I've never been an avid "dater." In my early high school years, I actually read a book called I Kissed Dating Goodbye by Joshua Harris. Basically, he provides his readers with an alternative (courtship-another blog discussion) to the "game" that is so often associated with the dating world; a game in which hearts are crushed and patterns can occur of one bad relationship after another. Harris also argues that it can be a waste of time and a distraction from really living one's own life to the fullest. I agreed with the idea. I was a very focused student throughout high school and then into university, and I didn't want anything or anyone to take away from me pursuing my life's dreams.
Throughout high school, it was pretty easy to follow my dating "values." I went to a small school, and so there were very few potential dates. Looking back on university, however, I sometimes wish I had taken more of an initiative to meet good men, date them etc. I think I had the idea in my head, that God was just going to drop this incredible person into my lap, whenever He thought I was ready. I've seen it work for some people, but not for me, at least not yet.
Over the last few years, I've stepped out of my comfort zone and tried some different types of dating. Online dating was probably the easiest. You don't even have to meet the person, and there's definitely plenty of options-eharmony, plenty of fish, Christian mingle. I've tried them all. No luck there. My friends mentioned "speed dating," where you get to meet at least 20 dates in one night. Not my ideal way to meet a life partner, but hey you never know? Where I've seemed to have the most luck so far is actually with "international dating"-dating people in other cultures, nations etc. I love travelling, learning about different cultures, wouldn't mind moving to a different nation, and so "international dating" had potential to be a good fit. I dated two Ugandan men over the past year. Both are very intelligent, good-looking, and strong leaders that I honestly believe will be a part of transforming their nation out of the poverty and corruption, that seems so prevalent there. I had adventures with them that I'm sure one day I will write about in a book or even create a movie. Let's just say I lived my spy-thriller fantasies complete with Ugandan mafia, tapped phones, prisons, and court cases with bribed judges. I do not choose boring men. Things have not ended, however, the way that I thought they would (ie. marriage and sex). I could be discouraged. I, honestly, thought God would have made this a lot easier for me, but I press on.
I've also come to realize, though, that I did learn a lot about myself through my dating experiences and that I had stayed true to myself. I could walk away at the end of the relationships without regret. I have managed to remain their friends (no easy task). I could walk away thinking that was a lot of fun (a little crazy, but the best adventure of my life). I am disappointed, but my heart is still intact. I don't feel like my world has shattered. I still know who I am. I still have many good friends who love me. I had relied on others for good advice when I needed it. I felt like I had just finished my crash course on dating, and I thankfully felt like I had passed.
My new favourite book on dating is called Boundaries in Dating by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend. If you are in the dating phase of life, I would highly recommend it for a good read. It's not just about keeping the right physical boundaries (Sex, kissing etc. which could be a whole book in itself or a blog. hmmmm). It's about being wise in who you date, how you date, and when to start dating. It's about setting good boundaries for your heart, your time, and building a good foundation of friendship in dating. Part of me wonders how many "dates" it will take before I meet "the one," but for now I'm just going to enjoy this journey.
Here's a short poem I wrote about dating: Hope ya enjoy it.
Speed date, online, international date
Be free, my friend no matter da province or state
Searching to find that perfect mate
Sure, go out on many interesting dates
But be true to yourself. You are first-rate.
Your own mind important .
Check out their character traits.
Cos this is not fate that we're talking about.
It's real love and
Exposed too quickly
Your heart on a plate
For some loser to devour.
Too bad ate your soul again.
All that you value, flushed down the toilet.
Please learn to wait
Even if the best one may seem to be late.
Cos I hear the sound love is coming