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Beloved Unbeliever - Part 2

Guest: Jo Berry

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March 25, 2024

Dating: Becoming The Right Person

Why do I always fall for the wrong guys? Why do the people I date break up with me? How can I make better choices in my next relationship?

Dating can be fun, but it's also challenging and unpredictable. Often we choose people to go out with who are not a good match because we're not clear on who we are or what we really want.

In order to do things differently—and find a special someone who's a good match—you need clarity.

It's been said that in order to find the right person to date, you need to become the right person.

That may be true, but first, let's define the word "right." The right person to date is the person best suited for you. And becoming the right person means becoming the best version of yourself. Not perfect, but prepared.

It's time to find a better relationship fit, like a puzzle piece that snaps right in; you won't have to force it.

So here are five (5) helpful things to consider to become the right person, and make wiser and healthier choices in dating relationships.

Become a person of wisdom
Making better choices begins as you think about the kind of person you want to date and how you'll date—the world's way or God's way.

God's Word doesn't have a Dating 101 section, however, we know that He desires that we treat each other with honesty, respect, and honor.

We can look at the commands of living a holy life and apply them to all of our relationships, including dating and marriage. The book of Ephesians lists a few instructions:

• Be completely humble, be patient, bear with one another (4:2);
• Speak truthfully (4:25);
• In your anger do not sin (4:26);
• Build up others with your words (4:29);
• Get rid of bitterness (4:31);
• Be kind and compassionate;
• Forgive each other (4:32); and
• Live a life of love (5:2).

Become a person of realistic expectations
While it's good to have standards and consider the aspects you want in a person to date or marry, it's also wise not to expect perfection. Love will be more successful when you don't expect anyone to be faultless. We all have flaws.

Of course, men and women are different in many ways, so the more we learn about the opposite sex, the greater chance we'll have for better communication, less frustration, and mutual enjoyment of each other.

It's also important not to have unrealistic expectations about marriage.

I have a male coworker who has been married for more than a decade. He has a large family and, from seeing this man and his wife at a few work functions, I surmised that they had a happy, strong marriage that was conflict-free and breezy.

I once said to him, "You guys make it look so easy." His easy grin turned serious when he replied, "It's taken us years to get to this place."

Marriage, like any relationship, has its ups and downs. And it takes dedication to live out a mutual commitment.

As you think and pray about what you want in a life partner, keep a realistic view of marriage, both the bright side and the challenging side.

Become a person of integrity
Integrity is about being honest and having strong moral principles. In dating, it's essential to have and enforce boundaries to guard your heart (emotional limits of how people treat you) and your body (physical limits).

For instance, if a guy wants you to violate your conscience by going farther physically than you know God would want, stand up for yourself and say, "no." The right guy will respect your boundaries.

Think about this: Lust visits, love stays. Lust takes, love gives. Lust is selfish, love puts the other person first. You can tell someone's true intentions over the course of time and by how they treat you.

What will your boundaries be in your next relationship? How will you enforce them?

Become a person of love
We can make smarter choices in relationships when we love ourselves, love others, and love God.

Loving yourself means you can be yourself, not an exact replica of the person you're dating. You have enough self-respect not to grovel when the other person wants to break up. You decline kindly when you don't want to spend time with someone, instead of leading them on by trying to be nice. You have the confidence to ask for what you need. And, you speak the truth in love.

Loving others starts with Jesus' words, "Love your neighbor as yourself." (Mark 12:31). Both men and women need affirmation, appreciation, and encouragement. They also receive love as you show respect. Whether you end up dating, marrying, or just seeing someone a few times, treat them well—with patience, kindness, forgiveness, and grace.

Loving God means trusting Him, because God knows what He's doing, even when we don't understand. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding" (Proverbs. 3:5). When you go to God in prayer, listen to what He says and aim to do it. Let the Lord be the first one you run to when you need to make decisions.

Become a person of faith
Faith is confidence, assurance and reliance on the One who is completely reliable. Have faith in God, and trust that He is at work, even now, preparing you for the days ahead.

Consider praying for the man or woman God has for you to date. Pray for their walk with God, that they will be a person of integrity, communicate well, be loving and affectionate, have a good sense of humor, or whatever you specifically need. Ask God to lead and guide you and that special someone to each other—and when you do eventually meet, that He will protect and guide your relationship.

As I look back over some of the men I've dated, and the ones that didn't work out, I can see God's protective hand at work. For instance, Bill (not his real name) was a nice-looking man who went to church and seemed like a "good guy." But later I learned that he'd committed a white-collar crime and was on his way to prison. Indeed, God was protecting me.

With God's power and wisdom at work in your life, you can become "the right person," and make better choices in your love life.