DEAR ALI: “Is God Against Dating?”
Many of my friends in the church seem to be against dating all together. How then are we supposed to get to know the other person? Is it wrong to date? What does the Bible say about dating?
Excellent questions. Unfortunately, the Bible doesn’t say much about dating. It is one of those ‘gray’ areas that can easily leave us feeling lost and confused as to what God really thinks about the topic.
Ever since Joshua Harris’s book, I Kissed Dating Good-Bye came out, there has formed a sort of Christian movement against dating, as if dating in and of itself is wrong or bad because of the negative consequences that can result from it. But to say we should refrain from dating because it may lead to harmful consequences is like saying we should refrain from driving because we could get killed by a drunk driver. Sure dating and driving can be dangerous, but they don’t always have to lead to disastrous consequence if practiced under the proper conditions.
What Harris promotes is what he calls ‘courtship,’ defined as dating specifically for the purpose of exploring the possibility of marriage with another person. I personally like the idea of dating with this purpose in mind, but then again, I am a 27-year-old woman ready to explore marriage. What happens if two 18-year-olds are wanting to date but are not ready for marriage? Is dating then completely off-limits until marriage is a viable option?
Honestly, I don’t think there is a black and white answer on this one. As much as we want to create a formula that tells us to follow steps a, b and c in order to obtain a happily ever after life of marriage and bliss, it just doesn’t work that way. I know many Christians who refrained from dating all together and still had problems once they entered marriage. I also know many Christians who dated a lot in their single years and ended up happily married to the person they feel is the ‘right’ person ordained by God. The fact of the matter is, God leads us all in different ways based on who He has called us to be and what He is calling us to do on this earth. Yes, for many of us, He designed the journey to be shared with a mate, but there are no hard and fast rules of how to get there.
So where does that leave us practically speaking? Well, it leaves us with the Word of God. It doesn’t change no matter who you are. While there is no black and white formula in its contents spelling out how to succeed in the godly dating game, there are some distinctive principles, from which we can all learn and apply in our dating lives, should He lead us in that direction.
I will be posting one new Godly Dating Principle each week for the next 10 weeks. Keep checking back and please do share your thoughts/experiences and/or comments related to these faith-based principles of dating!
Godly Dating Principle #1: Seek Him First.
“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” ~Matthew 6:33
It is crucial that before two people decide to enter into a dating relationship, that they each have their own autonomous relationship with God. Our identity, worth and value as individuals must be rooted in God first and foremost. Once we have brought ourselves under His umbrella of love, wisdom, grace and protection, we can be certain that He will continue to direct a relationship if we keep Him at the center. Think of it this way: when two people are submitted–on their own–to God and His will, there are double portions of power, blessing and grace flowing in and through a relationship. Isn’t that awesome? We must trust that as we seek Him first, the details of who, what, when, where, how will naturally follow!
Stay tuned for next week’s Godly Dating Principle #2: Fear Not Rejection!