But I don’t want to date . . . I just want to get married.
That’s what I told our family friend who was concerned that I wasn’t dating at the age of 26.
Oh, not that I’d never dated. I’d actually dated a fair bit and found the whole dating scene rather depressing. Disappointing. Discouraging. You get the idea.
My friend found my answer rather perplexing. “How can you get married . . . if you never date?”
I don’t know, but I sure wished there was another way.
As it turned out, a few months later I reluctantly agreed to go on a “blind date” and knew in an instant that I’d met the man I would marry. He came to the same conclusion 3 days later (not sure what took him so long either!).
So that’s as close as I could come to “marrying without dating.”
But it doesn’t work out like that for everyone. And now that we have 8 children of our own, we’re once again in conversations about that rather difficult world of dating, love, and marriage.
We can’t help hoping our kids will have a better dating experience than we ever did. So while we certainly don’t know everything, here’s some dating advice we’re giving them…
Do’s and Don’ts for Better Christian Dating
1. DON’T follow a formula.
While it’s tempting to try and tuck love into some tidy box, it will never work like that.
DO rely on the Holy Spirit.
Rather than depending on someone else’s “step-by-step”, listen to the Spirit and how He is guiding.
2. DON’T look to the world.
The world wants you to think that your happiness depends on finding the perfect guy – or girl. But this isn’t true. If you are a believer in Christ, then your joy is found in Him.
DO look to the Word of God.
Read the classic love stories found there, follow the instruction of the New Testament, and don’t forget the wisdom found in the book of Proverbs.
3. DON’T believe love is magical.
Leave this fable at the movie theater. True love can be amazing, but it really doesn’t “fix” everything.
DO view love as a mystery.
Even the Bible talks about “the way of a man with a maid” as too wonderful to understand (Prov. 30:19). Love and marriage are much more than items on a checklist.
4. DON’T be in a rush.
Getting involved in a relationship – and deciding who you want to spend the rest of your life with – is a HUGE deal. No need to be in a big, fat hurry (and don’t follow my example here).
DO take the time to assess the other person’s character.
Observe them in different contexts – work, home, leisure – and ask others what they see too.
5. DON’T be prideful.
I think this can be one of the biggest pitfalls. So don’t convince yourself that you know it all and understand everything. Walk in humility.
DO go in willing to learn and grow.
No one has it all together, so why not embrace the fact that you’ll probably need to learn a thing or two in the process? Highly recommended.
6. DON’T sit around and do nothing.
Because that’s probably what you’ll get: nothing.
DO hang out in the right places.
Go and get involved where the kind of people you might want to marry are hanging out. At church, ministries, wholesome activities, etc.
7. DON’T cultivate a relationship apart from community.
It’s easier to be blinded by love when there’s no background to reveal his/her true colors. So make sure you’re both involved in some kind of healthy community of friends and family.
DO seek counsel from the people you respect.
Please promise me you’ll ask the opinion of people who love you and you respect? And that you’ll listen to them? Thank you, I feel better already.
8. DON’T give – or take – what is not yours.
If you’re a Christian, then you are given specific instructions about your body (1Thess. 4:3-5).
DO walk in the power of purity.
Physical attraction is natural and has a beautiful place in God’s design for a man and woman, so commit yourself to waiting for the right time (marriage) and the right person (2 Tim. 2:22).
9. DON’T give up hope.
Remember our love story…because that man of mine? He came out of nowhere. And we’ve been loving each other ever since.
DO trust in the God who has your future.
He holds your heart in His loving Hands.
Christian Kids Dating in a “Hook-up” Culture
Clearly, the dating scene can be a bit of a minefield for just about anyone—from Josh Harris’s book, “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” all the way to “anything goes on your first date.” It’s a pretty confusing and difficult world for a young Christian trying to live rightly in a culture that cares nothing for biblical values.
Are you the parent of young children, or teenagers? Are you single, or soon to be married?
At some point in life, you’re going to be faced with navigating romantic relationships or teaching someone how they should go about it. What will you tell them?
With this challenge in mind, Matt and I invited our 20-year-old daughter, Cambria, to talk about “Christian Kids Dating in a Hook-up Culture” on the FAITHFUL LIFE podcast.
We asked her a few pointed questions about this dating world that is a big part of her life and the lives of her Christian friends. Please join us as we think you’ll find this a candid and encouraging conversation! Hopefully, a helpful one too.
In His grace,
Matt and Lisa Jacobson, authors of 100 Ways to Love Your Husband and 100 Ways to Love Your Wife, are the hosts of a weekly podcast to talk about what it means to be a biblical Christian in marriage, parenting, church, and culture. Matt and Lisa offer deep encouragement, along with practical steps and true-life stories, as we grow in walking the faithful life together.
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