Thursday, October 24, 2013

Book Review: True Love Dates

True Love Dates by Debra Fileta
Your indispensable guide to finding the love of your life

Amazon Page
GoodReads Page
Author Website

Amazon Summary:
In True Love Dates, Debra Fileta encourages singles not to 'kiss dating goodbye' but instead to experience a season of dating as a way to find real love. Through reading powerful, real-life stories (including the author's personal journey) and gaining insights from Fileta's experience as a professional counselor, readers will discover that it is possible to find true love through dating. 
Christians are looking for answers to finding true love. They are disillusioned with the church that has provided little practical application in the area of love and relationships. They've been bombarded by Christian books that shun dating, idolize courting, fixate on spirituality, and in the end offer little real relationship help.
True Love Dates provides honest help for dating by guiding readers into vital relationship essentials for finding true love. Debra is a young, professional Christian counselor, and True Love Dates offer sound advice grounded in Christian spirituality. It delivers insight, direction, and counsel when it comes to entering the world of dating and learning to do it right the first time around. Drawing on the stories and struggles of hundreds of young men and women who have pursued finding true love, Fileta helps readers bypass unnecessary pain while focusing on the things that really matter in the world of dating.
My Thoughts:

I'm trying this new method of reviewing where I take notes as I read, so we'll see how that translates into a review. The intention is to make writing the reviews easier and a faster process for yours truly. Here we go!

I requested this book because, honestly, I was plain curious. With all the anti-dating sentiment in the Christian world of late, what's a pro-dating girl to do? Along comes a book proclaiming to be the Christian alternative to kissing dating goodbye. Too good to be true?


At first, I thought so. This book is divided into three parts - four, if you count the Q&A section, which I do since it's a big chunk and man that is a lot of information condensed into 25 questions! Anyway, the first third of the book... well, some of it rubbed me the wrong way or just didn't sit well. I can't exactly say why; maybe because the advice seemed, while not UN-Biblical, maybe a bit EXTRA-Biblical? Sometimes the author's position as a professional counselor made her comments or advice seem a bit biased. I guess I just felt like the first portion of the book should be considered with a grain of salt. I did agree with at least half of what she said, though, and it was very well-written.

The second part of the book was spectacular. I agreed with at least 90% of what she said - probably closer to 95%. Her counseling background really comes into play here, this time in a good way. Her information and opinions are more balanced and certainly beneficial. Many Christian phrases and cliches - such as "guard your heart" or "seasons of life" - are actually explained and given practical application. This section, I felt, was the most helpful of the book as far as showing you where you are in life, where you're going, and where you want to be/go; what you're doing right and what needs improvement in your life; and how, often, priorities need to be shuffled.

A bit of a random note I wrote myself was that a lot of Debra's advice was very different from what the section on single woman in my Family Living class taught. Basically, I came away from Family Living feeling like they'd just told you "God helps those who help themselves," without actually using that phrase. On the other hand, Debra's book starts out sounding a bit off, even selfish, but as you continue to read, you learn that the basic gist of the whole book is to seek God above all things. Find yourself and your purpose in God, and finding a spouse will come if that's part of His plan. Develop a relationship with God, and then work on a relationship with your future spouse. That sort of thing.

The final section before the Q&A made a great finale. It was shorter than I expected and didn't seem to add very much to the rest of the book, but it didn't come across as redundant or extraneous, either. Basically, it tied together all the main thoughts on God running throughout the rest of the book.

Overall, I did find a few things that bothered me about this book. First, verses are rarely KJV. Second, pronouns referring to deity are almost never capitalized. I am soooo not used to that. Third, she uses terms or information that she knows as a counselor, but there were instances where I found myself wishing she'd explain the concept better for us non-psychology-majors.

Finally, I gotta add that I really loved the question section in the back. While not all of the questions will apply to any one reader, it's still chock-full of great information and Biblical answers to many common - and several very hard or hard-to-find - questions that come up in the whole love, romance, and dating scene as a Christian. Four stars, and I really wish I'd read this book sooner.

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