It is time for Christians to start talking about dating. The trajectory of lives and eternities are in the balance.
“Careful, there, cowboy. You startin’ kinda strong!”
Yes, I am. Church, this issue shapes our young people, friends, and family more than we could ever imagine. And we have been passive too long. “Let’s just sit back and see what happens” might work in certain scenarios, but Christian dating isn’t one of them.
Establishing principles for Christian dating could set men and women on a course towards Christ-centered marriages. Laying out guidelines for dating as followers of Jesus could alter the lives of men and women by keeping them out of toxic and unhealthy relationships (and ultimately marriages).
Most importantly, guidelines and principles for dating could transform lives and shape eternities.
So, this is incredibly important. And we have a responsibility as men and women of God to be pro-active. But we can’t be pro-active unless principles are established. So, I am starting the conversation.
I hope and pray the words from this post will spark further conversations in your ministries, relationships, and homes.
Here are 10 really important principles for Christian dating.
1. Stop Looking for “The One”
“Frank, how will I know when I find ‘the one’?”
You won’t. Mostly because “the one” doesn’t exist. The truth is you could spend your life with more than one person. If you need to take a minute to let that sink in, I will be here when you get back…
…Alright, glad you returned. Here’s the deal: God doesn’t set up marriage as a divine lottery where every person has one winning ticket. That would make God a gambler, and the Bible clearly says gambling is from the devil (only joking). But “the one” very much paints God this way.
Look, marriage isn’t as much about finding someone totally compatible as it is about committing to someone despites difficulties and differences.
“The one” says you need to find the perfect person. And discovering one flaw means it’s time to move on.
But the beauty of marriage is God sustains you despite your flaws. The brokenness you see in yourself and the brokenness you experience from your spouse point both of you to the only perfect one, God.
The brokenness in a marriage should point you to the only perfect one, God.
2. Date with a Trajectory Toward Marriage
This quote sums it up:
Dating without the intent of getting married is like going to the grocery store with no money. You either leave unsatisfied or you take something that isn’t yours. —Jefferson Bethke
That’ll preach right there. If you are a Christian, there is no reason to date without a trajectory towards marriage. Now, I want to clarify what I mean.
If you are a Christian, there is no reason to date without a trajectory towards marriage.
Dating with a trajectory towards marriage means dating with a purpose. It means dating with an understanding of the gospel. It means dating someone who meets the values and goals you have for a future spouse (more on that later).
Casual or purposeless dating has no benefit for Christians. We are intentional beings. We are designed to know why we do stuff and where we are going. Dating is no different.
Now, please, please, please don’t be a freakish weirdo. Dating with a trajectory towards marriage doesn’t mean you only date one person ever. That would be awesome, but it’s not always realistic.
You might get into a relationship with someone who loves Jesus, meets the values you have in a future spouse, and is compatible with you. But once you get into the relationship, you realize things aren’t as they seemed. Maybe they like to cuddle with cats or something. That’s always a deal-breaker.
Just end the relationship, and continue to seek the Lord.
Disclaimer: A date is not dating. Again, please don’t be a freakish weirdo and give Christians a negative label. Having coffee or going to eat dinner with the opposite sex is not dating. That’s a date. Dating is more intimate. Dating involves D.T.R talks. It involves sharing personal struggles and vulnerability.
So, if you choose not to get coffee or watch a movie with the opposite sex, then whatever. But don’t place that expectation on others.