How do you know if you’re ready to date? Here are four foundations of good quality dating.
Perhaps the thought of meeting someone on a date excites or terrifies you, or somewhere in between? These four foundations will alleviate the understandable anxiety.
Because I’ve been there. I remember the first time I turned up to meet someone after making contact on a Christian website. We’d exchanged a few messages and I was curious to meet. We set the time and place; it was to be a coffee and cake date. Informal, not intense, as normal as meeting a complete stranger with a view to lifetime commitment could be!
Of course, I was excited. Was this going to be ‘the one?’ So on the afternoon of the date, I showed up just outside the cafe. But then it happened. The nerves struck, big time.
My stomach flipped, my heartbeat racing. ‘I can’t do it’, I thought. I had to think this through again. But it was too late, I couldn’t pull out now. I had to see this through even though I wasn’t sure if I was really ready.
A familiar story.
As someone who has been on the roller coaster ride of finding love (and survived) the most important piece of advice I would give in hindsight, is making sure you’re really ready to date.
You may think you’re ready but dating will bring out some surprises you didn’t know about yourself, good and bad.
Meeting someone with a view to giving and receiving love, will make you vulnerable. But the path to get there, though rough and rocky at times, is really worth it.
So how do you know you’re really ready to date?
These four cornerstones make for a firm foundation. Have them and the experience will be that much better. It’s certainly been the case for me and many others I’ve talked to.
Read them and pray through them. Listen to yourself and God and talk to others about what you feel. Here they are, all equally important:
The first foundation to dating: like what you see in the mirror.
How do you feel when you look in the mirror? The difficult truth is that if you’re not feeling at peace with yourself, you will find dating a struggle. A healthy, positive self-image is your best insurance when you experience some of the down times of dating.
It doesn’t help when the world throws in stuff that can undermine how we feel about ourselves too. Images of perfect body shapes surround us daily which can cause huge anxiety for women and now even for men and to add to that there are pressures around career and social status.
Looking in the mirror and liking what you see is getting harder when it never should be!
The thing is to get beyond the focus of how others might see you to how you see yourself. This is the basis of all good self-esteem. So whatever you experience when dating, remember always that we are ‘fearfully and wonderfully made’. Psalm 139:14.
God is saying that to you, unique and wonderful you.
The second foundation to dating: be your true self.
You will have a ‘true self’ and that’s the one to show. Personal achievements in life are all great but the true self-doesn’t obsess about status and how others see you but instead promotes personal character and strengths.
You will already be loved and appreciated by friends and family for the genuine qualities they see in you. Knowing them and valuing them for yourself is your solid foundation to date, whether things work out or not.
What’s more, you don’t have to be perfect when meeting someone, just authentic and you can only be authentic when you’re true to who you are.
That is a special quality indeed.
The third foundation to dating: feel confident.
Talking about confidence all the time is a kind of dating cliche but we can’t change this fact; everybody feels at ease with someone who is at ease with themselves.
I know for sure that dating is nerve-wracking but these nerves should be more like ripples on the surface because they settle back into a reassurance about who I truly am. It’s this self-assuredness that is the grounding of confidence. Have this and you’ll be as close as you can to be cool, calm, genuine and open to discovering the other person.
But more important is that his feeling of being self-assured has its ultimate origin in our relationship with God.
That’s freeing and yes, also reassuring for the other person you’re meeting!
The fourth foundation to dating: being ready to meet new people.
Kind of obvious right? For me though, it actually took a bit of an effort to be ready to meet complete strangers outside my existing social circle. But this feeling isn’t unusual, it’s pretty common.
Viewing dating as an opportunity to learn about others, their backgrounds, hopes and faith can be a wonderful experience. There are really lovely people still in the world, it’s true! Dating in a safe way that is not pressured may bring a new outlook on life.
But I understand this approach to meeting someone is not for everyone. You may feel more guided to find a particular person.
We have to allow God to guide our decisions and that may look different for different people.
It does get easier
I did do it. The afternoon turned out just fine, we had a very pleasant time but we later decided it wasn’t meant to be.
So I kept searching, I felt in my heart I had to keep going. It came down to my keeping faith, hope and lots of prayer with plenty of perseverance.
But I knew I was really ready to date and to share my life with someone else.
While I kept on persevering, so did my future wife. Her prayers and faithfulness to us finding each other would become the blessing from God that we both now share.
Build your inner foundations. Be really ready, because you just don’t know what surprises God has waiting.
Jeremy – Not Only Sundays (About Us).
If you’d like to discover your unique life calling, download my free e-guide here.