There is no guarantee that dating deeper will find us someone quickly, or that it’ll be break-up free. Sometimes things don’t work out. But it’s during these times of anger and frustration, while acknowledging we’re allowed to be upset, that we need to realise that dating deeper still offers us the relationship we crave.
Most of us crave a romantic relationship, one that will make us feel safe, that is built on trust and enjoyment.
Sometimes our culture encourages us to date in a way which is non-commital and where faithfulness is optional. But this will not give it the best chance to thrive. We need to date deep, and date with commitment. (Read What Does Faithfulness Look Like When I’m Dating?)
If we date like this, and break-up, what then?
Dating isn’t marriage, but dating deeper, and trying to make it work and being committed while dating can help us build the relationship we crave. But if we date like this, and break-up, what then?
Do we change the way we date? Does it mean dating deeper, dating with commitment, is wrong?
I always meet and hear of people who are trying to date with God in mind. They try to date in a deep way but are upset it hasn’t worked out. They experience the frustration of dating differently, trying to be faithful to their beliefs and God-centred, but still not being in the situation they want to be in.
Unfortunately, dating deeper doesn’t mean break-ups don’t happen
Dating Is Messy
I had a friend who really broke my heart. Her and her boyfriend went to my church, and after he ended it, said the best way to get over a relationship is to throw herself into loads of other ones. She started to date in a shallow way, and eventually felt the effects.
We need to hold onto God, and remember why we wanted to date differently in the first place
Dating deeper is hard. Dating in a way that isn’t just focused on me and my needs. It is really frustrating if things don’t seem to change. Unfortunately, dating deeper doesn’t mean break-ups don’t happen. What do we do with the anger and frustration?
Ignore it? Just go out with anyone? Abandon our principles?
We need to hold onto God and remember why we wanted to date differently in the first place.
(The following extract is taken from page 120-121 of The Dating Dilemma book, read the introduction for free here)
Not Looking Back In Anger
Have you noticed how even the best-laid plans don’t always work out?
Sometimes even healthy dating relationships end, and others that look promising never get off the ground. We need to be careful that we don’t let these experiences make us resentful towards God or others.
A bad experience is not a reason to throw all of our values and intentions out of the window. Dating deep is worthwhile, even if it doesn’t turn out as we had hoped.
Pursuing one person and committing to them exclusively is always the best way to date. Not because that’s what we say, but because we have seen that’s how God has designed it.
I love you, Lord, my strength.
The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise,
and I have been saved from my enemies.
The cords of death entangled me;
the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me.
The cords of the grave coiled around me;
the snares of death confronted me.
In my distress I called to the Lord;
I cried to my God for help.
From his temple he heard my voice;
my cry came before him, into his ears.
What an amazing psalm! When our hopes, dreams, and plans don’t go according to plan, God’s deep constancy provides us with hope and security that we can rely on. His promises aren’t empty.
The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge.
Keep The Faith
Dating deeply challenges us to build a relationship with one person at a time, demonstrate faithfulness even before we ‘officially’ go out, and realise that being faithful includes our intentions and thoughts, as well as our actions.
We’ve probably all hurt others, or been hurt in relationships. Knowing God and choosing to date in a way that honours him won’t necessarily prevent this from happening again. But the reason we keep choosing to date deeply is because the lifelong love we want is found only through faithfulness.
When things don’t work out, when we get rejected, it’s okay to be upset. It’s understandable.
Loving deeply will open us up to the possibility of being rejected. Dating God’s way doesn’t come with any guarantees! But even when hurt happens, we can know the healing power of Jesus and find the courage to date deeply again.
When things don’t work out, when we get rejected, it’s okay to be upset. It’s understandable. When our friends are upset we want to make it better for them. But the answer isn’t to match them up again quickly.
Imagine if after a break up we surrounded ourselves with people who remind us, or we were the friend, who pointed people towards God and reminded each other why dating differently is important.
It isn’t easy, we will be upset. But dating in a way which values commitment will help us foster the ideals we want from romantic relationships and give them the best chance to thrive. Even if we feel frustrated at the moment. (Read What Should We Do On A First Date)
What else can help people get through a break-up in the best way possible? Comments welcome below.