Got questions about dating? Here are 3 good practical tips on dating well.
1. Healthy People Tend To Have Healthy Relationships
Any relationship can only be as healthy as the people involved. As you are considering dating, it is good to consider how healthy of a person are you and how healthy is the person you are considering dating?
This quiz from EmotionallyHealthy.org to get an idea of where you are:
In thinking about dating someone else a good place to look is at the relationships they have. Do they have long term healthy friendships?
2. Fly Like A Pilot
Pilots don't fly based solely off of what they see or what they feel in a moment. They trust their gauges. Here are some helpful "gauges" to look at during a dating relationship:
Gauge 1: God's Leadership: As a follower of Jesus, we want to follow His leadership in relationships. This is your first gauge. How is God leading you in the relationship. Don't outstep that!
Gauge 2: Commitment: In step with your sense of God's leadership, what is your commitment level to the relationship? If you are just getting to know each other, then obviously your other gauges need to be in step. As you step forward in the relationship with commitment then your other gauges should adjust appropriately.
Gauge 3: Duration: How long have you been dating? If the length of time you have been dating does not match your commitment or sense of God's leadership, then you might want to adjust.
Gauge 4: Time Together: By now you are probably getting the hang of how the gauges work. We have all had friends who start dating and then you don't see them for 2 months because all they are doing is spending time with each other. Then when the relationship ends it's like a car wreck. Let your time together each week be driven by the previous 3 gauges.
Gauge 5: Verbal Communication: Once I had friends who had just started dating and were already talking about what they were going to name their children. Their communication was way out of step with the other gauges and ended with lots of emotional pain.
Gauge 6: Relational Knowledge: Again, let how much you know about each other correspond with the previous gauges.
Gauge 7: Emotional Intimacy: Many have problems with relationships being co-dependent. Fight to maintain an appropriate level of vulnerability and emotional connection as aligns with the other gauges.
Gauge 8: Physical Touch: Our culture says this is what drives a relationship. I can't tell you how many people who have experienced heartbreak in relationship when this gauge has led the relationship. Read the Scriptures for God's vision of sex and sexuality. Long term relationships are not built with sex and sexuality as the leading piece, but on friendship and trust. Let this gauge line up not with pop culture, but with the other gauges on the plane! This is a great article by JRR Tolkien on what long term relationships are built on.
3. Build Trust
Like I said above, long term healthy relationships are built on friendship and trust. Fight to learn how to be a trustworthy person. Trust is a foundational element that is a lot harder to win after the fact, it is harder to win trust when it is broken, rather than establishing trust from the beginning.
Speed of Trust by Steven Covey is an excellent manual on learning how to build trust.