By Betsy St. Amant Haddox, Crosswalk.com
Have you ever wished you could open the Bible and see a direct answer to your dating questions? “Does God want me to date this person?” The Bible is living and active, and completely sufficient for everything we need to live our lives as followers of Christ. However, some answers don’t come first without a bit of digging and research. As much as we wish we could flip through the pages and land on a verse that plainly reads “Thou may accept Christopher’s engagement” or “Thou must not go to the dance with Michael,” it’s just not there in the way we tend to look for it.
But that doesn’t mean the answer doesn’t exist! So how can we know if God wants us to date someone?
In order to know if God wants you to date a person, you need to first consider if he wants you to date at all.
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What does the Bible say about dating?
If dating is meant for marriage, then it’s wise to consider what the Bible has to say about marriage as well. Paul spoke plainly his thoughts in 1 Corinthians 7, how it’s good to stay single and focused on the Lord. But he also made it clear that was his own opinion, not a direct order from God. He also pointed out how it was better to be married than to be distracted by lust. Also, we know that marriage in heaven won’t exist the way we know it on earth, but that doesn’t mean God is against marriage.
Quite the contrary—He created marriage. He said it wasn’t good for Adam to be alone, so He created a helpmate for him in Eve. Marriage is also a beautiful depiction of Christ and His bride, the church (Ephesians 5). If you feel a strong desire toward a spouse and marriage, there’s no Biblical evidence that you should ignore it.
How is God involved in dating decisions?
Dating is the first step toward marriage. Some Christians embrace the idea of courtship, which means they don’t date at all until they believe that specific relationship is heading toward marriage. While extreme versions of courtship can be unhealthy, the idea of casual dating among Christians is typically a bad idea. Hearts get broken, temptations abound, and emotions run high. Many Christians choose not to begin to date until they’re old enough to get married, because they don’t see the point otherwise.
Regardless of the various opinions on the “when” of dating, it seems that dating itself is the natural stepping stone to a godly marriage, and is therefore something Christians can freely participate in. But it’s important to note that dating, like all we do in life, should be to the glory of God.
“So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31)
“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (Colossians 3:17)
Are you able to bring glory to God through dating? Are you able to resist the temptation to sin sexually, or to create an idol of your developing relationship? All these things can be overcome through the help of the Holy Spirit. None of us get it perfectly right, but giving God glory through our dating life should be our ultimate goal—even beyond the goal of marriage. The relationship might not end up at the altar, but if you’re wondering if God wants you to date someone, it’s an easy “no” if you can’t date to the glory of God.
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Will God tell me if He wants me to date someone?
We can’t hear God’s voice if we don’t read His word and spend time fellowshipping with Him in prayer. If you were to ask your parent or sibling or friend a question and then immediately walked away and didn’t speak to them for weeks, you probably wouldn’t expect much of an answer. If you’re wondering if God wants you to date someone, you must spend time with Him.
God speaks to us through His word. While a specific answer with your name and the name of your potential spouse isn’t going to be found written in Scripture, there is much to learn about dating and marriage in the Bible. The Holy Spirit then brings the living Word to life as we read and He addresses our various situations and questions.
It's a running joke among Christians who have given up on dating that if God wants them to marry, He’s going to have to send someone to their front door—which basically means they’re destined to marry the pizza delivery guy. While that’s possible, it’s also unlikely. God can absolutely bring anyone to us at any time, and often, He does. But He also invites our participation into the process.
Natural attraction to someone and their good qualities can be from the Lord. Be careful not to take everything as a “sign” from heaven, but don’t write everything off with a jaded or cynical heart either. If a godly man catches your eye as a godly woman, you see no red flags in his character, and he asks you on a date—then pray. Seek the peace the Lord gives, and move forward cautiously and with eager anticipation.
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Will God tell me if He doesn't want me to date someone?
While there most likely won’t be an audible voice from heaven forbidding you to date someone by name, the Holy Spirit puts checks in our spirit that make it obvious in a different way. You know that feeling—that feeling that something is wrong, but you can’t figure out what. Maybe you find something justifying this person when your friend or family member express concern in your interest. Follow your instincts—the Lord gave them to you for a reason.
Sometimes, it’s not that simple. I once debated whether or not God wanted me to date someone, and I felt certain He did. I had peace, and there seemed to be a handful of “signs” suggesting this was a good thing. But once I entered into that relationship, I immediately saw red flags. I should have gotten out immediately. Instead, it took me months to quit fighting the obvious and do the right thing, and the casualties were much greater to my heart and to his.
It’s important to note that when wondering if God wants you to date someone, that you pray, read the Word, and find peace in moving forward—and realize that starting a relationship doesn’t necessarily mean you’re supposed to stay in the relationship. God gave you wisdom—use it.
The Bible also offers plenty of more commands that apply to all Christians on their dating journey. For example, God’s word is clear that believers aren’t to date nonbelievers. “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14).
Is the person you’re interested in a believer? If the answer is no, then the answer is no. You are not to date this person, no matter how attractive they are or how they make you feel or how many charities they give money to. This isn’t an arbitrary rule, but one designed to protect our hearts, and the hearts of any future children you might have. The Old Testament is full of examples of what went wrong when Israel married into pagan cultures. It’s a disaster for all involved. Trust the word of God and don’t start a relationship with someone who doesn’t love the Lord with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength.
If you’re wondering if God wants you to date someone and you’re feeling frozen with confusion or fear of doing the wrong thing—relax and remember there is grace. If you’re seeking the Lord, spending time in His word, communing with Him in prayer, and if you have a heart that desires to please Him and bring Him glory, then you can rest assured that He walks with you every messy step of the way. And if you make a dating decision that you end up regretting later, remember that Romans 8:28 was written for you, and God will work out everything, even our mistakes, for our good. Not all relationships lead to marriage, but they absolutely can lead to a refinement of our hearts and a purifying of our wills. Nothing is wasted.
Related Resource: Check out our FREE young adult podcast Big Pond, Little Fish! Host Alyssa Roat joins other young professionals in a podcast exploring life, career, family, friends, and calling from the perspective of a young Christian fish trying to make a splash in the world’s big pond. All episodes are at LifeAudio.com. You can listen to her episode on singleness by clicking the play button below:
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Betsy St. Amant Haddox is the author of more than fifteen inspirational romance novels and novellas. She resides in north Louisiana with her hubby, two total-opposite young daughters, a vast collection of novels, and an impressive stash of Pickle chips. Betsy has a B.A. in Communications and a deep-rooted passion for seeing women restored in Christ. When she’s not sweating it out at Camp Gladiator or trying to prove unicorns are real, Betsy can usually be found somewhere in the vicinity of a white-chocolate mocha. Look for her latest novel with Revell, Tacos for Two, coming October 2021. You can visit Betsy at http://www.betsystamant.com.
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