Dating in Community

(To be fair, I stole the title from the Moral Revolution group’s series on “The Naked Truth about Sexuality.” It’s a great read/listen so I encourage you to check it out!)

Dating in Community

Last night Pai and I had grand introverted plans. We picked up a small pizza, our Dr. Enufs (my favorite splurge soda) and picked out the booksfor a book date. Pai called me out of the blue a few weeks ago to say that we should have “Book Dates” where we just sit next to each other, don’t talk, and read when we get married. I thought, why wait? So last night was Book Date Night.

*Note: Bibliophiles everywhere: Have you ever just wanted to sit next to a cute boy and read? I always felt bad about not wanting to go somewhere because I just want to read my book. One time, I legitimately asked Pai to come over later than he planned so that I could finish my book. My point is, if you love books, marry someone who also loves books and who likes book dates.

 

Right before we settled down to our books, Pai said, “Oh yeah! We were invited for chili at our friends house at 6!” I look at the clock, it’s almost 6. I have this fear when I’m invited to something where I think, What if they invited a bunch of other people and no one showed up and there is this pot full of chili and heart full of sadness because none of their friends pulled through?! So we got in the car and went. Thankfully, another couple friend of ours was already there, and they had all eaten chili because by the time we got ourselves together, it was 7 when we got there. #AfricanTime

We looked at old prom pictures and laughed at how young and silly we all looked. We talked about having babies (they all have children, we do not) and names for our children. I sat looking around the table of people whom Pai has called best friends since high school and prayed that none of us would ever move away.

Dating in community = accountability

When Pai and I first started dating, he introduced the concept of “dating in community” to me. At first it sounded like we all shared dating partners, so I found it questionable. He explained it as our relationship is not our own, and it isn’t just for us. When we date in community, we invite people who are also pursuing God alongside us into our relationship. It is accountability both physically and spiritually, and it is a source of vulnerability and encouragement whenever we are going through something. As an oversharing extrovert, I’m all about it. For the past 2 years, we have had couples older and wiser than us mentor us through some of our rough patches. We both separately confide with other accountability partners, and have people as sounding boards to make sure we aren’t crazy/are loving each other the best we can.

Dating in community prevents isolation

If Pai and I did not have a solid community around us, we would be a very different couple. I could be as dramatic and erratic as my emotions made me feel, we could decide after a fight that we were just done with each other. We wouldn’t have people supporting us to stay pure in our relationship. We could essentially do whatever we wanted to without worrying about the consequences because there is no one surrounding us.

Dating in community encourages us to love each other better

Because I have a solid group of ladies – mostly married, a few unmarried – to lean on, I have wonderful women to remind me of how to love my man. Do I really need to nit pick about the dishes? (Yes.) How have I encouraged him this week? Do I need to give up this one thing I’ve been harping on? (Probably. Yes.) And because I also have two younger sisters and three brothers on my side, I am encouraged to love Pai and pursue God and stay committed to our relationship because I want my siblings to grow up to also have healthy, loving relationships one day.

Plus, dating in community is just a great excuse to have lots of friends. Because we all need friends.

 

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