Hello! Today is the third part of a series in "Dating as a Christian". The name itself is pretty much self explanatory, so I won't divulge in explaining what this series is about, but I will insert a disclaimer that our relationship with God as a Christian are all different. How you view dating could be very different from how I view dating, and these posts are ultimately based on how God has guided me in my relationships (and non-relationships). As usual, you are always welcome to banter with me and we can debate and discuss about our beliefs~
Part 3 is going to be about expectations. I've kind-of-half-joked-but-kind-of-seriously mentioned before that I want to one day be with a 5'10" extremely handsome man who can serenade me and dance with me and teach me to play the guitar and serve with me at church. He has to be smart and able to hold an intelligent conversation, but also have a cute side that lets me be playful with him. He must have ambitions in life, and know how to reach short-term and long-term goals. He has to be kind and loving towards others, and etc.etc... the list can go on. I am a very idealistic person, and trust me: I want someone who is like Jesus incarnated through a chivalrous renaissance man.
As idealistic as I am, I also know that my "ideal man" is probably:
1. Non existent 2. A celebrity who has put in billions of dollars into the talent, face, and body and/or 3. Too good for me
It really sucks to let ourselves come back down to earth and recognize these things, but most of our "ideal" people are simply not within reach. Part of it is recognizing our worth, and in doing so, recognizing that someone else's worthiness is not in their height, looks, or talents.
For example, I am not a model-esque girl with a perfect personality and great income. I'm not a renaissance girl by any means, and I am often too awkward and shy. However, that doesn't mean I'm a horrible catch. I have confidence that I am a great catch, because I am fearfully, and wonderfully made; God knew me before I was knit together in my mother's womb. Of course, that's a "cop out" answer, since it means everyone is a great catch. But how many people actually recognize that they are absolutely wonderful simply because of God?
One of the things that we as Christians face is the dilemma of trying to understand that we are created perfectly in God's image, BUT we are sinful and imperfect humans. These two ideas seem to contradict with one another, but really, they aren't. As humans, we have free will and emotions, two things that usually lead us to make bad decisions. These bad decisions aren't from God, and we are equipped with His guidance through scripture, logic, and simply the Spirit to make good decisions. Unfortunately, we sometimes choose the sinful and imperfect answer to satisfy our temporary desires. Each of us are tempted by different things, and the way we handle ourselves reflect our relationship with God; ultimately this decides how we interact in our relationships with each other and whether or not we are compatible with someone.
That being said, if you know where your shortcomings are and what tempts you, then it should bring you a better understanding of the kind of person you want to build a romantic relationship with. Ephesians 5 lays out the foundation of marriage: "Submit to one another out of reverence for God". Of course, we will fall short at times in submitting to one another, but it comes down to willingness and desire to do so. This verse isn't about pleasing one another, but about pleasing God and understanding that it is God who has built the foundation of this relationship. Does this mean that every relationship between believers should work? Yes and no. In a perfect world, all general relationships should work... but it's a little different in romance.
While I am fond of the saying that your boy/girlfriend is a friend, the friendship built is different than regular platonic friendships. If you are intentionally seeking out a partner in life, this is someone you are going to live with most days of the rest of your life. This isn't someone that you can find an excuse to go home early from and reflect to forgive in times of conflict. This is someone you will have to face in all times of all conflicts, and learn to make up with even when you believe they are completely wrong and nuts. This is someone you really have to be able to submit to. There is bound to be a splash more shyness, and a sprinkle more uncertainty. There is going to be a bigger douse of vulnerability, an entire can-ful of trust, a dollop of jealousy, a whole ghost pepper of anger, and even some semi-sweet chocolate mixed into it. Romance can get a bit complicated, and it doesn't always end up good. Sometimes we end up salty in the good, biblical way, and sometimes we end up salty in the modern-day bad way. Regardless, having a better understanding of ourselves, and our relationship with God and sin is only going to allow us to understand what kind of person and relationship is going to be well matched for us.
For example: One of my biggest sins is that I am very impatient. I struggle with loving on people who make me wait. While I can go off of emotions (initially) to overcome my impatience for a man who is constantly late, I need to look to God and ask Him to make me more patient. But meanwhile, I also need to ask myself: am I okay with one day running late to my friend's wedding because this guy couldn't find his left shoe? Is my impatience a sin that I hold so dear to that I cannot let it go for him... for God? Am I willing to submit to this tardiness, and learn to let go of my own obsessive need for being on time all the time, and give in to God's timing? Of course, there are the "holy" and "right" answers, but what is the honest answer?
These are just things for you (and myself!) to consider in dating. Please leave your feedback, and I'd love if you let me know what you like and dislike! Also, do not hesitate to submit things for posting as well!