Dating and courtship is supposed to be an enjoyable lead-up to marriage, but when you’re single, the concept of dating can feel overwhelming, and even scary. The biggest fear facing many singles is the risk of ending up with the wrong person.
We know that God will send us the right partner. We have an important promise right in the Book of Matthew:
Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: —Matthew 7:7, KJV
If you’re looking for your soulmate for a long, happy marriage, God will fulfill that desire. However, He won’t send a burning bush to tell you, “That’s the one!” He’s more subtle, but He’ll guide you in the right direction if you open yourself to that guidance.
The first way to fight your fear of ending up with the wrong person is to know exactly what you want in your future spouse.
Before God can send you the right person, you need to know exactly what “right” means to you. For example, it’s not enough to think, “I want someone with a strong Christian faith.” That’s a good start, but what exactly does that mean? Someone who will go to church with you and be active in the faith community? Someone who honors Christian principles in everyday life in tangible ways? Someone who’s willing to make a commitment of chastity before marriage?
Also, think about your desired future. What are your priorities? Is marriage your main intent? Do you want children? Do you have other goals, like continuing your education or getting into a certain career? How will you expect your spouse to support those goals?
Once you know what you want, you need to put yourself in the right places to meet that type of person. That certainly doesn’t mean the stereotypical bar scene. Think about the spots where your Mr. or Miss Right would be most comfortable.
Church functions, volunteer events, hobby groups and extension classes are all possibilities. When you get involved in activities that you personally enjoy, you know you already share something in common with a potential dating prospect you meet there.
You may also want to dabble in the world of online dating. There are websites specifically aimed at Christian singles, and they give you a good idea up front of a prospective date’s likes, dislikes, and general personality.
That said, it’s important to be careful with online dating and to ensure the person you’re engaging with is truly who he or she says they are. A true Christian will be upfront and honest with you and won’t avoid your questions, refuse to give you verifiable personal information, act secretive, claim to be temporarily out of the country, or beg for money. If you feel suspicion in your heart, God is trying to tell you something. Listen to Him and cut off contact with that person.
Be prepared for a lifetime commitment. Even if you find someone who truly feels like your soulmate, fear might rear its head again as things get progressively more serious.
As Jesus said:
Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. —Matthew 19:6, KJV
If you’re going to make the commitment of marriage, God means for it to be for life. When you realize this, you might be frightened at what will happen if you make the wrong choice. What if the person you’re dating really isn’t your soulmate and you don’t realize it until you’ve already said your vows?
Dating is the time in which to clarify this. God will speak to your heart and let you know if the relationship is right. Open your heart to that small, still voice like the one heard by Elijah. It will ease your fear and point you in the right direction.
You need to be cautious in the dating world, but don’t let fear get in the way of finding the right person. Otherwise, you’ll block yourself from claiming what God promises in Psalm 37:
Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. —Psalms 37:4, KJV