Dating with Purpose

Life is really about relationships. Some people may tell you that life is about money or things, but if you think about it, every facet of your life touches a relationship in some way. Everything we do, everywhere we go, we are with other people and in relationships. Strong relationships are the building blocks of a successful life. Because dating is a relationship of the highest kind, it is crucial to date with a purpose. Recently, I had the privilege of talking to a young man who had a unique perspective about relationships. One aspect he shared about involved not rushing into an exclusive relationship. If you spend too much time as a couple without others, you don’t learn about how your partner interacts with people. As a result, you don’t get to see the real person. You start making that person the focus of your life, and you even put that person before God. His advice, spend time getting to know the person in a group setting.

Some relationships are not meant to be. Whether the reason involves compatibility, life goals, or other factors, some couples shouldn’t even start dating. My friend shared how many couples stay together and keep seeing each other for the wrong reasons. In his opinion, being in a relationship to fulfill sexual desires or to fill an unhealthy need, leads to heartbreak. To avoid this dating pitfall pray about it. Listen to God and ask him to cover you in this very important area of your life. Developing a deep relationship with Christ can help you discover God's will.

In studying and observing young people, I have found that many don’t know how to enter into a healthy dating relationship. They do what their friends do, what TV shows model, and what songs dictate as normal.

Many young people think that when it comes to dating, it’s learn as you go. The problem is that if you have the wrong perspective on dating and the purpose of relationships, you will leave yourself open to mistakes and heartbreak. And heartbreak leads to emotional trauma.

Let’s face it, casual dating and courtship are total opposites. I really love the true concept of courtship because it leads me to teach young couples about the purpose of dating. Courtship or dating with purpose, is a period of time in which a man and a woman develop a romantic relationship and seek to determine if it is God’s will for them to get married. In my opinion, when you date with purpose, there should be relational growth in several areas.

Individual growth:

Dating should push you to discover yourself more fully. You should have clarity on life goals, on education, on work, and on your true identity.

Growth as a couple:

Understand that the connection you pursue in dating should lead you to a sense of deep respect and commitment for that special someone. Expect a deeper level of communication and vulnerability. Also expect to grow in your conflict resolution skills. Getting to know another person means conflict at some point.

Grow in community:

Make it a priority to spend time with other couples, stay close to your friends, and above all, take time to interact with both sets of parents. Parents love and want the best for you. They should have a say in how the relationship progresses. Ask for their blessing, prayers, and covering in your relationship.

Find a couple that can hold you accountable in your relationship. Growing together and in community implies having a heart of service for others too. Continue in the outreach ministries that God has called you to. Pray about what God would want you to do as a couple so that you focus not only on time with that special person, but on time together with others.

Grow closer to God:

Pray together, go to church, and find a Bible study. Make God your priority and center on this relationship.

“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” -Matthew 6:33

The biggest mistake my young friend told me he made in his last relationship was to put God second and his girlfriend first. Changing his perspective on dating took some time, but this realization has made him a stronger person. Above all, remember that life is about relationships, which means we should be with people that will help us grow stronger in all areas of life.