When it comes to dating, I've always leaned toward being pretty intentional and probably taking it seriously sooner than I should have. For example, back when I was the ripe old age of 18, I decided I was only going to date guys that I thought I could marry. I told my friends: If I'm dating someone, and find a reason I couldn't marry him, I'll end it. Why invest emotionally and risk one of us getting hurt when I know I don't see a future?
Yikes. Way too certain for 18. :)
And although in our 20s it's much more reasonable to behave this way, lately I've noticed a lot of people putting more and more pressure on themselves to find the one. And sometimes I feel like it's too much.
So while I still have a whole whole lot to figure out about it myself, here's what I wish I could go back and tell my baby 18-year-old self about finding the one:
1. Sometimes, dating for fun is good. I still fully believe in being oh so careful with people's hearts. But I think girls often put so much pressure on figuring out if he's the one early on that we take the fun out of it. After date one, we ask ourselves, is he the one? But is it possible to know? And more importantly, is it necessary? Sometimes, I think it's better to admit: I like him enough for right now. Does that mean he's the one, two months in? Maybe not. But it means you like him a whole lot. And that's fun.
Also, sometimes, you need to date to figure out what you want and need. You might not have known something was a deal breaker for you until you dated a few guys who couldn't give it to you. You've gotta figure that stuff out. You might not have dated nice guys before, so you're not great at accepting good, pure love. That takes practice.
And, if you've been out of the game for a while, sometimes you need to practice - it's like interviewing. The more you do it, the better you get at it.
2. You might not know what you want. I used to think I would marry someone who played guitar and was the life of the party and ran around juggling thirty seven million things at once. And then I dated some life of the parties and guitar players and guys who were too busy for us to find an open slot on both of our calendars. And I found out I didn't want those things. Not because they're bad things - I wouldn't mind a guitar player one bit. But because they're not my non-negotiables. There are things that are way more important to me, and it turns out those other things don't really matter.
3. You won't mess it up with the one. The right guy will like the true version of you - not the one that walks on egg shells for fear of making a mistake. He'll like the version of you that is honest and open about her needs. If he's the one, you won't mess it up.
4. If he's the one, you will end up together. And if you don't, he's not the one.
5. And if he's not the one, and he was really that great, think about how much better your husband will be. If you thought he was a 10 out of 10, holy smokes, your husband is going to blow your mind. Because God doesn't bring you one guy only to downgrade you and bring you a life of discontentment. As much as the heartache hurts, it's a stepping stone to what's next. To what's better.