Whether you’re single or in a relationship, you may have encountered at least one of these five things I have been told about dating. Perhaps the advice was given out of good intentions, but more often than not, it left you feeling frustrated and miserable. Some of the “facts” seemed to be true at first—but turned out otherwise. If you’ve been told some tips about dating, perhaps it’s time to pause and mull over the “advice”, and consider how we really should respond.
Tip #1: A bit of jealousy can help.
You may be at a stage where you’re wondering whether you are meant to be with this guy, or whether there is any hope of the relationship going anywhere. Then, just as you’re starting to get frustrated, someone gives you this piece of advice: A bit of jealousy can help. All you have to do is to introduce another guy into the equation, and that will stir a little jealousy and competition, and eventually force that special someone to reveal his true feelings towards you.
While this might “work” in some situations, I am not convinced that it is a good nor wise move to make. There must be a better way to conduct ourselves, as we are called to bear the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) and exhibit love—which is kind, does not dishonor others, does not envy, and is not self-seeking, among other things (1 Corinthians 13:4-8). And by making the other party “jealous”, could we unknowingly cause him to sin? The Bible makes it clear that jealousy leads to evil. Proverbs 14:30 says, “A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.”
Tip #2: It happens when you least expect it.
I am sure most of us would have heard this before. Hollywood has created false expectations of love and romance that make us think that perhaps, Prince Charming will simply appear at our doorstep one day. We love that warm, fuzzy feeling that romantic movies stir in us, and we long for serendipity to happen in real life.
Now I must admit that I am quite a hopeless romantic. At times, I do let my heart rule my head. But let’s not allow our minds and hearts to get trapped in this thought, lest we face deep disappointment and despair when there’s no sight of Prince Charming riding towards us on his white horse.
Instead, it may be good to dwell on this wisdom from Proverbs instead: “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.” (Proverbs 16:9). Let’s trust that the Lord will lead the way in His own timing. He’s the one who determines our path in life.
Tip #3: You have to play hard to get.
You’ve got to admit: we all love a bit of a chase. You try your best to appear uninterested while inside, your heart is leaping for joy. You do this to induce a chase or pursuit—you want him to want you. But playing hard to get can be a dangerous game. While a chase may take place naturally in dating, trying to create one artificially might just backfire and create more problems. We don’t want to build a relationship based on manipulation.
Have we treated dating too much like a game, and ended up with unnecessary heartache when the other party didn’t take the bait? Are there better ways to assess the other party’s level of interest? How can we be open, mature, and sincere about our feelings (Romans 12:9), so that we can truly understand each other’s expectations and wants? Having a healthy start may just be the key to ensuring a successful, blossoming relationship.
Tip #4: Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
We may come across several people before we meet the one. Perhaps you subscribe to the thinking that if you distribute your eggs around many baskets, it increases your chances in finding that certain someone.
But committing to someone requires our 100 percent. We should not be afraid to be open and honest about what we’re like, and at the same time, really get to know a guy for who he is. I can’t help but wonder how one can fully invest emotionally in a relationship when there is more than one basket to tend to. Note of caution: There is always a chance that things may not work out at the end of the day.
What if a relationship that you’ve committed 100 percent to doesn’t work out? Don’t worry, there’ll be other opportunities. God has your best interests at heart, just as Romans 8:28 says: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
Tip #5: A guy has to love you more than you love him.
What most people mean by this is that you should have high expectations of the one who is trying to chase you. He needs to do all the fancy romantic stuff—you just need to sit back and soak it all in. So what if you aren’t sure about him just yet? That’s okay because, one, he’s a decent guy; and two, he really likes you, you know.
Well, let’s be completely honest with ourselves. If a guy loves you more than you love him, could that mean that there isn’t 100 percent commitment on your side? He may soon realize this, and in return, decide to put in only the same amount of effort you’re willing to invest into the relationship. Now, that wouldn’t be so nice, would it?
Perhaps we should follow the wisdom of Matthew 7:12: “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”
If the advice you’ve been given up to this point has caused you to believe that there is a fixed way to date, scratch that. There is no secret formula to finding someone. Each relationship will be unique, and so will each dating experience. You will make mistakes, but it’s what you learn and make of them at the end of the day that counts.
To avoid being pulled in different (and wrong) directions when dating, talk to God and look to Him for guidance and discernment. Be open and honest with Him. Believe it or not, He is interested in everything about you, even your first date. So commit to the Lord your heart’s desire, and pray for His guidance. Make your relationship a prayerful process.