Dating: Lower your expectations
Think of your perfect partner. Now forget about them and read this.
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls: today we’ll be talking about your perfect partner. What are the non-negotiables? What would you list as the ideal character traits?
Think of that perfect guy. Isn’t he something.
He plays acoustic guitar, his Bible is well worn from all the reading. He pays attention to you when you're speaking and seems interested, (unlike 95% of other boys you know). He’s into sport, but not in a crazy obsessed way, more in a cool laidback way. He understands memes but isn’t nerdy about it.
He’s funny, he’s cute and most of all he loves Jesus.
Think of that perfect girl.
She’s fun, she’s outgoing, she speaks her mind. Her Bible (it’s one of those journaling ones) is full of sticky notes and scribbles in the margin. She’s smart, she’s sensitive and she understands the offside rule in soccer. When you speak to her she doesn’t go off giggling with three of her friends.
She’s funny, she’s cute and most of all she loves Jesus.
Okay. You’ve got that person in your mind? Now forget about them and listen to me.
Lower your expectations of the perfect partner
It’s Friday night, you’re at youth group. You’ve had the Bible talk. It’s that time in the evening when everyone is standing around and chatting.
You look at him, or you look at her.
They’re everything you’ve ever wanted ... right up until the point where you see them pick their nose.
Oh no, they're not perfect after all.
And the truth is, if you’re waiting for the totally perfect partner, you’ll be waiting a long time.
My wife and I are very different people. When we started dating I thought she was pretty perfect. But after a while, I realised that she was far from it.
So why did we stick at it and get married? Two reasons:
- She loves Jesus more then she loves me
- We like hanging out together
The reality is, your perfect partner doesn’t need to play acoustic guitar (or even bass guitar). Your perfect partner needs to love Jesus and you need to care for each other like good friends.
Lower your expectations of dating itself
For Christians, dating is ultimately preparation for marriage.
But you shouldn't expect the person you date to satisfy all your longings in life, or to fill a hole in your life that only God can.
I didn’t do a great job of this when I was a teen. I thought that the person I was dating in high school would make me happy and complete. But to be honest, I was more excited by the prospect of being in a relationship than being a good friend to the person I was dating.
Don’t fall in love with the idea of love. Otherwise, you're just serving yourself instead of the person you're dating.
This is most likely to happen when your expectations for dating are too high. You end up making the person the subject of all your hopes and dreams.
Raise your expectations for what Jesus can do
Jesus can change your life way more than any boy or girl can.
Do you want to be loved for who you are? Jesus looks at you and he knows you. He sees the ways that you glorify him, and he sees the things that you want to hide.
Jesus sees all of you. And he loves you completely.
In John 4, Jesus speaks to a Samaritan woman. He knows her, and he loves her. She has had five husbands. She’s gone from man to man looking for meaning and acceptance, but none of her relationships have lasted. What Jesus offers is a relationship that is not dependent on your faithfulness to him, but on his faithfulness to you.
This is good news, because Jesus is faithful. He will never let you go. He went to the cross for you and dealt with your sin and shame. You can look at him and accept his love for you because you are clean!
Do you need to lower your expectations?
If you're expecting too much out of dating, maybe it's time to stop and have a rethink.
Dating is a great way to get to know someone better and see if you're suited to a life-long commitment in the future. But it can never take the place of Jesus.