Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Dancing in the Minefields (5 Practical Tips for Christian Dating)

Four and a half years is a long time. Especially when you're dating (that's right, dating) the same person. Admitting to being crazy about each other in our sophomore year of high school seemed like a great idea at the time. Except that we're meant to be.

Seriously though, I love my guy. He's more than I ever could have asked for in a boyfriend and future husband. But just dating is hard. Most people get bored with each other after a few months, much less a few years.

So how do we do it?

I've been asked this more times than I can count. I guess it's because Jacob and I are somewhat of an anomaly, since we also haven't kissed yet -- yeah, that's a real thing. So I suppose we could write the book on the subject.

Well, here's 5 things we've survived on over the last four and a half years:

1. Date Night
A well-meaning person once told me that Jacob and I shouldn't have date night because we'll get too close and that is sure to lead to things we shouldn't be doing. Right. Things like talking, getting to know each other, and investing in our relationship. Actually dating the person you're dating is important, people. And going to parties, church, or school together doesn't count. Grabbing dinner doesn't have to mean you end up alone together at your apartment.

2. Choices
We choose each other all over again every day. It seems like a weird concept, but every day I wake up and say, "Yep. He's still the guy for me and he's still my best friend." I don't like to let myself get too used him because that's when we become bored with a beautiful, God-breathed relationship.

3. Laugh
No one makes me laugh like Jacob does and that's because no one knows me like he does. You see, to make someone laugh is to connect with a deeper part of him/her. You've got to understand what they like, don't like, and how to make that funny for that person in particular. The way I see it, the more you can laugh with someone, the better off you both are. Plus, taking yourself too seriously is entirely overrated.

4. Share
When we first started dating, he and I were actually pretty different. I liked country music, he liked rock. I loved sweet tea, he preferred to mix all the different types of juices he could find in the house. Over time, we've learned to share these things with one another and are finding that our likes are converging. I've become an avid movie watcher and he has started to read more. I've been more upfront about what I'm feeling and he's been more patient with me.

5. Prayer
We've also had people tell us that praying together produces intimacy that we aren't ready for. Well, they were right about one thing -- prayer does produce intimacy, but in such a way that you become bonded together for the cause of Christ. When you pray together, your relationship becomes something more than just the two of you. You're (theoretically) asking God to do as He pleases with you together and even if you aren't, you're inviting Him in and I promise, He'll do what He pleases anyway. God specializes in making something out of nothing, and I can tell you that if you will present your relationship to Him, He will use whatever story comes out of it for His ultimate glory.

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