Dating: it’s one of the most confusing subjects in the world today. Why should you date? When should you date? How should you date? So much of our society has approached dating relationships like a nomad’s journey with no real starting point or ending point; instead, its appetites, lusts and emotions direct its senseless drifting. And because of this, most dating relationships leave the participants worse off than when they started. It doesn’t have to be this way though!
We all have a desire to let the beauty of a relationship unfold on its own, and that all sounds very romantic but it’s not realistic or healthy. Imagine with me that you’re going with some friends to climb Half Dome in Yosemite National Park, but none of you had ever been rock climbing in your life. Long before you ever arrive at the face of the mountain, there are many things that you would need to know in order to make sure you have an adventure of a lifetime. Without some pretty good planning and preparation, what is meant to be a great exploit could soon turn into a rocky nightmare. So by preparing for the exploration before it happens, you are now able to enjoy the thrill of the climb.
Dating relationships are much like rock climbing—they require planning and preparation so that both individuals can enjoy the journey. So before you even take one step into a relationship, you should sit down and ask yourself a few questions:
Am I really ready to date?
How do I know I’m ready?
Is the person I am dating ready to date?
There is no sense in being in a relationship that one or both of you are not ready for.
ARE YOU READY TO DATE?
“Okay,” you ask, “how do I know that I am really ready for a romantic relationship?” You are ready to date when you can be a benefit to the person you’re with no matter the outcome of the relationship.
I’m going to talk to the guys for a second: think about what your relationship would look like if you took God’s own daughter out on a date. If you’re anything like me, there is nothing that I would ever do to hurt her. In fact, I would ensure that when she was with me, she would feel special, appreciated, and protected.
And now for the ladies: the same goes for you when you are dating God’s son. You need to make sure that your actions and participation leave him feeling protected and appreciated, regardless of whether or not the relationship goes the distance.
This means you need to be healthy before you date by taking care of your own issues before you focus on someone else. There is no shame in realizing that you have some struggles to take care of personally before moving forward. What you have to remember is that in a relationship, any cracks in your foundation will be magnified and exposed by the pressure of another person standing on the foundation of your life.
SO WHAT IF YOU HAVE CRACKS IN YOUR FOUNDATION?
Again, you must be healthy before taking on the weight of responsibility of another person. If you cannot honestly say that you are in a place to be with someone else and leave them better off no matter what happens in the relationship, then you should take some time with a mentor or counselor to work on those areas that need attention until you are confident that the cracks in your personhood are worked out.
FIRST AND FOREMOST, KNOW WHO YOU ARE
Before you can tell someone that you want to be in a romantic relationship with them, you need to know who you are. This is a compilation of your identity, beliefs, passions, desires, talents and personality traits. Each one of these attributes should be carefully explored and appreciated for their intrinsic value because you will carry these characteristics into every relationship that you will ever be part of. The more you know yourself, the more of yourself you are able to give to someone else, and the more secure and confident you will be in a relationship.
SECOND, KNOW WHAT YOU’RE LOOKING FOR
There is no perfect set of “wants” that you should pursue in a relationship (there are evil desires that should obviously not be part of our lives at all). However most of what you “should” desire in another person is determined by individual preference. That being said, the more you know and understand your own needs and desires, the better you will be at discovering what you are looking for in a relationship with another person.
DON’T KNOW WHAT TO LOOK FOR? START HERE.
Your destiny will be a huge factor in determining what type of person you will need to be with. Finding someone with the same passion and calling in life can create a great partnership. Remember, you are not trying to find someone you can live with—you want to find someone you don’t want to live without. Couples with like passions in life have a natural connection that requires less work to keep their relationship healthy.
Another way to help determine what you desire in a partner is to hang around married couples and see how they interact with each other. Pay close attention to the attributes that you admire in them and the ones you don’t like. By discovering who you are, where you are going and what attributes you like in others, you should be well on your way to being able to identify what you are looking for when you see it in someone else.
Check out Jason’s new book, Emotional Prosperity: A Practical Guide to Counseling. In this book, you’ll discover keys to find emotional wholeness even in the areas you thought you’d never have breakthrough in. Whether you’re a counselor walking others through an emotional process or someone who is looking for wholeness in your own life, we know this will bring so much freedom.
Originally published on krisvallotton.com.