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Again, dating is primarily pursuit, not preparation. Like other experiences in life, dating will prepare and mature us in one way or another, but we don’t date in order to prepare ourselves for someone else.God prepares us for marriage in a thousand other ways that are not spring-loaded with the risks, obstacles, and difficulties of dating.Unfortunately, many of us are being told we must date early and often if we ever want to be ready for marriage.For instance, one popular Christian dating book reads, “Dating is an incubator time of discovering the opposite sex, one’s own sexual feelings, moral limits, one’s need for relationship skills, and one’s tastes for people.” Sounds practical and reasonable on the surface.If we want to be as happy as humanly possible in marriage, we practice loving others like he loves us. When we say “exclusive” today, we typically mean one person at a time. For instance, someone could have been divorced five times and still be “exclusively” dating someone today.And the ways we prepare ourselves to love like him will look very different from every other trend in dating. I think we can all agree that is a shallow and superficial way to think about exclusivity.We cultivated love emotionally and exclusively, learned specifically how to love each other practically, and then we walked away.

By all means, if we want to be married, we should prepare ourselves to be married.

Exclusively dating boy after boy, or girl after girl, looks less and less exclusive over time, and robs us of at least some of the exclusivity we might give a spouse one day.

Instead of treating each new relationship like a mini-marriage, cultivate a ferocious and truly exclusive love for your future husband or wife — even though you do not yet know who he or she is.

But we don’t prepare ourselves for true, lifelong romance by experimenting with lesser, short-term romance.

We prepare ourselves for deeper, fuller, longer-lasting romance by becoming more like Christ.

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