Key Christian Dating Tips You Should Know: Dating God’s Way
You might have tried out the long list of dating advice from both Christians and sometimes even non-Christians, the list may look like this:
- Date for at least a year.
- Don’t date for any more than a year.
- Date exclusively in groups.
- Make sure you get plenty of time one on one.
- Don’t kiss before you’re married.
- Put clear boundaries into place.
- Don’t try to follow everyone else’s rules.
- Spend lots of time together.
- Be careful how much time you spend together.
- Don’t date anyone until you’re ready to marry them.
I could go on, and if you’re a part of almost any kind of Christian community, you probably can too. Even though we’re following Jesus, and reading the same Bible, and aiming for the covenant of marriage, our dating advice can be surprisingly wide and diverse. One Lord, one faith, one baptism — and a billion different dating tips.
The First Rule in Dating
The first rule in dating is the first rule in all of life: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30). You will not truly love anyone else if you do not love God first and most. And no one will truly love you if they do not love God more than they love you.
The first step in dating should always be the step of faith we take toward our Lord, Savior, and greatest Treasure, King Jesus. He captures our heart; we find our deepest joy in him. We hide our soul in him, and stop trying to save or prove ourselves. We devote our minds to knowing him more and more, and plead with him to conform our mind and will to his. We put all our strengthinto his goal and plan for our life: to make disciples who love him with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength.
If our heart is not there — if our soul is not already safe through faith, if our mind is distracted and focused on other, lesser things, if our best strength is being spent on the things of this world — jobs, sports, shopping, entertainment, relationships, and not on God — we simply will not date well.
Do you want to date and marry well? Listen to Jesus, and “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” Seek him first (Matthew 6:33), and dating will be added according to his perfect plan and timing.
The Golden Rule in Dating
But after embracing and applying the first and greatest commandment, I have found that the golden rule in dating is this:
Lean hard on the people who know you best, love you most, and will tell you when you’re wrong.
It’s not the first rule, because in absolutely every area of life — every decision, every calling, every relationship, every dream — we must start with what we think and feel about God. Do we love him more than anything? Will we obey him, even when it will cost us? Are we willing to set anything aside for his sake? Will we trust him, even when we want something else for ourselves?
It’s not the first rule, but I have found that it is a “golden rule” that most often makes the difference between healthy and unhealthy Christian dating relationships. If you’re not a Christian — if you haven’t dealt with God before trying to date — you don’t have a chance of having a truly healthy Christian relationship with someone else. But even if you are a Christian, there are still a thousand more ways to subtly or blatantly reject God’s wisdom and fall into sin.
The key will be to lean on other Christians who know you best, love you most, and have a proven record of telling you when you are making a mistake or wandering away from God’s will for you.
Also pay attention to the following:
1) Do not be unequally yoked.
Take 2 Cor. 6:14 seriously.
Don’t team up with those who are unbelievers. How can righteousness be a partner with wickedness? How can light live with darkness? (NLT)
If you are dating someone who doesn’t have a personal relationship with Christ, you are playing with fire. If you fall in love, what will you do? Don’t let the relationship progress to a physical point and then hope you can cut it off later.
2) Put on the armor of God daily.
You need all the help you can get in today’s world. Are you spending time with God? Do you depend on Him to meet your needs of love and security? You can resist temptation if you put on the whole armor of God (Eph. 6:10-20).
3) Put obedience over passion.
Not everything we do that’s right, feels good. In fact, usually the opposite is true. It feels incredibly good to give in to passion. But, the authority of Christ needs to take precedence over your physical drives. Society tells you to give in to the moment. Christ tells you to be obedient to His word.
4) Limits must be set mutually.
Both partners should take responsibility for setting limits especially limits that help you keep your purity. Mutual boundary keeping reflects maturity.
5) Don’t date to convert
“No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:44).
Some Christians rationalize dating non-believers because their effort might “lead” them to church. While this might be a good idea, the Bible reveals otherwise. It is never in our hands to call people into the church. This is God’s prerogative. It is Him who draws people to His church. We are just to serve as lights to the world and lead a godly example.
There are Christians who have “converted” their partner only to find out that they only converted for the sake of the relationship. After marriage, the converted person will go back to their old ways and even force their unbiblical beliefs to their spouse.
6) Allow the Holy Spirit to direct and lead you.
If you feel convicted of certain behaviors, stop doing them.
Special warning: Any relationship that does not glorify God should not go on. Any relationship that places demands on sex and other forms of immorality is not from God don’t yield to the lies of society and the devil.
“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