Here’s How to Find True Love

While everyone's path to true love looks different, there are a few things we all can do to find (and keep) true love.

“I do.”

These are the words many single young adults dream of saying. I remember longing for the day when I could look into the eyes of the love of my life and utter those perfect two words in front of a crowd of witnesses. It would be such a sacred moment, filled with deep emotion and uncontainable joy.

But my “I do” moment wasn’t quite what I expected it to be. The night before our wedding, gorgeous linens were perfectly draped at the backdrop of the church. Flower arrangements lined each aisle. The wedding dress was pressed, the rings were safely secured, and the wedding party arrived in time from all over the country.

With friends and family in town, we quickly finished our rehearsal, which went off without a hitch. I didn’t really think too much about the details of the ceremony, because to be honest, I had seen more than a dozen weddings in the past few years and pretty much knew the drill. Soon after the rehearsal, we were off to have a good time and celebrate at our rehearsal dinner.

When our wedding day finally arrived, everything happened so quickly that it seemed as though the day was on fast-forward. Before I knew it, I was walking down the aisle toward my sweet teary-eyed husband-to-be and then, moments later, getting ready to finally say “I do.”

So many things can be right on your wedding day, but without the right spouse, you’ve got nothing with which to move forward.

As I listened to the pastor recite the beautiful words with which he asked me if I would “take this man to be my beloved husband,” I realized something. I had no idea which hand to place the ring on. His right or my left? Is that the same thing?There I was, in front of a crowd of more than three hundred people, with no idea what to do next.

So I grabbed a hand, and hoping no one would notice, I placed the ring on my beloved husband’s ring finger. But leave it to my loud and rambunctious family to tell it like it is. Sure enough, someone called me out.

“Wrong hand!” came a shout from the crowd, piercing the sacred moment and producing a ripple of chuckles throughout the chapel.

Trying to save the moment, I looked around and shouted back, “Wrong hand ... but at least I’ve got the right guy!”

After the laughter subsided, we regained our composure, got the ring on the right (left) hand, and went on with our vows.

Isn’t that the truth when it comes to finding true love? So many things can be right on your wedding day: the perfect decor, the most elegant reception hall, the greatest group of family and friends, the right hand, and even the perfect “I do” moment, but without the right spouse, you’ve got nothing with which to move forward.

If you’re a young, single person, you may be searching for true love. Your desire for marriage may be strong, even feel like a preoccupation that you can’t seem to shake. You might be sick and tired of being single and alone, watching your friends get knocked off, one by one, into the world of love while you feel more and more isolated.

Maybe you found someone you thought was “the one,” only to have your heart broken and your hopes shattered, alone once again. In a world that seems to cater to couples and families, sitting at a table for one is the last place you want to be.

But the ironic thing about finding true love is that it must start at a table for one. In the Church, we're often told that true love waits, but true love also dates. Dating might look very different for different people—some may take the traditional dating route while others prefer courtship. But in any case, before any significant relationship comes along, you must commit to a series of three stages of dating: inward, outward, and upward. Believe it or not, these stages begin with one very important person you may have overlooked: yourself.

In a world that idolizes relationships, the importance of getting to know yourself has been lost. Not only is it a significant step toward finding happiness, it is also a vital stop along the journey of finding true love. Dating inward is the first stage, the foundation on which every other stage builds.

Of course, finding true love doesn’t stop there; this is only the beginning. True love dates because once you have dated yourself, the next step is dating others. In the course of dating outward, most relationships will be temporary, used only as tools to chisel and polish you.

Dating is a give-and-take that must never desperately give too much or fearfully give too little.

Dating outward should be seen as a learning process in the search for true love. It involves transparency, timing, communication and healthy boundaries. It is a give-and-take that must never desperately give too much or fearfully give too little. It is a series of choices that lead you closer and closer to true love.

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Once you have mastered the art of dating inward and learned from the complexities of dating outward, you’re ready for the last step. Last, but oh so important, is dating upward. Dating upward is the practice of connecting to God, allowing your relationship with him to guide and shape your life.

Many skip over this step in their pursuit of true love, relying on their own definitions and examples of love to guide them. Dating upward proposes that to fully engage in the exchange of love with another human being, you must first experience it within the context of a relationship with God. Dating upward requires committing to your relationship with the designer and creator of true love.

It involves accepting that you are loved by Him, and then learning to reciprocate this love to God and to extend it to others. It means inviting God into the deepest parts of your heart, allowing His definition of love to permeate your life and, in turn, your relationships. True love dates because it is within these three stages of dating that you can find true love — true love for yourself, true love for your future mate, and true love for God.

This excerpt was adapted from Debra Fileta's new book True Love Dates (Zondervan, 2013) by permission from the author and the publisher. This excerpt was taking from the introduction to True Love Dates. The concepts of dating inward, outward, and upward are expanded upon in detail throughout the book.




Brett commented…

Actually for those who are married as well i have a whole selection of marriage advice and stories from a who bunch of different people who have some really solid marriages -

something useful for everyone...
love brett fish

Garett Collins


Garett Collins commented…

This article is completely false and I would urge everybody to not play into this.

You should never try to find out who you are without God first. God has given you your identity so it is pointless to figure it out without Him. Hear what He says about you. Feel what He feels about you. See how He sees you!

Now writing this is much easier and painless than what it actually entangles because it does not happen over night. It is a hard road to find your identity and God will bring you through it and has been since you've been born but it is up to you to open your ears and eyes to Him and what He is doing.

Next she introduces the idea of using others to build your self up through dating which is wrong. My wife will be my best friend which means I will have very strong, deep, and affectionate relationships with many women that will not be romantic or sexual at all. Through creating these kind of relationships I hope to find the one who I would say "I DO" everyday through thick and thin. I hope to find a woman to say "I DO" even through her faults and struggles. When I can make that choice for me then I will court her and if she accepts me (chooses me) then I will romance her out of love and purity through a life with God first then her then myself.

How could you possibly try to find love with God 3rd on the list when God is love? Jesus showed us what true love is and that is laying down your life for others.

Keepin it real #whatislove #Jesusislove

Debra K Fileta


Debra K Fileta replied to Garett Collins's comment

Greg, I think we're on the same page...God is never 3rd on the list. See comment below for more information, and thanks for your feedback. Blessings!

Debra K Fileta


Debra K Fileta commented…

As the author of the above, I'm going to take a minute to address these concerns, to make sure no one is misunderstanding or led astray.

I wholeheartedly agree with the following statement: God is is the most important thing in life. In Him, all things exist and hold together. Relationships included.

I think it's important not to misunderstand the order of these "stages of dating" as linear- one after the other, because that is not how they were intended to be. In fact, they aren't even listed in order of importance. The truth is, dating inward, outward, and upward are things that happen simultaneously through the context of our lives- but it's important to break them up in order to understand how to go about working through each area of our life. This is all laid out more in detail throughout the book.

Dating inward and knowing God are one thing in the same...and throughout the first section of the book you are introduced to concepts such as dealing with your past by God's grace, as well as understanding your identity in Christ, and his vision for your future. It's all one in the same. God gives us the ability to know and see ourselves through His eyes. So thankful for that!

Dating upward, then- is seeing how to include God practically in our relationships, which is something a lot of young people are told they should do, but don't know how to do practically.

My hopes, of putting the stages in this order- is that people who do not have a relationship with Jesus might pick up this book and be introduced to Him through their pursuit of True Love...because True Love always starts with Him, doesn't it?

Thanks for your critique and comments, and I hope you take the time to pick up True Love Dates for yourself to learn more! I think it will challenge and encourage you. Blessings.

bryan weschler


bryan weschler replied to Debra K Fileta's comment

Great article Debra! This is so relevant in our culture today. Seems like so many people get lost or confused in our relationships. At least with the people I have encountered. We can know God, but we might not know how to grasp our relationships in the context of what it is meant for. I love the practical view that you bring. Here is a question I'm sure you get: When do you know that you're ready to plunge in? To make the step forward to date and find the "one"?

Sarah Gossman


Sarah Gossman commented…

While I think the premise of this article is well-founded (finding identity in Christ, getting to know yourself first), I think it makes one of the mistakes that I hear from many Christians -- it's not always 'just that easy' to find a good Christian guy to date. I'm a 24-year old Christian who went to a Christian college, I'm active at church, going to grad school, working, etc. Not only is life busy, but I also just don't feel like there are that many young Christian men in these circles who aren't either already dating/married or uninterested in dating anyone at this time. Please don't get me wrong -- I'm not blaming it all on the guys for not wanting to date. That's not my point AT ALL. It's more that dating is not an easy thing to do in my experience and while the get to know yourself and get to know God parts are all well and good...the dating others part isn't as easy as this author (or many others I've read or many people in the church) make it sound.



Carrie replied to Sarah Gossman's comment

Exactly. Dating has gotten more complicated as our multi-faceted lives demand our time be auctioned off. At least you are still young, I'm in my early 40's and cannot find anyone. I am not active in a church, and yes I don't want to hear comments. I attended a "singles group" at a local mega church but the men were beyond creepy. Guys don't ask us for dates as much as they used to- severely lacking initiative, and tell me they have their own problems and issues to work on and careers. I guess I can say the same in return. It's not my attitude, or feelings that prompted this, it's my experience. Once experience proves me wrong, I'll change my tune, and I'll be singing for joy "I was once a skeptic about any handsome, God fearing men out there wanting marriage" proselytizers to single women out there like me. I go out as much as possible, and keenly aware that staying home is not productive. I take care of myself in all ways, and recently begun restyling myself on the outside to mirror the inside work.

Isaac Katende Wheeler


Isaac Katende Wheeler commented…

This article is such an encouraging reminder of the purity involved in dating and marriage. I love how it reinforces the importance of identity within and without a romantic relationship, in particular. We're so motivated by cultural assumptions of "true love."

An encouraging read

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