What Is The Purpose of Dating? Valuing Marriage-Minded Relationships [VIDEO]

Jefferson Bethke is rocketing to stardom with his no-nonsense approach to the Christian lifestyle. Whether dishing on dating, marriage, or theology in general, Bethke has a way of cutting through the fat and getting to the marrow of what Christians are interested in. In this video, he and wife Alyssa get to the question on the lips of many Christian singles: just what is the purpose of dating?

The Purpose of Dating – Jefferson and Alyssa Bethke [VIDEO]

9 Steps To A Marriage-Minded Relationship

Inspired by Jefferson and Alyssa’s honesty? Use it in your own life to make a difference when you’re dating. Here are 9 nuggets you can use to clarify the purpose of dating, and start to focus on making those marriage-minded connections.

1. Know Why You’re Dating

Jefferson has a way of cutting right to the heart of the matter. Here he puts that trademark honesty in to action. At the heart, it comes down to knowing what you want your future to look like. Do you want temporary pleasure or life-time happiness? If it’s the latter, then it’s time to start dating with purpose. As he puts it: “Dating truthfully is for the intent of marriage and people who do it best, people who do it with the most wisdom, people who get through it in a healthy way, usually have a vision. Without it, we’re doing it for self serving purposes.”

2. Have A Vision

So what does it mean to have ‘a vision’ for your dating life? Well, the Bethkes see your dating vision as your end goal, a destination that you set intentionally. You have to think about where you want to end up, and if you want to take someone with you. It simply makes sense to create this road map – as Jefferson says, “In any form of life, having no vision and no destination is extremely dangerous. Imagine going hiking to the top of Mount Rainier and you have no map… you might get lost… get frost bite… you might die… you need a map!”

3. It’s Not Just About You

Having this vision isn’t just about protecting yourself. If you don’t have a plan, you could be taking someone into the wilderness and destruction with you. Jefferson admits, “I know personally, in my life, Alyssa is the only relationship really where I’ve dated with the intent of marriage, where I dated with wisdom. And it allowed us to operate in a totally different manner. All the dating relationships I had before that were painful, were destructive, and to this day, even though I’m under the grace of God, I’m still living with a lot of things that sometimes have to be walked through and struggled with even in our marriage because I had no vision and no point and I just wanted to date for selfish reasons.”

4. Don’t Jump The Gun

While it’s important to keep the destination in mind, Jefferson is quick to tell people to not get crazy when it comes to dating with vision. He talks about the opposite side of the coin, too, such as what happens in some conservative Bible colleges. “Girls can’t even go to coffee with a guy without the whole school thinking you’re going to get married!” Basically, he says, in the very early days, the purpose of dating can be just to get to know each other’s goals and personalities. Only then, if you think you want to go there, do you need to make a plan for marriage. “Be normal please!” he warns.

5. The Purpose Of Dating Can Be To Teach

Alyssa dives in with some pretty smart tips herself. She reminds us that the purpose of dating can be to get some super informative experiences. These life lessons will be what can help you recognize the right for you when they come along.  “You learn things you want in your future spouse, things you don’t want, and things about yourself! It’s healthy!”

6. Relationships Are Messy

Another lesson that dating teaches us is that being with another person is not easy.  As well as learning what you want to get from your future spouse, the purpose of dating can be to show you just how much of yourself you need to give to the relationship to keep your love strong. As Alyssa puts it: “You learn to put someone above yourself.”

6. Breakups Can Be Lessons Too

While we can learn these lessons from the relationships that do work out, sometimes the stronger teaching comes from pain. Alyssa shares that she thought the first guy she was going to date would be her happily ever after, but it didn’t work out that way. Through the breakups, she learned that relationships are tricky. Things don’t always go as planned. But those wrong relationships teach us to recognize the right one when we find it.

8. God Can Use Your Bad Relationship

Its also important to see these lessons as teaching moments direct from God. Alyssa goes on to say, “No relationship is in vain… if you allow the Lord, he can use any relationship to grow you, draw you to Himself and grow the other person.” God has plans for you, even if sometimes it involves taking away a relationship to help you grow!

9. Failed Relationships Are Amazing

It might sound strange to point out that that purpose of dating can be to experience relationship failure. But, as the Bethkes point out, it’s true. As hard as it might feel at the time, even the sad moments can help you understand relationships- and grow closer to Him. In fact, if you lean into the Lord, he can take your broken pieces and turn it into something better. The ended relationship might hurt, but God’s mercy and grace are forever healing. And every broken heart leads you one step closer to being ready for your future spouse when you meet.

You may also be interested in: 8 Ways To Get Ready For Marriage When Single: Gifts For Your Future Spouse

About the author: Jefferson and Alyssa Bethke are a married couple whose videos, workshops, podcasts, and books have inspired Christians around the globe. With fresh, honest takes on theology, as well as Christian dating, marriage, and parenting, they’re passionate about helping others on their walk with Jesus.  You can read more about them  and find more of their work on their website or on Twitter and Facebook.