by: Dan Jarvis
Tools for the Tune-Up
Tool #1: PATIENCE
Better to wait for the best than suffer like the rest.
Psalm 37:3-5, 37:34, Galatians 5:22-23
Starting too early is one of the dangers of dating, and being ready physically doesn’t mean that you are ready emotionally, financially or spiritually. Most people end up suffering through rejection, guilt, and emotional disaster because they can’t wait. They go ahead and date any and everyone, only to be disappointed again and again. Meanwhile the “best” choices aren’t looking at them anymore, because they’re off dating whoever asks. Bad plan!
You don’t have to date today, tomorrow, or even next year. Really. You can take a break from worrying about it and focus on other things in life. One biblical writer said he was glad to be single, because he could focus his whole attention on God! Dating just for the sake of having “someone” is very dangerous. It’s a one way ticket to a messed up and dysfunctional romantic life. Instead, fill your time with serving God and serving people, and when the right one comes along, you’ll know.
Tool #2: WISDOM
Don’t just look for the right one… be the right one!
Psalm 139:23-24, Psalm 119:9-16, Proverbs 14:7-8, Proverbs 5:21-23
Whatever qualities you are hoping for in a future spouse, work on developing them in yourself. Do you want someone who is a hard worker and financially responsible? Do you want someone faithful, trustworthy, and interesting? Do you want someone who is committed to God, who would make a great parent to some future kids, who loves to have fun with life? It’s a great idea to make a list of what you want to see in your future sweetheart, but look back at your list and ask: “Do I measure up to my own standard?” Make yourself a “great catch” for the “right one” – and remember that the closer you get to God, the closer you will get to God’s best choice for your life.
Tool #3: REALITY
No, you can’t change ‘em.
1 Peter 3:10-12, Proverbs 26
When it comes to character and personality, people rarely change.* Their interests and tastes may change (their looks will definitely change), but the inner qualities of a person are usually set early in life. Never believe that you can “change this person later.” If someone is abusive today, they will be five years from now. They will be that way with your kids too. If someone treats their parents poorly, they’ll treat you poorly. If someone is self-centered and negative, don’t count on that changing once the wedding bells ring. When dating, people tend to put on their best performance. The “real” them comes out later! If you see a person who is jealous, possessive, lazy, angry, has a temper, is irresponsible or foolish, take it as a warning – and steer clear.
Tool #4: COUNSEL
Get advice from older folks, especially parents.
Ephesians 6:1-2, Genesis 2:24, Proverbs 11:14
Go the old-fashioned route and ask for parental blessing before you move forward in your relationship. If your parents aren’t in the picture, look for someone in their age group who knows you well. Don’t get defensive when a parent, friend, counselor or pastor tries to give you advice. They have lived through these things before and listening to their wisdom will save you a lot of pain. The Bible promises prosperity to people who honor their parents and their elders, and it also promises safety in a “multitude of counselors.” This is a win-win that few people take advantage of.
After a tune-up like this, you’ll fire up the ole’ dating machine and get some very different results. You’ll find yourself running a whole different direction than the world around you. That’s great! It means you’re on the road to something better. And one day, you’ll be running in the race of life and realize that someone is running next to you – someone who shares your values, treats you with respect, cares about your needs, and is headed to the same place you are. Be sure to get that phone number!
*Obviously, we believe that lives can change. Miracles happen. But never gamble your whole future on someone reversing course. Find someone whose life has already changed for the better, with a track record of doing the right things long-term. Keep your standards high!