Next Saturday I’ll be speaking to young adults about…relationships. Specifically, of course, around dating. Dating – that very word irks me. My husband and I never actually went on a “date” until we were a couple. And I have always been thankful for that. The whole idea of sitting down and eating in front of someone you don’t know very well has always frightened me. I’m not a pretty eater. I spill 9 out of 10 times from pasta sauce to salad dressing. It will be on my face, my clothes and almost always in my hair!! But God is good and this is something my husband loves about me. Full on entertainment during dinner. You can sit me and my 6 year old next to each other at dinner and I will make more mess than her.
Okay, so back to dating. I think we can all get very legalistic about the do’s and dont’s of dating, but one thing is for sure, everyone who is married has a different love story. The how, where and why they fell in love will be completely different couple to couple. So how can we bring God into that process? If there’s no one way to find the man/woman of your dreams who you’ll spend your happily ever after with then where do we start? How will we know they’re the one?
These are questions I get asked a lot and so I want to share a few things that God has shown me about finding ‘the one’.
1. Find Christ First
The one thing I always look for when love is involved is whether they are first in love with Jesus. This will be the driving force behind every decision we make. If you’re like me and you’ve dreamt of being swept off your feet and kissed till you’re out breath than it’s easy to forget what love really is. Love is not just a feeling its a choice. To know what love is fall in love with God, for God is love. 1 Timothy 1:5, Matthew 6:33
2. Be in the right place
If you want to find a Godly partner who is always putting their priorities right and loving Christ first then be where they’ll be and get involved in healthy and wholesome activities – church, camps, community volunteering, and wholesome hobbies. Getting dolled up and heading to the pub/club every weekend to ‘get out there’ and find someone is not the best way to find a man after God’s own heart.
3. Observe in every environment
Sometimes we can fall in love at ‘hello’ and we completely lose our brains as we enter the ‘in love’ bubble. But it’s very important to see each other in different environments. For example how do they behave with their friends compared to your friends? What’s they’re relationship like with their family. How do they behave in church? Do they serve in church or just attend?
4. Listen to your elders
Now I’m not just talking about church elders, but generally anyone who has a healthy marriage who you know and respect. Ask their opinion and listen to what they have to say. If you’re so far gone in the relationship that you’re unwilling to listen to a married veteran warning you of your boyfriends debt, anger or manipulative ways than you are officially in the ‘danger’ zone of falling in love. You are no longer being led by God, but by your own emotions. This is where trouble starts to happen.
5. Say no to ‘trial marriage’
The lie that is being fed our generation of ‘trial marriage’ and ‘sexual compatibility’ is complete nonsense and goes completely against the Word of God. 1 Corinthians 6:13, 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5. And if you don’t believe the word of God then believe this – statistically your chances for divorce increase by over 30% when you live together before marriage and studies have shown that you will be less satisfied in your marriage if you do stay married after living together. That is very sad and not what God intended for marriage. You may think God’s way is just ‘out of date’, but there is a reason for his method. One very important reason for waiting to give yourself to your partner until marriage is that sex leads to babies! Statistically in the UK “around 27% of couples that were cohabiting when their child was born have separated by the time the child is aged 5, compared with 9% of couples that were married when their child was born.”
I love being married and believe in it whole heartedly but I know that everyone has a different story to tell. So share your best ‘dating’ advice to finding ‘the one’, and don’t forget to show the love by sharing the post!