Here’s another section out of the upcoming book, Freshman 15.  Hope you like:

When I was in elementary school, all of my friends used to play a particular game during class.  You would diagram different columns into who you would marry, what job would you have, where would you live, etc.  This game had one important rule: you had to give four good options on the list and one bad option.  For example, you would provide four names of people you wanted to marry, and then provide one name at the bottom of someone you did not want to marry.  You would do that in all the columns.  You would then get a number where you would start marking out each column by that number until your entire life was figured out on that small piece of tablet paper.

Wouldn’t it be great if it were that easy?  It would be simple if our life decisions could be discerned through this simple process especially in the area of dating.  Most people come to college and are excited about the dating possibilities.  You come into contact with all these people that are ignorant of all of your previous drama.  They don’t know if you were in a relationship for your entire high school career.  Word hasn’t gotten out on campus that you’re a playa who struggles with commitment issues.  Maybe they don’t even know that you actually didn’t date at all in high school because you were too socially awkward.  Whatever your case is, when you enter into college, you have this amazing chance to start anew.

In your first few weeks of college, it’s easy to get overwhelmed at the amount of prospects and possibly the greater amount of rejects for you to date.  Some of the people begin to perk your curiosity.  You sit behind someone in biology that actually makes you look forward to going to class.  You go to an organizational meeting and in one of the cheesy icebreakers you meet someone and you swear you hear light rock love songs playing in the airwaves around you.  Or maybe it’s that person that you seem to run into all the time around campus that you are attracted to but you just haven’t gotten the nerve up to say, “hey, I see you all the time, in the halls and in my dreams, and I was wondering if you are carrying any major relationship baggage with you that would be scare me off from asking you out?”

The scary thing about dating in college is that you know you must at least start thinking long-term.  Even if you don’t see yourself getting married right after graduation, you realize that every date in college has a heavier weight attached to it than it used to.  To be honest, you can’t be too serious about your dating decisions in college.  Even if you are accident-prone when it comes to relationships, there is a good probability that if you start a dating relationship in college, it could actually lead towards marriage.  Even if it doesn’t lead to marriage, the issues that develop from your relationships during this time will significantly impact your relationships to come.

The dating warning in college is this: if mission does not define the relationship, then the relationship will determine the mission.  When I speak of mission, I am talking about your particular purpose for why you are on this earth.  Unfortunately, mission cannot be to marry a rich doctor and have two point five kids.  That may be a goal, but your mission is something that transcends you.  It’s not something you came up with.  Your mission is something that is given to you by God.  And if mission does not define the relationship, then the relationship will determine the mission.

Travis Agnew is a Christian, husband, father, pastor, author, blogger, and religion instructor.