Who frames our concepts about dating? Most of the dating concepts that have been formed in our minds is by what we see in the movies, talk shows, soaps, etc. However, it's up to us to choose to be squeezed into the world's mold.
Romans 12:2 says, "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is - his good, pleasing and perfect will." So how can we apply this verse to dating?
It's very simple, do we allow the world, the media, the people around us, etc. to tell us by what standards we are to live or do we allow the Holy Bible to guide us?
The Bible is the 'Word of God' which has all the information we need during our lifetime. Are we willing to allow God to guide us in this area of dating? Though the Bible does not specifically list down a set of Christian dating rules, there are various guidelines given for us that will help us in the same
The primary question 'should you date in the first place?' is one only you can answer for yourself. There is no information about dating or not dating in the Bible. Dating is a cultural concept and if your culture accepts dating, then it's not such a big issue. Lots of regions in the world do not accept dating as a morally acceptable practice.
For example, in the United States, dating is a very common practice. But, in India, Pakistan, the Arab countries, etc. dating is not commonly accepted. Christian dating in some regions is openly allowed for singles who are praying for a life partner. Various Christian dating sites are available where Christian singles can look for their soulmates.
Let's look at what the Bible has to say about relationships and marriage. Rules were made by God not to place a burden on us or to intimidate us, instead to help us set safe boundaries for ourselves so that we do not go astray. So let your minds be receptive!
Maintain the Right Focus
If God is not your first love, then do not date. It's as simple as that! Young people seeking affection from their girlfriend or boyfriend will only end up dissatisfied. You cannot enter a relationship to seek love, instead only get into a relationship if you can give love.
If you are empty within and are looking for somebody to fill that emptiness, dating is not the solution. If your girlfriend or boyfriend is also seeking love, instead of giving love, then it's a total disaster!
You can only give unconditional love, if Jesus has flooded your heart with love. Imagine the two of you trying to draw water from a well, thinking the other is filling the well, only to find that each time the bucket comes up, it's empty.
If you still do enter a relationship without finding love and security in Jesus, then after the glitter of infatuation has faded away, you will find yourself enveloped in bouts of frustration. The two of you will realize you guys are not made for each other and you move on to look for another. It's a pathetic vicious cycle.
If you're empty, go to church and read your Bible. Allow Jesus to fill you with His everlasting love. Ask a person rooted in Christ to guide you and help you. Thus, it's important to have the right focus while entering dating. Date only if you have the ability to give love. Follow this and you will enjoy your dating period.
Moreover, if you do not wish for the dating to end in marriage, do not date. Dating with the intention of having temporary fun is not right. Check your intentions and only then move ahead. Don't put the cart before the bullock and everything will be fine!
Whom Should You Date
If Jesus is the first love of your life and has flooded your heart with His love, then move to the next question of 'whom should you date?' The Bible sets clear guidelines for this. 2 Corinthians 6:14 says, "Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?"
In simple words this means do not date non-believers. Just because we are born in Christian families does not mean we become Christians. Yes, in the world's eyes we definitely are called Christians, but, we can only call ourselves Christians if we have made a personal commitment to Jesus Christ after putting our faith in Him and confessing that He is God.
While dating you need to check if you both are equally yoked. Is he or she you are dating a believer of Jesus Christ? Has he or she made a personal commitment? Do not cling to the hope that one day you can convert the person and lead to him to Christ. This is a common mistake people make.
They feel after getting married to the person, he or she can change their spouse. Don't try to change or convert any person. That person will only hate you even more and will resent Christianity and Christians. Thus, only be yoked with believers. How does this matter?
Well, consider the example of 2 horses, with a rope tied to one leg of each horse. If you place two piles of hay at different ends and leave the horses to go and have their meal, what happens? If one horse wants to eat from pile 'A' and the second horse wants to eat from pile 'B' and both are equally stubborn and refuse to give in, what will the outcome be?
It's simple, both walk towards the respective piles, but, due to the cord tying them they cannot reach their hay. Moreover, the cord tying them will only rub its way into their skin and cause them to hurt and bleed. This is exactly what happens in a marriage tying two people of different beliefs, different principles.
It's not that people of two faiths have not been able to live together, scores of people are unequally yoked, however, by doing this we are only forfeiting the blessings God had in store for us had we married a person in His will. Pray about the person you are interested in dating. Bring him before God and ask God if he or she is in His perfect will.
Pray that the door will close if he or she is not the right person for you. God will never force his opinion on you. You can marry whom you want, it's your choice. It's also your choice if you want to seek God's will in this area. Trust God's decision. He will only give you the 'BEST'!
Drawing the Lines
The world does not see sleeping with your date as a big deal. In fact live-in relationships are so widely accepted that the covenant of marriage is no longer considered important before a man and woman unite. Fornication, premarital sex, etc. are considered so casually these days that it's so easy for young people to be sucked into the pit of sexual sin.
The Bible clearly states in 1 Corinthians 6: 18, "Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body...
...Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body."
Thus, it is clear that till a couple does not enter the marriage covenant, having sexual relations is sin. Sexual sin has dire consequences, so do not play the fool. The best way to avoid being tempted in this area is to avoid meeting at place where you both will be alone.
Go around to crowded places or hang out with other couples. We are all humans and are all vulnerable. By avoiding secluded places, one can actually block any room for temptation to take over.
Remember that even if you both love each other and are pledged to get married, nothing justifies sex before marriage. The order is love, marriage and sex, not love, sex and marriage. Honor God in your relationship and He will honor you and your spouse.
These are just three of the foundational Christian dating rules. If the foundation is set right, the building constructed on it will stand firm. Bring your heart's desires before God's throne and see how He will bless your life abundantly! God bless you!