Monday, September 30, 2013

What Dating Has Taught Me

By Kristen Leigh Evensen
We are engaged!
Last Saturday, my boyfriend of nine months asked me to marry him. The whole evening (and all of yesterday) was entirely surreal, as we basked in the new-found reality that the next season of our lives will culminate in us becoming "Mr. and Mrs." There is still much processing to do, as we soak in the joy of engagement and attempt to understand, by God's grace, what is the mystery of marriage in all its fullness!

What's funny is that I actually composed the latter part of this post on our eight month dating anniversary. But I did not publish it. I guess I felt like the legitimacy of understanding anything about dating finds its place moreso upon engagement, the beginning point of lifelong commitment, and not before that time. And of course, my thoughts are humble ones, at that; take them, or leave them. But in re-reading the post this weekend, the points still stand! And I would love to share them with you all. 

What I have learned up to now continues to humble me by revealing the miraculous grace of this Christ we worship with our lives. Knowing Him, knowing His love, makes all the difference in our relationships and is richer than any other form of "love" this world offers. (If you have questions about Christ and why His love is truly better than life, I'd love to have a conversation; email me.) Certainly, these thoughts are not even close to being exhaustive--but they are a start. 

One thing I do wish to say as a premise is that peoples' thoughts on dating derive from their unique experiences (and hopefully from Scripture truths at the core). This means that no one person's thoughts, ideas or opinions can be used as an absolute template for your own relationship--because eacg one is beautifully unique! I say this because I was the girl who would read another couple's story and think, "Uh oh. Mine hasn't been exactly like that. Should I be worried? Maybe this is wrong..."

It is so easy for our healthy desire to learn from others to morph into a desire to mimic others, especially if their story is God-glorifying (which is a wonderful thing, and we need people to tell their stories so Jesus can be glorified). Just saying, take my thoughts with a grain of salt; but take Scripture at its very word. There, and only there, will you find any eternal wisdom for your unique situation.

Anyway, here are some things that dating has taught me (without a complete elaboration upon each point):

1. God is most concerned about the condition of my heart. Am I looking to be served, or to serve as Christ loved me and gave Himself for me?

2. God wants me to seek what He values the most; not what the world values.

3. I don't always need to pray for clarity. I do need to pray for wisdom and an attitude of submission to the Lord.

4. It is possible to never feel like the pursuer.

5. "Communication is key" is the truth. Invest in solid communication.

6. Romantic comedies have a deeper effect than I wanted to believe. Think seriously about the stuff you watch.

7. Dating is the time to form godly, intentional habits.

8. My boyfriend is not like my girlfriends (praise the Lord). Differences are a good thing.

9. Honesty, whether giving it or receiving it, is a true test of character and grace.

10. Laugh. A lot. It is good medicine for the heart.

So there you go. I do not have time to draw out each point right now, so if you have questions about any one specifically, email me or comment below. I would love to go deeper with you. Thank you for letting me share my thoughts with you.

Can I say how incredibly thankful I am for this community? What a blessing from above to know that there are women, most of whom I have not met, hungry for The Lord and His Word. I praise God for you all! 

"By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love." (John 15:8-9)

Gracious Lord, all the days of our lives may we abide in Your magnificent love for us. Teach us in all wisdom, that we may know the riches of Your grace. By Your love, teach us to love. We worship You and long to know You more!


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