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10Back in 1989, when Julie and I first met at Baylor University, I had heard many times that the best kind of love story started off as a friendship that over time blossomed into a romance. So armed with this data, I would identify a girl I wanted for a girlfriend and try to “just be her friend.”

Then after some period of time, say a year, or maybe a couple months, or a week, or at least 36 hours, I would try to shift the nature of the relationship from platonic to romantic.

This never worked. The girl never fell for it.

That is to say, she never fell for me.

Now, for many more suave than myself, it seems to work. They get the girl (or guy). Eureka! But in the end most of those relationships fall apart. Even sadder, many of them do so after the wedding day. (Needless to say, in retrospect I’m glad I never “succeeded” in Mission: Turn My Gorgeous Friend Into My Girlfriend.)*

However, when it came to Julie, I truly only saw her as a friend. I mean, I thought she was cute, but there were a LOT of cute girls at Baylor. Actually, there were quite a few drop-dead gorgeous girls at Baylor.

So Julie and I would hang out, study together and occasionally go on a friendly date. We grew close enough to even talk about romantic interests we had in other people.

Then after two and a half years, something happened. Low and behold we “fell in love!” Suddenly I looked at her and I wanted her (in the romantic way). I knew she was the girl for me. And by God’s grace, she agreed.

But before we ever “fell” for each other romantically, we had already “built” a friendship.

Friendship comes in handy after the light-headed love chemicals flooding the brain subside to more reasonable levels.

Am I saying a relationship that starts out as a romance can’t last? No, but it certainly won’t last by accident. Further, it will prove more difficult to build that friendship later.

So, when it comes to dating, don’t seek the romantic spark. (In fact, most should be slightly wary of it.) Instead, seek to be (and find) a good friend.

Click here for more encouragement in prioritizing friendship over romance.

* Incidentally, we call this bait-and-switch dating and we talk more about it in this episode of LoveEd in the series: Stuff You Should Know Before You Date.

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.

Want to go beyond what a blog post can accomplish? 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 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