Is it just me, or does it seem like casual dating gets a bad rep?
But what if casual dating wasn’t purposeless? What if it wasn’t an excuse to have meaningless sex? What if it wasn’t dangerous or a waste of time? If you are dead-set against going out with different people, I can respect your approach to dating and relationships. But as a matchmaker and dating coach, I’d like to offer another, more positive perspective on dating that just might help you get the relationship you desire.
Let it be known that I support singles–yes, even Christian singles–who decide to go on dates with multiple people before choosing to enter into a commitment with someone. I know this may be surprising to some, especially because people think casual dating means hooking up, playing the field, or avoiding marriage.
But what if dating several people before deciding to enter into a serious commitment leading to marriage was actually a way to prepare you for marriage?
Just so we are on the same page, I define dating as socializing. I’m talking about two adults getting together to have a good time, enjoying new experiences and exploring if there’s enough there to see each other again. For me, dating is a necessary process to go through BEFORE entering into a committed relationship.
Sadly, I’ve seen many people become emotionally damaged because they go from commitment to commitment. They skip steps and ruin a budding relationship because they rush past the getting-to-know-you-phase of dating and go straight into changing their Facebook statuses and announcing “We’re a couple!”
Casual dating can actually prevent some of this emotional hurt. When done properly, it has a powerful purpose, which is why I like to call it “Power Dating.”
I’d like to explore 3 reasons why you should date casually:
1.It’s a great way to meet interesting people
What if you went on a date with no expectations other than to have a good time? Instead of checking off items on a list to see if your date is marriage material, how about you simply relax and focus on learning more about the person sitting across the table?
This was how I approached my first date with my husband. We went to Starbucks and sipped on caramel macchiatos while I asked him tons of questions about his adventures overseas, what it was like growing up as a preacher’s kid and more.
This aspect of power dating works best if you’re willing to go on a date with a person who isn’t necessarily your type. Go out with someone who can teach you something and expand your worldview!
2. It shows you where you need to grow
Tell me about your relationships skills: Are they rusty? How do you handle conflict? Do you know how to communicate what you need respectfully? Do you know how to compromise when another person’s needs get in the way of your desires? Do you know how to set up good emotional and physical boundaries?
Going out on dates can help you sharpen your people skills.
You’ll learn how to focus on what really matters in relationships. Many of my matchmaking and coaching clients “think” they know what they need in a relationship, until they go out on a date with someone and they realize their “must-have list” is too shallow. Power dating helps you learn more about yourself and areas where you need to grow.
3. It’s an opportunity for spiritual growth.
Power Dating is a way to show another person what a good man or a good woman is like.
Most people approach dating and relationships from a selfish standpoint. What can the other person do for me? What if, instead, you were able to focus on giving (with good boundaries in place) so that a person walks away from a date better off because he or she went out with you, even if you don’t ever see each other again?
Power dating isn’t for everyone. It takes a certain level of spiritual & emotional maturity to do it. If you fall in love just by having a phone conversation, or get emotionally attached to EVERYBODY, you probably shouldn’t date casually.
But if done the right way, God can use the dating process to heal some things in you, build up your relationship toolkit and prepare you for marriage.
As Dr. Henry Cloud, author of the book How To Get a Date Worth Keeping, and co-author of Boundaries in Dating, says “dating is as much about learning what you need and want, and how you need to grow and change, as it is about finding the “right” person.”
That sounds like a great purpose to me.
BMWK, what are you thoughts on power dating?