In a world where the word “dating” is thrown around willy-nilly and where the church stands mostly silent on the topic, it can be difficult to find sound guidance in pursuing a relationship without it resulting in heartache and trauma, now so prevalent in the lives of many young adults. In True Love Dates, Professional Counselor Debra Fileta encourages singles not to “kiss dating goodbye” but instead to experience dating in a way that is psychologically sound, emotionally healthy, and rooted in faith. We often complicate that by entering relationships with our past baggage and preconceived ideas of what it means to find “the one”. But the good news is that it is possible to find love in a way that honours both God and the opposite sex, and this book is a great tool for teaching you how.
Debra divides her book into three parts: dating inward, dating outward, and dating upward. Over the course of the book she unpacks each category to explain just how dating can be applied in the right context, and the ways it can enhance our pursuit of not only a future marriage, but our pursuit of a closer relationship with God. With a clear-cut style and an honest approach, the book nails down many common misconceptions and hangups that hinder and/or destroy a relationship, and bluntly advises on what decisions and choices one must make and adhere to in order to honour God and others with their lives. Using true stories gleaned from her years of counselling, Debra is a voice well worth heeding as she has obtained a wealth of knowledge and experience through her dealings with singles and couples.
I began reading Debra’s writing when I followed an article from RELEVANT to her website. Initially doubtful of the title, since I have never been overly thrilled at the general concept behind dating, I became intrigued by the wisdom of this woman who had undoubtedly seen a lot of relationships thrive or die by the issues she spoke so knowledgeably about. Despite my misgivings and preconceptions of the definition of “dating”, I found this book to be gold. I loved its open, easy-to-read style that did not mince its words. At its heart lies not a quest to find true love in a spouse, but rather to find True Love, identity and purpose in the man, Jesus. I heartily appreciated the fact that the author did not use God as a crutch for singles (such as “dating Jesus”, or God being your “significant other”), but rather as an empowering, encompassing Presence that will give your life a vision and purpose no mortal partner ever could. The book also emphasizes how important it is to spend your single years looking inward to really learn about who God made you to be, who you are in Him, and what His vision and purpose for your life is before endeavouring to seek these things in another man or woman. Though she never discounts marriage as a worthy and an often destined part of one’s life, Debra consistently reminds readers that marriage is not the ultimate goal – living out God’s divine purpose for you is.
When we see marriage as our sole purpose, we find ourselves with nowhere to go when we finally arrive. Marriage may be an avenue in fulfilling our purpose, but it’s not the destination. There is so much life to be lived before marriage, through marriage, and even beyond marriage. We need to seek God’s purpose for our lives beyond finding a spouse, allowing his will and his plan to guide us. Rather than asking what God can do for us, we need to ask what we can do for him. In this is true purpose. And you just might run into a spouse along the way.
Whether scarred from past relationships, tired of new ones never working out, or never been asked out on a date, this book is a refreshing and challenging read. It hits on some hard matters, and for some it may be painful to see the why behind their traumatic experiences. However for those with the will, there is healing to be gained from it. More than just good advice, it provides an action plan for people willing to put the time and effort into working on themselves, their relationship with God, and as a result, their relationship with others around them. It is insightful, challenging and practical, but more importantly, this book gives you a greater appreciation and awe for the God we serve – our only True Love.
Published on 1 October, 2014. Last updated on