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Let’s Talk About Dating, Part 1: Be Realistic

I do want to be with someone who I work well with and whom I love, but it's important to be realistic when it comes to what I can live with and without.

So Suzanne and I have decided to do a series on this blog in which we impart all of our wisdom about dating and relationships. (It’ll be a short series.)

I’ll cover the first issue, so here goes: be realistic.

Because of our culture and the romanticized version of relationships we see in the movies, I think it’s easy to get caught up in an unrealistic idea of what love and romance should look like. Girls get accused of having these false expectations a lot — and they do — but guys are guilty of it as well.

Because of Hollywood’s influence, it’s easy for me to believe that the perfect guy will fall into my lap at any moment. He will be gorgeous, smart, funny, well-educated, entertaining and enjoy all the same things I do. He will love me perfectly and bring out the best in me every single day. I think the danger in this attitude is being on the lookout for this person and ignoring anyone who doesn’t fit each of these qualifications. This attitude, I believe, will only set me up for disappointment.

First of all, people are people. No one — including me and you — is all that great. We all fail and we all have shortcomings. Honestly, I’m never going to find someone who is completely perfect. I do want to be with someone who I work well with and whom I love, but it’s important to be realistic when it comes to what I can live with and live without.

Secondly, I think it’s important to give people the benefit of the doubt. Most of my girl friends and I are willing to go on at least one date with a guy if he asks (as long as he meets the basic expectations — loves the Lord, doesn’t eat bugs, and so on). We do this because 1) the guy had the guts to actually ask us out, which is awesome. It seems to be rare among lots of guys these days, so we should give them credit when they go for it. 2) You never know what you’ll find out when you give someone a chance. He just may surprise you.

Guys, I think you should do the same. Be willing to ask a girl out even if she doesn’t meet every expectation you’ve set up in your mind. Does she want to be more like Jesus? Is she kind? Is she enjoyable to be around? All of these are great reasons to consider getting to know this girl better. It may be scary, but it’s worth doing.

Most importantly, I’ve realized that I need be realistic about love. Those romantic feelings will come and go, which is why much of true love is a choice I have to make. The Bible reinforces this idea in the picture we see of love between God and the chosen nation of Israel. The people of Israel were always running around being unlovable, but God did it anyway — He kept His promise and loved her even when they didn’t deserve it. I think we should work on approaching dating and marriage the same way — we should choose to love one another because we want to be more like Jesus — no matter what the other person is doing.

I recently began to pray for God to bring me the man He wants me to love unconditionally — whatever that may look like. It’s a scary prayer. I don’t like it. But I realized that so much of my prayers for a husband had to do with someone who would love me, who would make me happy, who would fulfill me. Yes, I hope God brings me someone who will do all those things, but my attitude should be more about how I can serve and love someone, not what they can do for me.

Anyway, Suzanne will follow up later this week with another tidbit of advice. Until then, discuss away.

Read Part 2 of the series here.

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About the Author

Denise Morris Snyder

Denise Morris Snyder is a mom, wife and part-time discipleship pastor at CrossRoads Church in Red Deer, Alberta, Canada. She previously worked as an editor for Focus on the Family and a writer for David C Cook. She has her Master’s in Old Testament Biblical Studies from Denver Seminary.

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