Date and Change the World (Dating 101)
A little fun, a little making out, a little hooking up.
And a whole lot of broken heart.
And for what?
Even the ideal outcome of dating – a happy marriage – often seems at best unlikely and at worst undesirable, because in today’s world of limitless connectivity and endless possibility so many bigger and better goals seem within reach.
- If you want to do something conventional you seek a relationship, but if you want to do something noteworthy, you seek fame.
- If you want to do something simple-minded, you go to the chapel and you get married, but if you want to do something meaningful you go to the mission field.
- If you want to do something predictable you start your own family, but if you want to do something bold you start your own business.
It’s a curious culture we’ve created. One where millions of teens and 20-somethings would rather change the world than get married and start a family.
But what’s wrong with that? Why not swear off dating and join Jesus and the Apostle Paul in living for something greater?
Indeed, if leaving the world a better place is high on your priority list, I would argue that getting married and starting a family is more likely to get you there than digging wells in Africa, feeding children in India, or saving the lost in the inner city.
Intrigued? Keep reading!
Marriage > The American Dream
First, let’s go back to that theoretical goal of dating: a happy marriage.
How did marriage become the fall-back plan to launching your own business, starting a third-world mission, or going viral on YouTube?
Perhaps when marriage became just another piece of the American dream; when it was reduced to a suburban home with a white picket fence and the promise of a 401K. Yaaaaaaaawnnnnn.
But what if marriage is absolutely, positively all about growing up and taking off? Indeed, what if most of us will never reach our fullest potential apart from marriage?
If that were the case, then we better take a more serious look at dating!
Meanwhile in an Parallel Universe…
I am not saying married people are more mature or fulfilled than single people. If that were the case we’d obviously have less need for marital counseling, far less divorce and no Ashley Madison.
What I am saying is that if I were able to enter a parallel universe and meet my 45-year-old alternate-single-self I would kick his butt in every single category of maturity. (I know. The way I said that didn’t even sound mature, but imagine if I hadn’t been married for 22+ years!)
The same would be true for you. You may be more mature than I am (it wouldn’t be that hard), but you would be even more mature than you are now if you had spent the last 22 years of your life learning to thrive in marriage.
To clarify, simply being married won’t necessarily change you that much, but determining to make the most of your marriage; dying to yourself on behalf of the same person every single day;* that’s where the life change rocks you: BIG TIME! (* In fact, that’s the secret to making relationships work!)
Then there’s parenting. That’s when the Maturity Falcon makes the jump to light speed. If you endeavor to die to yourself on behalf of each one of your little bundles of joy (wrapped in swaddling trials), you will be better for it. And so will the world.
Honestly, that’s when the world changes. When you and I change. Saying “No” to porn in the quiet of your bedroom (night after night after night) may not seem as heroic as ending world sex trafficking, but it actually is. Indeed, if we all did that, what would happen to sex trafficking?
After all, we can only truly change what we can control and in the end that comes down to ourselves. God knew this and He knew that marriage would be just the relationship that most of us would need to bring about this change: for us, those who know us and the larger world that never will know us (apart from that viral video).
Date for More!
So if you can’t change the world until you change yourself, and if nothing else will change you quite the way learning to thrive in marriage will, how should that alter your perspective on dating? Then dating becomes less about achieving a lifestyle and more about living the life you were meant to live.
This means dating can’t be all about you anymore: your personal preferences (“I want them to be hot”), enjoyment (“I want them to be a great kisser“) and fulfillment (“I want them to support my career”). It has to be about something bigger: your calling, your date’s calling and whether those callings mesh. Your hopes and passions and your date’s hopes and passions and whether they complement each other in such a way as to empower the two of you to accomplish far more together than you ever could apart!
You want to change the world? Date to do that!
Skip the movie, forego the hour-long make-out sessions, and date like no one’s doing it! Date in such a way that you’re more likely to find someone with whom you could change the world together.
For the next post in our Dating 101 series click here:
DNA: It’s What’s For Dating
Want to go beyond what a blog post can accomplish? The LoveEd discipleship series, Beyond Sex & Salvation, will empower you to prepare for relational success when it counts: BEFORE YOU FALL IN LOVE!
It’s NOT for couples, but for any wise individual who thinks they might want to get married sometime before they die. And would like to learn how to better build healthy relationships in the meantime.
Check out all three study guides in our store. You can walk through it on your own, but it’s more fun with friends, so consider putting together an FMU LoveEd small group study. Even better? And ask a married couple you respect to lead it!