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We continue with our discussion of #8 of the TOP10 Dumbest Reasons to Date: Just for fun.

We’ve already made the obvious admission that there’s nothing wrong with having fun dating. I had a blast dating.

But we also established last week that if fun is all you’re looking for, there are other entertainment options that won’t risk a broken heart or loss of innocence.

However, this thinking runs completely counter to our culture’s depiction of dating as merely a series of fun experiences – a series of unforgettable memories at best. In light of that, I pose the question:

Do you want to spend your life chasing experiences or building relationships?

Our society’s love affair with experience is sacrosanct. It wasn’t always that way, but then there weren’t always so many experiences within the grasp of the average joe.

When I was a kid you just wanted to see the movie. Now “just a movie” isn’t enough. It has to be the HD, 3-D, BIG-D movie. Even at home, you don’t watch TV anymore. You experience your entertainment on a home entertainment system with a flat screen, Blue-ray and surround sound.

Even one of my favorite restaurant chains describes themselves this way: Mellow Mushroom is an immersive experience of color, art, music and light, providing a delicious escape from the mundane. (And to think I was naïve enough to believe it was just a pizza place.)

So when it comes to your next date, the tension is high. What new and exciting experience can you cook up? Or, if you’re not actually planning the date, how can you enhance the experience by what you wear and how you look? What will wow and impress? What will you be able to tell your friends afterward?

Do you feel that pressure in dating?

Do you like it?

Did you just assume it’s all part of the… ah… the whole experience?

I’d like to encourage you to exchange the “experience” filter with which most of us view dating with a “relationship” filter. Instead of worrying about what you’d like to do, consider what you’d like to share. Instead of trying to impress your date, how about trying to get to know them.

Probably the most fun date I ever planned (and worked) was when my partner in dating crime, Dave, and I treated our ladies to a surprise moonlit picnic on the 50-yard line of the Baylor stadium. I assure you. That was a great experience.

Getting chased out of the stadium was even more memorable.

But I never really developed a relationship with the girl for whom I planned that experience. I don’t mean I didn’t develop a romantic relationship. I mean I didn’t develop a relationship with her at all. Instead of remembering our conversation, I only remember the 50-yard line. That and leaving the stadium under duress very quickly. Probably all she remembers too.

Fortunately, if I see her at a future reunion, I won’t have anything to be ashamed of. I never took advantage of any of the girls I dated, but I also, more or less, just shared experiences with most of them.

What a shame. They might have been fun to get to know if I wasn’t so focused on planning and carrying out a fun experience. And maybe one or two of them were even wise enough to figure out, that which I didn’t consciously realize at the time: that “a fun experience” was all they were to me.

Here’s my encouragement to all you thrill-seeking daters out there: determine to build relationships instead of chase experiences. Whether you’re trying to take advantage of someone sexually or just trying to entertain and/or impress, either way you’re making the experience the focus, instead of the person. And if your date figures that out they might even feel used, but…

If you will determine, both inside and outside of dating, to make relationships your focus then you’ll certainly share some fun experiences – amazing experiences.

Even better – those experiences will be all the more fun and memorable because of the relationships you’ve sought to build.

So have fun experiences as you’re intentionally building relationships. Happy dating.

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.

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