First off, I’m a hopeless romantic, so put down the stones and let me explain myself!
I haven’t been single for over a decade, so feel free to dismiss my opinions, but I don’t think the problem in the dating world is a lack of qualified suitors. In fact, the problem is too many options! Not too many decades ago, it was very unlikely that you were going to meet someone who would come in from a distant land and sweep you off your feet. Pickins’ were slim. Look around you…what you see…those are your options!
Contrast that with today. Mr. or Miss Wonderful may just stumble into your world at any minute. The possibilities are endless. You can even go online and build the perfect suitor profile and bring them to you! With so many potential options, it’s hard to commit. You know the people around you aren’t perfect, so why settle? …especially when someone better may show up any day.
So how do you navigate the new world? How do you avoid ending up with the wrong person but also make sure that fear of commitment won’t keep you single forever?
Here are some ideas to help:
1.) Narrow your options: Believe it or not, who you marry is not the only important choice in your life. You can narrow your options simply by deciding what else is important to you. For me, faith in Jesus and resolve to help build His church are primary values for my life. Eileen (my wife) stood out to me as someone who shared those values from the very beginning of our relationship. Without that, it would have been a non-starter. What values are important to you? Can that help narrow your options?
2.) Forget perfection: You’re not perfect. No one else is either. Besides, the real awesomeness of relationships is that they force us to deal with our imperfections. Don’t look for someone who is perfect. Look for someone who is willing to grow. If you’ll be willing as well, together you can help each other become so much more than either of you could be on your own.
3.) Love is overrated: OK, here it is. I think the “in love” feeling is hype. The truth is that feelings come and go. There are days you’re gonna be so passionately love-struck that you can’t separate from each other. Other days you’ll hope they don’t even call because you can’t bear the thought of talking to them. To make long-term decisions on feelings, no matter how deep, is to build your future on a very shaky foundation.
True love is born of commitment, not feelings. Jesus said that there is no greater love than this, that a man lay down his life. True love is the result of someone committing to lay down their individual life (desires, plans, feelings) for another person. That’s why two people in an arranged marriage can find love. Love came out of their commitment, not the other way around. So don’t freak out if you don’t feel enraptured with passion every second of every day. True love is much bigger than that.
4.) Try Someone On. I used to believe in a strict dating guideline, that you shouldn’t date unless you felt the relationship was headed toward marriage. Now, though, it seems like that puts too much pressure on relationships in the early stages. I think the goal should be to learn as much as possible about someone’s values, strengths, weaknesses and willingness to grow with as little wounding as possible. Perhaps my next post will be how to avoid wounds in dating relationships. For more direction on “trying someone on”, though, see my previous post: Not Married – Just Sleeping Together.
What about you? What ideas do you have about navigating today’s dating world?