By Betsy St. Amant Haddox, Crosswalk.com
Dating can often feel like navigating a field dotted with land mines. One false move, and you’re in serious trouble! Whether you’re naturally a cautious planner or an impulsive thrill-seeker, dating can be exhausting and discouraging. There are many ditches to fall into on both sides of the road, and without the Light of the World, we’re sure to stumble in the darkness.
Thankfully, we’re not alone on our journey through dating. The Bible is the inspired word of God and serves as our guide through everything we experience—including relationships, break-ups, and marriage.
Here are 10 scriptures to help guide your dating decisions.
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1. Submit Your Desires to the Lord
"But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." (Matthew 6:33)
One of the most important things to remember when dating is not to allow the relationship to become an idol. Guard your heart and keep your focus on the Lord first and foremost. When we are following Him, other things in our lives—including the desires of our hearts—tend to fall into place. This isn’t a magic formula, but rather, a submission of our desires to the Lord as an act of trust and surrender.
2. Don't Hang around Temptation
“For at the window of my house I have looked out through my lattice, and I have seen among the simple, I have perceived among the youths, a young man lacking sense, passing along the street near her corner, taking the road to her house in the twilight, in the evening, at the time of night and darkness. And behold, the woman meets him, dressed as a prostitute, wily of heart. All at once he follows her, as an ox goes to the slaughter, or as a stag is caught fast till an arrow pierces its liver; as a bird rushes into a snare; he does not know that it will cost him his life.” (Proverbs 7:6-10, 22-23)
Purity in dating is crucial to our walk with the Lord and the well-being of our relationships. Couples who participate in sexual intimacy before the covenant of marriage are in sin. This isn’t an arbitrary rule of God to keep us from having fun, but rather to protect us physically and emotionally as we grow and learn about a potential spouse. Sexual intimacy bonds a couple and blinds them to red flags in each other’s character. It creates a false sense of security that will eventually shatter. It’s not worth it—and it grieves the Holy Spirit.
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3. Dating Unbelievers
"Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever?" (2 Corinthians 6:14-15)
When considering whether to date someone, the first question we should ask is “are they a Christian”? This doesn’t mean checking to see if they mumble a prayer before scarfing down a cheeseburger or whether they somewhat regularly attend church. This means, do they walk with God? Are they convicted of sin? Do they read the Word and attend church on their own, outside of any prompting from you? Were they doing so before you came into the picture? Falling in love with someone who doesn’t share your beliefs will lead to inevitable heartbreak. If they’re not a believer, it doesn’t matter how kind, handsome or generous they are—don’t do it. Wait and trust the Lord to bring you a man after His own heart.
4. Trust His Guidance through the Ups and Downs
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)
Patience is a valuable tool in the world of dating. I remember that dating (after an unwanted divorce) was one of the most frustrating things I’d ever encountered. It was hard enough dating in my 30’s after I’d gotten married at age 20. It was even harder dating as a single parent. I had to do a lot of trusting in the Lord, a lot of leaning on His understanding, and a lot of sighing on lonely nights. But after some straying on my part, He made my path straight, and I remarried a godly single dad a few years ago. I look back now and am so grateful that I didn’t keep wandering down the crooked paths I was forcing for myself out of impatience. Trust Him and His timing, single ladies!
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5. Honor Each Other as Brothers and Sisters in Christ
Dating should be about respect and honor. For example, a man shouldn’t push a woman to be intimate physically (or vice versa), but rather, he should honor her body and her heart as a sister in Christ. When a couple in a dating relationship both strive to show each other honor, they’ll inevitably end up honoring the Lord as well. This is a fantastic goal.
6. Learn to Love according to God’s Word
“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)
We need not look any further than 1 Corinthians 13 for instructions on how to love each other well. This goes for friendships, family relationships, and romantic relationships.
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7. Know Why You Are Dating
“Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” (Genesis 2:24)
The end goal of dating should be marriage. If you’re not old enough or almost old enough to get married, there’s truly no reason to date. Dating as young teenagers brings too much temptation and heartbreak into the picture. Marriage is an illustration of the covenant relationship between Christ and His bride, the church. Everything we do in dating leads to this goal—two becoming one.
8. Be Responsible for Each Other’s Purity
“Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.” (Hebrews 13:4)
Those who are in a dating relationship should practice purity for the sake of their future marriage. They can start keeping the marriage bed honorable and undefiled by setting boundaries and guardrails physically during their season of dating. If the relationship doesn’t end in marriage, nothing was defiled and there was no sexual immorality.
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9. Take Your Time
“I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, by the gazelles or the does of the field, that you not stir up or awaken love until it pleases.” (Song of Solomon 2:7)
Song of Solomon and his bride lovingly warn us not to stir up love before it pleases. In other words, don’t rush things! Don’t pine for a relationship while you’re single. Don’t pine for marriage while you’re dating. Rather, embrace each season of your life with trust in the very God who has your days numbered and planned.
10. Know Who You Belong To
“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” (Romans 12:1)
When dating, we would do well to remember that as Christians, our bodies are not our own, but were bought with a price. Everything we do with our bodies, both in and out of dating relationships, should be acceptable before God.
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