I believe God wants to be involved in our dating lives and wants us to enjoy finding someone and falling in love. I think God wants to be involved when it gets messy too, giving help and support. But I don’t think any of this means we should ask him to show us ‘the One’. If we’re praying this prayer then we’ll be disappointed, but we can pray for other things.
I really don’t believe in ‘finding the one’ myth. I think it robs us of God’s better plan for us. I firmly believe God wants us to be involved in ‘making the one’ and bringing discipleship into dating. (Read Why Believing In ‘The One’ Is Very Overrated)
It isn’t about sitting on the bench wondering ‘why haven’t I been picked yet’, but getting involved in the game. Asking about what type of person we would say yes to and why, learning to communicate well, learning to argue well, and realising what healthy relationship expectations are.
But this doesn’t mean God is forgotten. I think we still need to pray about it and involve him. Waiting for ‘the one’ means we think God will do all the work, ‘making the one’ means we think we will do it with him. (Read How To Stop Waiting, And Start ‘Making The One’.)
Where Does Prayer Fit In?
So where does prayer fit in then? What should we be praying for? I think there are 3 key things we should ask for if we’re dating someone, and wondering whether to commit more to the person in front of us.
This isn’t an exhaustive list, but I always say we should pray that God allows us to:
- See Behind The Masks
- Highlight Our Real Values
- Remember It’s A Good Gift
See Behind The Masks
I always use the word ‘dating’ to cover a wide range of stages. Whether we’re looking at online profiles, meeting someone for the first time, or celebrating our 3 year ‘official couple’ anniversary, I always say dating mainly comes down to this question: ‘Do I want to invest more into the person in front of me?’
The answer to this may be ‘no’, and that may happen after one date or after a few months. Yet if it’s a series of yeses, it will lead to a long-term relationship, and maybe even marriage.
What I think this means, is that we date in order to really get to know the person in front of us, and vice versa. A successful relationship isn’t about wearing a mask to impress, or hiding who we are, but about creating settings where we can be honest and real, and really getting to know each other.
This is hard, especially if we’ve been hurt before. Asking God for the courage to do this and for wisdom to show us when people aren’t doing this, is really important. As well as patience, so that we don’t reveal too much too quickly before appropriate levels of trust are built.
Highlight Our Real Values
I heard someone say the other day about how his wife loves snowboarding more than anything, and going out and partying. He hated doing both. He said ‘If compatibility is just about hobbies, we wouldn’t be together’.
People often think that compatibility is about having shared interests, but that stuff really isn’t the most important thing. It’s really about sharing deeper values and the vision for your lives.
This is where the relationship can deepen and be sustained
If the deeper things line up, and the things which mean the most to you in your lives are in sync, then this is where the relationship can deepen and be sustained.
Some of us are still working out what our deeper values and vision are, but praying that we understand ourselves more and what God is wanting us to priorities in our life, will make it easier for us to spot common values in others too. (Read Are You Thinking About Compatibility In The Right Way?)
Remember It’s A Good Gift
While being intentional, thinking things through, having the hard chats to define the boundaries, and being respectful, are all vital in dating, we need to remember that relationships are a blessing from God.
They’re meant to be enjoyed.
Often I find people can focus so much on the serious side that they forget God wants us to enjoy falling in love. It’s meant to be a blessing.
Praying for the strength to have the chats and defining expectations is needed, but also pray that we’re able to relax with each other and just discern if we enjoy each other. It will help us discover if we want to commit more. This is something we can ask God to help with.
We’re constantly told in church to learn about becoming a better friend. To learn to make more sacrifices, be there to help them, etc. We’re told to do the same with family, work colleagues, and our community. We should think through how we could love them more and act on it.
I don’t think dating is any different.
Bring discipleship into dating
Imagine if we remembered to bring discipleship into dating as well, and prayed to God to help us learn to date well, as we searched for and found someone to commit to. (Read I’m Single And Hate Dating, What Can I Do?)
I pray that you know God is invested and cares about your search, and he wants you to grow and be involved in the dating process.
What do you think about praying for these things? Comments welcomed below.