It’s no secret that dating can be a confusing endeavor.

It’s like trying to juggle a bunch of balls at once. You’re trying to figure out if you’re compatible with the person, if you share the same ideals and interests, how to work through disagreements, and a whole lot more.

If you search the internet for dating advice, you’ll find thousands of articles, books, and videos, all offering a variety of tips. The advice is often conflicting and trying to sort it all out can make you feel even more confused.

If you look for the word “dating” in the Bible, you won’t find it. Relationship customs were very different when the Bible was written. In fact, dating, as we know it today, didn’t really come on to the scene until around the 1950s.

Nevertheless, God’s word contains timeless principles regarding relationships, and these principles apply directly to dating. In this article, we’re going to explore Biblical principles for dating and seek to apply this dating “advice” to our lives.

Ready? Let’s get started.

Put God First

Have you ever known a Christian couple that has been happily married for many years? What’s their secret? How have they built such a strong, lasting, joyful relationship?

You can be sure that both individuals put God first. This is the key to good relationships. When God is at the center, everything else falls into its proper place.

Deuteronomy 6:5 says,

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.

When both people in a relationship seek to love God with all their being, it strengthens their relationship with each other. In our solar system, the sun is at the middle and the gravitational pull of the sun keeps all the planets in the proper orbit. Without the sun at the center, the planets would go hurtling off into space and our solar system would cease to exist.

God is like the sun. When He is at the center, the other elements of our lives function properly. When He’s not at the center, things begin to fall apart.

Pastor Adrian Rogers said:

"My wife Joyce has always known that God is first in my life and she doesn’t mind being second. Why? Because she knows I can love her more by putting her second than I ever could by putting her first. She knows that when God is first, He’s going to make sure I treat her with the love, honor and respect she deserves and He desires."

1 Corinthians 10:31 says,

“Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”

This verse should guide your relationships. In every aspect, seek to glorify God.

If you want your dating relationships to be healthy, make God first in your life. Your relationship with the other person will be significantly strengthened if you do. If God isn’t at the center of the relationship, it will suffer.

Date Christians

Putting God first implies only dating Christians. If a person is not a Christian, then God is not a priority in their life. They don’t have a relationship with God and aren’t seeking to follow Him or please Him.

When two Christians are joined together and are both moving toward God, each one is strengthened.

2 Corinthians 6:14 says,

“Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?”

In Biblical times, a farmer would yoke two oxen together, side by side, to have them pull a plow. If the oxen didn’t both pull in the same direction, the plow wouldn’t go in a straight line and the field would be a mess.

If you are “yoked” to an unbeliever in a relationship, you both will be pulling in different directions. You will be pulling toward God and they will be pulling in a completely different direction. You will find yourself in constant disagreement with them. You’ll be tempted to compromise your convictions to make them happy. As a result, your spiritual life will suffer and stagnate.

Commit to only dating other Christians. Don’t buy into the idea that you can date an unbeliever and cause them to change. This almost never happens. Resolve that you will only date those who are following the Lord.

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Pursue Holiness

Pursuing holiness simply means seeking to obey God’s commands. When we pursue holiness, we seek to put off sin and put on obedience. We don’t do this to earn God’s love or favor in any way.

Rather, we do it out of love for God and gratefulness to Him. Through the gospel, He has saved us from our sins and brought us into His family. In response, we live holy lives.

In Ephesians 4:1 we read,

I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called…”

One of the obvious ways to pursue holiness in your dating relationships is to strive for purity. When you’re dating someone, you feel all sorts of intense emotions and feelings. These feelings aren’t necessarily wrong in themselves, but they certainly make it easier to engage in inappropriate sexual activity.

1 Thessalonians 4:3 says,

“For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality.”

Sex is a wonderful gift from God to those who are married. Sexual activity outside of marriage is sin.

Seek to avoid putting yourself in situations where you will be tempted to engage in sexual activity. This looks different for each person. You know the specific situations where you find yourself tempted. Ask God for the power to fight the temptation and strive to stay away from tempting situations.

Involve Others

When you’re dating someone, it’s very easy to isolate yourself. To spend all your time with your boyfriend or girlfriend and not be around other Christians.

Now, to be clear, it’s certainly not wrong to spend time alone with your significant other. After all, you’re trying to get to know them better.

But we weren’t made to live isolated lives.

God intended us to be in regular fellowship with other Christians. The Bible is full of “one anothers”. We’re called to:

  • Love one another
  • Encourage one another
  • Bear each other’s burdens
  • Serve one another
  • Forgive each other
  • Speak the truth to each other
  • And much more

Involving others in our lives results in stronger relationships. Our friends can help us work through conflict, encourage us when we’re down, counsel us when we’re confused, and help us keep God at the center.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 says:

Two are better than one,
Because they have a good reward for their labor.
For if they fall, one will lift up his companion.
But woe to him who is alone when he falls,
For he has no one to help him up.

If we try to walk through life alone, we won’t have anyone to help us up when we fall.

Seek to involve others in your dating relationships. Tell your friends how you’re doing. If your relationship goes through a rough patch, ask for prayer. If you’re struggling to keep God at the center, invite accountability. The more you do these things, the stronger your dating relationships will be.

Blessings From The Lord

The Bible never promises that you’ll get married. In fact, God gives people, like the apostle Paul, the gift of singleness. It does also seem to indicate that it’s God’s will that most people be married.

As it says in Proverbs 18:22,

“He who finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favor from the Lord.”

Whether you get married or not, you can be sure of this: If you seek to honor the Lord in your dating relationships, He will bless you.

You can work to put God first, date only Christians, pursue holiness, and involve others.

God deeply loves you, and when you strive to put God first in your dating relationships it pleases Him very much. It demonstrates that He is most important in your life, and this brings Him glory.

You can’t know or control the outcome of your dating relationships. Only God knows the future. But you can control the way in which you date.

If you follow this dating advice, God will reward you, both in this life and the life to come.

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