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:
- A solid walk with Jesus.
- Active involvement in a local church.
- Preparation for the next stage of life.