Date with Your Brain (Dating 101)
Yes. I am a man.
A man who loves a great love story; one where the guy finds just the right girl; a girl who seems as custom-made for him as he for her. A love story where even the way the two come together as one seems too impossibly amazing to be true.
This is the kind of love story I share with Julie, my wife and best friend of 22+ years. A story where we didn’t exactly fall in love as much as we grew in love. And it’s just the kind of love story I wish for you.
Except totally different.
Only a God who is at once perfectly loving, infinitely wise and eternally sovereign has the creative capacity to write a distinctive love story for each of His children, one which still allows us to make our own choices and even mistakes without ruffling a single one of His feathers.
Though our mistakes are powerless to disturb God’s plan, many times they disrupt our own irrevocably.
And that’s why, I want to urge you to date with your brain!
Yes, enjoy the wonder of romance, but do so WISELY! Your heart is at stake! The hearts of everyone you date are at stake! And, most importantly, the hearts of the children your love life will produce are at stake!
So how do you balance the romance your heart longs to enjoy with the wisdom your heart needs to rest secure? Here is one of the best analogies I’ve found to illustrate:
“I like to think that the relationship between wisdom and romance is like the one between a string and a kite. Romantic love is the kite that catches the wind and tenaciously heads for the sky; wisdom is the string that tugs downward holding it back. The tension is real, but healthy.
I suppose there are times when a kite feels tied down by the string. ‘If this bothersome string would just let go of me, I could fly really high,’ the kite might think. But that isn’t true, is it? Without the string holding it in the face of the wind, the kite would quickly come crashing to the ground.
In the same way, romance without wisdom will soon take a nosedive. It becomes selfish, indulgent, and even idolatrous…
It’s not enough to simply have romantic feelings. Anyone can do that! Long-lasting romance needs practical, common-sense wisdom that knows when to let the wind of feelings carry us higher and when to pull back. When to express our emotions and when to keep quiet. When to open our hearts and when to rein them in” (50).
– Joshua Harris, Boy Meets Girl
Doesn’t that explain everything? Kites are beautiful, colorful, whimsical, but who takes pleasure in kite string? No wonder most lovers eschew even basic common sense when it comes to romance, much less the restraint demanded by prudence.
But without the string, you can’t enjoy the kite (for long).
So how can you date with your brain and still enjoy the wonder of romance in your dating life?
#1: First, understand your heart’s need for relational/emotional/spiritual intimacy eclipses your heart’s desire for romance like the sun outshines the moon. Indeed, if you do not fully grasp this reality, romance will become an intimacy impostor for you, instead of the wonderful joy-filled delight God created it to be.
#2: Pursue healthy NONromantic same-sex relationships with friends and mentors where you can learn to grow in intimacy before you pursue romance. These should be people who know and love God well first, and then grow to know and love you well.
#3: Open up your heart to those friends and mentors before you even think about opening it up to potential romantic interests. Make sure that you have nothing to share with your dating partner that you haven’t already shared and processed with your closest friends and mentors. A healthy dating relationship should be healing, but it shouldn’t be a counseling or co-dependent relationship.
#4: As you grow in friendship and intimacy with these faithful confidants, pursue maturity in every area of your life! Our culture does a great job of encouraging intellectual, career and financial growth, but not so great a job on relational, emotional and spiritual growth. However, if you want to succeed in relationships, math and marketing know-how isn’t going to cut it. For starters, here are just three marks of maturity you want to possess before you go looking for romance.
Returning to our kite metaphor, we’re simply talking about preparing and testing your kite string before you start looking for your kite. In other words, prepare your heart and mind for a serious dating relationship before you seek one.
Where do you start?
You’ve come to the right place, because at Future Marriage University (FMU) we’re called to empower the wise individual, like yourself, to prepare for their future marriage like a successful career: intentionally, intelligently and IN ADVANCE!
For starters, check out the hyperlinks in the 4-point list above and keep reading. Then share what you’re learning with a friend or two and even consider walking through one of these discussion series with them:
- TOP10 Dumbest Reasons to Date
- Purpose-Driven Dating
- Dating 101 (Hey! That’s the discussion series you’re in the middle of right 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!