What is Christian Dating

Dating in the 21st Century

Determining the nature of dating today is challenging. The never-ending trouble with figuring out how one finds and courts a potential partner is only multiplied with ever-changing technology. These issues are only intensified for Christians looking for a marriage partner who shares their faith. Christian dating advice for men and women is often hard to find. What is Christian dating anyways?        

New Technology, a Whole New World

There was a time when a man would simply approach a woman to ask her out on a date. This process could include acquiring her phone number. But, technology has changed the dating landscape and continues to do so. As adults are more lonely and isolated than ever, the opportunity to find that special someone has decreased through natural means. Due to the lack of opportunity, apps reign supreme in the dating world of today.

What is Dating

In order to better understand the nature of Christian dating, it’s first important to clarify what dating actually is. Dating is the process in which a person spends intentional time with a person you’re attracted to, for the purpose of getting to know them better.

Urban Dictionary defines dating as, “Dating is where two people who are attracted to each other spend time together to see if they also can stand to be around each other most of the time, if this is successful they develop a relationship.”

The notion of “dating” today doesn’t define the end goal of dating. Some may consider the goal to be marriage. But, others may believe “being in an exclusive relationship” itself as the end goal. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that many find navigating the world of dating today to be confusing.

It is important to understand the word “dating” can be used as a verb to describe the casual meetings two people have to get to know each other. The process of going on dates will help each party decide if they want their relationship to be exclusive. Once the couple decides they want to only see each other, they might describe themselves as “dating” or in a “dating relationship”.   

What is Christian Dating

Those asking the question, “What is Christian dating?” should know that Christian dating is very different than traditional dating. Christian dating has a clear purpose, end goal and guidelines. It’s important to understand that Christian dating isn’t for everyone. In fact, some might believe they are following the principles of “Christian dating”, when, in fact, they are not. Therefore, it’s important to understand who is Christian dating for.

3 Groups Should Consider Christian Dating:

  1. Christian Dating is for Christians. This may seem obvious. But, Christian dating is a type of dating relationship engaged in by two Christians. Just because two people are Christians and dating, doesn’t necessarily mean they are in a “Christian dating” relationship.
  2. Christian Dating is for those considering themselves followers of Jesus: People may consider themselves Christian, but may not consider themselves followers of Jesus. This means they submit their lives to the leadership of Jesus. Those in a true Christian dating relationship attempt to orient their lives to the leadership of Jesus.
  3. Christian Dating is for those with a Biblical worldview: Christian dating is for those who profess a Biblical worldview. This means they believe the Bible represents God’s truth and the best way to live on earth.

If a person does not fit into these three categories, then the idea of Christian dating will seem confusing or frustrating. Any discussions on the subject won’t make sense and sound like a bunch of rules a person must follow for no reason.   

Goal of Christian Dating

Those considering Christian dating should know it has a clear goal of life-long marriage. The goal is not to live together or to be in a “committed relationship”. The goal of the Christian dating process is to determine if you’d like to marry the person you’re spending time with.

This question naturally changes the dating process. Instead of “simply having fun” and not worrying about the future, those engaging in Christian dating understand the need to determine if they could see themselves marrying the person their dating. If the answer is “no”, then they should stop the dating relationship as soon as possible in order to keep themselves from unnecessary hurt and heartache.

Guidelines for Christian Dating

Any guideline given to those who do not consider themselves Biblically-oriented followers of Jesus will feel frustrated. But, those calling themselves Christians will be glad to engage in the holy pursuit of Christian dating.

Implied Guidelines: First, it’s important to understand the Bible does not discuss dating in the contemporary sense. In ancient times there was more arranged marriages. Also, unmarried individuals did not “hang out alone” for long periods of time. Therefore, Christians today must base their dating relationship guidelines on principles in the Bible regarding marriage and how one treats a single person of the opposite sex.

Sex defines the marriage relationship: It’s impossible to discuss dating relationships and marriage and not talk about sex. In the Bible, sex is a holy part of the marriage relationship. Genesis 2:24 says, “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.” One could even ask the question, “When is a person actually married?” Is it when they emotionally commit in their heart to marry a person? Or, is it during the marriage ceremony? Or, is a person married before the eyes of God when they have sex for the first time?

Those wondering, “What is Christian dating” should know that one’s view on the nature of sex will help determine if a dating relationship would be considered “Christian” or not. Two Christians in a dating relationship that hold sex as something holy, shared between two married individuals are closer to Christian dating.

In fact, in 1 Timothy 5:2, Paul encourages Timothy to treat younger women as sisters, with absolute purity. Those engaging in Christian dating should want the best outcome for the person they’re dating, whether or not they get married. The goal should be to present the person you’re dating to their future spouse with a clear conscience, whether or not that person is you. You should be able to stand up at their wedding and tell their future spouse that you treated them in the most holy way possible, with no guilt or shame.

Christian dating is about God: The goal of a Christian dating relationship isn’t only about marriage. It’s also about one’s relationship with God. The ideal Christian relationship should be entered into by two emotionally healthy individuals, each pursuing God. The dating relationship should encourage each to grow closer to God. If a relationship is pulling a person away from God, it’s a good indicator it may not be a healthy Christian relationship.  This is probably the first and most important guideline for Christian dating. Forgetting this can lead people to try to follow confusing dating rules, but not realize why.  

The Blessing of Christian Dating

There are many blessings to Christian dating. One of the best benefits is leaving a relationship with a clear conscience. Yes, you may leave with a broken heart, but you will not leave with unnecessary baggage or guilt, associated with a sexual relationship. If you consider yourself a follower of Jesus, maybe you’ve never tried a Christian dating relationship. Maybe it’s time to try something different and find out what God could do if you attempt dating his way instead of your own.