Guidelines for Christian Dating

Dating can be challenging, even more so when you have strong religious beliefs. When you’re a Christian and want to pursue a relationship, knowing how to go about it isn’t always easy. Since dating as a Christian can be quite different from dating for a secular individual, it’s important not to carry any old habits that you may have had before you accepted Christ into your life. It’s a good idea to follow these Christian dating rules to be on the right page.

Date with the Intent to Marry

This sounds like an old cliche in 2019, but this is a tried-and-true principle for good reason. When we allow new people into our lives, many times they bring contaminants with them that can infect our spirits and lead us away from God. Our greatest defense against this is our awareness of this danger.

One of the biggest differences when it comes to dating as a Christian versus someone who is not religious is that our dating should always come with a purpose. This doesn’t mean that you have to marry the person that you date. You often find out that you’re not a good fit for each other and the sooner you end a bad relationship, the better you’ll be. However, casual dating that doesn’t have a purpose has no spiritual benefit. Most importantly, it can also lead to emotional hurt and pain for both of you.

14 Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? 15 What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?

2 Corinthians 6:14-15 New International Version (NIV)

This means several practical considerations are necessary. You should only date a person who meets values and the goals you have for a future spouse. Don’t compromise here. Get a vivid mental image of who your spouse is and be true to yourself.

For example, if you date someone who is not a Christian, you may have a few things in common and even enjoy each other’s company, but without a spiritual bond and commonality of faith, your relationship is likely headed towards failure. Date someone that you could see yourself spending the rest of your Christian life with. If you don’t think this is a possibility, you shouldn’t waste your time and emotional energy on that person.

Understand What You Want

Before you start dating, a good piece of dating advice is to spend some time in self-reflection and prayer and consider what you want to pursue (or what you will allow to pursue you). For example, many Christian singles don’t realize that they actually don’t want to get married. They may enjoy going on dates or the companionship of being in a relationship. However, they don’t desire the goal of marriage and don’t want to make that life-long commitment.

You can have a wonderful life as a single Christian and being married doesn’t have to be your goal. However, if you’re going to date, then you should be interested in finding a life partner. Without this intentionality, you’re going to be doing harm to both yourself and anyone that you date.

Be Cautious with Dating Apps

There are several Christian dating apps available and they can offer an opportunity for you to meet other like-minded people. If you attend a small church or don’t have many single people in your circle of friends, then you might not be meeting Christian single people that could be dating material. Christian-specific dating apps provide you with the opportunity to meet other Christian singles who are also looking for an equally yoked partnership. But be extremely careful with this approach. The internet provides users with the ability to present false identities and personalities that can be harmful. Don’t be fooled by fake Christians.

People approach their faith in a number of different ways. What you consider to be religious might be very different for another person. This isn’t a bad thing but don’t assume that you will necessarily be compatible with a person just because he or she is religious.

Safety is also a concern. Some people may be naive when it comes to online dating with Christian apps. While these apps may be safer than some other options, you should still be cautious with any type of online interaction. Make sure that you follow the same guidelines for these apps that you would in any other area of your life.

Take the Counsel of Friends and Church Leaders

When you start to date someone, spend extra time in your Christian community. Introduce them to your friends, your pastor, and other religious people in your life. When you date, you should allow the community of people around you to speak into that relationship. Your friends are going to be more objective and see problems that you can’t because they’re outside of this situation.

If you start to be cautioned by friends or leaders in your life, take their warnings seriously. They can prevent you from making serious mistakes when it comes to dating and courtship.

Avoid Sinful Temptations in a Relationship

When you start to date someone, the idea of spending time with them is exciting. As your relationship grows and develops, it can be tempting to be physically intimate with each other. While people may have different ideas about intimacy, the Bible commands Christians to avoid sex outside of marriage. This can be hard emotionally, but couples can keep from temptation by safeguarding themselves.

It’s a good idea to date in public places and to avoid tempting circumstances such as sleeping at each other’s place or vacationing in a joint room. Dating in the open is not only smart, but it will also help couples stay accountable to each other spiritually. Believe it or not, this will help you build trust in each other.

18 Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body.

1 Corinthians 6:18 New International Version (NIV)

Go at the Right Pace

Although there is not one particular speed at which your relationship should be moving, you shouldn’t worry about moving too slow. There are some practical considerations for a marriage that takes time to fully explore. For example, getting married after a week of dating likely isn’t a wise choice. However, couples who are right for each other often find that they were married after a shorter courtship. Other couples found that it took years to build the foundation for a marriage. This is also an area where it may be wise to seek input from others whom you trust.

One good principle to follow before getting married is to go through relationship counseling or attending a Christian seminar on preparing for marriage. This is a great way for couples to get an idea if their relationship is ready for the next step. In fact, many pastors require this before they will agree to marry a couple. Many couples have realized that they were not right for each other as a result of this work so you will want to take this seriously.

Final Steps

Although these tips are merely guidelines, they should provide a basis for Christian dating and relationships. When you approach dating from a Biblical perspective, you can see your relationships being stronger, more fulfilling, and ultimately, leading you to the person that you will be happy to spend the rest of your life with. This isn’t always an easy journey but it will ultimately be more fulfilling. Follow these guidelines and you can successfully date while maintaining your faith as a Christian.

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