Now that “dating season” is just around the corner (my college roommates and I always seemed to think that the middle of the school year was always better for dating), my thoughts go to “why I am dating” and “what kind of person I’d like to date.”
Contrary to popular belief, I’ve found (in my very non-scientific research of friends and relatives and “Dr Phil” shows) that people date for different purposes. Yes, dating is a “dance ritual” that singles do to find a mate, but sometimes it’s done subconsciously to satisfy a deeper longing for something else.
Without writing a whole book on the subject, I think it’s safe to say that some people date to find a mate, while others date to curb loneliness or the fear of being alone. Some date to feel needed and wanted, and others to share their life through companionship and family.
Whatever the reason is and whenever you feel ready, at some point, we all need to address the question “what kind of person should I date?” I’ve had the privilege of being around many loving and successful relationships. I’ve watched how couples have interacted; I’ve seen qualities that I’ve admired; I’ve seen the things that worked and even a couple of things that didn’t.
From those observations, I’ve compiled my list of a few qualities that I’m now looking for in a person (and relationship), and then have compared them to my list of different personal qualities. And I’ve found a deficiency or imbalance in my “relational equilibrium.” In my defense, though, I’ve noticed that a lot of singles have the same imbalance too. In situations like this, I look to the Bible for examples of relationships in order to gain balance in my mind.
• Genesis 2:21-22 was created, and Eve was born from his rib.
• After he had killed a man and fled Egypt, Exodus 2:21 was given Zipporah, by her father.
• Genesis 41:45 was given Asenath by Pharoah.
• Ruth 2 met Ruth in his fields while she was picking up leftover sheaves of wheat.
• 1 Corinthians 7 stayed single his entire life.
That’s quite a list of role models! Nevertheless, in my slightly skewed wisdom, I can still pull some qualities from these men that are applicable to my life:
• None of them was perfect
• None of them was necessarily seeking a relationship
• None of them could have foreseen and planned the situation
• All of them stayed with their wives, and were men of God
From this, I realize that I don’t need to worry as much about the “when I will date” and the “where I will meet my future husband.” While pondering over those qualities, a revelation came over me. It’s not so much the qualities that I’m looking for, but rather what qualities (or preferences) I’m willing to overlook.
A person must, in his own heart and mind alone, come to grips that no one or no relationship will ever have every one of those qualities that he’s looking for no matter how few are desired, and no matter how perfect the other person may seem. Each person must decide whether he is willing to accept that certain qualities or shortcomings of the other person don’t and won’t matter, until death do they part, or else move on.
I’m not saying that we shouldn’t be selective and just “settle” for the first person we go out with for a second date (for some that would be a great thing in itself!). During my moments when I feel that I’m being too selective, I’m reminded of a line from a movie I’ve “heard” about.
In “Sleepless in Seattle,” Walter, tells Annie, : “I don’t want to be someone that you’re settling for. I don’t want to be someone that anyone settles for. Marriage is hard enough without bringing such low expectations into it.”
There are many things about people and in relationships on which we shouldn’t put as much emphasis. We should quit comparing a perspective mate to People magazine’s “Sexiest Man Alive” and Sports Illustrated’s “Swimsuit Supermodels” and reflect upon who will share our goals, faith, values, beliefs, and interests.
As Christians, those should be the “non-negotiables” in our criteria. Tight abs and glutes are nice, but they don’t defy age and gravity.
I think a lot of singles, including myself (at times), think that the “57-quality person” is out there, while in reality, God knows that what we really need is more patience, more understanding, less selfishness, less societal input, and a 12-quality person.
It’s not about singles being made to “complete” one another so much as it is being as “complete” in yourself – and in the Lord – as possible when you meet another person.
So before you go and throw yourself into the “dating pool” this season, find out what you’re willing to give and what you’re willing to accept. It’ll save a lot of hardship on everyone involved