December 11, 2012 by Dusty Dean
Thinking about jumping into a dating relationship? Here are 5 incredibly important things to remember about your dating relationships whether you are young or old.
We’ll call these the “You aren’t ready to date IF’s”
5. …IF you constantly give your dating relationships your PRIME time.
When I was 18 years old, I was madly in love with a girl named Kendra. (I happen to still be pretty madly in love with her) Right around that time, I remember an incredible family trip that my family went on to South Carolina. They paid a generous amount of money to have a fantastic family vacation…and all I wanted to do was sit in the hotel room and talk on the phone.
I’m embarrassed to even admit it. However, this is not uncommon.
If you avoid family dinners, make excuses for outings with people that matter the most, hole up in your room, talk on the phone until 3am…you are not in love. You are unhealthy and emotionally co-dependent. This is not good for you.
Don’t mistake love for obsession.
Just because hands are held and lips have touched does not translate to love. Don’t talk on the phone for 5 hours and call that love. Allow Jesus to take you to the foot of the cross and show you what love truly is. It’s sacrificial and does not seek its own way.
Some of my greatest regrets are memories I missed in the name of “love.”
The truth of the matter is that I can never get that time with my family at age 18 back. I can go on other trips, but I can never have that trip. Don’t allow your new relationships lead you to abuse you from living in the moment with the people that matter most in your life.
4. …IF flattery causes you to lower your expectations.
As humans, we do this thing. We develop opinions about people. “He’s not that attractive” or “She’s not that pretty. “I would never date someone who treated others like that.”
Then we find out that he/she likes us…. and we change those opinions.
Our thought process suddenly changes. “She’s not that bad.” “Maybe I should give him a chance.” “He just needs someone to believe in him.“
Sometimes, when a car makes a funny noise, it’s the sign that a bigger problem is going on under the hood. If that problem doesn’t get dealt with, the car could possibly die and suffer some serious damage.
The same is true with us. Our motivations to suddenly settle on our standards are the sounds of something going on under the hood. There’s a serious problem.
Flattery sometimes leads to fixation. Flattery is a danger game. I know a lot of men who have had affairs in their marriage because of flattery. I’ve known lots of women who put themselves in a compromising situation because of flattery.
Flattery will cause you to lose sight of God’s standards for your life. When we allow flattery to change us, often times, it’s because we’ve allowed the opinions of others to become more important than the opinion of God.
The seed of settling is born out of a fear of loneliness.
“It just feels right to be dating.” When we become fixated on someone other than Jesus, we often find ourselves saying things and thinking things that we never thought we’d say.
You need to hear this: Don’t settle for the wrong person in the wrong circumstances, so that you miss God delivering the right person under the right circumstances.
Your problem is trust. Don’t lower your standards because you think they are too high. Give your expectations to God and let him deliver his promises to you.
Some people will tell you to stop caring about meeting the right person. They say, “Once you stop looking, the right person will pop up.”
I’ve never heard of such a thing. I don’t know a single person on the face of the planet who “quits looking.” I do know a lot of people who became content in their trust of God. Trust that he’s going to send the right person. In the meantime, don’t settle for the wrong one.
3. …IF you haven’t made “the list”…
I’m sure this isn’t a new revelation, but I encourage anyone who is looking for love to make a list of the things that they would want in a spouse. We’re not talking about things like, “must have brown hair” or “needs blue eyes”… This is more about the virtues that you want your life to be defined by.
When I was in high school, one of the things on my list is that I wouldn’t ever date a girl who couldn’t pass her classes. My thought process was that if she refused to work hard in high school, why would she work hard in anything else? High school is easy. Life is hard.
You need to make a list of the virtues that matter to you. How does he treat his mother? Does she consistently bash other girls? Does he open the car door? Does she constantly move from relationship to relationship? Is he responsible? Is she honest? Is there evidence that the Spirit of God is working in his/her life?
These things matter and if you don’t do things on purpose, you will end up somewhere on accident.
There are occasions where we limit God because we’re afraid if we ask, he won’t give us what we need. There are times where God limits us, because we refuse to ask what we most need.
God will do what we cannot do. But he will not do what we should do.
2. …IF you get constantly get defensive when you are questioned about the relationship.
I remember the first time that my parents ever questioned a relationship that I was in with a girl. My reaction was to grow defensive and hostile. In fact, the worst argument that I ever had with my parents as a teenager—no the 3 worst arguments I ever had were all over a girl. I couldn’t understand why my mother and father were so against me. “Don’t they want me to be happy?”
That’s the problem. Godly maturity doesn’t emotionalize the feedback of wise counsel. When we start to say things like, “Why do my parents hate me?”, we determine that our parents are against us instead of for us. This is absolutely the worst kind of thought process to develop and it’s a sign that you might not be mature enough to be in a relationship.
Any good mentor/parent/friend will ask you the tough questions about your relationships. There is a significant chance that if you’ll step back and take your emotions out of the picture, that they might bring good up points. But in order to see that, you will have to be mature enough to be led by the Spirit instead of by your emotions!
So if they disapprove or ask the hard questions…take a step back and listen to what they have to say.
1. …IF you start tithing to the wrong relationship.
Here’s what I mean by this: In the Old Testament, the principle of the tithe was frequently mentioned in relation to not only how people spent their money but also, how they spent their time. The “tithe” represents a tenth, but even more than that…it represents what stands first in our lives.
I think that Christians need to focus more on tithing in other parts of our lives more than just our finances. What would happen if we gave God the FIRST part of our days? What if we gave God the FIRST part of our thoughts instead of the leftovers?
I talked with a student recently who told me that they had just downloaded a devotional to do on breaks from their shift at work. Their idea was that somehow, giving their time to God in those moments was what God was after. In theory, it’s a nice thought. In actuality, it has to be somewhat offensive to God.
What if we served a God who could only give us His time on His lunch break? What if He downloaded an app that allowed Him to able to listen to us when He drove so His time wasn’t wasted. Let’s not kid ourselves into becoming a generation that attempts to label “convenience” as if it were “sacrifice.”
You can put lipstick on a pig if you want. It’s still a pig.
If you wake up every morning and the first thought on your mind is him/her. You are already out of balance. I want to challenge you to give the first fruits of your life back to God. Live sacrificially for Jesus and live conveniently everywhere else.
Dating isn’t easy. Serving Jesus isn’t either. Bat Jesus first in the batting order. Let him lead off in your life.
I hope this helps you in your dating journey.