I know what you’re thinking: “Seriously, Ronia? Another relationship book?”
I know. Very uncharacteristic of me. But let’s face it: relationships are important. Relationships = love. And love is, well… kind of important, too. (Or, The Essence of All Life.)
To summarize, Debra Fileta divides this book into three sections:
1. Dating Inward
“She said, ‘Like it or not, it’s the way it’s gotta be
You gotta love yourself if you can ever love me.'”
We’ve all heard it. Not just that Lifehouse song. This idea: loving yourself.
For the longest time, I’ve always avoided any lesson, book, teaching, etc, that involved this. How egotistical, how self-consuming, how narcissistic and vain is this notion!
I’ve been in denial, apparently. At least that’s what I learned through this section. “Loving yourself,” as laid out by Fileta, means engaging in a self-examinational process, questioning:
- Where do you come from? The colors of our past bleed into our present and stain our future, if not processed through and properly healed. Why are you the way you are? (This was monumental for me. God had already been teaching me a ton about this through another book, and this was just the reinforcement I needed.)
- Who are you now? How do you see yourself, and how do you feel about yourself? Upon what do you base your identity?
- Where are you going? What kind of a vision do you have for your future, and what are you doing to fulfill it? “Vision will not guarantee success, but it will point you in the right direction and keep you from wandering into the kinds of relationships that you never intended to have” (p.50).
2. Dating Outward
Fileta focuses on four different aspects of dating another person: knowing what you want; recognizing the seasons of a relationship; protecting your heart by fostering emotionally healthy relationships; and realizing that sex really matters.
I particularly loved the section on the four seasons of dating. I’d love to outline them here but then you’d never finish reading this post because it’d be so long. You could just read the book. It was really helpful.
3. Dating Upward
Yep, this book was written through the lens of a Christian worldview. And it was awesome! In this section, Fileta outlines three things relationships can’t do:
- Relationships can’t erase your insecurities.
- Relationships can’t give you purpose.
- Relationships can’t bring you healing.
Don’t be fooled: “dating upward” does not mean “dating Jesus.” Fileta makes sure to emphasize the fact that Jesus can NOT be your boyfriend, because he was never intended to be. However, she explains how Jesus fulfills you in every way you’d expect out of a relationship – and more. So. Much. More.
Though Jesus is the only one who can heal us, save us, give us purpose, and fulfill us – he WANTS us to be in a healthy relationship, because he created relationships, which means they’re good, and he created US for relationship. This is awesome!
Would I Recommend This Book?
Yes, absolutely. It’s great because it’s also got a little “Ask the Counselor” FAQs section in the back – great topics discussed (most of which can be found on her blog: www.truelovedates.com
Every single person can benefit from the values and truths shared here, regardless of his or her beliefs. I loved how she incorporated so many stories of real people from her counseling experience. These helped drive her points home and allowed the reader to relate to the principles at a real-life level.
Whatever your relational status, you will totally benefit from this book. Guys and girls alike – it’s definitely worth your time.