A fourth dating principle, which arises from the other three and is the most important of all, is simply this: you are ready to date when you don’t need to. If you feel that you “need” a date in order to be complete or fulfilled personally, you are not ready for dating. Need involves demand and implies that there is something lacking in life. The opposite of need is choice, which allows for a decision. A legitimate need eliminates choice. For example, if we need to eat a meal in order to stave of hunger, there is little deciding left to do; we sit down and eat. Once all our needs have been met, we are then free to choose based on personal preference or desire.
Consciously or subconsciously, the quest to fulfill our perceived needs drives our lives and influences all our decisions. This is just as true with relationships as with anything else. As long as you perceive lack or incompleteness within yourself, every relationship you enter will be, to one degree or another, an e????ort to supply that lack or bring a sense of completeness. If you feel deficient, you will build your entire relationship on that deficiency, because you will be looking to the other person to supply what you do not have.
Most people enter relationships with some sense of incompleteness or inadequacy. What they usually end up with is a weak 50-50 relationship. Neither person can give 100 percent because they both are focusing on what they do not have, which they hope to find in the other person. People in this kind of relationship live every day in insecurity, because they each are expected to supply the other’s lack, and neither knows how long they can keep doing it. The relationship may last only as long as either of them feels it is satisfying their needs or compensating for their deficiencies.
You are ready to date only to the extent that you feel whole and complete within yourself, apart from any other person (except God). When you regard dating as a matter of choice rather than necessity, you are ready. It is a matter of your ability to be happy and content whether you are with someone else or not. When you regard dating as a matter of choice rather than necessity, you are ready.
Consider Adam, the first man, as an example. The second chapter of Genesis shows us a human being who was whole, complete, and content within himself and his companionship with God:
The Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there He put the man He had formed. And the Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.…
The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.…
The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”
Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds of the air and all the beasts of the field.
But for Adam no suitable helper was found. So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, He took one of the man’s ribs and closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib He had taken out of the man, and He brought her to the man (Gen. 2:7-9,15,18-22).
Before Eve came along, Adam was alone, but he was not lonely. Loneliness is a spiritual disease. Adam was alone because he was the only one of his kind, but he was completely fulfilled as a person. In tending the garden he had meaningful work to do. In his authority over the other living creatures, he was exercising his God-given dominion over the created order. He enjoyed full and open fellowship with his Creator.
Adam was so fulfilled within himself and so busy tending the garden and naming and caring for the birds and animals that he never felt the need or desire for a companion, this is called singleness or being single. He was so preoccupied with doing what God had told him to do that he sensed no need for a mate. Apparently, the thought never entered his head. Providing a mate for Adam was God’s idea. Adam was completely self-fulfilled; he was ready for a mate when he did not need one.
It is the same way with dating. The time you are most prepared for dating is when you don’t need anyone to complete you, fulfill you, or instill in you a sense of worth or purpose. You are ready to date when you have first learned how to be single.
-waiting and dating: a sensible guide to a fulfilling love relationship