October 18, 2011 by Chris French
In his last book, I Kissed Dating Goodbye Joshua Harris talked about being careful when and who you give your heart to and not letting your intimacy outweigh your committment. In this book he talks about how to actually date. He says that you are ready to date when you’re ready to get married. This courtship time is characterized by the lack of physical intimacy, deepening friendship and learning each other’s values. You’re ready to date when (1) you can be patient. We need to show patience while we’re waiting to be mature enough to date with a purpose, marriage, but we also need to be patient when you reach that maturity so you can find the right person instead of just some person. When you think you might have found the person you can marry you need to be patient and allow the relationship to unfold at a healthy pace. You need to ask yourself a second question before you’re ready to date. (2) Do you accurately see your own situation and the person you’re interested in? Have you talked to others about their thoughts on your relationship? How well do you know the other person’s character?
Many dating relationships end in a breakup despite what we and everyone around us might think about the perfection of our relationship, so how do you define success in a dating relationship? Success is when you grow closer together so you understand the person’s character and if you guard their heart because the decision to marry hasn’t been made yet. We define success in a relationship by whether the relationship works out and we stay together, but I think Harris is right in challenging that belief. What if you get to know someone during this dating stage and you find out that they’re lazy or have a problem with pride? Do you stay with them just so your relationship can be a success? Of course not! So it makes sense that finding out the person’s character should be our main objective and if we accomplish that goal we will have succeeded.
Harris also reviews some principles for authentic communication. (1) Communication problems are usually heart problems. If they don’t want to talk it could be that they’re lazy. (2) Your ears are your most important communication tools. Listen carefully to learn about the one you care about. (3) Good communication doesn’t just happen by accident. Think of questions you want to ask before you go on the date and work them into your regular conversation. Harris also exalts the role of community in a dating relationship. Your girl’s dad has the responsibility to protect her. Start with him. Being in community also helps keep you accountable. Share family times with your date (Christmas, Thanksgiving). Let your parents and other adults you trust get to know them.
The only fault I found in his other book was that he doesn’t tell you how to date, he tells you not to. Boy Meets Girl is his strategy for dating. I think he’s got a lot of good ideas and the purposes behind his dating strategy are sound. He’s right, we’ve been doing dating wrong for a long time. Maybe this book will help us do it right so we can find happiness.