If you are a Christian and you want to know if there is such a thing as “Christian dating”, proper for a Christian, the answer is sure there is. But before I say anything about the typical, honorable “Christian dating”, I have to define what “Christian” means so that the definition itself will be a ground upon which I build my case.
Christian means, a person who lives or thrives to lead a life that brings glory and honor to the name of Jesus, not out of duty and obligation, but out of love.
“. . . in Christ Jesus . . . means . . . faith working through love.” Galatians 5:6 NASB
So, that in mind, for Christians, who want to live according to the word of God, dating means an important life project they do carefully with the help of God and others. Remember, I’m not talking about the kind of dating where couples go out together at least five times a week; kissing and caressing and having sex whenever and wherever they want to. Rather I’m focusing on the kind of dating that is appropriate for a Christian.
For a Christian, dating is a way to know a person deeply but apart from any physical relation which is set apart for married couples. Why do they want to know the person? Because Christian dating has a goal; and that goal is to find a life partner. Notice, there is no dating for the sake of dating. Dating just because everybody is doing it is like jumping off of the cliff because everybody is doing it.
When you don’t have a goal, anything can be your goal. There is a saying that goes like this: “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.” (Lewis Carroll) It took me a while to understand this saying. This is what it means: If you don’t know where you are going, your destiny will be anywhere. Think about it! Dating endlessly, dating for no good reason than to get married can take you to places you didn’t sign up for.
Going out for lunch, spending time at the hotel and finishing the day with kissing and sex is not the kind of dating I am talking about here. For a Christian, who wants to do it God’s way, to bring glory and honor to Jesus, dating doesn’t look like that.
Let me take one scenario as an example. A guy looks at a girl and he thinks that she is cute. So he gets her number (zillion ways to do it) and invite her for a cup of coffee. (Remember, he doesn’t ask her out yet) Then he tries to know her well. He tries to spend time with her and her friends. He also tries to bring her in with his friends. Then if she is somebody that he wants to know more, he will ask her out. If she accepts his request, they will officially start dating.
Remember, their friendship has to happen before they start dating. That’s very important “ingredient” for the success of their future marriage if their relationship goes that far.
They meet at least once or twice a week to see if they are meant to be together for the long haul. During this time, both ask (on their own, separately) other people who love and care for them and who are older and more mature (spiritually) than them if the person they are going out with is a good person.
They also ask their friends’ opinion about the person they are dating. Most of the time their friends may have the same opinion as theirs but still it is good to hear what they have to say (especially for a girl).
They pray about their relationship but, please hear me right here, but they don’t pray together in one room, alone. Unmarried couple, when they pray together in one room, alone, there will be some sort of comfort they draw from each other’s spiritual life and they tend to compromise on their moral values. Today, technology made it easy for all of us to pray together with others across the country via Viber, Skype, Zoom, what have you. I keep on saying to couples who are dating “Don’t pray together in one room” but I repeatedly hear “We didn’t take that advice seriously until it happened to us”.
The other point I want to raise here is this: Couples don’t need any prophetic message for them to decide to get married. They don’t need to go around looking for people to lay their hands on them and prophesy on their future relationship. The counsel and confirmation the find from the word of God, the people of God and their love for each other are enough for them to see if they are on the right track or not. It is very sad to witness couples going into marriage saying, “A prophet told us to get married.”
God gave us His word, for us to follow after; a mind to think and He gave us brothers and sisters in Christ to help us do the right thing.
“Where there is no guidance the people fall,
But in abundance of counselors there is victory.” Proverbs 11:14 NASB (similar msg on Proverbs 24:6)
The thing is most of young people think that they are educated and spiritually matured enough to know everything in life and they see it as weakness to ask for advice.
Going back to our example, after the couple spends some time and receives all the confirmation mainly from God and others, they start courting; means they start finding a place to live, they plan their wedding date; when and how to do it; they will discuss everything that may directly or indirectly affect their future life together (things such as student loans, car or credit card loans). They also talk about their visions and dreams in life (including their spiritual dream and vision).
After dating and courting, the next thing is wedding however it doesn’t mean that they have to marry the person they date and court. During their dating or courting time, if one of them thinks that they are not meant to be together for whatever reason, they can safely break up the relationship and go to their own separate ways.
This is where this “Christian dating” gets very interesting. If the couple decides to break up, they usually become good friends. Most of the time, there is no animosity between them; and there is no “I can’t live without him” kind of crying. Do you know why? They were not physical. There was nothing between them that “ties their souls” together. Their brain can think and reason without the influence of sexual hormones which cloud anybody’s logical mind.
Yeah, all the kissing and everything else that comes with it trigger the release of all sex hormones. These hormones from the numerous things they do, one of the major functions is to help the couples to bond (married or unmarried).
So, in the absence of physical relationship, as our example above, the couple can examine and evaluate the health of their relationship logically and from other’s point of view and very importantly, from God’s point of view (the word of God).
Have you ever heard people say: “I don’t love him but for some reason I just find myself being with him” or “I know she doesn’t believe in Jesus but for some reason I’m still with her” or “I know he has addiction problem and he is not even a believer in Christ but for some reason I find myself hanging out with him”.
Yeah, sex hormones are dynamic. When they happen in a healthy marriage union, they do perfect job of bringing together two completely different people. Their logical brain will be influenced for the better so they overlook or accept and forgive each other’s flaws, brokenness and weaknesses. But when these sex hormones occur in a dating relationship, they can convince two people, who shouldn’t be together in the first place, to get married.
I sometimes hear things like: “I knew she had anger and controlling issue but I married her anyways and I don’t know why.” Yes, these hormones are powerful and they can mess anybody’s life if they are released at the wrong time and place (outside of the confinement of marriage).
For a Christian, who does dating carefully, sex hormones are not something to worry about. Actually, couples should look forward to experiencing the function of these exciting hormones starting from their wedding night. When couples meet these hormones, they feel like they are in the presence of Jesus because these hormones make them feel happy, joyful, free, holy and pure; without any “wrinkle or blemish”. They think that they found the perfect mate anybody could ask for.
It is amazing what God has in store for all us but at the same time, it is grieving how the devil deceives and convinces us to take the very thing God puts aside for us without God’s will. You see, the devil promises us sexual pleasure but his promises don’t include the presence of God. The problem is, without God’s presence, we get nothing! Forget pleasure! We will be starved and thirsty to the point of letting go of everything to go after that which can’t be found or satisfy us. The devil is a liar! Let’s remember this: The very essence of sexual pleasure includes God’s blessings. ///