No one taught me how to date. Odds are, no one’s taught you, either.
At some point, my parents deemed me old enough to hang out with friends and to have boyfriends, and that was that. (I’m pretty sure no one taught them how to date, either.)
A couple years ago, I met the award-winning author Bethany Jett. Although I was already happily married, I read her book The Cinderella Rule: A Young Woman’s Guide to Happily Ever After. I liked Bethany, but I wasn’t really expecting this book to be much different from the others that fill the market (most of which just focus on abstaining from sex before marriage). But Bethany’s book is totally different! I just wish I had read it in middle school; it could have saved me from a lot of heartache.
Since Valentine’s Day is around the corner, and we’re all inundated with romantic movies and images, I thought I’d share the most important dating lessons I never learned until I read Bethany’s book. You can find these in the “Availability” chapter under “God’s Authority.”
Don’t Submit to Your Boyfriend
“Maneuvering the blurred roles of wife and girlfriend seem tricky, but thankfully, we have a God who laid it out for us. God gave us three commands when it comes to the men in our lives. ‘Honor your father’ (Eph. 6:2), ‘respect [your] husband’ (Eph 5:33), and ‘submit to your husband as to the Lord’ (vv. 22-24).
God never mentions your betrothed. The rules that apply to your future spouse do not apply in your dating life…. When you’re dating, you are not required to ‘submit’ to your boyfriend. Don’t do it.”
The section above may be commonsense for you, but it was news to me. I had grown up in a church in which “submission” was spoken of a lot, but no one clarified that it didn’t pertain to boyfriends.
So, if you’re dating someone now, and he wants you to follow him to another city, to get a different job, to change your friends, or even get married, guess what? You don’t have to!
Make Sure Your Boyfriend Listens to God
“A marriage is a partnership. You’re a team. So while you’re dating, you need to make sure that you trust that boy to listen to God when it comes to every decision. Because when you’re married, and he says, ‘I think God wants me to take this job 500,000 miles away from our friends and family,’ you’re gonna be faced with a choice. If you don’t trust him to be in daily communion with God, then don’t you dare agree to marry him.”
Robby and I will celebrate our seven-year wedding anniversary next month—whoop whoop!—and I can testify that what Bethany is saying is spot-on. Life is full of a million little decisions, and in marriage you have to know that your husband’s antennae is in tune with God’s frequency. (Thankfully, Robby continuously seeks God’s will for our family and future.)
Don’t Give Your Boyfriend Unlimited Access to Your Life
“Spending unlimited amounts of time with your honey is a marriage perk. Until that boy slides a wedding ring on your finger, unlimited access denied.
What does that look like? When we were dating, I didn’t have to answer Justin’s phone calls. I didn’t have to explain where I spent my money. I didn’t have to do everything with him, because we weren’t married. I don’t have to do those things now, but the accountability level has changed, and as my husband, partner, and teammate, he gets more access. Every activity, phone call, date was a choice and a privilege. I loved being with him, and I chose to share aspects of my life with him, but he wasn’t entitled to it.”
Not entitled. Let that sink in for a moment. If you have a bossy boyfriend, and he wants to know everything about your life, you do NOT have to tell him. In fact, you don’t have to continue dating him.
Let Your Boyfriend Pursue You
The whole message behind The Cinderella Rule is that women are meant to be pursued by godly men in a godly way. Here’s an excerpt from the Introduction:
“When you allow yourself to be pursued, you give the guy the opportunity to invest in you while you determine how much of yourself to share…. if you pursue him, you won’t ever be sure whether it’s his heart or his hormones that loves you more.”
I was smitten with Robby from the beginning, but he was careful to take the lead. He called me every day like clockwork, and if I couldn’t talk, that was fine. He wrote me letters, brought me flowers, cooked me dinner…he pursued me, and he’s still pursuing me. Bethany is right:
“When a guy sees a girl he wants, he goes after her…. I’m talking about romantic, I-can’t-get-her-out-of-my-head intensity. When a worthy guy desires you like that, girl, watch out!”
If you’re in the dating scene, take heart! I believe your guy—the one God has in mind for you—is out there. Prepare yourself now so when you meet him, you’ll be able to date in a godly way.
Want a free copy of The Cinderella Rule? Be sure to enter the #publishgirlswithgusto giveaway, where one lucky winner will receive an autographed copy of this book! The drawing also includes five other books from award-winning authors, an Amazon gift card, and other prizes. Visit the Giveaway section of my Facebook Author Page to enter the drawing. (Available only within the U.S. Drawing closes on 2/28/18.)