Dating is an essential phase when preparing for married life. It affords you the opportunity to find out more about yourself and your date. Dating has a purpose and whether you achieve this purpose depends on how well the activities and affairs of the dating relationship were carried out.

Matters of the heart are sometimes difficult to keep in check especially when in love. However, it is necessary that the dating experience is evaluated periodically, as an individually and as a couple. There are two essential factors that would help keep both parties in the dating relationship in focused and eliminate any doubt that may arise.

My apologies to those who don’t have the flair for mathematics, it would be drawing analogy from some basic maths principles. They are very basic and you shouldn’t have problems tagging along. The strength and level of dynamism in a dating relationship depends on the Highest Common Factor (HCF) and the Lowest Common Multiples (LCM) present in the relationship. I did warn you! I’ll give a brief illustration

Highest Common Factor (HCF) Consider the numbers 12 and 15:

The factors of 12 are : 1, 2, 3, 4, 6 and 12.

The factors of 15 are: 1, 3, 5, and 15.

1 and 3 are the only common factors (i.e. numbers which are factors of both 12 and 15).

Therefore, the highest common factor of 12 and 15 is 3.

Lowest Common Multiples (LCM) Consider the numbers 12 and 15 again:

The multiples of 12 are : 12, 24, 36, 48, 60, 72, 84, ….

The multiples of 15 are: 15, 30, 45, 60, 75, 90, …

60 is a common multiple (ai.e. multiple of both 12 and 15), and there are no lower common multiples.

Therefore, the lowest common multiple of 12 and 15 is 60.

If you are presently in a dating relationship or you intend to start dating soon, two questions you should at least ask yourself are:

1. Are there common grounds to build the relationship on? The higher the Highest Common Factor in a relationship is, the stronger the relationship would be. For a Christian, the ultimate and highest common factor should be the bible; the word of God. It is the firm foundation on which to build any relationship that would stand the test of the 3 Ts: Time, Trials and Temptations. Love should be the motivation to build on this foundation.

There has to be at least one common factor, something that both parties have in common otherwise there is no basis or reason to get into the relationship in the first place. The factors should not be selfish. You shouldn’t go into the relationship only to benefit and fulfil your life’s ambition, aspirations and dreams.

Other factors may include beauty and external appearances, education, adventure, race & nationality, spoken languages, money, business, social status, religion, denomination etc the list is endless. Unlike numbers that can quantified, the question would be, how do you know which factor is greater than the other? Well, it varies from person to person hence the need to communicate and find out what the other person values are. This should be one of the objectives in dating.

By spending time with each another, you should know each other better and with time identify his or her values. For the bible to be the highest common factor, both parties must have the bible as their final authority.

The truth is that you would always turn to your HCF for answers, refuge and strength when the storms of life come. If you highest common factor was alcohol, guess where you would be found in times of trouble, in the pub. If it was sex, adultery / fornication would be your next call. The same applies to drugs. Having the word of God as your final authority would always build your faith up, give you hope and weather the storms.

2. What compromises are required to be made? The lower the Lowest Common Factor is, the easier it is to blend and develop an exciting and dynamic relationship. There really isn’t a perfect spouse or person, compromises is always required in order to live harmoniously in holy matrimony. During the dating period you need to identify your differences and areas where compromise if required. However, this does not imply compromising your Christian faith.

If higher the number of areas you differ in opinions and views (LCM), then more work and compromise is required to achieve harmony in the relationship. In such situations, the lowest common multiple is high. An obvious scenario is in inter-racial marriages between an African and a Caucasian brought up in their respective countries. It would require more time and efforts to establish harmony. This applies to finding a common language, food to eat, life style to adopt, family values and culture to imbibe etc. These issues wound not exist if both parties were from the same tribe, tongue and nationality.In other words, before committing yourself to a serious relationship or marriage, count the cost.

Maturity and openness would quicken the time it would take a couple to blend. It requires commitment from both parties and willingness to compromise. This willingness motivated by love would only persist as long as the highest common factor stands the test of time.

It is essential to date wisely and be wise when dating. Ignorance and naivety can be very expensive. Let the bible be your source of wisdom and your final authority. Be focused when you date and always have noble aims and objectives while you relish the romance the experience extrudes. Periodically evaluate your relationship to know where things stand communication is the key to developing strong and effective relationships when built on strong foundations. Above all watch and pray.

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