10 Commandments of Dating Expanded

The 10 Commandments of Dating

By Clar Worley Sproul

Commandment 1


I've always had a very deep respect for the Ten Commandments. First, God wrote them Himself-freehand. Second, all this freedom we've experience in the Western world is rooted in these great moral guidelines. Yes, and third, they condense into a few digestible sentences who God is and how He operates, kind of like God for Dummies.

With this in mind, I, single until the ripe old age of 36, could not help but apply these great commands to the often crazy and confusing world of dating. Yes, I thought, this will be interesting and maybe even helpful.

Well, well, well. Helpful turned out to be a gross understatement. What are at times perceived to be monumental no-brainers are actually profoundly reenlightening when applied to specific kinds of things like dating. In fact, I don't think there is better material out there anywhere.

Who would have guessed that even in the random and ambiguous world of western premarital hunting and gathering the Bible would be so pointedly educational? Check this out.

"Thou shalt have no other God's before Me."

The first command is exquisite. And applied to the world of the opposite sex, my single sisters, here's a paraphrase for you: Don?t make Mr. Potential the center of your universe. Say it out loud. Don?t make Mr. P. the center of your universe.

It doesn't matter if you have "he's the one" looping through your psyche every 30 seconds and a date almost set; the man you are seeing is a mere mortal. He is not capable of being the center of anybody's world, including yours. If you put that burden on even the most mature of men, they will come up painfully short and you will find yourself painfully disappointed, and rightly--and painfully--so.

Think about it for a minute. You and I both know it's impossible to compete with God, right? So why put a six foot (more or less) two-legged mammal up to the task? The only word for that is cruelty. Can the earth orbit a neighboring planet its size?

Trust me, when you're in the throws of the "I" word"can someone say infatuation?" this first commandment is essential for staying healthy and sane. After all, dating is not about sinking your identity or world to someone else's--no matter how the hormones do fly--and neither is marriage for that matter! Keep perspective, ladies; he, at best, will be your good and trustworthy fellow orbiter.

And if you're looking for him to be more than that, and you want him to define you, set your course, and bring purpose to your life, well, I hope he has a Christian mother who prays for him daily and good genes because he's going to need to run very, very fast. God is the purpose-giver and that damsel in distress thing was a one-time incident in the world of fairy tales-not the blueprint for a life shared between two mortals.

And what about you? What do those kind of girl-without-purpose posturings say about you? First, it'd be safe to say that you've got some real heart work to do. At best you are emotionally immature and at worst a leech. After all, you're not really looking for someone to share life with; you're looking for someone to suck life from-and that, by definition, makes you a parasite.

But he seems to love it that I've orbited my life around him, you may be thinking. Wow, now I'm wondering what kind of prayer life your mother has! If he likes that you're his attach, then you have handpicked someone who needs to be needed. Yes, and just like you need someone to give you a life because you don't know you have one, well, he needs someone else's life dependent on him because he doesn?t know he has one either.

Don't get me wrong; it may work like magic for a time--even feel like a match made in heaven--but that is because your characters are complementarily warped. In other words, your dysfunctions fit like hand in glove and your neediness meets his neediness.

So before you mistake that sense of fitting for something substantial, let's do a bit of math. You don't have a life and are now finding yours in him; he doesn't have a life and is building one on being yours. So exactly how many real, honest-to-goodness lives are there in this relationship? None. A big, fat zero. We could almost say the relationship is nonexistent. You're more like two addicts smoking each other.

It may sound dramatic, but really it's quite mundane and ordinary. We are made to worship and follow God, and if we are not worshipping and following Him, believe me, we'll find ourselves a substitute, no matter how not-God it is. Yes, and what's so bad about this is that we emulate what we worship, so if you don't worship God and become like your true self, you'll start warping to the shape of that poor mortal you kiss goodnight and lose yourself entirely.

So how do we avoid this loopy kind of mess?

First, follow the commandment: Don't make Mr. P. the center of your universe. We do this best by seeking God more than ever. You were created to have God in your life. This means that if you disconnect from Him, you will be prone to stuff just about anything in that big gaping hole. Pursue God and practice living under His direction, and you will not only have your own life, but you will also be inoculated from the very human habit of confusing God with something quite a bit smaller and less loving.

And second, when you go on that first or fifty-third date, ask yourself what you have to offer the Adam sitting beside you on that chairlift. Ask yourself why he would be blessed to spend lots of time, maybe even the rest of his life on earth, with you. This is one of the easiest ways to avoid making a savior out of him. It puts the focus on who you are, which is your business, and crowds out all of those annoying little knight-in-shining armor desperations. Remember Kennedy's epitaph in Washington, D.C.? That's right. Ask not what Mr. Right can do for you, but what you can do for Mr. Right!

And for all you beautiful sisters who are still single and waiting for the phone to ring with hearts full of needs you don't know what to do with, I propose you fall into romance with God Himself. He's the only one who can ever actually meet your needs to begin with, and it'd probably be a lot less painful (for both of you) to learn this before launching off down the aisle. Who knows? God might have your Mr. Right holed up without your phone number because you're still looking for a Mr. Savior.

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