Christian Dating and Values
by Wyatt Fisher, Psy.D.
It is important to consider many qualities when entering the romantic scene. One important category is Christian dating values. The clearer your values are, the easier it will be for you to filter through your dating options. As the saying goes, "if you don't know what you stand for, you'll fall for anything." It often takes time and experience to discern what we truly value. Sometimes, our values stem from what we appreciated growing up and want to continue. Other times, they may be the result of what we missed growing up and would like to cultivate as an adult.
To begin with, it is helpful to create a list of all the key areas in your life, such as spirituality, family, friends, children, community, vocation, education, finances, hobbies, health, etc. Next, spend some time brainstorming on what you value most within each category. Whatever comes to mind, write it down. For example, values for "spirituality" could include a personal relationship with Christ along with an active participation in a local church. "Family" values could include family dinners, family quality time, supportive relationships, etc. Once you have done this for each category, spend some time reflecting upon the themes for each section. For example, the "spiritual" theme may be staying connected with God and His people. The theme for "family" could be devoted relationships that are warm and loving. After you have done this for each section, narrow the theme for each category down to one word that symbolizes what you value most. The "spiritual" summary word could be "connected" and the "family" summary word could be "devoted," etc.
Now, after you have developed one word that symbolizes your values for each category, you may use this information whenever you need to make a decision. When dating, you can use your values chart to determine if becoming more serious with a particular person would bring you closer to your values or further away from them. For example, you can ask yourself, "On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being the highest, how much would dating this person honor my values within "spirituality," within "family," within "friends," etc. When completed, you will have a quantifiable score showing you how much your decision would honor your values. So, give it a try and date those who will honor your values and bring you closer to them.
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What are all the reasons shared values would keep a couple together?