We are always looking for new amazing books to read on dating and someone earlier this year recommended the book Single.Dating.Engaged.Married. Our host, Kait, read it and really thought that everyone needed to read this book! So today Kait got the privilege of sitting down with Ben Stuart who is not only an author but also the pastor of Passion City Church, Washington D.C. He has a LOT to say about dating and this entire process and it is SO good.Prior to joining Passion City Church, Ben served for 11 years as the executive director of Breakaway Ministries, a weekly Bible study attended by thousands of college students at Texas A&M. Him and and his wife, Donna, live to inspire and equip people to walk with God for a lifetime… and they also have one heck of an incredible dating story!So something Ben and Kait discuss today is the evaluation process of dating.How do you KNOW that you KNOW if this person is for you or not?How do we truly figure this out? What if you fight a lot, how do you discern?What if you are really not sure, what should you do to work through that?
What are some of the top things that you believe we should be evaluating in Dating?
“Dating is not a status to dwell in, but a process to move through. It is a series of actions meant to lead up to a particular end—discerning whether or not we are meant to marry a particular person. Dating exists for evaluation.”
- Having a compelling WHY will drive you to purpose in whatever you are doing.
- “A good why will propel a lot of good WHAT’S”
- In a recent study of single people, “Over 90% of people want to be married.”
- We need to CLARIFY our motives because dating can be muddy and murky.
- We have to evaluate character AND chemistry.
What about people who want to focus on career over relationships?
- If this is how you feel, what does success mean to you really?
- “There are ways to pair off that will ENHANCE your life, not diminish it.”
- Don’t let FEAR keep you from pursuing relationship because ultimately there is deep joy found in community with someone.
- There will almost always be something that happens or that we are going through in life.
- Think about: what does success really mean to you?
- You HAVE to have a compelling vision for your life.
- It’s not about I work for this company or that company, it’s about the grand arch of my life and is this a person running the same direction?
- Get involved in a VIBRANT church and change the world alongside one another.
- We have to find ways to express sacrificial LOVE.
- Common interests do not actually matter as much as running a similar race together
How can we go about evaluating someone’s character while also evaluating the chemistry we have with them?
- You’ve got to have CHARACTER and CHEMISTRY.
- Get in environments where you are chasing the same cause and the other person has a character being shaped by God. They re not perfect, but they are perfectABLE.
- Ben talks about how he is an introvert and how he sometimes is slower to opening up to people, but the friendships he builds over time are very deep. After a first date often he would say “I don’t know?” At the end of a first date ALL you have to know is if you want there to be a second one.
- Ben also talks about a time him and his wife Donna took a break. It was a time for Ben to really figure out if he wanted to be with Donna, because he was not fully sure. During that time came to a point where he realized he TRULY missed her. He did not just miss having a person, but he missed HER, her thoughts, her wisdom, her communication. They were not a perfect sync up in every area.
- “Knowing the best about her I know and knowing the worst about her I know, life WITH her is better than life without her“
How do we truly discern if this really is a person we want to spend our life with?
- If you are feeling inside yourself “I am just not committed to this person” you NEED to listen to that.
- There are two pieces to this puzzle, first the INTERNAL piece. When you hit conflict is your response, “I WANT to get past this conflict and I WANT to get back to unity with you”? Or is it “I want to get out of here?” You need to establish internally if there is a deep and lasting commitment
- Then, the EXTERNAL piece is “Can we communicate in a healthy way when we disagree?” You want to be able to communicate CONSTRUCTIVELY not DESTRUCTIVELY.
- Do you yell scream? Are you or the other person too rash? That is not healthy.
When and how do we divulge our stories of origin in dating? Why is it important to do before marriage?
“You want to marry and EQUAL. Two healthy people running together through life.”
- “You don’t want to get into a dating situation where you are the parent or savior of the person you want to marry”. That will NOT be a marriage of equals. You will LIMP through life.
- “You want to marry an EQUAL. Two healthy people running together through life.”
- You want to do ministry together, but you don’t want to date ministry.
- We need to be STUDENTS of ourselves. We should want to constantly be learning and growing and refining. Dating tends to surface things in our hearts and minds and we have to be able to be students of ourselves enough to address these things.
- Jesus raised up leaders “I trust you with little things and if you can handle it I will trust you with more things”. This is how we should approach vulnerability. Share little things and see how they handle it, and then proceed forward.
- We all want to be FULLY KNOWN. You want to be able to share with someone. You want to be able to slowly, incrementally open up. Eventually over time someone knowing the good and bad about you but chooses you is SO powerful.
- “When someone sees you at your worst and still says “I LOVE YOU” that is such a healing thing.”You want that. Do not settle for less than that.“
- It’s also important to check in with YOURSELF on how you respond when someone is vulnerable with you.
- “The PERSON will never be the problem, the PROBLEM will be the problem”. We have to dissect why the problem is happening and stop placing blame on the other person.
What is your final nugget?
- Put the first thing first. Make the decision now that I don’t know if I am going to get married, but I want to be more like God. You are going to find your deepest satisfaction WITH him.
- Get good at being single and LOVE everybody you come across and as you do that get mentors and friends and then MAYBE eventually you will get a husband or wife.
Follow Ben on Instagram @ben_stuart_
Foollow Passion City Church on Instagram @passioncitydc
Get Ben’s book, Single. Dating. Engaged. Married HERE