How Long to Date?
Devin and I dated only three months before becoming engaged. It was quick, but it seems longer when you consider:
- Devin and I first met in May of 2007 at the Shuk in Jerusalem. Our first meeting did not establish anything even close to a real friendship, but I loved his hazel eyes.
- We began emailing early July after my dad was abruptly fired from managing the Cincinnati Reds. He wrote first. I responded sort of flippantly, but then after feeling convicted at TheCall (7/7/7), wrote again. I knew he had sincere concern for me, and I wanted to honor him.
- Devin arrived in the US in August and we started spending time together. I needed to move, so he was my moving man. For some reason I just couldn't get all of my furniture arranged properly, so he had to keep coming over to help me. ;)
- Then we officially started dating in September after a fun-filled family camping trip. On the drive home he informed me, of his *surprise* interst in me, thus beginning our time of 'offically' dating.
- Devin romantically proposed on December 11, 2007 in Yemin Moshe, overlooking Mt. Zion. He came prepared with a bottle of champagne to celebrate the "Yes!"
And all of this happened with an ocean and a continent and a half between us through out most of the time we were getting to know each other. I truly believe our relationship is healthier for having made it a point to quickly seek the Lord and discern if we were fit for marriage. Through out the time we were dating, I never felt any insecurity about his intentions and I trusted the Lord in him with my whole heart.
Before we met, we had both come to a point of understanding that most of the learning you do about your spouse comes after marriage, so we were willing to let the important matters (Godly character, willingness to share a calling, desires for family, shared belief in important biblical convictions... ) rise to the surface, then welcomed the idea of getting to know the rest over time. This really helped move things along quickly.
I cannot fail to add; however, the depth of community involvement we've had. I met Devin through his parents, Doug and Kathleen, who had mentored me for about a year before we first met in Israel. My parents were able to get to know Devin's heart, first through his Shabbat Letters, then in person several months later. I had their immediate approval. I'll also note that we were engaged for exactly one year and two days (we don't necessarily encourage a long engagement!). The time frame was mostly because of Devin's IDF service and my school schedule. Since our engagement was a little longer, we had ample time to grow together, experiencing joys and trials (some very surprising trials!) as a couple, and complete pre-marital counseling.
Dating for less time can absolutely be a viable and even more healthy route for some couples. Keeping it short does not necessarily equate to "rushing it," assuming the correct systems are set in place. Several key factors allowed this to work for us. Firstly, we were very much ready to be married and ready to pursue it right; next, we had the proper community (including our parents, mentors, and friends) encouraging us forward in a state of peace that we were (and are) a good match; and most importantly, we both had confirmation from the Lord.
For anyone hoping for a speedy dating season, I'd encourage you to dive deep into Yeshua's bridegroom love. Intimately know His passionate heart that burns with a jealous flame for you! Developing a strong relationship with the Lord is the best thing anyone can do to help move into a spirit-led dating relationship headed towards marriage. Be sure to grow under the authority of a pastor/messianic rabbi and mentors, and in the midst of a body of believers. Ask the Lord to refine your perspective on what you should be looking for, daily dwell in His presence so you can grow in your character and gifts, and include others in the workings of your relationship early on!
Be encouraged that it doesn't have to take forever! :)
From "Hi" to "I Do" in Less Than a Year
Shabbat Shalom - June 20, 2008