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Would you like a dating life high on fun and low on drama?

If YES, then here’s the tougher question: are you willing to do the hard work necessary to enjoy that kind of dating life?

If YES again, then we’re cooking with grease, because that’s just what this little Date Night Advice (DNA) series is all about.

We shared the first key to a successful dating life, last week: discovering your junk. By “junk” we’re referring to the past hurt and secret sin which which will handicap your ability to relate in a healthy, wholehearted manner.

The second key to a successful dating life is something you can only do after you have begun to discover your junk. And that’s declaring your junk. In other words, owning up to your issues.

However, almost every single dater in the world will do anything, but own up to their issues. Instead they’ll…

And you know why?

The answer I’m about to share makes absolutely no logical sense, but here goes: they don’t want their hidden issues messing up the relationship they want. You read that right.

Most people will refuse to confess the brokenness which will eventually sabotage their dating life, for fear it will sabotage their dating life.

As if confession would cause the problem instead of becoming an essential part of the cure.

Even scarier, do you know what almost every single dater will do when they suspect or even stumble upon the junk of the person they’re dating? They’ll…

  • Conceal or deny it
  • Rationalize or downplay it
  • Excuse or explain it away
  • Blame or project it onto others

If that list seems identical to the one above it, that would be because it is. And the motivation is the same as well. They don’t want the junk in their lover’s life to ruin their relationship.

However, your junk is like the weather. You can deny the weather, downplay it, try to explain it away or blame it on global warming. None of that will change the weather’s impact on your life. Indeed…

Denying your issues, hoping to keep them from spoiling your relationship would be like denying the rain, hoping to keep it from spoiling your picnic.

So what am I saying, share all your dirty laundry on the first date?

No. Not even close.

I’m actually recommending you share all your dirty laundry before the first date.

But not with your date.

Instead, I urge you to share your past pain and shame with good, same-gender friends who can help you work through all of that hurt. Preferably one or two with more wisdom and life experience than yourself.

Do you have friends like that? Friends or family who love you well, even though they know all your deep dark secrets?

If so, you are miles ahead of most in the “ready for dating success” category.

On the other hand, are your closest friends and family unaware of certain regions of your dark side:

  • Secret addictions (like pornography, drugs, or an eating disorder)
  • Past hurt (like neglect, sexual abuse, or trauma)
  • Destructive mindsets (like suicidal thoughts, unforgiveness, or rage issues)

Then now is the time to bring that dark side into the light.

Dating can wait. (And successful dating will have to wait.)

Again, most daters hide their junk – they might very well have it buried so deeply they don’t even think about it – but someday it will come out.

And when it does it’s usually ugly.

However, many a naive lover has been fooled into believing their past will just somehow stay in the past. There’s a “good” reason for believing this, because…

When you fall madly in love with someone whom you believe to be the mythological creature known as “the one,” you subconsciously believe that person is your healing!

Their love and attention will actually make you feel healed. (If you’ve been in a relationship like this in the past, you may be able to relate to what I’m describing.)

However, what’s actually happened is the neurochemistry of infatuation has numbed your pain. So instead of being healed. You’re merely drugged.

And like any drug, its effects are temporary. But when the chemical high dies down, instead of thinking, “Ah! That relationship didn’t actually change anything about the hurt in my past,” most will think, “Oh! That wasn’t the right relationship. The right one will overcome my past hurt.”

And so they proceed to the next relationship. Which numbs the pain again. Until it doesn’t anymore.

Can you see why it’s so critical to reach the place of maturity where you can own up to your junk, before you start dating?

I’m praying for the courage for you to do just that, along with the wisdom to know with whom to share your past hurt and secret sin. Then it’s time for the third and final key to a successful dating life.

Because a successful dating life awaits!

Date Night Advice (DNA) series: What Marriage Vows Cannot Vow
Part 5: Marriage Vows Cannot Vow to Heal your Brokenness
Click here for the next post in the series.

DNA: It’s What’s For Dating

Dug this weekend’s DNA? Be a good friend and share with your friends on the social media platform of choice: Instagram, Youtube, Facebook, or Twitter.

The LoveEd discipleship series, Beyond Sex & Salvation, will empower you to prepare for relational success when it counts: BEFORE you fall in love!

It’s NOT for couples, but for any wise individual who thinks they might want to get married sometime before they die. And would like to learn how to better build healthy relationships in the meantime.

Check out all three study guides in our store. You can walk through them on your own, but it’s more fun with friends (that and it kinda makes sense to grow in relational success in actual relationships with others), so consider putting together an FMU LoveEd small group study.

Even better?  And ask a rock star married couple you respect to lead it!