The A to Z of Christian Dating
E is for EMOTIONS
Dating – for anyone who has done some – is generally a highly emotive subject. Well, if not a subject, then certainly an experience. Talk to anyone about their dating experience and they will most likely tell you about their emotional ups and downs (and probably the downs if they are still dating).
Now although E does stand for Emotions, this is the A-Z of Christian Dating and in Christian dating you need to do your utmost – in the beginning stages certainly – to ignore/discount/put aside your emotions.
Now before you stop reading, hear me out here. As a Christian, you are trying to find a partner who will walk with you in life and help you lead a Godly life and one that draws closer to God. You are looking for someone with a Godly character themselves. Someone who loves God, and who lives according to his Word. These are the character attributes you are looking for, that you want to find out about someone. At this point emotions don’t come into it.
Let me give you an example of what I am talking about here.
You meet someone who you think is really lovely. He’s good looking and seems generous and lovely to everyone around him. You fancy him and your emotions are stirred. If he was interested in you at this point it would be easy to ‘fall for him’, be invited out and start ‘going out’ with him. And that is what happens. But what of his Christian characteristics?
Well yes he attends church and says the right things, but as you get to know him more you discover he is down right moody, he rejects your suggestions of praying for certain things you’d like to pray about and you discover that other aspects of the way he lives his life don’t really stand out as someone who is a genuine Christian. But of course by this time, you’re ‘in love’, your emotions are highly engaged and you find yourself making lots of excuses for his behaviour – perhaps explaining away the bits that you don’t like so much. Your friends are perhaps beginning to have doubts – but you explain those doubts away too – again because you are emotionally involved.
You see when we are emotionally involved in anything (a relationship, a house or car purchase, a situation at work for example) it’s pretty nigh on impossible to be objective about it. You simply can not see the wood for the trees. Your judgement is clouded and you can not see what others see clearly (others being everyone else who is not emotionally involved). It’s probably why it is easy to give advice but hard to follow our own advice.
Now obviously God gave us emotions and in many cases they are a good thing.
But it is my premise here that in dating, our emotions have tendency to lead us astray or distract us in the first instance and take us away from focusing on the attributes that we need to focus on to find ourselves the right partner and the partner that will lead us to having a good solid, holy and fulfilling marriage.
So what is the solution then given we are all emotional creatures?
In my view the solution is firstly to be aware of our emotions.
Secondly and most importantly, work out (objectively) before you starting dating what characteristics, in someone else, are fundamentally (and that’s an important word in itself) important to you. Then assess people, before you get involved with them, before you react to any emotional feelings you have towards them, as to whether they have the right characteristics or not.
So let us suppose you meet someone who you are not initially drawn to and are not emotionally interested in. However over the course of a few weeks you spend time with them. You discover they have all the right characteristics you are looking for. Remember this is based on their character NOT your emotions.
I can pretty much guarantee that if you get this far, (and it’s a big if – because the majority of people won’t get past the ‘I wasn’t drawn to him’ stage on first assessment) your not so positive initial first emotions will begin to change for the better. I would dearly love you to prove me wrong here but I suspect you won’t be able to.
So now you have someone who may well be right for you and with whom you can start to build a friendship. You are now safe to let your emotions get involved. And I can assure you that if this person has the right characteristics, love (as one important emotional for you I’m sure) will begin to grow. This is what we see happening in some many Bible stories of people coming together. Character fit comes first. Emotions and love come second.
Yet again, I am not saying any of this comes easily and as ever, it’s not the way the world does dating. But as Christian we have a different way to live life and if you do trust in a loving God who gave us the best guidelines on how to live, then you will follow His guidance in this matter and it will provide advantageous and life giving for you I promise.