Dodging Dating Disasters

June 24, 2013 at 5:15 am 1 comment


Date 1Recently, I was talking to a friend who is in the throws of the dating scene.  Over the course of our conversation, it began to strike me just how complicated, frustrating, and frightening dating really can be.  Her past few dates had not gone so well.  And she was beginning to lose hope.  “All the good ones are taken,” she said with a definite edge of resignation.  “I’m just going to have to take what I can get.”

The more I pondered her statement, the more concerned I became.  Her willingness to just “take what she can get” seemed to be nothing but a setup for a let down.  After all, if her past few dates had ended poorly because she just settled for what she could get, how much worse would things go if she married someone just because he was all she thought she could get at the time?

Over the years, I have shared with people a taxonomy that helps them consider who to date and who not to date.  The interesting thing about this taxonomy is that it is one we all use or have used, but we often use it only subconsciously.  Pulling this taxonomy from our subconscious to our conscious, however, can help us identify our patterns of thinking and, hopefully, save us from dating disaster.  So it is with this in mind that, if you are dating or would like to date, I would encourage you take a moment and create a three-column list.

Column 1: What I want.

In this column, simply write honestly what you would like in a companion.  And don’t sugarcoat it. If you’re a lady who wants the guy who looks like a cross between The Rock and Vin Diesel, write that down.  If you’re a guy who wants the girl with the perfect hourglass shape, write that down.  Hopefully, you also have some more modest and meaningful desires for a companion as well – someone who has a good sense of humor, a deep intuition, or a knack for solving big problems.

Column 2: What I need.

In this column go the non-negotiables.  The non-negotiables include items such as faithfulness, forgiveness, commitment, and, of course, a hearty trust in the Lord.  Think long and hard about this column and try not to confuse what you actually need with what you think you need.  For instance, you may think you need someone who meets some predetermined standard of outward beauty so that you will be intensely physically attracted to them.  But though physical attraction is important, outward beauty inevitably changes and fades.  Thus, striking outward beauty is not really needed – even if you think it is – because it cannot be kept.

Column 3:  What I’ll settle for.

In this column go the compromises you are willing to make.  And as I did in the first column of what you want, I would encourage honesty.  Sadly, many people are willing to make compromises morally to try to make a dating relationship work, engaging in intimate acts that are rightly reserved for marriage.  But, of course, not every compromise is immoral or embarrassing.  Some compromises are neutral.  For instance, if you want a person with a good sense of humor, but wind up dating someone who couldn’t deliver the punch line to a joke to save their life, that’s a compromise, but can your significant other’s lack of humor can also become endearing in its own right.

Now, think about each of your three columns and consider these questions:

  • How does column three affect column one?  Are there any things you want in a mate that you could live without?  If so, this is good!  This means that you know your wants are just that – wants – and not necessities.
  • How does column one affect column three?  Are there any wants on which you should be willing to at least consider a compromise, but you’re not, thereby treating a want from column one like a need from column two?  If so, you are in a danger zone.  For when you refuse to even think about compromising on a want, you are putting your desires ahead of another person.  And this is selfishness, which leads only to relationship breakdown.
  • How does column three affect column two?  Are there any things you know you need on which you are willing to compromise?  If so, you are in a danger zone.  Compromising on things like integrity, faithfulness, or faith is a recipe for a relationship disaster and great emotional and spiritual harm.
  • How does column one affect column two?  Are there any things that you want in a relationship that are opposed to what you need?  For instance, if you want someone with good looks, does this tempt you to become shallowly infatuated over how a person looks on the outside rather than being committed to who they are on the inside?  If so, you are again in a danger zone.  The righteous needs in column two should always trump the desired wants in column one.

As you can see, what matters most is column two.  Columns one and three are both negotiable.  This is why when I counsel those who are dating, I encourage them to give on columns one and three, but not on column two.  For column two holds the keys to long-lasting relationships.

So if you’re dating, or getting ready to enter the dating scene, think on these things.  Taking just a few moments to fill out these columns now can save you a lot of pain and heartache in the future because these columns can help you keep your priorities straight.  And keeping your priorities straight can help keep your heart in tact.

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Entry filed under: Devotional Thoughts. Tags: , , , , , , , , .

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Rebecca  |  July 19, 2013 at 9:17 pm

    Thanks for posting this. It looks like it’ll be really helpful

    Reply

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