A Dating Guide for Godly Girls: (#3) Giving It Time
Tip #3: Give your relationship time to develop. Friendship, affection, attraction, relational rhythm: these things take time to grow and fully develop. Overanalyzing a dating relationship before it has a chance to take root will almost always kill in the bud what might have bloomed into a healthy, God-honoring and mutually beneficial relationship.
Notice I said “overanalyzing.” At no point in any relationship is it okay to turn off your brain or mute the Holy Spirit. It takes spiritual discernment, after all, to determine whether a man truly loves Jesus and whether he is on the same spiritual trajectory as you.
No, the key to giving a relationship time to develop is not in muting the Holy Spirit, but giving Him space to work and, in a sense, staying out of your own business.
Don’t look for problems. Red flags are called that because they are fairly easy to spot. Until one pops up or the Father gives you specific instructions concerning the future, focus on getting to know the person you’re dating and letting them get to know you within the boundaries of propriety laid out for you in God’s Word.
Don’t jump ahead. Don’t fantasize about your wedding, practice writing his last name after your first, or pick names for your kids until it’s time. Borrowing against the future to fuel the present creates a false sense of reality, sets you up for heartache, and robs your potential spouse of the opportunity to walk through those initial daydreams with you. Consider a potential future as a couple, but don’t plan for it. Until you are actually engaged, think, dream and plan as an individual.
Don’t imagine what’s not there. If a man wants to communicate something, he’ll get it said sooner or later, one way or another. You don’t have to wear yourself out looking for hidden meanings behind what he does or doesn’t say, what he does or doesn’t do, the facial expressions he makes, or the tone of his voice. Doing so only creates problems instead of alleviating them.
Don’t discuss your relationship in real time. Take plenty of time to process privately before you share what’s on your heart and mind with him. If it doesn’t change, still seems relevant and important after time has passed, and you feel it must be said, then say it. Running commentary and constant analysis will only make the man you’re dating self-conscious, keep him from being himself and prevent your getting to know the real him.
Don’t discuss things with your friends before you talk to him. This falls under the Golden Rule category. You don’t like to be discussed. Neither does he. If you need the sage advice of a godly counselor, seek and/or accept it, but don’t dish on the man you’re dating or give casual observers permission to speak into a relationship they’ve not prayed through or thought much about. If you do, you might put a stumbling block in your own path.
Remember, ladies, dating is supposed to be informative and fun. Go in with your eyes open, yes, but, for goodness sake, enjoy the journey! If you don’t think you can, don’t go on it, for your sake and for his.
Read Tip #1: Men Who Love Jesus
Read Tip #2: Realistic and Fair Expectations