you rest in the sovereign love of God, it takes desperation out of dating. It liberates you from having to try and work in order to get someone’s attention. It liberates you from trying to manipulate people, but just being able to be a blessing when you are among people.
In the world of dating where there is ambiguity, I think the world needs is clarity. We need clarity of invitation and intention. Don’t play games; say what you mean and mean what you say.
And be clear about the process, not rushing the relationship but be clear on the direction of where the relationship is going.
Community has always been a great voice in the world of evaluation. One of the great problems with modern dating is the loss of community. You need people around you to help you evaluate. This community should love God and love people as that enables them to be a source of wisdom to you. This is critical.
Now, the above list is not exhaustive and there are many things that I want to mention but those are some of the key things. Some of you may see the points above and realise that they come short of them. If that’s you, I would suggest you hit pause on the dating pursuit. You have to get your relationship with God right before you can even go into a relationship with a man or woman.
Christianity is not a list of characteristics and it’s not even a list of traits.
If you look at this list and you fall short, you need to remember that all of us have been devastated by sin. All of us have done things that we are not proud of and all of us have things about us that are broken and messy because the world is not what it should be. However, Jesus was the perfect human being for us, He died for us, He knew no sin but become sin for us, He was buried in the dirt and rose from the dead in Might. That whoever believes in Him would not perish in their sin, but just as He rose, you and I will rise into life. Only Jesus’ love can make us perfect. So, remember that the God who loves you, commands your destiny. I hope that you will rest in God, wait patiently and entrust your life to God and Him alone.