Preparation For Dating and The Long Haul of Marriage

everarking asked a question:

Hi pastor Park, what are helpful questions to think about when discerning starting dating /going into relationships?

Hey dear friend, I must first applaud you for taking this seriously. Relationships are no small thing, and for you to even pause to ask questions means you’re ahead of the game.

Please allow me to share this post, which showed up in my first book:

– 6 Ways To Be Ready To Pursue A Relationship

Also, here’s a list of questions that showed up in my book on relationships, which is not an entirely complete list, but could help for a start.

Why do I want to be in a relationship? Why this person?
Where did I learn my idea of relationships from? Am I taking my cue from culture?
Where are these feelings coming from? Are they based in a mature understanding of relationships or a derivative pseudo-romance from some movies I watched?
What will happen if I follow through with this?
Am I even ready for anything like this?
What are my motives? Am I longing for this because I’m afraid of being alone? Because I dislike being single? Or because this person is cute in the face?

Please keep in mind that relationships are hard work. They’re not fun-filled fantasies for our pleasure. People are not shoes to try on for a week. At the same time, there’s room for error. Dating doesn’t instantly mean marriage. Break-ups happen, and it’s not the end of the world.

So take things slow. The best thing I can tell you is to focus on friendship first. If every person you meet is “dating material,” then we’ll begin to see people as merchandise. This is a terrible dehumanizing filter. Flirtatious feelings will not make a relationship out of thin air. Not every cute-in-the-face kid is a romantic possibility. When you get to know someone for who they are by the intimate work of friendship, you’re not only respecting their dignity and value, but if romance were to happen, you’re in a better place to move alongside with them instead of forcing that person to do your will. Most importantly: chase after God, because only He can give you what you’re already looking for.

— J.S.

rexvivit asked a question:

Blessings Pastor Park, I have a very personal and intimate question; when did you get the overwhelming thought: “I want to marry this woman!” with your wife?

Hey dear friend, I was actually asked this question in a Q&A during a seminar on relationships here.

I think the most prevalent thought was, “I want to grow old with her, through the good and the bad, by the grace of God.”

Of course, I don’t own the monopoly on knowing when someone is “the one.” It could be different for everyone. I just knew going in that we’re all going to become broken-down bags of skin. We’re all going to get old, gray, withered, and weary. I can’t imagine doing that with anyone else; but more than, I only imagined it with her.

— J.S.

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