It is time for Christians to start talking about dating. Establishing principles for Christian dating will set men and women on a course towards Christ-centered marriages. I hope and pray these words spark conversations in your ministries, relationships, and homes. If you need to take a minute to let that sink in, I will be here when you get back… Here’s the deal: marriage isn’t a divine lottery where every person has one winning ticket. Hopefully one will end up as my spouse.” Not a good idea. So, the default for years is to leave as soon as a flaw arises. This requires discipline, restraint, and abstinence from activities that don’t promote holiness. A pure mind might be the greatest gift you can give your future spouse. ____________________ I hope this discussion continues. I pray parents, church leaders, friends, and family begin to spark conversations about God’s design for dating.
The trajectory of lives and eternities are in the balance. Laying out guidelines for dating as followers of Jesus will alter lives by keeping people out of toxic and unhealthy relationships (and ultimately marriages). Here are 10 important principles for Christian dating. That would make God a gambler, and the Bible clearly says gambling is from the devil (only joking). Marriage isn’t as much about finding someone totally compatible as it is about committing to someone despites difficulties and differences. I fear this mentality in the dating culture is actually promoting divorce. Suddenly, when marriage begins, you are asked to flip a switch. It allows you to jump into marriage with a clear conscience.
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Enter Eve, pro-creation, and marriage (not necessarily in that order). And the most intimate community on earth is the relationship you will have with your spouse. Disclaimer: If you are single (or if you’re married), steward your time well. “Sex before marriage is bad.” This was the extent of my understanding of Christian dating as a teenager and young adult. But understand purity begins with the mind and heart.
If you aren’t ready to date, don’t allow the cultural pressure to override God’s plan. I know too many men and women who refused to listen to people around them, and their prideful arrogance resulted in a failed marriage. Find men and women you trust, and allow them to speak into your relationship.
It means dating someone who meets the values and goals you have for a future spouse (more on that later).
Casual or purposeless dating has no benefit for Christians. We are designed to know why we do stuff and where we are going. Now, please, please, please don’t be a freakish weirdo. It involves sharing personal struggles and vulnerability. If you believe God is preparing you for foreign missions, is it important the person you marry shares this passion? If you love the Cowboys and your future spouse loves the Packers, is it important to work through this before marriage?
This issue shapes our young people, friends, and family more than we could ever imagine. “Let’s just sit back and see what happens” might work in certain scenarios, but Christian dating isn’t one of them. The truth is you could spend your life with more than one person. Get to know yourself.” And as soon as the person you are dating smacks his or her gum the wrong way, you are out. I heard don’t have sex before marriage so much I actually believed getting to marriage a virgin was the only important thing. In the process, I filled my heart and mind with lust, and I secretly struggled with pornography. Christians, instead, need to teach the importance of a pure mind. Make sure God is the center of your life before you start dating. Don’t start dating without an assurance of God’s love for you and a solid understanding of the gospel.
One of the best ways to save your marriage is through Ranch of Hope. “The one” says you need to find the perfect person. The beauty of marriage is God sustains you despite your flaws. The shells of a shotgun are stuffed with tiny round balls. You are asked to go from a mentality that says “End a relationship as soon as difficulty arises,” to one that says, “Don’t end the relationship regardless of the difficulty that arises.” That’s a tough switch to flip.
Like that annoying kid at church camp who wouldn’t leave you alone. Don’t ever date someone who won’t honor purity with you. Remember…if you are dating, you haven’t entered into the sacred bond of marriage. Co-dependent dating leads to co-dependent marriages. And co-dependent marriages eventually crumble because the weight on them is too heavy. In fact, every principle discussed in this article is null and void without God at the center.
The first instance in the Bible where God is not pleased comes when God sees Adam living in the Garden of Eden alone (Gen. Singleness can be a gift from God, but don’t use it as an excuse to be lazy. And to my church’s credit, they drilled this one point home constantly. Dating and marriage are not for those who rely on another person for joy, peace, and purpose.
I am fearful the Christian community has irresponsibly coerced men and women into marriage through cultural pressure.
If you aren’t ready for marriage, or if you do not want to get married, you are not sinning.
Dating with a trajectory towards marriage doesn’t mean you only date one person ever. So, if you choose not to get coffee or watch a movie with the opposite sex, then whatever. The ultimate purpose of marriage is sanctification (becoming like God). If you have no idea what values are important to you in a future spouse, exit the road to marriage at the next off ramp.