The first ever guest on the HeART of Dating Podcast is a long time friend of Kait’s as well as the pastor of her Church here in Los Angeles, Ger Jones. Ger current pastors Vintage Church Los Angeles, a church committed to word and spirit ministry, intimacy with God, loving mission and deep community. Since the launch in 2011 Vintage has grown to over 1300 in Sunday attendance over three campuses across Los Angeles! Ger is married to his wife Lizzie and they have a dynamic and powerful marriage and are parents to 3 lovely children, Amy, Naomi, and Sam.
Today on the Podcast, Kait and Ger dive into some of the key dating staples to know your priorities are in line as a Christian prior to considering dating so you can develop a worthy dating relationship. Oh la la! Together, Kait and Ger define what dating is and looks like as a Christian in the world today.
The definition of dating in our culture today
Ger says that dating is a godly kingdom pursuit, pursuing what God has for us in marriage. What you might find under that umbrella is exciting! However, Ger mentions that dating can also mean other things as well which is where we get some of our problems, which can be painful and hard to navigate. Overall, Ger says that “Dating is a beautiful journey of finding the person you are going to love and serve for the rest of our lives for the glory of Christ.”
How to test our priorities
First and foremost you MUST ask yourself the question “WHY AM I DATING?!” If your reason for that isn’t that great, then you may be walking right into a very messy and potentially hurtful situation. The key aspect that Kait and Ger discuss is that we must see dating with a biblical view in mind. It is essential to have strong foundations in place prior to even considering dating.
We can test the priorities of someone by seeing the FRUIT in their life. Ger says that the best way to do this is to, “Looking for a genuine hunger for the things of Christ more than a selfish desire for the things of this world. Look for a heart that has been captivated by Christ.”
Another HUGE aspect in testing priorities is taking note of the the servant hearted nature of the other person. It is crucual to serve one another in your brokenness. You will both need help as your journey through life together, so a huge key point is to mututally help one another grow by serving and encouraging the other person consistently,.
Do we have to have it ALL together before we get married?
Ger says very clearly NOPE, “Marriage is the journey of maturity and growth.” You will constantly be changing and learning in and throughout your marriage. However, saying that it is also vital to note that sometimes there are seasons where it might be necessary to sort out your priorities. You might be in a time of transition when you physically cannot give a source of servant hearted love because as Ger says “you need to sort out your heart first.”
In terms of finances, money and career should not necessarily be the main reason you decide to not date. The reason for not dating should have to do with character issues versus financial issues… as Ger puts it “kingdom issues not career issues.”
Top Essentials to have right with God before dating
Ger mentions that dating is” the greatest litmus tests to see if you’re ready to marry.” So what are some top essentials WE should have before dating?
- A solid and strong foundation of the gospel.
- A deep knowing that the posture of marriage is giving not taking. Start to ask yourself, are you more of a blessing than a burden?
The importance of mentorship
This is a KEY factor for the health of your relationship. You cannot do this all on your own so you should use wisdom and discernment on who to best bring into your inner circle for dating advice. IN general it is great to have at least ONE PERSON who KNOWS you and your ugly side. Talk with this person regularly and be OPEN to hearing their true and sometimes harsh feedback.
Other than that, some other essentials for mentorship are below:
- The mentors must HAVE the same priorities and same agenda as you do!
- Take advice from people you trust, people who have fruit in navigating these situations and have true wisdom in those areas through life experience
- They love YOU and want the best for you truly, without any selfish intentions
Note to self: Don’t JUST ask your SINGLE friends for advice!!!
Attraction can GROW
Ger and Kait discuss truly that the fact of the matter is, attraction is so much more wholistic and varied than just the physical elements. Something Ger recommends is that if possible, observe the person for some time to see what they truly want in life. It is important to see what your life would be like to come alongside one another because that is ultimately the point of marriage. Make sure you are providing yourself with that space to come alongside people. Are you excited about this person? Do you love hanging around them and want to journey with them?
Focus on being attracted first and foremost to the TRUE heart of the person and character within them. There are some cases that you hear that “fall in love at first sight” which is great. However, Ger specifically mentions that in other cases there are some people who fall in love even though at first they wouldn’t have given that person the time of day. “You laugh together as you serve together. You see their heart for ministry. That attraction is worth experiencing.“
All in all, we are not here to satisfy OUR checklist… it’s to serve and satisfy JESUS.
FAUX PAS answers regarding the reasons for a breakup.
All in all Ger states that there is a lot of just “letting the person down easy.” But in doing that this makes others suffer thinking they there is still a chance. In essence you have to be careful you are not leaving any false hope! Instead, we need to have brave communication. This could look like potentially saying, “I really respect you as a person and I’m honored to have dated you, but I don’t think this is the future for me.”
If you are the breakup-ee and get the answer “I’m just confused” then be glad because you don’t want someone confused about you! Ger says clearly that “Dating is supposed to clarify the confusion!” Many times this “lack of confusion” is just a code for what is really going on which is “I don’t have the courage to admit this isn’t for me anymore”.
In order to navigate these thoughts and feelings, it is imperative to have guys or girls around you to really help you discern IF you really should breakup with someone. Often times we breakup because we are afraid of addressing something that God actually wants us to work on! Ger states, “Are you breaking up because God is pinpointing and opportunity for healing and growth in my life or maybe god wants to show you an area you need to grow through and by pulling he rip cord you are sabotaging the work of the Holy Spirit?!”
All in all we should be going into dating with these essentials:
- A gospel of grace
- Strong friends around you
- Pursing marriage NOT for selfish gains
There it is guys, some of the dating ESSENTIALS to look out for before actually entering into a dating relationship with someone else. If you’re dating or considering dating, these are some really relevant and maybe somewhat harsh TRUTHS that we have to be honest with ourselves about in order to do this more healthily. What do you think?