Scripture to Consider

·       Proverbs 4:23, “Guard your heart” – don’t give your heart away too quick. Right? You’re out on the first date, don’t be thinking, “I wonder what our kids’ll look like?” It’s too early. Okay? You’re too far down the road.

1 Corinthians 13:3 “love is patient”  True love does not prove itself in sexual intimacy, because. When you wait and save yourself for your wedding day—it’s honoring to your marriage and to the Lord. Focus your energy and emotion into spiritual growth—you will have no regrets

·       Corinthians 6:4 “Do not be unequally yoked.”

Job 31:1, “I made a covenant with my eyes not to look upon a woman lustfully.”

Song of Solomon says, “Don’t arouse or awaken love until it’s time.”

1 Cor. 6:19-20 “your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit…you are not your own…”

What to Do About Dating

Because dating was not culturally relevant in the time of the Bible, modern Christians are left with several options.
1) Ignore the Bible on this topic
2) Take everything the Bible says about marriage and apply it to dating
3) Pick and chose which Biblical mandates regarding dating you will follow

Unfortunately none of these are perfect options.  What we ought to do instead is look at our created order as men and women (creation theology - Genesis 1-2), the relationship within the three Persons of the Trinity (trinitarian theology), and how we are meant to act and what we are meant to look for in a marriage relationship and then, through prayer and with dependence on the Spirit and in conversation with older, wiser believers, form our views on dating.

But that requires significantly more effort and thought than most of us want to put in.
So we either do our own thing or read a dating book (Christian and non) and just go with that.

We need to take dating both more and less seriously.  More seriously in the sense that dating is an opportunity to grow in Christ and treat our significant other with love, respect, dignity and kindness OR an opportunity to move into serious sin and MIStreat our significant other by being manipulative, abusive, disrespectful, unkind, inconsiderate, etc.  If you aren't in a healthy place in your relationship with God, you aren't in a healthy place to date.  Relationship with God comes first – not finding joy in singleness or marriage.  If you aren’t close to Jesus, work on that first.

Less seriously in the sense that if I ask a girl to go out to dinner and a movie, she doesn't just think "do i want to get to dinner and a movie with him?" but instead "what does this mean? does he like me? do i like him?  what if we go and have a horrible time?  what if we go and i like him and he doesn't like me?  or what if he likes me and i don't like him? how awkward would that be? and what do i wear? and what happens to our friendship? etc etc etc."

People - ITS ONE DATE.  We need to calm down and not make one date equate to long-term dating.  One date means one date.  At most it means the potential for date #2.  It doesn't mean you are going to be in a long-term relationship or get married and all that.

Who to Date

WHAT NOT TO DO: 1) Have Unrealistic Expectations
We need to realize that, even as we get to the age where we are looking for potential future husband or potential future wife that PFH/PFW will probably NOT immediately appear like the wife or husband we are looking for. Why?

1) Because we may not know them well yet but also 2) (most importantly) say you date for a year and then get married - they will grow over the course of that year.  They won't stay static.  So while they might be ready to be a good husband in a year, they aren't today.  And that's ok - they aren't supposed to be.

So we can't keep looking for the perfect wife or husband b/c chances are they aren't ready to be a spouse and you probably aren't either!  We need to show people grace not only once we are married but while we are looking for boyfriend and girlfriends.  This does NOT mean you don't have standards - it simply means that you have realistic standards that recognize that the Lord is still working on him or her.  Look for someone who is moving in the direction of being the husband or wife you want (personality, calling, relationship with the Lord, etc) instead of someone who already is RIGHT NOW the husband or wife you want.

So, be reasonable with your expectations!  Some women's expectations are so high that if Jesus walked in the room, they'd say "I don’t like the facial hair!"

WHAT TO DO: Be Wise!
1) A good question to ask yourself when considering dating someone: Would I be excited if one of my close friends was dating someone like this? Would I recommend someone younger that I am spiritually leading, to date someone like this? Would I want my sons or daughters one day to be like this or to date someone like this?  Often we have higher standards for someone we love than we do for ourselves.
                Side note: if your friends or family are cautious or disapproving- that is probably not a good sign, and you’d be wise to heed their caution and advice!

2) Look at who God has put in front of you!  Who has God put into your friend group that you are overlooking?

3) Avoid savior/hero complex – I will fix, rescue, change them!  That’s Jesus’ job – they need Jesus, not you.

4) Good Questions to Ask:

If You're a Man:
1. Do you honor her, God, her family and friends? Do you get to know the people who love her? Good guy has nothing to hide – bad guy wants to isolate her away from her friends and family.

2. Is she modest? If she doesn’t just love your attention but everyone’s then she might be a good time but not a good wife.

3. Will she trust you as a leader? Is she more mature than you? Is she unwilling to be led?

4. Does she have noble character?
Prov 31 – "A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth more than rubies."  She is going to be your wife for life, raise your kids.  Do you trust her to raise your children? Does she make you a better man? 
Do you want your daughters to be like her? Do you want your sons to marry someone like her? Because they will.

If You're a Woman:
1. Is he responsible? Do you have to drag him to church, push him to class or homework, make him read his Bible? How is he going to be a husband/ dad?  Are you his girlfriend or his mom?

2. Is he considerate and gentle? 1 Peter 3:7 – "Husbands in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, treat them with respect."  Dating – he’s on his best behavior, its only going to get worse in marriage.  Does he raise his voice at you or threaten to hit you or actually hit you? Do you feel safe with him? Do you trust him?

3. Will he be a good dad? Eph 6:4 – bringing up your children in the training and instruction of the Lord.

4. Is he a one woman man? 1st Tim 3:2.  Is he always checking other women out, flirting all the time, got other women on the side, looking at pornography?  Not expecting perfection but is he a man of high character?

5. How valuable are you to him?

6. Do you want your sons to be like him? Do you want your daughters to marry someone like him? Because they will.

Love and Boundaries

(From Krystal) One of the things that was so redeeming about my relationship with Jordan and helped me to trust him and feel safe was the way that he protected our physical boundaries. 

I want to say a very bold truth loud and clear that you won’t hear in our culture: Someone having sex with you or touching you does NOT mean that they love you.   Someone protecting physical boundaries and making sure you do not get sexually involved in any way shows strongly that they love you! 

Love is selfless and sacrificial, not selfish. Someone touching you or becoming sexually involved with you in any way before marriage is entirely selfish. 

To be honest with you I was a little confused at times with the way Jordan protected us in this area, because I had never had a guy do that before and not try to cross lines!
I remember having a conversation with Jordan about it when we were dating, and he said that he had seen the way my past has hurt me so deeply and affected me emotionally, and he NEVER wanted to do anything that would hurt me like that.

Now THAT is love, is it not?! Completely denying yourself what you want, for the good of another.

Scripture ultimately shows us what love is through the example of Jesus Christ- who gave His whole life as a sacrifice,
literally dying for those He loves.  The world tells us that love is a feeling that you can fall in and out of.  Scripture tells us that love is selfless, patient and sacrificial.  So if you really love someone, that does not mean you become sexually involved.  It means the opposite! It means you put what God designed for that person and their sexuality above your own selfish desires for what will make you feel good.

And get this: Jordan protecting our boundaries has actually made me trust him so much!  Think about it.  If he can be that disciplined and flee from temptation with the woman he is in love with and wants to marry; than I have so much more faith that he can exercise that same discipline & fleeing from temptation from other women.  And as someone who has been cheated on a lot in the past, this is a BIG deal!  I wasn’t sure how I’d ever be able to trust a man again.  But he earned it back. 

And unfortunately, on the other side of the coin, I have a Christian friend from college who ended up sleeping with her husband before they got married.  The whole first year of her marriage, she lived in fear.  She would tell me that she was skeptical about some of his contact & relationships with women he worked with in the office.  And know what she said to me one day? “If he couldn’t keep himself from crossing those lines with me before we got married, how do I know he’ll be able to keep himself from crossing those lines with other girls?”

The decisions you make in this area before you get married, will deeply impact your marriage, TRUST me.  If you can be disciplined and wait and honor God with your purity and your body, your spouse will trust you more and there will be more security & faithfulness in your marriage.  If you become sexually involved in any way- with other people, OR with your spouse before you get married- it will affect your marriage.

BUT there is forgiveness if you’ve already crossed those lines.  I am living proof of that.  Not only forgiveness, but redemption.  There’s no better day than today to start living differently, and experience the freedom & joy for pursuing Christ’s purpose for your sexuality, safe in marriage.

I think one of the biggest answers to this whole entire topic and all it entails: Dating, sexuality, break ups, etc is
COMMUNITY!! Going through these things alone is isolating and dangerous, and is not how God designed us to live life.  We need Christians in our life that we can confide in, that we can seek counsel from and pray with!

Dealing with Conflict

Conflict isn't bad.  Conflict happens in relationships.  You need to not be afraid of conflict.  Conflict that isn't dealt with but is just bottled up is bad.  Conflict that you work through together with honesty and humility is good. 

The BEST thing you could do for your relationship is let God be the center and leader.  The SECOND best thing you could do is establish a conflict cycle of confrontation, confession, repentance and forgiveness.  One of you does something wrong, the other brings it up, you are maybe surprised or hurt or upset but think about it and pray about it and come back and admit you were wrong and asks forgiveness and your bf/gf forgives AND forgets and moves past it.

This is maybe the hardest part of a relationship but it is an opportunity for both of you to be more like Jesus, to care for each other really well, and to have a mature, growing, honest relationship.

Dating Long Distance

Because you are far away, it is 100% imperative that you be completely honest with each other since you won't get to talk except on the phone.  If something is bothering you and it is going to keep bothering you, you need to tell your bf/gf so he/she doesn't have to guess or wonder or just not know.  90% of communication is non-verbal... but you only have the verbal so you need to take good communication and honesty very seriously.

But you also need to trust each other and let the other person re-think what they are going to say. If the other person starts to say something and then changes his mind, you need to be ok with that (and vice-versa).  Once words are said they can never be taken back and since you don't have body language or anything to go with it, it is good for you two to really be smart about what you say and what you don't say.

Also, if you are both being honest, then you can trust that the other person is caring for you by not saying what they were going to, instead of hiding something from you.

*Don't be distracted on the phone.  You don't get to talk often so get away from the computer, TV, book, whatever and focus on the conversation.  Long phone conversations can be hard to focus (esp for guys) but it is important, your bf/gf is important, so FOCUS! :)

Give yourselves grace.  Long distance can be a difficult phase of your relationship. You both have a lot going on.  You are far apart.  You won't get to talk a lot.  Give yourselves grace.  It IS going to be hard sometimes.  You ARE going to miscommunicate sometimes.  You WILL have conflict.  All of this is normal - give yourselves grace :)

Sex and Dating by Mindy Meier

Sex and Dating by Mindy Meier is a great resource as you think about issues of dating and sexuality.  Mindy is a longtime IV staff worker and has tons of very practical wisdom in this area.  The book is done in Q+A format and is very easy to read.  

Some examples of topics she covers:"Are we friends or are we dating? How can I tell?"

"I'm addicted to male attention. How can I break free?"

"I've been sexually abused. Will that affect my ability to have a good sex life?"

"What's so bad about having friends with benefits?"

"I've been hurt before. How can I ever trust anyone again?"You can find her book here:

Mark Driscoll sermon on Dating

Pastor Mark Driscoll from Mars Hill Church in Seattle gives a very direct, honest, practical sermon on dating.  Really helpful stuff to think about.  Plus, type "dating" into the search bar on the top right to find lots of other helpful resources.