We human beings generally make decisions emotionally and then defend them rationally.
In other words, we act with our heart and then try to explain what we did with our brain. It’s like we’re trying to convince ourselves our brain was really in charge all along.
Beckwith may have been talking about consumer purchasing decisions (and he was), but I see this ugly reality all the time when it comes to disastrous relational decisions. Especially when it comes to dating!
In our first Relation^ology class, we asked the high school students present what they wanted from their future spouse.
We quickly had a whiteboard filled with important character qualities and relationship benefits:
- to be loved
- physical attraction
- inside jokes
- shared history
That’s just a fraction of all they came up with, but you get the idea.
Then I asked each student to pick the one thing from our list that was the most important to them. (Yes, an impossible question, but before you read further, consider which one you would choose from the list above.)
Of course, one of the students picked “sex.”
Not seriously, of course.
But maybe a little.
Another student was more thoughtful. They picked “maturity.”
They reasoned that maturity would guarantee most of the other important things on the list. A mature person would be appropriately accepting, loving, trusting, kind, reliable, respectable, honest…
Completely rational, right?
But the truth? When it comes to dating, many of us – many of us – will overlook a mature person because of a lack of physical attraction, an attribute that delivers none of the other important character qualities or relationship benefits on the list above. It’s a perfect example of an emotional decision that will most assuredly be defended rationally.
And even worse? Many more – many many more – will ignore a glaring lack of maturity because of an overpowering physical attraction. And as the heart is carried away on the wings of emotion, the brain will begin churning out the rationalizations.
“They’re not that bad!” (Oh, what a relief! Admittedly, they’re bad, but they could be worse. They could be a serial killer. Are they a serial killer?)
“They have a really good heart.” (If that’s so, why doesn’t that heart demonstrate its “goodness” more often?)
It’s because of this tendency to make emotional decisions instead of rational ones, when it comes to relationships, that we share Dating Don’ts every single week on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. And each Dating Don’t we share are drawn from a past Date Night Advice (DNA) post.
For starters, here’s one inspired by the post you’re reading right now:
DON’T let someone’s looks lead you to overlook an obvious lack of maturity.
Here are just a few more of the hundreds of Dating Don’ts we’ve shared over the years. For the ones that speak to you directly, click the hyperlink and read the DNA post from which they came!
Dating Don’t #3:
Don’t Date just because you can.
Wait to date until you know why you should.
Dating Don’t #6: Don’t date someone just because they have “fine” written all over them.
Dating Don’t #10:
Don’t date because everyone’s doing it.
That’s only true on the Disney Channel.
Dating Don’t #13: DON’T pick up your date and then stop by your mom’s place for cash to pay for dinner.
Dating Don’t #16: DON’T date just for fun. Treat the process that could forever change your heart (or that of someone else) with a little more gravity.
Dating Don’t #25:
DON’T say, “God told me you’re ‘the one’ for me.”
Even if you believe it.
Trust God to tell them too.
Dating Don’t #28: DON’T keep dating the same way, while expecting different results.
Dating Don’t #31:
DON’T date just because you’re curious.
Curiosity killed the cat.
Dating Don’t #35:
DON’T gossip about other people.
Not even if you think they’re gay.
Dating Don’t #37:
DON’T believe the lie that your sexuality is your identity.
Remember your identity is in Christ.
Got a relationship question? Hit us up in the comment section.
OH! And if you’d like to follow along with what we teach in our Relation^ology class, you can by watching this LoveEd video and then reading the recommended DNA posts. That’s the first weekly assignment we give our class. Welcome, virtual class member!
Our LoveEd discipleship series, Beyond Sex & Salvation, will empower you to grow spiritually and date wisely, so you can marry well.
This discipleship series is NOT for couples, but for the wise individual who wants to prepare for their future marriage like a successful career: intentionally, intelligently and IN ADVANCE!
This discipleship series is NOT about dos and don’ts. It’s about learning the life lessons, mastering the life disciplines, and making the life decisions necessary for relational success.[originally published; 8/17/16]