I picked up this book for review after reading an interesting article by the author in Relevant magazine. I'm not a singleton looking for love. In fact, I've recently celebrated my twentieth wedding anniversary.
But my marital status doesn’t matter. Although True Love Dates is aimed at singles, I though the advice was relevant for all ages, for anyone who is looking to improve their relationship with a date, fiancé or spouse—or even their child. I had a vision for my life in my teens, but marriage and children have taken over. I know who I am, but do I know who I want to be when I no longer have children at home? And do I know who God wants me to be, now and in the future?
True Love Dates is in four main sections. The first three look at what Fileta sees as the three main stages of dating: inward, outward and upward.
The first section focuses on who I am, where I come from (and how that can impact relationships), and what I want out of life. As she says:
‘In order to proclaim “I do,” one has to know and understand “I.”’
The second section focuses on what to look for in a potential partner (with a focus on the major aspects of character, rather than the external characteristics of looks and money), while the third section focuses on our relationship with God:
“If you desire marriage, seek God. If you desire singleness, seek God. In the end, if you entrust your heart to him, God will use your desires to lead you in the right direction.”
The final section of the book is answers to the questions she hears most frequently in her counselling practice. (I especially liked her comments on ‘biblical dating’: that in Bible times, a woman’s spouse was pretty much chosen by her parents, who then paid the groom a dowry consisting of family treasures and a donkey or two. Should we return to ‘biblical dating’? I think not.)
I like the fact that Fileta is writing from the point of view of a Christian who lives in the real world. I've read Christian self-help books in the past that have been off-putting because the author has written from a Christian bubble where everything is rosy and no one ever has an unkind or impure thought. I find those books impossible to relate to (or recommend), as I live in a world full of sin where I constantly make mistakes (and so do those around me). It was refreshing to see dating examined in a way that is relevant and relatable. Recommended.
Thanks to Zondervan and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review. You can find out more about Debra K Fileta at the True Love Dates website.