AM I READY TO DATE?
“What are the things I can go after now as a single to prepare me for marriage? What do I need to be looking for in a future spouse?”
We sat down as a team for 3 hours and came up with 11 questions we think would be great for you to consider before you jump into dating.
1. Do I know who I am?
This question is one ALL of us are discovering and rediscovering on a daily basis, but as a general overview, here are things you might want to know about yourself:
I know who (whose) I am in Christ. We are sons/daughters of God through Christ. We are 100% fully loved, accepted, chosen, restored, redeemed and saved. We have everything we need and will never lack anything because we have a loving Father who gives freely to His children.
I know how to give love to others and how I need to receive love from others.
I know what I love and what makes me come alive.
I know what my core values are and practice living by them.
I know my needs and my wants.
I know my strengths and weaknesses.
I know how to dream for my future.
I am in touch with my heart (aka feelings, emotions, what my heart, mind or body needs).
2. Do I know how to communicate?
Learning and knowing how to communicate what you think, feel, and need will be one of the greatest relational skills you acquire. Since we communicate with our words, facial expressions, tone of voice, and even our body language, we must learn to become people who communicate well. When you are hurt, rejected, or disappointed you will know how to get out what you are feeling so that manipulation, guilt trips, self-pity, and sarcasm (passive-aggressiveness) will not be weapons you reach for when in conflict.
3. Do I know what my boundaries are and how to keep them?
Do you have emotional boundaries? Do you have physical boundaries? Do you have a plan to keep those boundaries in place? Are you willing to respect the boundaries of others? Knowing your limitations (and those of who you’re dating) is an avenue to “protect and preserve” an individual and/or relationship. Figure out what your boundaries are now and own them. Don’t wait to hear what your girlfriend/boyfriend’s boundaries are and then decide what yours will be.
4. Do I have a vision for my life and a plan to get there?
This question is referring to personal character and growth, dreams, and your life calling. Do you know the person you want to be? Do you know the life you want to have? What dreams do you want to live out? Do you know how to accomplish these things or where to find an answer? If there are certain things that are important to you (where you want to live, the job you want to have, how many children you want, etc) then it will make dating easier because you know the kind of life partner you need to partner with. For example, if you are a very driven person and the person you are dating is not then that could be an area of conflict down the road. We’re not saying it never works, we’re just giving you a heads up so you’re not blindsided once the honeymoon is over.
5. Do I have community in my life?
Community is a necessity in our lives. We need people to “do life with.” It’s through relationships that we are held accountable, challenged, experience love, and subsequently grow. We need most (if not all) of the relational roles filled in our lives. Here are some things to ask yourself about your community:
Do I have people in my life that know me and I know them? (moms/dads/mentors, brothers/sisters/peers, church fellowship, small groups, home church family, etc)
Am I intentional about who I am doing life with? (Are there people in my life who love me and challenge me?)
Am I believed in, encouraged and guided to answers? Do I ask for feedback and correction?
Do I know how to ask for help?
Do we know how to have fun with each other? Do we laugh and have adventures together?
6. What does my relationship with Jesus look like?
Do I know Him intimately? Have you accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior? If you haven’t, would you like to? If you have, how are you growing in that relationship? Do you spend time with Jesus? Do you believe He speaks to you? Do you listen for what He has to say? Are you in dialogue with Him and doing life with Him on a daily basis? How does He speak to you?
7. Do I have a teachable spirit and can I humbly receive feedback (even when it hurts)?
This question might be easy to answer now, but think back to times people have confronted you about how you affect them, a room, or a group of people. How did you respond? Even though it’s difficult, being a “teachable” person can cause your personal character to grow and your relationships to grow immensely. Humility is a necessity for growth.
8. Am I responsible and do I know how to take care of things?
Responsibility: the state or fact of being responsible, answerable, or accountable for something within one’s power, control, or management. This one is sort of a no-brainer. Is your life in order? By life I mean, is your thought life, finances, laundry, house, schedule, etc. in order or are you a hot mess that jumps from one thing to another? Can people depend on you to do what you say you are going to do? Do you show up on time? Can people trust you? This is what we mean by, are you responsible?
9. Do I know how to serve? Do I practice putting other’s needs above my own?
Do you walk into a relationship and look for ways to give or do you expect everyone to serve you? Within a healthy context, serving another person is one of the highest forms of love. It can sometimes look like compromising to come to an agreement or doing something you wouldn’t normally do because it brings life/joy to another person. Many days serving looks like sacrifice. Note: Please understand that compromising your core values is not serving. Giving and serving one another within relationship is a give and take. One person should not be the only one practicing this concept.
10. Do I honor and respect people?
Honor: high respect, as for worth, merit, or rank; to show a courteous regard for. Do you know how to value other people, even when they are different from you? Showing other people kindness, value, and love is the mark of a person who looks outside of themselves, or their status, to see other people’s hearts. If someone doesn’t treat others with honor and respect, they most likely will not treat you with honor and respect. Here’s a tip: watch how they treat their waiter/waitress. Watch how they treat their parents. These things reveal a lot about a person.
11. Do I know how to forgive people and ask forgiveness? Or do I keep “short accounts?”
No one likes to be hurt, and it can be even harder to ask for forgiveness when you’re the one who did the hurting. However, forgiveness left unattended is a wide open door for bitterness to take root, causing people to disconnect spiritually/relationally from one another. Forgiveness means restoring the standard to what the relationship was meant to be before the “mistake” was made. It means letting go and not holding the “mistake” over someone’s head. Do you know how to forgive, bless, and release people when they have hurt or wronged you? Do you know how to say, “I’m sorry, I was wrong, will you forgive me?” even if you believe you’ve done nothing wrong? This is part of walking in humility, as well as seeking connection and love over being right.
These are just the tip of the iceberg when considering how to be a healthy individual/dater. We are all on a journey and none of us have life figured out but the two most important questions you will every answer in your life are:
Will I believe in Jesus and commit my life to Him?
Who will I marry and commit my life to?
Becoming a healthy individual and not settling for an unhealthy spouse will create healthy marriages that restore the standard of what family life looks like in the world today. Let’s get to it people!
– Amanda Zentz (Intern)