I believe dating is meant to be fun, but often it can fill people with anxiety, fear, and worry. Often people don’t want sympathy, but to know how to date, or how to date better. How to date from strength rather than weakness. Like with a marathon, good preparation can get the best results, and make it more enjoyable and less painful. 

I remember talking to a church leader who said that he had a single person in his church who was (in his words not mine) ‘desperate for a relationship’. And whenever a new single person walked in the church door, they would immediately go and ‘suss them out’.

This church leader said he felt bad for them and thought it was a shame; then asked me what I thought. So I told him.

It’s Complicated

Most of all, I think people are looking for help not sympathy

I said dating is complicated, and that there is nothing wrong with wanting a relationship. I also said that it can be hard for people who thought starting a relationship would be easier. It probably isn’t their fault they are in that position, it just hasn’t happened.

Most of all, I think people are looking for help not sympathy, but just aren’t finding it.

There aren’t just some ‘unlucky’ ones who can’t get a date and need sympathy

We aren’t born knowing how to date. Or how to build good relationships, romantic or otherwise. We all need to learn how to do this well. ( Read What Should We Do On A First Date?). This is important for two reasons.

  • There aren’t just some ‘unlucky’ ones who can’t get a date and need sympathy. We’re all learning about building better relationships and we can’t ‘pity’ some people.
  • We can all do with a bit of help, and reflect on how we are approaching and preparing for dating and relationships.

I always like to think of it like running a marathon. The more preparation we do, the more we can enjoy it and get to where we want.

(The following extract is taken from page 93-94 of The Dating Dilemma book, read the introduction for free.)

Strength Matters

Whether it’s emotional, physical or spiritual, the stronger we are, the more we can do. My fiancée’s dad decided to power walk the London Marathon a few years ago.

Now, by his own admission, he wasn’t in the best of shape beforehand. So for the year leading up to the race, he got up at the crack of dawn to run a few miles before work, changed his diet and invested in the correct sports gear too.

He managed to walk the distance in five hours twenty-six minutes and raised over £7,000 for charity! For a marathon runner his time was good, but for a walker who had never done anything like this before in his life, it was incredible!

Lacking Strength

Another friend also ran a marathon.

Although he wasn’t in the best of shape either, he decided not to train beforehand. He didn’t change his diet, attempt any mental preparation or put effort into raising money.

There are good lessons to learn from the parable of our two marathon runners

He finished the marathon – in over twelve hours – but couldn’t move the next day. It took him months to recover from the damage he sustained.

Dating someone is different. But there are good lessons to learn from the parable of our two marathon runners. Just as it’s a bad idea to run a marathon without first putting in the training, it’s a bad idea to start dating without first doing some preparation.

We All Need To Train 

We’re not talking about a fitness regime or changing our diet. But dating well requires us to work on our core strength. There are a whole load of skills, insights and godly expectations that lay strong foundations for relationships.

[It’s] a shame we can’t download them the moment we start fancying someone! But even if we could, what would be the point? If our strength comes from within us, we need to put the work in to get ourselves in shape. Failure to do this can result in us either starting relationships we’re not ready for, or starting them on weak foundations.

(Read the introduction of The Dating Dilemma book for free now, or buy the book here.)

Imagine If…

Everyone needs help and guidance from time to time

Imagine if we helped each other to prepare for healthy relationships, dating or otherwise. We reminded each other that there aren’t some people who can just run a marathon. Everyone needs help and guidance from time to time. We can all pass on help and guidance rather than sympathy. (Read I Dated My Way! (But Some Help Would Help)

Imagine if next time we’re talking to someone who is struggling with a (potential) relationship, we reminded them that we’re all on a learning curve, but also encourage them to think about what they are learning, or how they can do it differently.

Do you think people want sympathy or help in this area? Comments welcomed below. 

Originally posted 22/3/2017