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There is only one honest thing to say when the weight of dating uncertainty weighs heavy: “We don’t know.” We must confess that, to the experience of besetting and anxious uncertainty in dating, there isn’t an answer or at least not a concrete and immediate answer.

Maybe the whole point of dating — and the fact that Scripture says so little about it — is that we don’t know what we’re doing, we can’t do it well (alone), and it isn’t sustainable.

The stakes are high on both sides, and the pressure and fear that invariably accompanies those stakes very likely will not be resolved in the dating process.

Dating is an emotional complexity we were not intended to endure for long.

First, we must try to understand the anxiety of the uncertain.

Yet, the experience is legitimate and real, and so is the fear. To know how Jesus Christ is relevant to our situation in dating, we must first of all come to terms with the often avoided, but very obvious reality, that we are not safe in a relationship.

We are tempted to earn and secure love by our own power, and tempted to test others’ worthiness for our love.

And yet we have a God who passionately endorses marriage as the norm for people, and is actively seeking to bless us.

If it made sense, or it was easy, or it wasn’t soul-splittingly uncomfortable, there would be no propulsion forward, towards marriage or otherwise. Uncertainty is the soil of the Psalms (Psalm ; 88:3).

Uncertainty in dating propels us forward with purpose. Uncertainty dangles us from our ankles and reveals all of the unspoken (and often ungrounded) expectations hanging loose in the pockets of our faith: You don’t need to pretend you haven’t thought those things — like you haven’t wanted to say those things to God, to other Christians — like you haven’t preached those things over and over again to your own heart. The uncertainty of dating peels back the floorboards of our presumptuous theologies — our crystallized ideas about what God for us — and shines the light on all the threats beneath the otherwise comfortable world we live in: “Those who once feasted on delicacies perish in the streets” (Lamentations 4:5). The uncertainty of dating is a microcosm of the otherwise forgotten truth: Life is uncertain.