At 20//What I Wish I Had Known//Katie

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When I was 20 and in college, they were teaching us to treat dating like a courtship relationship where the boy pursues the girl and the girl shouldn’t be trying to pursue the boy because that’s backwards. A courtship mentality also included the idea that dating shouldn’t happen in a vacuum but in community because people are more likely to be themselves in a community. Sometimes this whole process was called “dating with a purpose” or “dating towards marriage” because they wanted people to realize that when you get involved in dating someone it can be damaging to knit your heart together with someone who you can’t ultimately spend the rest of your life with.
Now there were many pros to this philosophy- it encouraged women who were overly flirtatious to take a step back and not always be pursuing guys and giving them no opportunity to step up and lead in the relationship. It encouraged men who can be prone to passivity to step up and really be intentional with the way they pursue women they want to date. It encouraged people to have a healthy involvement of family and friends in their relationship instead of letting their life begin to revolve around their new special someone.
But there were cons too. Those of us gals who were already shy and never prone to flirt, felt we could barely talk to a guy or he might think we were trying to “pursue them” or be too forward. Some guys felt like since this was “dating with a purpose” that if they didn’t know for sure that they could see themselves marrying a girl then they shouldn’t ask her out at all. It was paralyzing for them. And it made people more prone to seeing a godly relationship have to revolve around a strict set of rules instead of a relationship that is first devoted to them seeking Christ and letting the Spirit guide them in their friendship and their dating.
So I wish I’d known when I was 20 that I didn’t have to get quite so freaked out about all the rules and that I could just trust God and pursue healthy friendships with guys that could turn into something romantic if the Lord led it to.
An article in the Cru book “Fantasy” really helped me readjust my dating philosophy. It’s called “From Fantasy to Reality” by Henry Cloud. You can check it out here: https://www.cru.org/train-and-grow/life-and-relationships/dating/from-fantasy-to-reality.html
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