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Date Night Advice (DNA) Series: Dating 101
Part 4

date for the adventureSituation 1: You discover that someone is interested in you.

Question: Should you ask them out?

Situation 2: Someone asked you on a date.

Question: Should you say, “yes”?

Before you can correctly answer those questions, you need to consider this one:

What is your vision for dating?

Is it a matter of going out with the hottest person you can (who loves Jesus, of course)? Is it a humbler goal of simply going out with whoever you can (who loves Jesus, of course)?

For that matter, do you date just because you can, or because everyone’s doing it, or just for fun, or because someone asked you?

And what’s a date anyway? Dinner. Movie. Repeat? Or is it something far more serious, like some kind of proposal of… ah… engagement?

Speaking of, how far out is your dating horizon?

Have you thought beyond the first date? The first kiss? The first… um… more than a kiss? The one month anniversary? The six month? The promposal? The proposal? Or are you already married in your mind before the first date?

What is your vision for dating? What if it could be bigger than dinner and a movie, or the first kiss, or the first… whatever? And at the same time, what if it could be more real than dating with “enchanted” expectations (“We shall be married in the morning!”) or more enjoyable than dating with unrealistic pressure (“Does this mean we have to get married?!”)

What would dating look like if it were treated like an adventure; one characterized by courage, honor, companionship and laughter; one offering challenge, purpose and a noble aim?

Well first, as with any great endeavor, you need to determine your goal; your your worthy aim.

With purpose-driven dating, we dare to suggest the aim of dating should be marriage, but before you start having a panic attack, take a deep breath. No adventure takes place overnight. Or in a month. An adventure is about months, perhaps years of journeying into the unknown. Yes, the unknown.

Indeed, because there is so much unknown in the adventure of dating, the wise traveler will first spend months, perhaps years of preparation involving wise counsel, careful planning and rigorous training.

And then comes the journey! Not the walk in the park! Not the endless succession of dinners and movies (with a little put-put thrown in)! The adventure!

So understand, this vision of dating isn’t for the explorer who’s navigating off movie scripts written to tickle and tease, but one who is taking in sound teaching from books written by people who know how relationships work (and don’t). Have you read books like that?

Inspiration-trust swift-finalThis pilgrim won’t live on the inspiration of three-minute pop songs, but that of other explorers who understand the high-stakes of the journey and the reward of faithful perseverance.

This adventure of dating is not for the faint of heart. It’s not for the traveler who’s expecting a paved road with bright lights and clear signage, but one who’s anticipating periods of danger and doubt, and divine surprises.

Is that you?

For, even though the objective may be marriage, the wise dating explorer acknowledges that land lies across the high seas of dating. That means the voyage itself is about growing in relationships, whether they lead to marriage or not. There’s your purpose. The aim may be marriage, but the purpose of dating is to grow in intimacy that might get you there someday, but you can’t expect to know that a few months into the journey.

So you agree to set out on this adventure, understanding ahead of time that only one relationship is supposed to lead to marriage, but the others don’t have to be regrets. They can be friendships made, wisdom gained and stories to tell.

And keep in mind, you won’t be the only one telling the stories. The people you date will have their own stories about your shared adventure, so you want to make sure their tales would be ones you’d love to hear yourself, not ones where you’re the cunning villain or worse, the horrible monster.

The goal of dating may be marriage, but the adventure is the relationships themselves! This means the journey is not primarily about where you go or what you do, but who you choose to journey with and how you endeavor to care for and honor them along the way.

Can you see how the common questions that began this post are more easily answered when you look at dating from this larger perspective?

Well, what do you say? Are you up for adventure?

If so, then consider our vision for purpose-driven dating! You can read the entire series starting with this post, and then follow along with us over at YouTube as we walk through the series in our LoveEd video blog. Want to go deeper? Check out our LoveEd study guide series, Beyond Sex & Salvation, and prepare for the adventure!

In the meantime, grab a couple of good friends and go over these questions:

  • Have you invested any time in preparing for that kind of dating adventure? And if so, has the person you’re interested in?
  • Have you read great books on relationships, dating, marriage and otherwise? How could you expect to navigate the high seas of dating without it?
  • Have you sought the counsel of couples who’s marriages and friendships you admire? Do you know their stories, including the times where they wanted to give up and the mistakes they wish they had never made? If not, what couple(s) could you ask to mentor you?
  • Have you prayed as much about God preparing you to be in relationship as you have simply praying for a relationship; as much about becoming the right kind of person as finding the right kind of person?

For the next post in our Dating 101 series click here:

Date and Change the World (Dating 101)

 DNA: It’s What’s For Dating

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The LoveEd study guide 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. Check out the first two 8-lesson study guides in our store. You can walk through it on your own, but it’s more fun with friends, so consider putting together an FMU LoveEd small group study. Even better?  And ask a married couple you respect to lead it!