Date like You’re Never Alone (Dating 101)
One of the most powerful forces which drove me to date was this insatiable desire to belong to someone. I longed for (and continually fantasized about) the day when one of my pretty female friends would agree to promote me to the position of boyfriend.
Then I would be able to name drop her all the time:
“Oh I just got off the phone with my girlfriend.”
“Going out with my girlfriend tonight.”
“Let me check with my girlfriend and get back with you.”
“Have you met my girlfriend? She’s my girlfriend, you know.”
Though that longing appears totes adorbs in everything from Disney Channel programming to chick flicks, underneath this kitten-like cuteness is a beastly loneliness born of a terrible lie: I am not complete until I have a significant other.
Without “that special someone” I am ultimately alone.
Now, it is true that God’s answer to the original case of loneliness, that of Adam, was indeed to bring him the woman who became his wife, but if you understand how a species perpetuates its existence, you can see how it was necessary for the companion of the world’s first lonely man to be a female love interest.
Still, let’s look at what God actually said before creating Eve. God said, “It is not good that man should be alone.” Not…
- “It is not good that man should be celibate.”
- “It is not good that man should be sexless.”
- “It is not good that man should be without a girlfriend.”
The need God identified in Adam was not sexual nor romantic. It was a relational one. It was the need for intimacy. And this makes sense, when we remember that Adam was made in God’s image and our God eternally exists in intimate relationship with Himself (three persons in one God).
The same is true of us today. The deepest yearning of our hearts is not for romance, or sex or a spouse. It is simply for intimacy, as 1 Cor 13 succinctly puts it: to know fully as we are fully known. And even with our soul being known in all of its ample imperfections and limitations, to be loved and accepted anyway.
So why was it wrong for me to look for that intimacy in the arms of my one true love? Because after finally “getting the girl,” I eventually discovered the truth: she’s not my one true love.
No. I’m not gay.
I’m talking about Jesus.
No, I’m not saying you should start dating Jesus.
I’m suggesting something far more essential (and right).
I’m suggesting – no, that isn’t strong enough – I’m imploring you to surrender to Him. Surrender to Him your desperate desire to belong to someone. Honestly confess…
…the hurts you hope this special relationship will heal…
…the fears you believe this special relationship will overcome…
…the empty places of your heart you hope this special relationship will fill…
…and the happiness you believe this special relationship will secure.
Be specific! And be honest. Don’t just pray that little list above. If those words pricked your conscience (or deeper still, your soul), write out all those yearnings whose fulfillment you’ve tied to this longed-for love affair.
Then, confess what this longed-for love affair has ultimately become for you: an idol. And having done that, ask God to heal that hurt, overcome those fears, fill that emptiness and eclipse your earthly happiness with His limitless joy. Only then can you hope to come together with another imperfect person and truly love them selflessly and sacrificially, instead of consuming them with your own needs and desires. Only then can you receive their love as a gift instead of life itself.
Further, ask Jesus to remove the scales from your eyes so you might see how the family and friends He has already given you have been just the relationships necessary, first to drive you to Himself and then to fill whatever need He knew would be best met by other flawed, but flesh-and-blood human beings like yourself.
God may show you family relationships or friendships you have taken for granted in your belief that the intimacy you most needed had to come with a title (girlfriend, boyfriend, wife, husband). He may show you one or more of those relationships where you need to grow first before you’re ready for a serious dating relationship.
Instead of dating to belong to someone special, this is dating like you already do belong to someone special. Instead of dating so you are not alone, this is dating like you’re never alone… and never were. Even if you never realized it until now.
For the next post in our Dating 101 series click here:
DNA: It’s What’s For Dating
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The LoveEd study guide 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. Check out the first two 8-lesson 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!