I have received a lot of dating advice over the years. Now that I’m married, here is what actually helped me.
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I was single most of my life. I didn’t date anyone in elementary school. I had a texting boyfriend in 7th grade that didn’t really count. No boyfriends in high school. One boyfriend in college that lasted a day less than a month. That’s when I had my first kiss.
I always thought there was something wrong with me for not having more experiences. Most of the boys that were interested in me wouldn’t say they were attracted to me and it felt like they put me on a pedestal–and those are the ones that were brave enough to approach me at all.
Coming from a religious background I was told to make a list of the things I wanted and leave it up to God if desires were something to be talked about at all. A lot of the churches I went to often didn't touch the topic. I grew up in purity culture but it wasn’t as extreme as some of the horror stories I’ve heard. I thank my parents for that.
In my family, when you turned 12, you would go away for a weekend with your same sex parent and go through “Passport to Purity”. It wasn’t just a weekend of the “birds and the bees talk”, we would do fun things together to celebrate coming of age. It covers both sexes and it was an opportunity to ask my mom as many questions as I wanted. My mom fondly remembers how differently my sister and I approached the questions part. I’m thankful my mom was always open to whatever questions I had about God, sex, purity, etc without judgment. I know not everyone has that experience.
After my college boyfriend, I didn’t realize the weeks worth of pain that comes with a breakup. It didn’t help that my roommate started dating him not long after. So there was a feeling of betrayal on all fronts. My mentor at the time and I did a study of David’s life and I have never related more to a murderous adulterer. If you think the Bible is boring, I highly recommend you try reading “Seeking a Heart Like His” because David’s life alone is super spicy. And he's just one part of the Bible! This study really helped me deal with what I was going through.
Covid hit and my church shut down but I knew I needed community now more than ever. So I went to a different church that refused to close and had a weekly youth night. I found community and grew a lot in my faith. My favorite nights were when they had open QnA where they let anyone in the audience ask a question about anything.
After a couple of months, they started a dating series about dating, sexuality, and marriage. This is the series where I got the best advice on what to look for when dating. One of my favorite quotes during this series is:
“If we don’t talk about sex in church, we are allowing the world to define what God has already defined.”
I won’t quote the whole series because I didn’t come up with the material but the following is a list of what kind of man or woman you should be looking for / striving to be.
When I heard this list, I knew I didn’t measure up to everything on the list for ladies. So with this list, I was shooting for a passing grade for both myself and my future husband. I was pretty young, chances are, we will grow together. It was the most specific and helpful attributes I had ever received even if it feels pretty convicting.
I learned a lot at that church but God told me to go back to my home church and attend their singles ministry. I started serving on the social media team taking pictures with my phone, taking notes, and making graphics. I wasn’t expecting to date anyone. My husband approached me where we exchanged Instagrams and the rest is history.
Tips if You're Single / Looking
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