One of the biggest issues in the Christian community is the idea of "dating." Is it right? Is it wrong? Is there a specific age when people should start dating? Should I kiss dating goodbye?
Lol... I had to...
Whether or not you believe dating is a constructive form of finding a spouse, I believe one must be more interested in becoming "the one" than simply finding "the one."
A year ago I wrote this blog called "11 Ways To Know You're Ready To Date." Today, I decided to change the name simply because I've come to the conclusion that you can think you're ready and be completely wrong - relationships aren't always easy. They have a funny way of revealing the hidden "unreadiness" you never realized was there!
And guess what? NOBODY'S PERFECT. This isn't one of those "feel horrible about yourself cuz you suck" kind of blogs. It's also not one of those blogs you post to someone's page to prove to them that they aren't ready. In fact, if you haven't made mistakes or found yourself struggling with one of these points at any time in your life, you probably haven't learned much!
So, to help out - here are a few "musts" that singles can develop in their lives to help them become ready for a Godly relationship.
1. You've taken responsibility for your life
Hey - we all have our "stuff." Being ready to date doesn't mean that you don't have any - it just means that you aren't blaming anyone else for your problems anymore. You have accepted responsibility for the direction of your life and the rate of your personal growth. What this means is that, although you might have been hurt in the past or experienced dysfunction, you're not going to make the next person pay for it. You're taking responsibility for your life, reactions and responses to the past and won't hold it over someone else's head.
2. You know who you are
Everyone has insecurities, but you have given yourself enough time to work through your identity issues with the Lord and are confident in who He says you are. This probably looked like a season of singleness or a learning experience that allowed you to discover yourself and your identity as a son or daughter of God. You are not going into a relationship with a 50-50 mindset... you are ready to offer yourself as a whole person, 100%.
3. You've fully committed to God and His plan for you
You've made up your mind and there's no turning back. Your number one priority is your relationship with the Lord and the consistent development of that relationship. You aren't living life on the fence - one foot in the world and the other foot in the Kingdom. You are solid and sure in your commitment to Christ and are dedicated to following His plans, purposes and commands for your life.
4. You are financially healthy
This means that if you go out on a date, you won't need to use your Mom's credit card to do it. You have some sort of income or you are pursuing an education so that you can have a job that will provide for you and someone else. You don't expect someone else to take care of you. You see relationships as a partnership and are ready to offer something - not just wanting to receive. You have taken responsibility for your financial future and make wise choices on how to spend your money.
5. You have learned to manage your sexuality
You have decided that God's Word is the ultimate authority for your life and His design for sex is the ultimate pleasure. It's not about perfection, it is about transparency and obedience. You have managed your sex drive and have surrounded yourself with peers and leaders who know what's going on in your life and relationships. You will not allow your sex drive to drive your relationship into guilt and shame. You have a plan for purity and passion and have set boundaries to make help your relationship thrive.
6. You have healthy friendships
You are not a lone-ranger. You have learned how unhealthy it is to live life by yourself. You have a community of people around you that you do life with. These people are friends - they are peers with whom you can relate to and enjoy time with. You have allowed these friends to speak into your life and you can do the same for them. You are not just looking for a relationship to fill the void of community in your life because you don't have friends.
7. You have Godly standards
Not just any person can walk into your life and claim that special spot. You have standards. Not unrealistic ones... not just physical standards, but emotional and spiritual standards. You realize that you are worth a great deal and need not to settle for someone just because they want to have a place in your heart. You know what you are looking for and what is non-negotiable, yet you are open to what God allows to be placed in your path.
8. You are submitted to leadership
You can't drive a car without coverage from an insurance provider - and you realize that you will drive a relationships into the ground if you don't have the necessary coverage to protect you in difficult situations. You realize that to have authority you must be under authority. You offer a relational partner covering and leadership because you have people in your life that you are submitted to. You know that it is important to be covered and protected so you have chosen to submit your life to those you can trust to lead you and your future relationship well.
9. You have a plan for your future
You know that no one wants to date a bum. You have a plan for your life and refuse to just sit around and wait for someone to complete that plan. You're not a half waiting for your other half - as long as you are single, you are exactly where God wants you to be and His plans and purposes for you are great. You have goals and dreams that are personal and are yours... but you are also willing to be flexible as God brings people into your life.
10. You are ready to sacrifice
You are convinced that relationships are not just about you getting something, but about you giving as well. You love as you would want to be loved. You are not looking for someone to serve you and give you all that you want and need, you are looking to partner with someone in laying down your lives for one another. You know that ultimate pleasure is sacrificing for someone as they are willing to do the same for you.
11. You are prepared for the outcome
You don't have unrealistic expectations for dating relationships. You are ready for the consequences. You are prepared for it to fail and have guarded your heart so that it will not be broken beyond repair. You are also prepared for it to succeed and you have a plan to follow through with it if things go well. Either way, you have thought about the future and are ready for whatever God allows to happen.