Five Principles for Dating Wisely
I’ve been told more than once or twice that I’m a truth speaker. Girls, consider yourself warned. This Public Service Announcementgoes out to all my single ladies! So whether you are dating, engaged, or been chilling in a dating desert for the past decade or so… this post is for you. (Or, maybe you are married and know a girl who fits the above description, then, by all means, feel free to forward this on to a sister.)
Here’s a truth I want to share with every single woman in the world today:
YOU ARE 100% LIKELY TO MARRY A MAN THAT YOU DATE, SO DATE WISELY!
I may sound like Captain Obvious, but let me just say that this obvious statement obviously needs repeating. I’ve seen too many great girls settle for some not-so-great guys simply because they thought he would miraculously change after marriage. Why? Because there is a seductive lie that we desperately want to believe that whispers, “But … I can change him.”
No. No. No. You CANNOT change him.
Sure, Jesus can. But you can’t. And if you are dating someone that you hope, think, or expect to change once you are married, then let me assure you, you will be hugely disappointed.
Here’s a fact:A woman doesn’t accidentally end up married to kind, gracious, generous, Jesus-loving man who seeks first the Kingdom of God by accident. Marrying a guy who loves, honors, and respects you isn’t a product of chance, these marriages only happen when a woman makes the smart choice to only date someone in whom she sees the Christ-like character that she hopes to find in her future husband.
- A woman must be willing to date with her eyes wide open to see the person as they truly are and not as she hopes he will become.
- A woman must be surrendered to Jesus, asking only for His highest and best, and holding the relationship loosely.
- A woman must be willing to wait, willing to pray, and unwilling to settle for a man who doesn’t love, honor, and cherish her.
Bottom line: If a girl dates a guy who is selfish, lazy, and rude, then I guarantee you she will be married to a man who is selfish, lazy and rude. Yes, God can transform anyone, but I don’t believe a woman should willingly go into a marriage with someone whom she is hoping will change later. Life is too short, children are too precious, and marriage too sacred to make a life-long covenant with someone that isn’t God’s best.
I’m not a relationship expert. I’m just a woman who happen to marry a little later in life and had the advantage of watching tons of people date and marry over the years. I had the joy of observing Godly couples and learned from their relationships. I also watched some girls date guys they hoped would miraculously change post-marriage and unfortunately that didn’t happen.
Please hear me. I’m not advocating for perfectionism or claiming that you will meet the “perfect” man, free of flaws if you wait long enough. Sure, everyone has their sin issues and struggles, but what I am saying is that a girl needs to recognize red flags while dating and respect herself enough to walk away.
Dating is a time to evaluate the person and discover through life’s various seasons, tests, and trials if they are who they claim to be. Dating is the time to examine whether or not the guy you are hanging out with would be a great husband, father, and life partner. Proverbs 4:22 says, “Above all else guard your heart.” How do we do this? I think it starts with seeking wisdom. People say, “love is blind,” so here are a few tips I’ve found to help women date with eyes wide open.
FIVE PRINCIPLES FOR DATING WISELY
- Date in community. When we are making the most significant decision of our lives, we can’t do it in isolation. We must be in solid Biblical community with people who truly know us and who truly know the person we are dating. I remember when Justin and I were dating, I planned tons of group activities and double dates with other couples. We spent the majority of our time around other people. Why? Because I didn’t want to be the only person evaluating our relationship. I had dated others in the past, and it was only after we broke up that my friends and family said, “I’m so glad you didn’t marry…. Because…” I was shocked. So the next time, I made sure to stay rooted in community and invited Godly friends to speak into our relationship.
- Observe his relationship with his mom. I was told this a dozen times when I was a single woman, and only now that I am married do I realize how true this is: If you want to know what a man will be like when he is married, then watch how he treats his mother. Sure, everyone enters marriage with some family baggage, but some people are more healed and ready to enter into a covenant than others. One major red flag single women need to watch out for is how a man treats and speaks about his mom. If he doesn’t speak of her kindly or with respect, then run! Sure, a guy can get frustrated with a parent from time to time, that’s not the point, what you need to watch for is a consistent pattern of negativity or toxicity.
- Save sex for marriage. Why? Not only is this God’s command, but saving sex for marriage is also for your protection. Sex before marriage blinds you to a man’s faults. I’m just going to go be blunt. The reason God created sex for marriage is because sex is the super glue that bonds men and women in the covenant. A woman produces the hormone oxytocin which literally binds her soul to the man and blinds her to his faults. While this is healthy and good within the life-long covenant of marriage, this super-glue bond in dating proves disastrous because a girl can’t think clearly to make a smart choice once the oxytocin kicks in. Once a woman is emotionally attatched to a man she has a difficult time evaluating the person for who they truly are. The oxytocin flooding her brain overwhelms her ability to make informed choices, she will rationalize and defend even the worst of behavior. And once she does recognize red flags, her heart is so entwined it proves too hard to break up. (For more on this topic read: Sex and the Single Christian Girl.)
- Pray for wisdom. God’s word tells us to ask for wisdom. If we do pray, then we must be willing and open to hear from God. Often, when it comes to relationships, we only want to hear what we want to hear. We must be willing to listen to the truth, even if that means hearing something difficult. Prayer opens our ears and eyes to God’s will. I guarantee this: if you ask God for wisdom, He will give it to you.
- Expect a man to cherish you. The word cherish is one of my favorite words in the Bible. It is the word used to describe how a man should treat a woman. This word is incredible because it has more weight than our English word, love. Love gets confused with emotions and Hallmark movies. Cherish is love in action. Cherish is love wearing work boots. Cherish is how a godly man treats a woman and shows her the love of Christ. Does the guy show up emotionally? Does the guy treat you how Jesus would want you to be treated? Does the guy put your needs ahead of his own? Once again, I’m not saying you will find the perfect guy, but there are non-negotiables that women of God should hold dear and she should never ever settle for a man who doesn’t cherish her.
Sisters, I share these words out of a heart of compassion for women. Yes, I believe there are amazing men out there who love, honor, and respect women. I am married to one. I see them in my church community all the time. Please don’t settle for less than God’s best.
There are far worse things in life than being single. Rushing into a lifelong commitment with someone you have to make excuses for or one you hope will change is a recipe for an unhappy future. Please hear this with love and from a woman who knows what it means to wait and who knows what it means to fear that all the good ones are gone. Trusting God for His highest and best is always the best route to take. Marriage is wonderful, but it is also hard work and should not be entered into blindly. I pray this post and these five principles help single women date with God’s wisdom and eyes wide open.