My answer to this question is simple – don’t date until you’re ready for marriage.
If I had said this to myself at the age of 14, I would probably have rolled my eyes and mumbled something sarcastically. But I’m serious, why would you want to date for any other reason? Why would you want to commit yourself to someone else if you have no intention of sticking with them forever?
What I’ve learned over the past couple of years is that dating for fun, or because you think you should, will only waste your time and ultimately lead you straight to unnecessary heartache.
When you’re single, you have the time to grow as much as you possibly can. You can do things you love doing, make friends everywhere and work on the person who you would like to become. Once you’re in a relationship, it’s so much harder to focus on these “self” things because you’re suddenly having to consider someone else in everything you do.
When you’re at school/college/university/whatever, you have so much to think about and deal with already. The effort of sustaining a healthy relationship will have an impact on the other areas of your life. Especially when the honeymoon phase is over and the relationship is becoming real. It takes time, compromise and a lot of maturity to make a relationship truly work. When it isn’t working, it drains you and it can hurt you more than you think.
I’ve seen so many people lose their identity due to a relationship that should never have been. They lost their confidence and independence because they believed that their virtue and worth was in a relationship rather than themselves.
When I say “ready for marriage”, I don’t mean that you’ll find someone you like and you literally should marry them straight away (obviously). I mean that when you meet someone you will be able to look at them with these questions in mind – “Can I see this person committing and loving me forever? Will they make a good spouse one day? Will they always respect me, support me and pursue me? Will they be a good parent in years to come?
Thinking along those lines will set your relationship up to win. It will bring both you and your other half clarity. You will both know what you’re expecting of each other.
But until then, use the time by yourself to become the person that your future babe will fall completely in love with. And most importantly enjoy being single – your future self will thank you for it.