When we reached a standoff in understanding, we shared articles written by other people from our viewpoints.For example, I would send my partner a magazine article from One night, I fiercely tried to convince my partner that he had spiritual needs even if he wasn’t identifying them as such. “It’s the feeling you get when you’re standing in the ocean at sunset, staring at the horizon, and feel both small and big at the same time.” “I get that feeling,” he said. I’m an evangelical Christian dating an atheist physicist.Our relationship has taught me more about unconditional love than any sermon ever did. My partner and I have moments of experimenting with belief systems to better relate to each other.Other messages have stressed that Christians need to be much more counter-cultural.Joshua Harris, for instance, has promoted a model of courtship that harkens back to a model used broadly before modern dating evolved.That would be awesome, but it’s not always realistic. If you are a Christian, God isn’t a piece of your pie. Why date someone who doesn’t even have God as a piece of the pie? Pull over at the closest gas station and decide what you want in a future spouse. Your list is designed to give you a framework for dating, not be a checklist for it. Your heart and the holiness of marriage are too important to flippantly give away because you are frustrated, impatient, or settling. When I tell people that my boyfriend lives 3,000 miles away in Scotland, they usually gasp, smile bewilderedly, and say, “That must be so hard! However, for quite some time, the distance was not the primary challenge in our relationship. Despite my attempts to evade it, I fell in love with someone whose worldview appeared opposite to my own. Usually, we aren’t even aware of our resistance until it falls away.
We would “reverse roles” in another conversation all for the sake of understanding one another more.
Casual or purposeless dating has no benefit for Christians. We are designed to know why we do stuff and where we are going. Now, please, please, please don’t be a freakish weirdo. It involves sharing personal struggles and vulnerability. If you believe God is preparing you for foreign missions, is it important the person you marry shares this passion? If you love the Cowboys and your future spouse loves the Packers, is it important to work through this before marriage?