The modern dating scenario can be confusing and heart-breaking. Monitoring your own responses and learning to regulate your dating life to fit in with God’s timing and values is challenging.
The typical dating practice goes something like this: You commit to one person in a boyfriend/ girlfriend relationship. As you begin to figure each other out, you realize they’re not “the one.” You break up and burn the bridge of friendship. You may also then realise that in your pursuit of this relationship you have neglected other positive friendships and relationships. Often, when dating, one person commits so fully to another that other friends and relationships are unfortunately pushed aside.
In Romans 12:2 we are told, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” So instead of conforming to the world’s standard of dating, which can cause so much baggage and emotional distress what should be considered during this important stage of your life?
In several places in the book of Psalms, we are reminded to wait on God. “Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the Lord” (Psalm 27:14). Have you ever applied this instruction to your dating life?
Some have jumped to the conclusion that waiting on God means to take a passive approach, but that is not the case. Waiting on God involves taking our desires to God in prayer, examining our approach and making the necessary changes to develop godly character. All this is involved in preparing for the time when God will lead you to find a suitable partner who, very importantly, shares your values.
A significant part of preparing for the right relationship and partner is taking time to study God’s Word and determine what He requires of you. We must first commit to our relationship with God, by putting what He desires first in our lives. This is the time to focus on developing the characteristics of honesty, trustworthiness and integrity.
We are reminded of the importance of honouring God’s timing when we remember the story of Abraham and Sarah who took things into their own hands and did not respect God’s timing (Genesis 16 and 17). When Sarah did not become pregnant at the time she expected she encouraged Abraham to have a child by her handmaiden, Hagar, which was the worldly custom of the time for childless women. Abraham and Sarah resorted to human reasoning and decided not to trust God’s timing. (Read a commentary on the story)
Another important point to remember in the first excitement of dating someone new is that any relationship that requires you to compromise or bend your morals is not what God intended for you. Stand firm in your beliefs, continue to pray and have faith God will provide what He desires for you in His timing, even though your friends may all be exclusively dating, and it might look like a lot of fun for the moment.
Dating doesn’t have to be a heart-wrenching experience. Focus on developing your character and trust in God’s timing for a relationship He orchestrates, while you maintain great friendships with those who will support and encourage you. God has a plan for you, and it’s greater than you could ever imagine. “I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11).
Compass Check magazine