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How to Date with No Regrets

Handsome man taking his girlfriend on bicycle rack,True Love Dates book Zondervan,book cover

date with no regrets

“I really want to kiss you right now.”

There is probably no other phrase that can get a heart to flutter more. To some, a kiss is just a kiss, but in reality it’s so much more. Being so closely connected to someone through the touching of lips — it’s a moment of vulnerability, of intimacy, of trust. It’s the moment when two hearts connect through the avenue of the physical.

But I don’t think it’s a good idea,” he went on to say.

It was late November. The beauty of fall had dissolved into the cold dark evenings of winter. John and I were hanging out at his apartment on a Sunday afternoon, watching a football game. It was about five months after we had met, and our friendship was budding into a dating relationship.

I can’t tell you what game was on or who won, because the entire two hours, I was trying to figure out what to do with the strong feelings that I had for him. I was falling for him hard, and everything within me was hoping he would just lean over and give me a kiss. Some sort of sign that we were on the same page.

The funny thing is that I thought I was acting pretty nonchalant. It’s not like I was staring into his eyes with my lips puckered. But somehow he saw right through me. The other day, while we were reminiscing about that moment, he told me that my eyes had said it all; it had been obvious that I wanted him to kiss me.

His response? Not yet.

I was floored. In my experience, it was rare to meet a young man who would turn down a kiss. Don’t get me wrong, I know of some people who saved their first kiss for marriage. I respect and admire their self-control. But it wasn’t something I was accustomed to.

So what does a kiss have to do with dating with no regrets? Everything.

One of the hardest things about dating is learning to live beyond the moment.

Caught up in the whirlwind of passion, it’s so easy to choose what feels good without considering how that choice will affect the future. It’s easy to live for the moment, isn’t it?

Choosing to eat that chocolate bar staring at you from the vending machine when you’re trying to kick extra calories. Choosing to watch that movie on TV that caught your attention when you should be studying for your chemistry test. Living for the here and now might not cause major damage every time, but choosing immediate gratification in your dating relationships is a recipe for regret.

I learned a lot about dating upward from John. Looking back on my dating history, I definitely have regrets, but he can honestly tell you that he doesn’t have many. You see, his goal never was simply to snag a date; it was to honor God and draw closer to him throughout all of his interactions with me. He was willing to say no to what he wanted for the sake of what was holy.

One of the biggest mistakes Christians make is to believe that holiness has anything to do with religiousness. When we think of becoming more like Jesus, our minds go immediately to “the spiritual.” I find myself getting caught in this trap too, believing that becoming more like Jesus means more prayer, more church services, and more ministry activity.

Though we do come to understand Jesus’ heart through such activities, I think we miss much of what it means to become like Jesus when we fail to honor him through ordinary, day-to-day things. Like it or not, if we compartmentalize our lives into “spiritual” and “nonspiritual” activities, a huge percentage will fall into the latter category. Our lives are made up of mundane activities like eating and drinking and sleeping.

But this is the beauty of living a life with no regrets: it is in the ordinary that we can most see God as extraordinary. The Bible puts it this way:

“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” – 1 Corinthians 10:31

Becoming like Jesus has little to do with what you are doing, and everything to do with how you are doing it.

We are asked to glorify God in all we do, so what does that mean in dating?

When our hearts are fixed where true joys are found, we will experience no regrets in our season of dating, only lessons learned. When our eyes are set on Jesus, the change that takes place in our hearts has eternal significance.

“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” – 2 Corinthians 4:18

In your season of dating, fix your eyes on Jesus. Don’t become so consumed by your pursuit of the opposite sex that it becomes your idol, prioritized above all else. Dating with no regrets means keeping your focus on Jesus, so that no matter what happens in your relationships with others, your relationship with God remains intact.

Your Turn

Looking back on your dating relationships, do you have regrets? If so, what are you doing to work through them and to protect yourself (and your dating teens) from future regrets and teach them how to date in a God-honoring way?