What worked for me: preparing for intentional dating

posted on: 10.22.2012

©Emily cain
Lately, I've been receiving questions from my readers about dating/courting.
You want God to write your love story & you want to know how ours came to be.
First, I'm by no means an expert on the matter. Prior to Louis, I did date & failed miserably.
But because of God's grace & my surrender to His will, the Lord lead Louis & I to each other.
"But how did you know Louis was the one?" "Did you knew he was the one before you courted?"
"How did you know you guys were ready to go to the next step?"
I love getting your emails & messages over facebook but since they tend to be the same in essence, I decided to address the matter here for the benefit of all my readers.

I'm gonna share a little of my preparation for dating/courting (which is really the call God had given me: to prepare). I was single & had no idea when I would not be. I just wanted to be obedient to the Lord; I just wanted to be ready—for whenever & whoever.

These are my top 5 books that shaped me in this area of dating & they are the foundation of my love story [Please note that none of these books replaced my time with the Lord.].
This does not mean that what works for me will work for you but it gives you a place to start as you navigate through your own path to dating/courting.
[I do encourage you to read what Bianca Olthoff wrote about dating from her post two days ago!]

Before You Meet Your Prince Charming
by Sarah Mally
The author from this book is a friend of the Duggar family, so you've been warned. I went through this book with two other friends. We made fun of it (it has cartoons & the storytelling is like a fairytale) but it gave us much to talk about. We disagreed on a few things but we agreed in many others. Take note that this book is a guide to purity. If you don't care too much about purity, then this is not the book for you. It does present some strategies the enemy uses in order to prevent us from being with "the one". This book does appeal more to ages 6-12 but anyone can read it.
find it here

I Kissed Dating Goodbye
by Joshua Harris
Very controversial book. Like the one above, it emphasizes a lot on purity. This book first introduced the term "courtship" into my life as an alternative to the worldly standards. Joshua describes his vision of courtship from his convictions and gives us a more concrete definition of what courtship is. There are things I didn't agree with but I love how Joshua Harris explains his process of surrender & how it leads to him giving up his love life as well. Kissing dating goodbye can be drastic but some of us really need this in order to fully grasp God's definition of marriage and detox from the love philosophies of the world.
find it here

When God Writes Your Love Story
by Eric & Leslie Ludy
This book is all about "giving God the pen".
I still remember reading this book, one of my faves!
The storytelling grips you and keeps you on your toes.
Losing control was one of the biggest issues I had to deal with & the Ludys encouraged me tremendously with their love story.
God can, and will, write your love story if you let Him.
find it here

Lady In Waiting
by Jackie Kendall & Debby Jones
Lady in waiting is another favorite of mine.
You will do a lot of waiting in relationships: waiting for the guy, waiting to date, waiting for engagement, waiting for marriage, waiting for a home, a job, etc... This book is the perfect aid!
It focuses on the characteristics a lady should have in her life—not just being in a relationship—while also putting a lot of emphasis in deepening your relationship with Christ.
It has a lot of biblical truth that you can later dig in deeper in your quiet time.
find it here

Passion & Purity
by Elisabeth Elliot
Last, but not least, Passion & Purity.
This book can be read by guys & girls alike; Louis and I both read it.
I would say that 90% of our growth in our relationship came from this book.
Everyone needs to read this book, even if you're already married. This book is filled with biblical life lessons. This is actually Elisabeth's diary—her deepest thoughts & longings are here; her intimate moments with the Lord are here; her story with Jim Elliot is here.
It's timeless! I can't recommend it enough!
get it here

Word of advice:
If God is calling you to be single but to prepare for marriage, don't focus too much on it. I read these books months apart each one. Don't put your identity in your marital status & make sure you fellowship with girls in your church who can pour into your life in this season. Don't move ahead of God and don't constantly share your longings & desires for marriage! Bring it to the Lord constantly if you need to, but be aware of not making it an idol.

for a complete list or if you have questions, feel free to email me.

11 Smiles:

  1. I've read (and loved!) all but one of these books. They're amazing!! I can't wait to find the "Lady in Waiting" one. Thank you for sharing =)

  2. I loved lady in waiting! I'll have to read the last one though ;)

  3. It's a wonderful feeling to know that you dated "right" when you get married. It's such an important foundation for how you'll be together when you are married.

  4. Thanks for the recommends!! I think I'll most enjoy Lady in Waiting and it's not my first time hearing about it...must be a sign that I need to read it!!

    ~Chymere Anais


  5. I, like you said you did, have felt called to prepare for marriage though I also feel like it is the Lord's will for me to be single at this time. One book I have found really useful (and amazing) was Authentic Beauty by Leslie Ludy, it is for any young woman whether she is single, courting, engaged, or married. Since it is by Leslie Ludy it does have about courtship in it but the book is mainly about developing a stronger relationship with our Lord first. It was a wonderful book, one of my favorites.

    ~Rachel Keeth

  6. i really love this post. preparing for intentional dating -- that's the way to do it. this is so beautiful. i'll have to share it with my future daughters someday. : )

  7. I remember I read Sacred Singleness by Leslie Ludy and I recommend it 100%. It focuses on appreciating singleness, understanding God's plan and avoiding unnecessary dating. I love her books, she's amazing.

  8. hmmm very interesting. I think if I were to do dating/courting again I'd check these books out-- sound very helpful. You are such an inspiration Ashley!

  9. "Don't put your identity in your marital status & make sure you fellowship with girls in your church who can pour into your life in this season. "

    amen! this is so important and we often forget this.
    if we skip ahead to a season we're not meant to be in, it ends up being very messy. we're not ready.. he's not ready... it gets messy!

    keep sharing! it's such a blessing!

  10. I LOVE When God Writes Your Love Story and Passion & Purity. They helped me understand the beautify of purity, modesty, and a God-written life story.



Your comments make me smile :)
I read every single one.