Dating today is faster than it’s ever been before. With all the technology that we have now, it’s easier to speed up the dating process. Finding a suitable romantic partner has been reduced to a single swipe on your phone. Gone are the days of courtship; of dating sustained by solid friendship. We are now in a time where dating is nothing more than lust and infatuation. That’s why the most common dating apps only require a two-sentence bio and a picture of yourself. It’s all about how attractive you make yourself out to be. There is no longer a need to know the other person past the external layer; but why would it be when it’s so easy to move on to someone else if you wanted to? Commitment is no longer an essential part of dating.
This is not the view of dating that we get from the Bible. Relationships are a big part of the Bible, especially in the New Testament when Jesus starts preaching on how important it is to love one another. Jesus says that commitment is essential for any relationship. The truth is none of us are 100% compatible with anybody else, even those that are “soul mates”. Take this as an example: our model for marriage is the image between Jesus and the Church. There couldn’t be more perfect example of incompatibility than that of the relationship between the perfect God and His imperfect, sinful church; it’s more about commitment than about compatibility. You’ll never find someone that “completes you”. You’re only complete when you’re in God’s presence.
We’re called to love, and that’s a really big commitment. Even when we don’t want to walk in love, we’re commanded to. Being in a relationship has to involve commitment because hard days will come. Now, I don’t want to deter anyone from dating. I just want to highlight the current perspective that our society has on dating and emphasize why it’s important to have a Biblical perspective.
To do this, I asked the help of the other married couples that are on staff with me here at YWAM Louisville. Obviously, none of us are perfect or have relationships figured out completely so our advice will therefore, be imperfect as well. We are merely sharing our own experiences and thoughts that we’ve been able to gather while on this path of marriage. Everything we talked about, I laid out in an easy-to-read list. This is meant to be a tool for anyone that is in a relationship, and for anyone that isn’t.
10 Practical Tips for Biblical Dating
1. Spend time with Jesus daily
Commune with Him. He is your first love. Whatever you are able to give to your significant other will come out of your intimacy with Jesus. You don’t spend time with Jesus to do that, you spend time with Jesus because of his value and worthiness and it will overflow.
2. Pray together
For each other as individuals, as a couple, for others, etc. This is an important piece for any relationship. Inviting God into your relationships will strengthen them.
3. Be the first to apologize
This is Huge. Humbling yourself only invites more humility. There is no need for defensive arguments or blame shifting. Apologize first even if it wasn’t your fault, it seems unfair, but it’s not about you.
4. Share your hurt by not accusing and without extreme statements
Example of how not to do it: “You always do that!” Good example: “I was hurt when you said that. Are you ok? Are we ok?” And be honest. Don’t try to hide your feelings.
5. Be spontaneous and go on dates
This is important in getting to know one another. This is also a big one for all you married folk. Just because the “dating phase” is over, doesn’t mean that going on dates has to be. Take time away from work and have fun together.
6. Push each other to Jesus
Don’t be one another’s savior. Remember, we cannot complete someone and we can’t look to anyone else to complete us. It’s all about Jesus. It’s ok to comfort someone, but make sure that it all points back to Him.
We will never get to a place in our lives where we don’t have to surrender our loved ones. Your significant other or children do not belong to you primarily. They belong to Jesus first and foremost.
8. Slow down…
Emotionally, verbally and physically. I’ve never heard a Christian couple say, “I wish we’d have gone faster.” It’s always, “I wish we hadn’t moved so fast.”
9. Be ready for the change of pace if and when the question is popped
Things normally go from “we have so much fun together” to “all we do is plan a wedding.” Don’t forget that you are still in a relationship. Enjoy relating and set aside time where you aren’t focusing on wedding planning. I do not recommend super long engagements. If you know you are to get married then get married. If you aren’t able to get married for 14 months then maybe you should wait to get engaged. Long engagements can create increased temptation and a false sense of commitment. Put a ring on it!
10. Don’t think marriage will fix anyone’s problems
If someone has a hard time with anger or forgiveness or passivity or faithfulness while dating or engagement, it will likely carry over into marriage.
Jose has a gift for leadership and loves having opportunities to teach others, as well as learning. As a husband, he is humble and seeks to point his family to Jesus and biblical truth. Jose loves the outdoors, but not as much as coffee. He has a passion for discipleship, especially in the lives of young men.