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Nov 03, 2015

Debra Fileta is convinced that a developed sense of identity is key to forming healthy dating and marriage relationships. “If you don’t know who you are,” she said, “you won’t know the kind of person who will fit into your life and story.”

Fileta is a licensed professional counselor who has walked with couples through strained marriages that were headed for divorce. Through her practice, she found a common thread—many people enter into this union unprepared, and the marriage relationship seems to magnify each partner’s unresolved identity issues.

She wrote True Love Dates to help people address identity issues so they can maintain strong, healthy relationships throughout their lives.  

Although her target audience was singles in their 20s and 30s, she has found the principles to be helpful for people in their 40s, 50s, and 60s who have experienced marriage and divorce. She also recommends the book to parents of young teens.  

“Parents will read about dating concepts and principles, but they’ll find it useful for helping their children understand their identity before they’re even to an age of dating,” she said, “particularly how a child’s family of origin and adoptive family influence identity. Parents who understand these issues can help their sons and daughters prepare for a lifelong, covenant marriage.”

Fileta spoke with Brian DeVos, Bethany’s senior vice president for child and family services, about "dating inward," "dating outward," and "dating upward." Learn more about the book and find free articles and resources on Fileta’s blog, truelovedates.com.

Bethany’s Every Child audio podcast engages leading voices from ministries, nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and the arts to discuss issues relevant to children and families. Topics often include child welfare, family preservation, social justice, and culturally appropriate social services in developing countries.