5 Dating Rules You Don’t Actually Have To Follow
By: The John Ankerberg Show
The dating game is a tricky one. Between bombarding opinions on traditional vs. modern dating and media depictions of what good ol ’courting should look like, it can be difficult to navigate in today’s world.
So because of that, we have laid it all out on the table. We have examined five popular dating guidelines that aren’t the most healthy and unpacked how they can rob your relationships. Here are our top 5 Dating Rules that you don’t actually have to follow:
1. Avoiding “Serious” Conversations Early On
The fear here is that you will overwhelm and scare the person on the other side of the table with describing your dream wedding cake & listing the names of your future children. Don’t do this.
However, we would argue that a huge part of chemistry is how long two people can hold a conversation. Discussing your beliefs, fears, or hopes for your life can create such a deeper connection than chatting about the weather. There is a place for small talk – but you don’t have to be limited to it. Dating with purpose means truly getting to know who somebody is. Waiting until you are months into a relationship to talk about the big things might mean getting caught up in a mismatched relationship you didn’t realize you were walking into.
2. Searching for “The One”
We all know that one couple that does absolutely everything together… in not the most healthy way. We believe there is a longing inside us all for something eternal. Many try to fill that longing with a person… but one person can never fulfill or satisfy you in that way. Idolizing a current or future spouse can cause you to set that person up on a pedestal and press unrealistic expectations on them; when they don’t meet those expectations, it hurts both people in the relationship.
3. Sleeping Together On The Third Date
Society says that sex is just part of the gig if you’re going to be in a relationship, but this doesn’t have to be true at all. We often see in movies & television that affection and love is demonstrated by sex. This feeds into a preconceived notion that intimacy at a certain dating stage is the indicator of the relationship’s success. Plenty of couples have happy, healthy dating relationships without introducing sex into the equation and is a valid choice within relationships.
4. Thinking That You Need To Date At All
The desire to fall in love and find a life partner is a good desire. But it shouldn’t be the ultimate desire of your life. The gifts and talents that you have specifically been given are vast and important and are not defined by your relationship status. Neither is your life. Contrary to what your loved ones might tell you, marriage is not a requirement for Christian living. Paul even talks about the benefits of singleness in Scripture.
If you happen to be single, throw aside the influences that pressure you into feeling that you need to “find somebody,” “get back into the field,” “get laid”, etc. We believe that God’s timing is perfect and a relationship is one of the many things in store for your life.
5. Putting Your Best (i.e. Perfect) Self Forward
Personal growth & development are very healthy, but what is unhealthy is striving for unattainable perfection. We can all agree that no human being is perfect. What we believe is that we as humans are fallen; there is brokenness in us all.
“…For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:23-24).
We also believe there is grace for that. The apostle Paul once wrote about what God said about his shortcomings: “But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me” (2 Corinthians 12:8-9).
We have seen serious harm that can come from striving to be “good enough” for a partner. Masculine enough, pretty enough, successful enough, intelligent enough… you name it. Your relationships should be a safe place for you to bring it all to the table. Your past experiences, relationships and choices have helped shaped who you are today. Grace is not an excuse for poor behavior; it is freedom from having to be faultless.
We believe that relationships are a gift from God; it should be something to enjoy, not something to fear or fixate on. Our model of a healthy dating relationship is one marked by depth, grace, trust, respect and balance.
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The John Ankerberg Show
Founder and president of The John Ankerberg Show, the most-watched Christian worldview show in America.