In The Meaning of Marriage, Tim Keller from Redeemer Church in New York City speaks of today’s “dating” as basically nothing but a round of entertainment venues and sexual encounters. Keller advises that modern dating and hook-ups get sexual quickly, creating a romantic obsession immediately. This doesn’t allow for friendship development and a comprehensive attraction for a person’s character, future, and mission in life.
In an evolving relationship, Keller has three questions to judge whether you’ve moved past the infatuation stage:
1) Have you been through and solved a few sharp conflicts?
2) Have you been through a cycle of repenting and forgiving?
3) Have you shown each other that you can make changes out of love for the other?
Two kinds of couples answer no. The first kind never has any conflicts; they may not be past infatuation. The second kind has a stormy relationship with the same repeating unresolved fights. Neither of these couples is ready for marriage.
Other authors list “ 12 dating conversations” that are important to have before you give your heart away in a relationship:
1. Sex- attitudes and past relationships
2. Money- are your spending and saving habits similar, what are your current finances, and how will monies be combined?
3. Children- do you care for minor children? What is the relationship with adult children?
4. Parents- do you care for elderly parents? What is the relationship?
5. Ex-spouses- how are relationships with ex-spouses?
6. Faith- How do you exhibit your faith and spiritual gifts?
7. Purpose- What do you see as the purpose for your union in restoring God’s kingdom? Do you have a shared ministry?
8. Ministry Compatibility- Is one person called to Africa to be a missionary and another called to take care of an elderly parent in the United States?
9. Stress Response- When faced with a cancer diagnosis of loss of a child, where do you run?
10. Pilgrimage- In breaking through the circle of holiness, where is your emphasis right now? Fighting for justice and oppression, creating beauty, or confronting your sins?
11. Sin- Name your sin; your greatest temptation. Is the other person willing to help you overcome this temptation over your lifetime or will there be a lifetime of judgment?
12. Caring- Are you willing to care more about the person’s faith in God than about the relationship?
These are tough conversations to have. We all want the kind of love that lasts a lifetime.
It begins with honest communication.
Blessings, my friend,
Two wonderful readers have suggested additions to today's post:
1. These are conversations that you should have with God before you start a dating relationship.
2. Even if you are married, it is good to run down this checklist regularly. As we age and grow through the seasons of life, God may call us to different views and ministries and it is important to stay on the same page as your spouse.
Thanks to my great readers for adding to this important dialogue!