I'm sure some of you are giving me the evil eye right about now, or are really wanting to give me a lecture on how dating is a great way to get to know guys, etc. Sure it is, if you know that it will end just as soon as it began.
But for some, it actually may last. That depends, of course, on what God has planned for the both of you. If it's not supposed to be, don't push it. Don't try to make it something it will never be. In the end, you'll cause yourself more heartache than it's worth. (I know from personal observations.)
Try not to go against what God wants for your life, listen to Him, will ya? Let Him, write your love story. Trust me, it's going to be way better than anything you could ever conjure up.
Like I said, I have never dated. Probably something most people would have a hard time believing. You all might even consider my parents to be very controlling, forceful, sheltering people for not letting me date! Oh, I could have at 16. But I didn't want to. I saw no need. For me personally, I would much rather wait to date when I am absolutely certain I am ready to make a commitment to marry.
Until then, I am single, baby!
Anyhow, over the years I have observed a lot of different relationships. Some are acceptable and some that are not. Not to say that I have any right to judge others on how they conduct themselves on a date, around their date, etc., but I have put together definitions for four kinds of relationships–three of which are acceptable for Christians, and one of which is sinful (option #3).
Prearranged Marriage—Recently, a rare form of assisted marriage among American Christians has developed. It is called Biblical Betrothal and favors a conservative approach, where two young people get to know one another in the company of a chaperon and with the sole objective of finding a marriage partner. Dating and even courtship are being discouraged. (Suite101).
Courtship—Our culture has exalted romantic love to be above all. "Love" is often the sole reason given for marriage. All other considerations are often brushed aside. With courtship, perhaps the overriding principle is “wisdom.” What is the wise way to make marriage decisions and avoid sin? Biblical wisdom includes: 1) Understanding human nature including the power of attraction, the effects of infatuation, and the temptations of intimacy - and thus seeing the risks in most dating; and 2) Understanding marriage in terms of God's roles for husbands and wives and what things are most important in this relationship. This includes seeing the need for maturity and preparedness, seeing what things make marriage more difficult and the things that are really important long term. (David Crank).
Missionary Dating—Most people consider it missionary dating when you date a non-believer thinking that you will "convert" him or her to Christianity. Some people also call it "evangelistic dating." While most people fall into missionary dating because they find someone they are attracted to and want to date, there are some people that seek out missionary dating opportunities in order to convert people to Christianity. What Does the Bible Say? There are two scriptures to which most people refer when they warn Christians about missionary dating: 2 Corinthians 6:14 - "Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?" (NIV); 1 Corinthians 7:39 - "A woman is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she wishes, but he must belong to the Lord." (NIV). Meanwhile, others that support missionary dating refer to scriptures about witnessing and spreading the gospel: Matthew 28:19-20 - "Go to the people of all nations and make them my disciples. Baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and teach them to do everything I have told you. I will be with you always, even until the end of the world." (CEV); Jude 1:23 - "Rescue any who need to be saved, as you would rescue someone from a fire. Then with fear in your own hearts, have mercy on everyone who needs it." (CEV); 1 Peter 3:15 - "Honor Christ and let him be the Lord of your life. Always be ready to give an answer when someone asks you about your hope." (CEV). (About.com).Alright all you single ladies and gents, here's a list of practical advice (below) for guys and girls specifically:
Christian Dating Principles for Both Guys and Girls
1. Maximize your singleness for God.
2. Do not pursue a relationship until you are ready to marry.
3. Be reasonable – do not set your expectations too high or too low. 4. A date is not dating: date = time together; dating = couple (1 Tim. 5:1-2).
5. Don’t date a non-Christian (2 Cor. 6:14).
6. Only date one person at a time.
7. He initiates; she responds.
8.Look at who God puts in front of you (e.g. Boaz & Ruth).
9. If you are going to use technology, do it wisely. (Facebook, Texting)
10. Only invest in a relationship with someone who you are attracted to entirely (e.g. physically, mentally, spiritually, emotionally, ministry gifts).
11. Only date someone who agrees with you on gender and family. 12. Guard your heart (Prov. 4:23).
Christian Dating Questions for Guys
1. Are you overlooking good women?
2. Are you honoring, God, her, her family, her friends, etc.?
3. Is she modest (1 Tim. 2:9)?
4. Will she follow your leadership?
5. Does she have noble character (Prov. 31)?
6. Can you provide for the lifestyle she expects (1 Tim. 5:8)?
7. Is she like the worst women in Proverbs (e.g. nag, loud, quarreling, unfaithful)?
8. Do you want your daughters to be like her and your sons to marry someone like her?
Christian Dating Questions for Girls
1. Do you want to help him and join his course of life (Gen. 2:18; 1 Cor. 11:9)?
2. Is he tough enough to remain strong in tough times (2 Tim. 2:3)?
3. Will he take responsibility for you and your children (1 Cor. 11:3)?
*credit for this post largely goes to the youth pastor at White House First Baptist: Dwayne Gibbs*