This is the second part to this post. The first is available here
However, in addition to Pastor I’s comments, I would also add that another reason why dating is ineffective for the sake of making a marital choice is because it is simply so unrepresentative. This is especially true if you are going out to “get to know someone” from scratch, over a drink etc. If you were choosing someone to always go out to dinner with, or a lifelong cinema pal, then yes, dating – or going out on a succession of exciting activities – might be an effective way of doing that. However, if you are trying to find someone to be a partner with in life, merging your two lives together, supporting one another through different difficulties and triumphs, then what difference does it make if he has great taste in restaurants? Or if she offers to split the bill? Because you will both be trying your best, this is not a good environment to evaluate each other’s true character, or how your potential partner might behave in a crisis. You’re not, after all, going to be living with his taste in restaurants. What you’re going to be living with is the fact that he doesn’t clear up after himself after breakfast, or (in my case) the fact that she is “trying” to be neat- and failing spectacularly.
Marriage is like a trap with cruel doors. When those doors clang shut I want to make sure I am trapped with the right person. It is while you are single that you have to be brutally honest with yourself. Now is not the time to get lovey-dovey – there will be plenty of time for that later – if you make the right choice. Now is the time to be hard-nosed and real and open your eyes really, really wide. Ask yourself hard questions – (I’m speaking to myself here) don’t let your imagination run away with you; don’t look at his cute smile Tosin! Are we going in the same direction – really??? Will he be able to lead me spiritually? I am the kind of person that can (and does) stand up to anyone – literally anyone (except my Mother). My husband has to be able to deal with that, and ideally he should be able to do that too – maybe not as aggressively as I do, maybe with quiet resolution. I don’t think I have met anyone who can stand up to anyone like I can. I would like to be proved wrong. (Can he convincingly stand up to me…is he scared of me….?)
Instead of dating, for getting to know one another, I think you need to find an arena where you can observe potential spouses without any expectation whatsoever, as you might get in dating. This way, you should be able to observe any particular individual, asking the relevant questions….until you start to get a clearer understanding!
Another dating danger for Christians – let’s say that you may already know one another, you may already have observed one another at length,you’ve already identified that there is potential with this one person and yes, you manage to avoid sexual temptation totally, and you both manage to keep your hands firmly to yourselves… Still, I believe dating encourages premature intimacy. I think that you could be using the time to honestly discuss with one another, not letting emotion cloud your judgement – and yet emotion is exactly what dating whips up, big time. It may be that on honest evaluation, you realise that you are not, after all, right for one another. Yet, if you were to date, this might not come out, as dating takes any initial attraction, and builds it up until you are so close emotionally that it is almost inconceivable that you would not get married. Or, even if you were absolutely right for one another, and you and everyone else heard God Himself speaking from Heaven ordering your marriage – an emphasis on dating rather than on communication might lead you to get close emotionally, and then marry, before you have discussed the main issues of marriage, such as children etc. This might mean that you damage the foundations for what could otherwise be an excellent and/or outstanding marriage.
As an alternative to dating, I would suggest (as Josh H does) honest talking. I really need to listen to some of my own advice as I have been asking (praying) for certain criteria for my husband for so long, and I have been so sure I have been right to ask for these in particular. It is in the course of writing this that I discover that if someone had all of those criteria, even if I could feel the tug of attraction, this would not mean that we were necessarily right for one another… 😉
2 Timothy 2v22
Flee youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart
Photo of light heart by Wami on Pixabay