Love In His Image:
7 Rules for Christian Dating
As a Christian man or woman with a devout focus on God’s place in our daily lives – navigating the waters of modern dating can be tricky indeed. The place of faith and God within the context of a new relationship can often bring to mind questions that are not so easily answered or put away.
The fact is that Christian singles who are marriage-minded and commitment-focused need more than Christian dating advice when it comes to the season of their lives where a potential mate comes along. They would flourish, instead, with guidelines and Christian dating rules that they can recognize within Scripture and bring along into the rest of their lives. Here are some of these:
Rule #1: Instead of “godliness”, look for growth in your partner’s faith
As it is stated in the Bible, “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14).
The truth is that even a so-called Christian man or woman who identifies themselves as such or commonly visits church but does not actually act in his or her life to put sin to death, can be essentially “lawless”. There’s no real faith in that person’s heart so belief becomes a namesake. o instead of looking to check the boxes — “does he go to church?” or “does she own or know the Bible?” look for those around your potential partner who can speak of their reputation. Over time you also want to observe an expressed seriousness in their hearts to grow and deepen their understanding of and relationship with God. It is this willingness to grow in one’s faith, either through discipleship or community involvement, that you can truly get a sense of their belief.
Rule #2: There may be no such thing as “too fast”
The best piece of Christian dating advice is this: “too fast” is only what you make of it. And so, like the judgement of a person’s “Godliness”, look for quality and not a box to check. When you’re trying to assess “speed” of a relationship and how it’s progressing, you want to look within yourself and at their actions as well for a sense of what is driving both of your actions. s there truly a connection or is the relationship outpacing what you know about them or they know about you?
Moving “quickly” or not often comes with a sense of knowingness and security when one has made the right choice. So if you feel you “should” slow it down, ask yourself if you’ve been able to see your potential partner’s “godliness” or what God has expressed through them and in them by virtue of their character. If, on the other hand, there is an intuitive sense you get but that you just can’t quite put your finger on, that there is not enough here yet for either of you to justify such a rapid spark based on very little information or interaction, then it may very well be “too fast”.
Rule #3: Use social media wisely
For those who think that Christian dating rules should eschew all social media as a means of authentic connection, think again. The truth is, as many mediums as there are, God works through them all.
Keep interactions on social media without a flirting or teasing tone if it’s clearly going nowhere and there is no bid from either of you to try and define the relationship in any way. In this regard, social media allows people to hide behind a mask without ever having to “step up” and make a commitment.
Rule #4: Stay open to a friendship blossoming into something more
One of the best pieces of dating advice is something that not only Christian singles can benefit from: remember that the basis for any truly whole-hearted relationship is friendship. This is friendship that starts off between a man and a woman as a shared collection of interests, invitations to community and fellowship events or through discipleships. It is during these moments that you can observe the others godliness and involvement of faith.
The fact is the quality of “godliness” is going to be attractive and sexy to one who is truly God-loving because that value matters over all others — and thus beautifies your potential partner. Even if you don’t feel a physical spark, at first, keep your potential mate close because that friendship may begin to blossom in your eyes.The only thing to remember is this: it is great to pursue women in this spirit of friendship, a man should do so with an eye to cementing it into something defined and committed.
Rule #5: Even while dating, a man can (and should) “lead” his girlfriend
Biblically-speaking, a man should always lead his wife; not simply because this reflects the complementary nature of the two, but also because it is simply practical to maintain this structure. And, yet, when you’re just getting to know each other or be in that new “boyfriend-girl” stage, it can get tricky trying to know just how far a boyfriend can or should lead.
So a good rule of thumb is to use marriage as a yardstick: while a boyfriend should not “lead” his girlfriend or potential partner to the level of a husband and wife — which is to say he is not yet charged by God to lead, cover, provide and protect — he can absolutely encourage her already present devotion and natural gifts.
Rule #6: Remain in a position for purity
Christian dating rules always seem to hit this one on the head with a range of edicts so let’s not issue any ultimatums here. Instead, let’s understand the following: if the situation did not even present itself, what would be the case for talking about chastity or purity? None.
In the Song of Solomon, the desire to be physically close and intimate is inevitable and even beautiful. Here, Christian singles can turn to Scripture, once again, for an idea of how to navigate through modern dating. Staying sexually pure during dating is common sense for those who hold a high regard of godliness. In the Song of Solomon 1:16-17, the couple removes themselves from all temptation by keeping themselves out of the situation to begin with.
“Behold, you are beautiful, my beloved, truly delightful, our couch is green; the beams of our house are cedar; our rafters are pine.”
Instead of remaining indoors or in seclusion, the couple is outside, and visible to the public. For Christian singles, dating in groups or in public and not at hours where any potentially bad situations could arise is the right, smart and practical thing to do.
Rule #7: Cultivate the right desires
Often, Christian dating rules don’t take into account that the desire to be married is not only real but very good. Coming together as man and wife is not only not sinful but a direct expression of God’s own covenants.
The Creator has woven such a desire into our hearts so that we may act upon it. Modern dating means that you’re not only trying to find someone who is equal to you in education, family background, personality and income but also someone whose faith complements your own — and helps you to grow it, ideally.
But dating without the intention to be married or conscious choice to pursue a partner who truly lives between the bounds of a godly covenant is giving over to the cultivation of the wrong desires — these are the desires to escape boredom or the fear of being alone.
So take it lightly and easily. Do not compromise your own beliefs simply to find someone that might “match” you but does not hold your values to the same standard you do. Take the time to cultivate the right desires and pay due diligence to who you are contacting.