“Only date someone you would consider marrying.”

bebraveThis is oft-given advice.  On the surface it makes sense.  But how does an 18-year old know who they would consider marrying?  (I say 18 because I don’t believe someone younger than 18 should date.)  How does a 21-year old know who they would consider marrying?  Or a 25-year old?  dating coach

I subscribe wholly to Dr. Henry Cloud’s stance that you don’t date to get married.  You date to find out who you can marry.  Dating is more about learning what you need and want and can trust.  Dating is an activity to get to know someone, do something fun and with no pressure.  Dating is a wonderful time to find out about other people and what they are like.  As well as finding out about yourself with your weaknesses and strengths. I call this brave dating.

On this day I celebrate 18 years of marriage to John. If I was dating someone I would consider marrying, I would never have dated John.  I had many good reasons–many.  Yet I had this stance toward dating. Brave dating is finding out what your type is and who you are.   After John snuck in an ask for a date I went on the date with this spirit of adventure and learning.  What more can I learn about this guy?  What more can I learn about myself?  I learned a lot.  John learned a lot.  After a long friendship, I decided he was a guy I could marry.  He so definitely was not that in the beginning!  I’ll share that whole story here someday.  I still find myself looking at him often and saying “how are we a match?”  John just laughs wholeheartedly and says “I don’t know but we are.”  We are. 

We are.

If I had followed this oft-given advice, I would not be married to John.  It sounds like such wise advice.  But it’s not.

Dating is an adventure.  Mostly an adventure in finding out about yourself.  It takes some bravery.  But the risk is so worth it.  Happy anniversary to me!

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About Be Brave

Brenda Seefeldt began life in youth ministry in 1981. That is before the internet, YouTube, texting and even before PowerPoint. (But it was after flannel boards.) Brenda has written and shared much of what she has learned through the resource of Wild Frontier and in many youth ministry publications as she continues on in youth ministry. Brenda is a brave one. She stutters yet is a national speaker. She loves teaching so much she’s also been a substitute teacher for over 20 years. She’s brave enough to enter any classroom at a middle school. She also simply loves teaching groups, whether they are teens or adults. Due to the many years of youth ministry, Brenda has “coached” many grown teens in dating. She finds herself very opinionated on that with lots to share. Brenda loves her God-given family–four sons and 4 grandchildren. They are God-given, not birthed. That alone is a brave story, one she tells here and there as the story really belongs to her sons.

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