Dating, much like many things in life, all boils down to motive. Why have we made the decision to date? Is it because we’re ready to date for the sake of dating? Is it because we’re looking for a father/mother for our children? Is it because we’re lonely? There are many reasons why people decide that they are ready to date. The motive, however, is a clear reflection of the heart of the person.
For example, if I’m dating because I’m lonely, then my reasons for dating are centered around me and what I need/want. However if I have made the decision to date because I have finally gotten to a place where I can be a great compliment to the life of the right person, then that takes into account what I have to offer someone else and what I want.
One motive reflects selfishness while the other is thinking about how two are better than one, and how our union with the right person could be a huge blessing to both of them. This becomes even more important when you’re dealing with children.
I personally am not a fan of casual dating. I go into my reasons why in my book “Healing After Divorce,” but I won’t list those here. Let’s just say that dating should be a stepping stone to marriage. And since marriage is such a serious matter, we must treat dating with the same seriousness.
Each and every person that we allow ourselves to become involved with has an impact on us whether positive or negative. So it’s important that we limit and screen those who we allow into our lives. That rules out casual dating, in my opinion.
Dating is basically auditioning someone for the role of lover, father/mother, friend, and life partner. For that reason, a significant amount of work should be done before a date is even considered. For example, why does this person want to go out on a date with me? What is their motive? Is it because they think I’m attractive, or because they think I am an amazing woman whose personality, drive, and love for life takes their breath away?
One is much more appealing than the other, and one assumes that thought about who you are and what you have to offer has been done ahead of time. You can’t just walk up to a person at a bar and admire their love for life. But you can do that with someone that you’ve already encountered in a social or professional setting previously, and had a chance to get to know indirectly before making the decision to get to know them directly. This is the kind of due diligence and preliminary research that is important, and that can save you a lot of time and headache.
Here’s another example. Let’s say that I’m looking for a daycare for my child. This is the most important person in my life. Needless to say, I’m not going to just drive up to the place, look at the outside and say ‘okay this will work.’ I’m going to want to meet the director, tour the facility, meet the teachers, learn about the curriculum, learn about their discipline techniques, know their star rating, and get a few reviews from current parents that have their children enrolled in their facility. If we would go through all of that trouble for a daycare, we have to be willing to go through due diligent for a potential spouse.
A lot of information that we’ll need to know can be discovered throughout the dating process, but there is also a certain level of risk involved once we make the decision to date someone. We run the risk of getting hurt both emotionally and physically because we really don’t know the person. It’s better to do as much due diligence as possible before making the decision to date, because prior to dating, all of your assessments are done risk-free. So, dating to date, or dating to marry? Definitely dating to marry!
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