“Dating without the intent to get married is like going to the grocery store
with no money; you either leave feeling unsatisfied,
or you take something that’s not yours”
I heard this quote recently and it really got me thinking. It made me pause to examine my own heart and my own motivations for wanting a relationship. Am I ready to get married in the near future? As in, do I think I would make a good wife if I got married soon? Am I gentle, compassionate, kind, loving, forgiving etc. everything I want to be for my husband?
If I’m honest, the answer is no. The Bible tells us to guard our hearts (Proverbs 4:23) and to not awaken love until the time is right (Song of Songs 8:4). If I were to date tomorrow, it would likely be for selfish gain; companionship, because I’m lonely, for romance etc. But I don’t believe these are the right motivations for dating as a Christian.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I don’t believe for a second that we need to be perfect in order to start dating (we will never be perfect, of course) and I don’t believe that wanting companionship and romance is inherently wrong. But what I do mean is that we cannot come into a relationship ‘half full’ expecting the other person to complete us or give our lives meaning/purpose/value. That is always a dead end path filled with lots of pain and frustration for both parties involved. I know from experience.
We need to ensure that we’re already full (have our identity rooted in Christ with a healthy idea of what dating/courtship looks like in light of God’s model of love) before allowing a relationship with the opposite sex to blossom. Overall, we need to make sure every area of our lives honors God and brings Him Glory.
So where do I fit into this scenario? For right now, I’m going to work on bettering myself by getting closer to God and allowing Him to mold and shape me into the woman of character, integrity and honor He created me to be.
So that when the time comes that He lovingly whispers into my ear, ‘That one, over there, he’s a keeper’, I’m gonna be ready for the adventure that awaits me. Starting with developing a deep, authentic friendship, and if that leads to more, then allowing it to unfold with healthy, God-honoring boundaries. If that leads to marriage, great, and if it doesn’t, I’ll most likely be a wiser woman for the experience.
But you can be sure that when my wallet is full (i.e. I feel spiritually, mentally and emotionally ready to be part of a God-honoring relationship) I will be heading to that grocery store with a skip in my step (i.e. I will open my heart to a worthy suitor).
And who knows, I may pick up a pint of cookie dough ice cream while I’m there.