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Plot spoiler: an adventure as daunting as dating requires far more than three keys for success.

That might be a disappointment to you, but trust me: embracing this reality now beats the disillusionment awaiting those who choose to waltz willy-nilly into the wild wilderness of dating without knowing and possessing at least these three keys.

Regrettably, there are many out there doing just that, because though these keys are critically important, they are often overlooked.

And this is tragic, because you simply cannot hope to have healthy long-term relationships of any kind without these three keys, much less the kind of dating relationship which could lead to a life-giving, life-long marriage.

However, before we go any further, let’s first make sure we’re on the same page in regards to what constitutes a successful dating life, because I’m not thinking of some mythological Disney-perfect relationship. But I am thinking of a dating life defined by traits like these:

Does that sound like the kind of dating life you could go for?

Then here are your three keys. You must (1) discover, (2) declare, and (3) deal with your junk. And by “junk” I’m referring to past hurt,  heart wounds, and secret sin.

Not what you were expecting?

Exactly! Hardly anyone dating today is even remotely aware of the importance of discovering, declaring and dealing with their junk, much less having begun to do so.

Indeed, it’s likely most daters out there don’t even realize they have junk to deal with. True story!

In fact – and this will probably come as a shock to you – but in spite of the way your pain in the past can plague your life in the present, do you know what most daters will blame their unsuccessful relationships on?

The people they date!

Crazy, right?

I mean, everyone knows if you keep having the same problem with different people that, maybe you’re the problem. But that somehow never seems to occur to most out there mixing and mingling, flirting and fantasizing, hooking up and breaking hearts. All the while compounding their own brokenness.

But that’s not going to be you, because when you read those words – “your junk” – you at least thought to yourself, “Yeah, I know have at least a few rough edges I should try smoothing out before I pursue a serious relationship.”

Well this is your Date Night Advice (DNA) post, because now is the time to start that process.

Q: How can you expect to find “the one” if you have internal work you need to do before you can become “the one” for someone else?

A: You can only hold such expectations if you’re too immature to know better.

But we both already know that isn’t you, because you’ve read this far and you’re still with me!

So stay with me as we elaborate on each of these three keys: discovering, declaring and dealing with your junk. We’ll start with discovery next week, but for now, could I encourage you to meditate (and perhaps even – gasp! – memorize) this verse for inspiration to begin the process of healing your heart from past hurt.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us. – Hebrews 12:1

Date Night Advice (DNA) series: What Marriage Vows Cannot Vow
Part 3: 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!