Welcome! I’m blogging my way through what will eventually be a book about dating. You can find all of the book posts here. Below is what will most likely be the book’s introduction, though there may be changes by the time it’s in book form. I know that many authors write the introduction after they’ve finished writing the rest of the book, so we’ll see! I have some initial thoughts before I jump into the main content, so here we go…
Ah, a dating book. That sounds like a simple and conflict-free topic, doesn’t it? Gulp. The funny thing is, I don’t actually want to write a dating book, much like you may wish you weren’t reading one. You’d rather be married already.
When it comes to books about dating, there are some real winners and then there are… all the other ones. Reading Henry Cloud’s book called How to Get a Date Worth Keeping was the start of major growth in my life, and eventually helped me meet and marry my wonderful husband, Travis. God used that book to completely change my mindset and subsequently my life. I recommend it to anyone I know who would like to get married. In fact, if you only have the time and energy for one dating book, put this one down and go read his. I’m not joking.
If you’re like me, you may love it and hate it the first time you read it. I loved it because it told me I didn’t have to keep feeling stuck in my dating life. There were things I could do! Dr. Cloud encouraged me to seek Biblical wisdom, take risks, and trust that God would help me each step of the way. Conversely, I kinda hated the book because I was quite comfortable being stuck in my dating life, thank you very much. I was used to being discouraged. Taking responsibility for my desire for marriage meant I had to start doing things that made me feel nervous and silly. I didn’t really want to pay so much attention to a part of my life that I wasn’t very good at. But, I got over myself and let Dr. Cloud tell me what to do. Lo and behold, his advice was exactly what I needed to hear, and I’ll forever be grateful that he wrote that book.
Matthew Hussey’s Get the Guy is another dating book that’s well worth your time. He writes from a secular perspective, but God’s common grace of wisdom is throughout the book. It is particularly good if you often find yourself in the friend zone or if you never get asked out. Again, maybe go check it out now. I’ll be here when you get back.
Besides those two that are high on my recommend list, I get real picky, y’all. First of all, you’ve got the dating books that have led to lots of confusion because a particular way to date is presented as the best and only Godly way to get married. That may not have even been the author’s intent (though sometimes it is!), but something about dating makes us want to turn one person’s story into a prescriptive formula to follow. It seems like it will make the whole thing easier, but actually it causes problems.
Then there’s the fact that many dating books (dare I say most?) minimize or completely skip over the early phase of dating. The advice starts with a relationship where both the man and woman are committed to dating exclusively. Those books are super helpful once you’re at that point in the dating process! My issue is that starting at the relationship stage communicates that your dating life only begins once you’ve been asked out, and there isn’t much you can do to make that more likely to happen. But what if there are things you can do? How do you go from wanting to date to actually going on dates? What if you aren’t dating right now, but today you decided to start?
My goal in this blog-book is to encourage you to take ownership of your desire to get married. With the Lord’s kind and gracious help, you get to decide if marriage would be a wise relationship for your life, and if yes, you get to discern how to go about finding someone to marry. My own dating story will be shared of course, but less as a road map and more as a case study for how Biblical dating principles play out in various circumstances. There are many wise ways to date and get married. You get to choose which route works well for you and your particular situation. I will do my best to faithfully share what I’ve found to be wise and good. You get to test what I say, and decide how to apply it to your own life.
We’re going to focus on that early phase of dating, though many of the principles I share will also help in later stages. I find it helpful to take the end goal of marriage seriously, and then chill out (a lot) at the start and give the beginning time. Lots of time.
I am a reluctant author. I struggled through every English class I took in high school and college, and I’ve never dreamed of writing a book. And yet, the Lord did something beautiful in my life, and it seems wise to write that story down in one spot. I hope you’ll consider me as your coach, bossy (but kind) big sister, cheerleader, and fellow believer trying to work out how to glorify God in all we do. I’ll simply be sharing how I found my way forward in the hope that it will inspire you to pray again, seek wisdom and action in your particular circumstances, and press on in following Jesus, even when dating is hard and your heart aches for marriage.
What are a couple of your favorite books in the exclusive-dating-but-still-too-early-to-be-serious stage? 🙂
I love Boundaries in Dating by Cloud and Townsend (shocking, I know), and I’ve recently been reading a couple books by John Gottman. His research of characteristics of healthy relationships is very practical.
So great! I would never have guessed that you struggled through English classes! You’re an excellent communicator, friend!
Oh, thanks. =) I think it was the whole being told what to read and write that got me. Less my skill level and more my lack of desire to do something I didn’t want to do. Ha.