Thursday, June 24, 2010

Dating with a purpose

Mark and I always had a purpose in our dating relationship.  Neither one of us was looking to just have fun with someone or pass the time with another warm body.  At the same time, we weren't rushing to the altar and talking about marriage all the time -- we didn't get engaged until after two and a half years of dating and then married until after three years of dating. 

I'm not sure I understand couples that are in relationships with people they don't ever see themselves marrying.  Or if they're not even sure they ever want to get married.  Why are you wasting yours and that person's time?  What's the point?  Get a best friend, if that's what you want, but don't pretend the relationship is something that it's not. 

I think the old-fashioned term "courting" sums it up best: "to seek the affections of; especially : to seek to win a pledge of marriage from." 

I believe every relationship is on its own course.  There's no deadline (to an appropriate extent -- 10 years of dating may be pushing it) that must be met or race with other couples to see who bites the bullet first.  Every relationship will have its own unique story that unravels in the fullness of time.  I also believe, however, that dating must have its purpose -- to discern if this person is whom God has intended you to marry. 

Mark and I talked about this purposeful dating in the early stages of our relationship.  We began praying together that God's will would be revealed to us, and I prayed that He would make our relationship into something beautiful and that every purpose He had for our relationship would be fulfilled -- no matter if we were to marry or not.

Loving organization the way I do (thanks Mom!), I, of course, have my own prayer schedule.  I pray for certain things every day of the week so that I don't get overwhelmed in my prayer life or sit for hours and hours praying for everything under the sun.  Mondays are the days I pray for dating, engaged and married couples.  I have a list of all of my friends that I go through by name and pray for their relationships, whatever status they may be.  I certainly pray for my friends in dating relationships, that in the fullness of time, God would reveal His perfect will for their relationships to them, in the meantime granting them His peace and patience.  Again, that every purpose He has for their relationships would be revealed.

We need to encourage our friends in these times of their lives to be purposeful in their dating relationships.  Ask them how things are going from time to time, and keep them in your prayers.  Absolutely, breaking up is hard to do, but it's better than spending years and years in a dead-end relationship when you could've been dating your future spouse.

"All I'm saying is that somewhere out there is the man you are supposed to marry. And if you don't get him first, somebody else will, and you'll have to spend the rest of your life knowing that somebody else is married to your husband." 
~ "When Harry Met Sally"

Ha, wisdom from one of the greatest romantic comedies ever. :)

April 2008, My cousin's wedding

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