Once upon a time I believed I could not and would not date. If dating was the antonym of courtship, then I chose courtship. I even share this in my first book. But then things changed. I changed. The years rolled on and I found myself walking out what my friends and I call, “extended singleness” (dun-dun-dun).
God says very clearly in the opening book of His Word, “It is not good for man to be alone”. Then He brings Adam a help mate. We can interpret that statement many ways. Was He saying it’s not good for man to be without a spouse? Or was it not good for man to be without a community in general? If the latter, then why wouldn’t He just create a community (a group of people who can support and relate to Adam) instead of a spouse? But let’s not get too far off topic. Having a theological discussion is not my intent. I simply want to share how my ideas on dating have morphed…
This last year has been interesting. Early at the beginning of it I ran into “the ex”. You know the person it didn’t work out with but it was so significant that now they own a piece of your history and even a title: “the ex” (dun-dun-dun). So I ran into the ex. And he had a date. And I was feeling some kind of way about that. Because I myself did not have a date. Instead I had a friend. (AKA, I had community). So I let Jesus know I felt some kind of way about that. It involved some tears and venting and frustration on my part. Which is nothing new for Him because I feel that’s the benefit of being His kid. We can be REAL. Even when REAL isn’t as pretty as we want it to be. So I vented, and the response I got was, “I am already moving”. Hmmm, what does that mean? I wondered. Well that was early 2017, and here I am at the end of 2017 and I think I have an idea of what He meant:
In the course of this year I have had more dates and dating activity than I have had in the whole 13 years of my singleness. I can’t say that they were all positive experiences. There were definitely times He had to deliver me from my foolishness and heal me from my pain, but there was movement nonetheless.
I talked to a friend recently and his experience of singleness has been the opposite of mine. He has spent most of it dating and now he just wants courtship. He wants to just meet the person, commit to them and get married. In a perfect world I think that is ideal. But we do not live in a perfect world.
As one who spent most of their singleness not dating and being a proponent of courtship I told him I see the benefits of dating. Dating teaches social skills. Dating teaches you about the opposite sex. Dating, if done with respect, can help both parties develop emotionally, mentally and maybe even spiritually.
I look back on this last year and I think of the joy I had when I was pursued. It was affirming. I got to see how men rise to the occasion when they see a woman of value. It was a reminder that I am a woman of value. I got to enjoy companionship from the opposite sex. I got to learn more about a man’s world which can be very different from a woman’s. And I also got to see the Father’s desire to give me good gifts. Even when He knows I will ruin them.
In the garden Elohim tells Adam not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. He tells him this knowing he will do it anyway. Knowing that once he does he will have to be kicked out of the garden. But for a period of time Adam and Eve enjoy the garden. They enjoy the gift. In my own life I can see how the Father gave the gift knowing that it wouldn’t last and I think He did that because the joy I experienced in the interim was so great it outweighed the grief that would eventually entail. That speaks to me how much our joy means to the Father. As difficult as this path has been for me I can see many times where He has brought me joy in the midst of it.
Dating has had purpose in this season of my life. I have not expected it too. I did not think I would be one who would date. I also did not think I would be single this long. But alas, life is never how we think it will be and the evolution of who we are continues to unfold as the years go by. At least, I hope for me that is the case.
My inner circle is changing. I have close friends moving into different stages of life while I stay in this one. And in the midst of the pain I experience from these changes I see the Father’s compassion. He has never left me alone. There are many times I feel alone however I have never lacked in the area of companionship these 13 years.
One of my very good friends confided in me about how difficult this season has been for her, especially around the holidays. In the midst of our conversation she realized it was in part due to a lack of friendship. Yes she had community, but she did not have peers who were in the same season who could empathize with her pain. I have had that in abundance and talking to her made me even more grateful for this gift.
It is not good for man to be alone. Thankfully I have yet to have that experience.