Confession time.  I took most young ladies I ever dated on the same four dates.  Seriously.  At first, they were an easy set of options for a young mind lacking creativity.  Over time, I realized I’d stumbled onto pure gold.  If you’re wanting to know if you’ve found the one, then buckle up.  If you’re longing to learn more about someone with whom you already enjoy a relationship, stand by to be amazed.  These little extravaganzas can be completed in any order you choose.

The Messy Restaurant

A life-long love is someone you can be real around; I mean real real.  There’s no better way to figure out if two people can be real around each other than to go to a food joint that serves cuisine requiring multiple napkins to retain any semblance of dignity.  Think Texas bar-be-que, baby back ribs, and corn on the cob.  Think live octopus who isn’t interested in going down without a fight.  Think one of these Indian food places where they encourage you to eat with your hands.  A person who can leave their sophistication at the door and enjoy your company while sauce is all over your fingers might be a keeper.

A Mildly Competitive Environment

You see a very different side of folks when there’s a scoreboard involved.  You don’t have to do adventure sports to figure this out.  Putt putt golf or bowling is more than enough to get a glimpse.  Is your date gracious when ahead or a smack-talking terror?  Are they decent to be around when behind or do they lose their minds in an effort to win?  You want to assess whether they’re a good teammate early.  If they’re going to be wrapping golf clubs around telephone poles when they lose, I’d rather know that up front.

The Fancy Restaurant

You don’t need a posh upbringing to have class.  Almost all of us have the capacity to dress up a bit, open a door for someone, put a napkin in our lap, navigate a place setting with multiple forks, and enjoy a nice meal in a dignified manner.  Life will present occasions when such skills are desirable.  You’d do well to ascertain your date’s ability to conduct themselves with class.

The Great Outdoors

Much can be learned when a person is detached from technology (gasp!) and taken into the wild.  A picnic will do.  Hiking could do the trick.  Canoeing is a great teambuilding event.  Exposing a person to the elements brings out aspects of personality that are priceless to know.  Direct contact with dirt, grass, water, and/or bugs outside the reach of air conditioning can give you a peek into how they will overcome other adversities in life.  When comforts are few and challenges abound, character is exposed.

My prayer is that those of you considering a relationship will honor the Lord by choosing someone you admire, respect, and cherish.  I found one in 1997 who surpassed every expectation I had.  I’m so grateful for the marriage I’ve enjoyed with my college sweetheart, Christie.  What a gift she’s been.

UMHB is the university of choice for Christian higher education in the Southwest. If you are looking for a place to receive an education for life and an experience of a lifetime, UMHB would be a great fit for you! Check out our website for more information, or stop by any time for a campus visit to learn more!