Dating is messy. Relationships are messy. And when you enter the fray without a game plan, the damage can be worse than you think.

Lisa Anderson calls herself the “face” of singleness for Focus on the Family. In her book, The Dating Manifesto: A Drama-Free Plan for Pursuing Marriage with Purpose, she outlines several principles for pursuing marriage while being content in Christ.

  • Don’t date an unbeliever – ever!
  • Avoid “friendlationships” – relationships between members of the opposite sex that are emotionally connected with no real direction.
  • Keep a list but be realistic. Lisa points to four qualities – someone who knows and loves Jesus Christ, someone who is living an active faith, someone who is teachable, and someone with a calling you can support or join.
  • Lisa has a word for guys too – attraction doesn’t hold a marriage together. “I’m not discounting attraction but to make that the lowest common denominator rather than looking at character [is a mistake].”
  • Limit the number of close opposite-sex friends we have. Lisa calls it the “tribe” mentality – you move as one unit but would never consider dating one of them because it might ruin the friendship.
  • Use online dating with intentionality and discernment. “Don’t click through profiles with a consumer mindset.”
  • Don’t isolate. When you’re infatuated, you can’t see the person’s character flaws. Lisa puts it well. “Get a group of people around you who are going to tell you what’s what. Pick three people – preferably older mentor-figures.”

Be marriage-able. Lisa points to four “maturity markers” that singles can work on:

  1. A solid walk with Jesus.
  2. Active involvement in a local church.
  3. Leadership.
  4. Preparation for the next stage of life.

Key Scriptures: Judges 6:14-16; Philippians 4:11

Highlight : Should we make lists for a would-be spouse?

What’s your relational manifesto?

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