Dating is meant to be fun, it’s meant to be enjoyable. But it involves two flawed people trying to make it work. So how do we give it the best chance to thrive? We need to realise that good relationships don’t just happen- we need to be active and intentional. Applying this principle can transform the types of relationships we foster. 

Whenever I deliver a talk on dating, I’m keen to stress that there isn’t a one size fits all model. We all have different experiences, good and bad, different hopes and different relationship status. 

A ‘7 step plan’ that answers everyone’s questions doesn’t exist, which is why I talk more about principles. One of the main ones I talk about is the ideas of activeness.

Be Active

I’ve mentioned this a few times in other posts (Read One Great Dating Tip From Ruth and Boaz. Really?) because it is very important. 

Being active is about being intentional. It’s about thinking through why we would say yes or no to dating choices in front of us, how we approach a relationship and why, and what kind of dynamics we’re trying to build.  

So how do we do this in the best way?

So how do we do this in the best way? How do we actually bring activeness into dating? 

To get people thinking about this, when I deliver a talk I put up examples of passive attitudes, and start a discussion around what people think the active attitude might be. The passive attitudes go something like this:

  • I will not do anything I don’t like doing.
  • He/she will come along and it will be easy.
  • God will show me who I will marry.
  • I will not take responsibility for why we argue all the time.

Let’s unpack those a bit more…

I Will Not Do Anything I Don’t Like Doing

Relationships take compromise and hard work. This is because they involve two people and two sets of needs. Dating is meant to be fun, but it isn’t simple to navigating through and building mutually fulfilling relationships. So we need to be active and intentional towards the other person’s needs. This means that I say the active attitude would ask something like: ‘How can I serve my friends/boyfriend/girlfriend today?’

Relationships involve sacrifices, big and small. Unless we actively try and put the other person first, we may think a relationship is just about our needs and have a ‘me me me’ attitude, which is when people get hurt.

Being active means it’s about ‘us’, not ‘me’. (Read 15 Questions for Building Mutually Enjoyable Fulfilling Relationships)

He/She Will Come Along and It Will Be Easy

TV, Social Media, films etc reinforce the idea that relationships are meant to be easy. If they’re hard then it isn’t ‘meant to be’. But this isn’t how real life works. Things in real life take hard work.

For example, if we want to do our job well, if we want to add value in our (church) communities, if we want to support our friends and family, we can’t just coast. We can’t expect things to just happen, we need to put the effort in. Otherwise, it won’t get better or keep being great.

Relationships are no exception.

Ask any couple who’ve been together for a long time, and they will be able to tell you about arguments, disagreements, and needing to make tough decisions together and putting the effort in in order to overcome these points.  It takes hard work to make it great.

Without effort I won’t be able to truly build something amazing

The active attitude therefore might say: ‘How can I make positive changes now and treat others better?’

In other words, how can I in all relationships, romantic or otherwise, keep reminding myself that without effort I won’t be able to truly build something amazing with someone.

God Will Show Me Who I Will Marry

I have spoken a lot on this website about how I don’t believe in ‘Finding the One’. I believe God has a better plan, and wants us to be involved in making the one (Read Will God Answer My Prayers About Who I Should Date?  and How To Stop Waiting, And Start ‘Making The One’.) 

Which is why I say that an active attitude would say: What type of person should I look for? What makes a godly man/woman?

It’s not about waiting for God to ‘magic up’ the one, it’s about about us being intentional, asking the right questions and working with God in this area.

I Will Not Take Responsibility For Why We Argue All The Time

This passive attitude is aimed at those already in a relationship. But I often see couples having the same argument again and again.

I’ve rarely, if ever, come across an argument when one person is 100% in the right or wrong. The key isn’t winning, but understanding the other person’s point of view. Communicating why you have your views, and sticking to the problem at hand. (Read How To Communicate Well When We’re Annoyed).

This means an active attitude might say: What do I do which causes problems or tensions? How can I replace this with healthy habits?

We Can’t Be Perfect

Hopefully this has got us thinking about how to start applying the principle of activeness. 

The best dating isn’t done by perfect people, but active ones

Above all, this isn’t about being perfect! 

The best dating isn’t done by perfect people, but active ones. No one will ever be perfect. It’s not about being flawless and acting like we never make mistakes. It’s about us asking ourselves how can we do things better and make better decisions in our dating.

Imagine If….

Imagine if we were active when we dated. Imagine if we thought about how to be intentional and realise there are two sets of needs in a relationship, and they take hard work. If we did this, we could build the best relationships, one that were long lasting and mutually enjoyable. (Read What Does Christian Dating Look Like? Pt.2)

What do you think other passive/Active attitudes may look like? Comments welcomed below. 

Originally posted 0/0/0000