I’ve been dating for about…oh…9 months. Yup, just 9 months. I still have to count the months on my fingers, because I don’t keep track of the time & we don’t celebrate monthiverseries. In case that word wasn’t understandable, it just means we don’t celebrate our relationship with each new month that passes [thank goodness]. The half year mark passed without us even knowing it!
Believe me, I’m not going to pretend to know everything about dating or life or love. I’m just going to relay what I have learned so far.
Dating is just living life around someone else.
I wish that more girls understood this! Dating doesn’t make you more popular, and it doesn’t make you cool. In fact, dating is just two people learning about each other while each person is living life day in and day out. Dating is enjoyable when you fall into the routine of life & you have that someone who cheers for you and supports you through it.
Dating does not mean flowers and chocolates and teddy bears and gifts and butterflies and promise rings and “cute texts” and hanging out and fluffy pink balloon romance, and so on! That would be awful! Who’s with me?! Dating is getting to know someone through the natural challenges brought on by life. It’s choosing to be a best friend despite what you feel.
Dating is hard.
Dating is not just one big bowl of cherries. Don’t just see the pictures posted on Facebook and assume that life is only sunshine and lollipops! In fact, dating is hard. It’s worth it, but it’s hard.
You are constantly learning about someone else and their heart. You are learning to put the other before yourself. You are learning to ask for forgiveness a lot. You are seeing your selfishness clearer than you have EVER seen it before. You finally see your habits and petty actions. You are no longer blinded to yourself!
Someone sees you, and begins to know you, then you are challenged to change & become more like Christ. It’s wonderful, but so very hard sometimes. Don’t be fooled by the picture below! Dating is fun, but it is hard!
Dating doesn’t mean you are content.
It’s sad when girls just want to date because that….THAT will make them content. When I was dating Ben long distance, it was hard because I just wanted to be with him & there were days that I just wasn’t happy about his absence.
Then, I realized something pretty life-changing. If I am not content to be dating long distance, then I won’t be content to be dating closely. And if I am not content to be dating, then I won’t be content in marriage. Nothing will make me content.
Contentment is a matter of the heart. You choose to be content & you place your hope in Christ alone. And this truth changed everything! Long distance was hard, but our dating relationship was not a drudgery. We skyped and wrote letters. We laughed and we talked. We called on the phone and we set up silly little dates. We enjoyed the days spent apart, because we chose to.
Dating is a whole lot of ordinary.
Finding someone that you choose to love is quite a miracle. It’s awesome! It’s really hard and it’s difficult, but it’s awesome. A relationship does not consist of constant blazing fireworks.
Building a relationship takes time and it takes days and days of just living. You find joy in the ordinary. Like quiet moments when you could be talking and stolen conversations that you didn’t expect you could have in life’s craziness. It’s the “hey, how was work?” and the “Really? I didn’t know that about you!”
It’s learning about their childhood and leaving a conversation drained, but glad you worked it out. It’s ordinary stuff. It’s important stuff. It’s just learning about life together. It’s learning what love is all about.
Dating isn’t about each other.
*GASP* Well, it’s true! Dating is not about each other. We don’t fall in love just to be in love. We fall in love for Christ. We date each other so we can draw closer to Christ.
Dating is for marriage, yes. But ultimately, dating is for bringing glory to Christ. Marriage is for bringing glory to Christ. Living is for bringing glory to Christ. Through dating, Christ has revealed to me a number of things in my life that needed His forgiveness. He has shown to me the weakest places in my life that needed to be stripped away & then made new. And it is for Him that we are dating.
This is just a short list of things that I have learned while dating my best friend. I’m not preaching at anyone or giving a set definition of dating. This is just what I have been privileged to learn over the last 9 months.
And I understand that there are people far older than me reading this list & thinking, “She’s so young, and she missed this and this and this.” But I also know that there are girls who are my age that need to know what isn’t taught, and who need to be encouraged through these words.
I know there is a lot more for me to learn, but I just want to encourage the girl who is in my shoes, the one who is in this stage of life, and the one who can read this & say— “I am so relieved that someone understands where I’m at!”
PS: I’ve been married for almost a year now & guess what?! All these things still apply to marriage! I’m thankful for that. Marriage and dating are two different things, but they also have a lot of similarities. And that’s pretty neat!
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