A friend recently started dating after a divorce 3 years ago. We talked about how much the dating scene has changed with on-line dating and “speed dating” accelerating the process. We agreed that it’s hard to form meaningful relationships with both men and women because of the “busyness” in our lives. With work and raising her 8-year-old daughter, it took over a month before calendars could be matched for dinner!
We ventured into the reasons for the failure of our marriages. We just didn’t work hard enough with our spouse on some issues, or, there were red flags all along that we chose to ignore. She said, “You need to develop a dating checklist in your book, so that women will recognize danger signals. We’ve lowered our expectations of men and we need to change that.”
I was headed down that road in writing this blog when I stumbled across a sermon series by Andy Stanley from Northpoint Church outside of Atlanta, “The New Rules for Love, Sex, and Dating.” The tagline caught my eye, “LOOKING FOR THE “RIGHT” PERSON?”
I bought the DVD hoping that it would include a checklist of all the characteristics that a man would need to have in order to have a successful marriage with me.
It was Andy’s first line that stopped me, “Are you who the person you are looking for is looking for?”
Andy tells the story of a young lady who had embraced the dating scene after moving to Atlanta. She hadn’t really connected with anyone after many months, but one night that changed. She met a guy at a party that was gorgeous, talked about his faith, his active church life, and his upcoming mission trip to Honduras. She couldn’t wait to get home to call her mother to tell her that she had met “Mr. Right.” Her mother’s response: “He does sound great, but you need to realize that you aren’t the person that he is looking for.” After dissolving in tears, she knew her mother was right. She had not spent time becoming the godly woman that would be attractive to him, exhibiting the characteristics of a Proverbs 31 wife.
Andy teaches great lessons in this sermon series and tells us that we need to practice our holiness with friends and family first. He is clear to remind us that these characteristics in us don’t just magically appear on our wedding night.
Here is my dating checklist, how I am going to act with friends and dates, to love them as God loves me (1 Corinthians 13:4-7):
1. I will be patient
2. I will be kind (considerate)
3. I will not be envious
4. I will not be boastful
5. I will not be arrogant
6. I will not be rude
7. I will not insist on my own way
8. I will not be irritable
9. I will not hold grudges
10. I will not rejoice in wrong-doing
11. I will rejoice in truth
12. I will bear all things, believe all things, hope all things, and endure all things
Andy, thanks for convincing me that in this case, it IS all about me. It is about the person I must become, not about finding the “right person” to marry.
Blessings, my friend,