Part 1: Mindset renewal
When discussing relationships in a recent intern meeting, we got on the subject of “dating.” We looked at dating from Christian and non-Christian perspectives, which brought up a lot of thoughts and questions in my heart and mind that I want to share with you.
Ladies, I don’t know if you’ve felt this way, but many of my friends and I have wondered, “Why do all these attractive ‘non-Christian’ men want to pursue me, yet none of the ‘Christian’ ones do?”
And men, you may wonder, “Why don’t any of these ‘Christian’ girls give me a chance to take them out?” Or you may feel like, “There is so much pressure when dating a ‘Christian’ girl … I feel like I have to know if I am going marry her before I even have a conversation with her.”
Both sides seem to wonder why nothing is “happening” and I think—now brace yourself—this is why: We have adopted the mindset that dating (in and of itself) is unhealthy. Maybe this is because we haven’t seen healthy dating relationships modeled for us.
Because of this misunderstanding, we have believed the lie that if a relationship doesn’t end with a wedding, it wasn’t a successful dating relationship. We’ve believed the lie that we can’t date someone and leave him or her better than how we found him or her. We think a breakup has to equal heartbreak. All of these mindsets are lies that have kept many people single for way too long … and we wonder why the church has stopped dating!
Follow my thought process.
For whatever reason, many people have decided that dating has a potential to be “unhealthy” rather than choosing to be healthy people who date. You see, you have a say in how you show up in a relationship and how healthy you do that relationship. You get to decide all of this!
The idea of dating is healthy, despite one or both individuals being unhealthy. Healthy dating comes down to healthy individuals. However, to take some pressure off, healthy does not equal perfection, but it does mean knowing yourself and how to honor another person. We will discuss this concept further in upcoming blogs.
With all this talk about “dating,” it is helpful to define what that is, since pop culture (and Christian culture) can make definitions a little cloudy. The closest definition I could find reads something like this:
1. To see someone.
2. To be with someone.
3. To be “together” with someone.
4. The action of doing any sort of various activities to gain acquaintance with someone romantically.
Believe it or not, all of the above are completely acceptable to gain romantic acquaintance with someone you are interested in! All are healthy and normal.
The desire to have a healthy and happy family life is in the heart of every person. Having this kind of lifestyle is one that is cultivated, created and accomplished by practice. To have healthy families, we must have healthy marriages. To have healthy marriages, we have to be people who are healthy daters … and at the root of it all, for all of this to happen, we have to be healthy individuals.
Becoming a healthy individual is a choice, and it takes time. However, in the end the love you have for yourself and another person will yield benefits that you have only dreamed of, not to mention the fact that the hope you have for your future family can and will be a reality.
The upcoming articles for this series will identify the lies surrounding dating and the truth about healthy dating; how to know if you’re ready to date, with 10 questions to ask yourself; how to determine if another person is healthy; how to live out a healthy relationship, and what to do if things don’t work out.
My hope is that, by the end of this series, we will be a movement of people who know who they are and are willing to take risks, people who love well and have hope for their relationships.
Please hear my heart … these articles are NOT giving you permission to do whatever you want to do in dating. It’s not permission to go to another person to whom you are attracted and attempt to get all of your needs met. This behavior is not the mark of a healthy person who wants to begin a healthy relationship. What you do before, during and after a relationship affects not only you, but also the other person. There are consequences of being an unhealthy dater.
*Discovering how to date series courtesy of Moral Revolution. Author Amanda Zentz.