Dating: Where two people of opposite sex, who are attracted to each other, get together with the focus on getting to know one another to build a solid relationship without involvement of physical/romantic intimacy.
This is what we should all be aiming for. We all long for a dating relationship with someone and so we should, we were created that way! but on our quest for this mysterious, exciting and awkward thing we can get a little bit lost in our feelings and emotions. So lets clear things up a little to make sure we know what direction we are going.
Before starting the quest:
When starting out on this quest it is important to start by asking the right question. The question is not, how far can I go? or How much can I date? the question needs to be flipped it should be, How can I honour God the most when pursuing dating relationships? We must keep this question in our mind and remember that honouring God is more important then dating and when we keep this question at the fore front of our thinking it will automatically answer the other questions we have.
When I use the term honouring God I want to make it clear that this doesn't mean becoming all Super-Spiritual and praying and fasting for that perfect partner and hope that they ring your door bell because there car has just broken down outside your house and its raining so you have to invite them in and you share a hot drink in front of a roaring fire!....I believe (and feel free to disagree) that God doesn't have one perfect person for everyone and I don't see any evidence for God planning perfect partners in the Bible, in fact it is the opposite read 1 Samuel 25, David meets a girl who helps him out and looks hot so David decided to make her his wife, Lad. I believe we have a choice in the matter, I believe God gave us the skills to look for our partners and choose for ourselves all God wants from us is that when we have found this person we do the relationship his way! not our own way
Keep on the quest's track:
A verse that helps me make sure that I am doing it God's way not my own is 1 Corinthians 6:12 "Everything is permissible - but not everything is beneficial. Everything is permissible - but I will not be mastered by anything.
This verse is extremely helpful in keeping on the right track because it helps us ask the right questions. Instead of looking at relationships and saying that they are wrong this verse us ask is this relationship beneficial, for me?, for the person I am dating? and for the kingdom of God? if the answer is No to anyone one of these questions then surely whats the point in continuing in that dating relationship! And you can know whether it is beneficial by asking yourself yet more questions: Does it help me in my faith? Does it make me feel secure in who I am? Does it help advance the kingdom of God? (Might sound like a deep question but what is the point of doing something if it doesn't extend God's kingdom) Is this person the type of person I have dreamed of? Does it help me strengthen relationships with friends and family? Does it mold my character in a positive way?
It is important that during a dating relationship we regularly ask ourselves these questions and also that we are honest about the answers. I also strongly recommend listening to people who you respect in the faith, ask them the questions you have asked yourself and listen to their advice.
The destination of the quest:
Before we get into a dating relationship I believe it is important that we are willing and have the intention of completing the quest not just running around on path for some fun or taking certain parts of journey because they seem the most exciting, there needs to be some level of commitment that says I am ready to complete this quest. I am aware that sometimes the dating relationship just wont work out and that is absolutely fine or maybe you thought you were ready but it turns out you still have some stuff to deal with, I just think there is a danger in the idea that we can enter a dating relationship with no intention of moving forward. The danger comes because isn't it just a massive waste of time to date someone without destination or purpose? aren't we then just doing it to fulfill our own selfish desires? Aren't we just putting ourselves in temptations way? The world is to broken for us to waste time in pointless relationships, i think Paul says it best:
1 Corinthians 7:29-31
"What I mean brothers, is that the time is to short. From now on those who have wives should live as if they had none; those who mourn, as if they did not; those who are happy, as if they were not; those who use the things of this world, as if they were not engrossed in them. For this world in its present form is passing away"