We’re talking about Purpose-Driven Dating, which we define as follows: intentional time invested in one other person for the purpose of growing in intimacy that might lead to a life-giving, life-long marriage.
…time invested in one other person…
In doing so, I will share a couple concepts that can empower you to take your dating life to the next level.
Time: Don’t Spend it. Invest it!
We seldom think about it this way, but time is truly a precious gift to share with someone.
We are almost always aware of the limitations time places upon us; how it forces us to hurry up and then wait…………………………… And then hurry again. But the very limits of our 24-hour day are what make time invested in someone else such a gift.
Think about that family member, teacher, pastor or coach who impacted you most positively and powerfully. How could they have done that without investing time in you?
Answer: they couldn’t.
If someone truly changed your life, for the better, it’s probably because they were willing to take some of their precious time, and give it to you. And with that time, they gave you love, insight and encouragement. Indeed, they couldn’t have given you any of the latter without giving you the former.
Let’s apply this same mentality to dating. Think about past dates you’ve been on or perhaps a romantic relationship you’ve shared. Do you look back and think, “Gee, those people really invested their time in me? What a blessing it was to know them?”[Insert either the sound of crickets or applause here.]
Now let’s bring it home. Think again about those same past dates or lovers. What would they say if I asked them the same question about you? Did they feel like you intentionally invested time in them? Were you a blessing to them?[Insert either the sound of crickets or applause here.]
Sadly, when I look back on my dating life, I have to admit I was often more interested in trying to impress my date or win their affection (or both) than I was in investing time in them, to make them feel truly special and honored.
When it comes to dating, there’s every reason for us to invest our time wisely. That’s why with purpose-driven dating we talk about investing time in someone instead of merely spending time with them.
Dating: It’s about the Person; not the Activity
In practice, most dates are basically time spent engaged in activity. You go to a restaurant, a movie, a concert or a game. You eat, or you bowl or you put-put golf or you watch a show or you drink.
Maybe you make out. Perhaps you do more than that.
Regardless, the focus is on the activity and not the person. Indeed, even when little dating love birds seem to be all about each other; can’t think of anyone or anything else but each other, many times it’s not actually the person they’re so enamored with as much as it is the romantic and/or sexually charged activity.
This is why we can fall in love with someone who’s actually bad for us; or who’s just plain bad period. This is also why certain people can jump from one romantic or sexual relationship to another. What we “love” isn’t the person, but our pituitary gland filling our brain with vasopressin and oxytocin.
All of that to say, whether you’re keeping it platonic or aiming for passionate, can you see how the “activity” mentality of dating keeps healthy intimacy from building?
Nothing wrong with engaging in activities, but with purpose-driven dating we want to empower you to engage in relationships. That’s why we encourage you to change the dating paradigm from spending time doing something to investing time in someone.
This is a key shift in perspective, because whether you want to make marriage the end game of your dating life or not, life is more about relationships than experiences. Indeed, the right people can make the most mundane experience meaningful or the most stressful experience manageable. Conversely, even a trip to Paris can be miserable with the wrong people, or incredibly lonely on your own.
Think about it, wouldn’t you rather spend your time growing in relationship with people you love than spending your time going cool places and doing fun stuff?
If so, why not begin with the end in mind? When you’re standing at the altar, would you rather look back on a dating life filled with activities (some fun, many forgettable and some regrettable) or a dating life filled with friendships made, including one so special it led up to that moment?
If so, then purpose-driven dating is for you!
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!