Few things in life bring out stronger emotions – or present as many challenges – as dating and nurturing romantic relationships. Our society floods us with expectations of how to date, who to date, and when to have sex.
You may find someone you really click with, only to have the feelings fizzle a few weeks later. Or worse, you could start dating someone who seems like the perfect match, but who then turns out to be manipulative, putting you in danger of a toxic or abusive relationship.
Dating seems like a minefield sometimes. But you don’t have to be afraid to date and explore relationships. You can learn about relationships, and how to better navigate them. The right amount of caution, and staying clear on your values and priorities, goes a long way to making dating more fun and fulfilling.
Starting Off Strong
Before you start a dating relationship, it’s good to be honest with yourself about where you can be flexible and about areas where you can’t compromise.
- Are you happy with yourself, and by yourself? Dating can be great, and it’s great when we can enjoy it. But your worth shouldn’t come from who you date (or whether you’re dating or not). Make sure you know your value as someone made in God’s image (Genesis 1:26) and that this value doesn’t change with your relationship status.
- Where have your past relationships gone wrong? Recognizing past relationship mistakes can help you to avoid developing unhealthy patterns and keep you from connecting with people who can’t (or won’t) support you.
- What are things you and your boyfriend or girlfriend must have in common? No two people are exactly alike (and that’s a good thing!), but certain common ground (common faith, worldview, political beliefs, or views about sex) may help you minimize unnecessary tension and conflict.
- What will you do if a conflict arises? Even if you have common ground and similar priorities, you can’t avoid all conflict and disagreement. In fact, it may bring you closer. It’s good to have a plan for how you’ll listen and talk things through with your partner when you hit a bump in a road.
- How will faith shape your relationship? Wherever you are in your faith journey, it’s important to remember that you and your boyfriend or girlfriend can always pray for one another, talk about your faith together, and encourage one another.
Unfortunately, not every relationship will last. But you get help, hope, and support when your relationship ends.
When Things Go Wrong
What if you break up? What if you get dumped? What if you’ve just left a boyfriend or girlfriend who became toxic or abusive? It can be devastating, but there’s always something you can do.
- Find a Safe Place: If you’re living with a partner who makes you feel unsafe, find a safe, nurturing environment as soon as you can.
- Care for Yourself: Remembering that nourishing your body, mind, and spirit is essential after a difficult or toxic relationship ends.
- Reach out for Help: We have helped many people heal their broken hearts and rediscover their purpose after leaving a bad relationship. We are eager to support you, too.
You’ve come to the right place for hope and help with your dating life and romantic relationships. And that growth and renewal can start right now.