The A to Z of Christian Dating

 R is for Rules

Now we have reached R in our A to Z of Christian Dating rules. R stands for Rules – not the rules of dating (as if there are any) but one feature of dating that I teach many of the clients I coach. It’s called The 3 date rule and in a nutshell it is a rule or principle which says you should never make a decision about someone until you’ve had at least 3 dates with them. Let me explain where this principle comes from and in doing so you might see why the 3 date rule is a such a good idea.

One of our members runs an outdoor swimming club for children. It’s a members club that the kids pay to belong to. But they don’t get asked to pay straight away because if that is how the club ran it would have no members. And here’s why.

The first time the kids turn up, everything is new. They don’t know anyone else, the changing rooms are strange and the water is very very cold. The whole experience is foreign and possibly a little alarming. They are invited back for a 2nd ‘visit’. This time they know where they are going, what the changing facilities are like and how cold the water is. Importantly they will recognise a few people from the past session. Everything is not new and strange as it was the first time. By their 3rd session, they’ve started to make friends and are enjoying the whole experience. At this point they are asked to join the club and at this point most do.

If you think about it, dating is a bit similar. On your first date you are nervous. You’ve probably (hopefully!) dressed up and made an effort with your appearance. You may be a bit anxious about the place you are going to meet at and stressing about whether you get there on time, and how will you get there etc. Your head is filled with emotions and expectations. You want to come across in a certain way – you may put on a bit of an act. In all likelihood the person you are on a first date is not 100% the person you are on a day to day basis. And it’s the same for the other person too.

Your first date is an emotion/expectation laden event. And as a result you can’t and definitely shouldn’t base all your decisions on it.

Your first date is an emotion/expectation laden event.

Go back for a second date – whatever you felt at the first. (Remember the outdoor swimming club – imagine the strange changing room – the strangers – the freezing cold and the not very pleasant water!)

On your second date you know what is coming more than you did the first time round so it’s highly likely both you and your date will be more relaxed (and more yourselves!). But things are still new – your nerves are still there so still make decisions at this point. Whatever your feelings (good or bad) commit to the 3rd date.

At this point both of you will be much more relaxed and much more yourselves. The real you and the real them will be beginning to show. Now and only now are you ready to make a decision.

Maybe you thought they talked incessantly about themselves on the first date. Could that have been because they were terribly nervous? Yes of course it was. Chances are they won’t be like that on the third date.

In fact I think you can put a lot of first date behaviour that you don’t like down to nerves. We all have them but they affect our behaviour in different way. Some woman put on far more make up than they’d normally wear for example. Some men might sweat more and smell more.

Of course you can and you will judge your date on your first date! But if you decide to leave it there, it’d be just like the swimming club kinds – the majority of who go onto love their outdoor swimming club. But the majority of them would not have joined after their first experience.

It is just possible that the judgements you make on or just after your first date aren’t the ‘right’ judgements.

And that is why our 3 date rule is so important.

Give it a try on your next date. You might be surprised at what you find out.


Pictured are Nina and Steve (you’ll remember them from the July 2021 Cloudnine magazine).

It was completely as a result of following our 3 date rule that Nina and Steve got together. It’s worth reading their story on our website but essentially Nina wasn’t very impressed with Steve when they met the first time. This was definitely a first date that wouldn’t have gone any further except that Nina had made up her mind to follow our advice since she was paying for our service, and hadn’t had much luck when she’d relied on her own thoughts and feelings. So a second date was arranged, then a third. In her words: “I am not sure what happened or how it happened, but that third date was really different. I am not sure if it was because we were a lot more relaxed with each other, or that I saw something different in Steve, but there was a spark.” And the rest is history.