You can call it “becoming mature” or “working on yourself” but I think “dating yourself” sounds better, don’t you? It sounds more fun, and in fact, it is.
Dating inward is a term I’ve recently learned from reading a great book called “True Love Dates” by Debra Fileta, a licensed professional counselor specializing in dating, marriage and relationships issues. Her book is split into three parts: Dating Inward, Dating Outward, and Dating Upward. I highly appreciated the first part in particular because “many people have little to no awareness of who they are” and yet this is such a critical step in having a healthy marriage. (p. 23)
During a church service she attended the pastor asked people to raise
their hand if they thought the church was a serving church. 90% of the
people raised their hands. Then he asked them to raise their hands if
they gave up more than one hour of their time every week to serve those
in need. Only a few raised their hands. The pastor noted, “By the
showing of hands, there is clearly a huge difference between who you
think you are and who you really are.” How many of us are guilty of the
same thing - living under the guise of who we want to be rather than
coming to terms with who we actually are? (p. 33)
As a result of this, she encourages you to ask yourself (and answer) these three main questions before getting into a serious relationship:
was the motto that Debra Fileta kept as she committed herself to the
Lord and let go of her obsession to find true love. As she kept her eyes
on Jesus, letting Him be the sole proprietor of her affections, she was
enabled to live each day with joy instead of discontentment, worrying
over what she did not have.
Let God give you a bigger vision for your life than just getting married. "Your story has far more to do with finding God's unique calling and purpose for your life than it does with finding the love of your life...Finding true love may be a beautiful portion of your story, but it was never intended to be the grand finale." (p. 51)
Dating yourself can be an exciting time of discovery and growth. Don't shortchange yourself by sidestepping this experience. By dating yourself you'll find that instead of changing to make a relationship work, you will be able to be yourself in the relationship God wants you to be in.
In the back of the book Debra Fileta provides a list of questions to help you start the process of dating yourself as well as some pointers for knowing whether or not you need professional counseling to work through your past.
I was expecting her book to be contrary to my paradigm of courtship, but I was surprised to see that she was very balanced and took a common sense, principle centered, God led approach to finding true love. If you are looking for a relationship book that offers good advice, it's worth the read.
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