Dating pressure

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The other person had to love God and be beautiful in my eyes, both inside and out. Could we open our hearts, exposing our hurts and wounds? So we went on a second date, and a third date, and a fourth date ... We loved each other, sensed God drawing us together, and wanted to live life with one another. Really, that's the only reason anyone should get married.

In exchange for the seemingly endless list of qualities, though, I evaluated the relationship itself as we got to know one another. until after a month of dating, we decided to date exclusively. Not because marriage is the fulfillment of some personal goal or life plan, but because God is calling you to love another person as Christ loves us — sacrificially and unconditionally.

In large part, it will determine who you become and the life you lead.

With this perspective, it's easy to consider anything less than a ring on the finger a failure.

From the heights of anticipation, it can send you to the depths of despair.

At times, dating can make you feel like a different person. Dating can be especially trying if you're not simply doing it to have fun, but to get married.

Should you give up the dating game entirely and accept perpetual singleness until God brings that special person into your life? Even if someone cleared the bar one day, I found myself consumed with doubt the next day. Instead of holding me to my promise to never date again, God taught me four important lessons that transformed my understanding of dating, marriage and love.

In that context, I began learning whether we were compatible and could ultimately go the distance. Not because either of us failed to clear the bar, but because we weren't right for each other. The difference is, I no longer gave those judgments much weight, whereas before they were . Instead of the "perfect" spouse, now I wanted to find a person with whom I enjoyed sharing life. At the time, I had a coworker who although beautiful, didn't seem like a perfect match for me. We met each other's family and talked about our future. We still had a journey to travel before getting married.

But this zero-sum mentality leaves us in a precarious position, since, according to this definition, dating is always unsuccessful — until the one time it's not.

That's not to say dating anyone other than your future spouse isn't worthwhile. Even after answering these questions satisfactorily, I never really stopped asking them.

For most of us, though, all we see while dating is one failure after another. They continued circling my mind, driven by an unrelenting fear that I hadn't covered every contingency; I hadn't considered this quality or that characteristic, this angle or that lighting.

He breaks up with you, or you end things with him; she crushes your heart, or you devastate her dreams. Perhaps more relevant, how are you as a Christian to act if you believe God has called you to marriage? As you might imagine, no girl measured up — the truth is, no one ever could. Fortunately, God had other plans for me — and I believe He has other plans for you, too.

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