12.15.2016

Love In His Image: 7 Rules for Christian Dating

As a man or woman dedicated to the Christian faith - and with a devout focus on God’s place in our daily lives - navigating the waters of modern dating can be tricky indeed. The place of faith and God within the context of a new relationship can often bring to mind questions that are not so easily answered or put away.

The fact is that Christian singles who are marriage-minded and commitment-focused need more than Christian dating advice when it comes to the season of their lives where a potential mate comes along. They would flourish, instead, with guidelines and Christian dating rules that they can recognize within Scripture and bring along into the rest of their lives.

These 7 rules for Christian dating has precedent in a faith that is all about temperance, conscious choice and love...

Christian Dating Rule #1: Instead of “godliness”, look for growth in your partner’s faith

As it is stated in the Bible, “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). But, if you’re meeting online on a platform like EliteSingles, how can you get a sense of one’s commitment to faith?

The truth is that even a so-called Christian man or woman who identifies themselves as such or commonly visits church but does not actually act in his or her life to put sin to death, can be essentially “lawless”. There's no real faith in that person’s heart so belief becomes a namesake.

So instead of looking to check the boxes — “does he go to church?” or “does he own or know the Bible?” look for those around your potential partner who can speak of their reputation.

Over time you also want to observe an expressed seriousness in their hearts to grow and deepen their understanding of and relationship with God. It is this willingness to grow in one’s faith, either through discipleship or community involvement, that you can truly get a sense of their belief.

Christian Dating Rule #2: There may be no such thing as “too fast”

The best piece of Christian dating advice is this: “too fast” is only what you make of it. And so, like the judgement of a person's “Godliness”, look for quality and not a box to check. When you’re trying to assess “speed” of a relationship and how it’s progressing, you want to look within yourself (and behind their actions as well) for a sense of what is driving the heightened passion and regard.

Is it just a kind of lust? Is there truly a connection or is the relationship outpacing what you know about them or they know about you?

Moving “quickly” or not often comes with a sense of knowingness and security when one has made the right choice. So if you feel you “should” slow it down, do a double take and ask yourself if you’ve been able to see your potential partner’s “godliness” or what God has expressed through them and in them by virtue of their character.

If, on the other hand, there is an intuitive sense you get but that you just can’t quite put your finger on, that there is not enough here yet for either of you to justify such a rapid spark based on very little information or interaction, then it may very well be “too fast”.

Christian Dating Rule #3: Use social media wisely

For those who think that Christian dating rules should eschew all social media as a means of authentic connection, think again. That is certainly not what is being prescribed here.

The truth is, more exclusive platforms with a superior vetting and matching system can bring together Christian singles from all corners of the country in a soulmate meeting that might otherwise have never happened. As many mediums as there are, God works through them all.

However, one must also acknowledge the perils of technology and social media in particular. So all good Christian dating advice has to consider what kinds of interactions technology is being used support.

Keep interactions on social media without a flirting or teasing tone if it’s clearly going nowhere and there is no bid from either of you to try and define the relationship in any way. In this regard, social media allows people to hide behind a mask without ever having to “step up” and make a commitment.

It can be easy to like, comment and tweet at a whole range of singles at once and so it exacerbates a less pure form of how singles are approaching each other today.

However, if there is a real and stated sense of the fact that a man is pursuing a woman with the intent of a desire to establish a relationship and, furthermore, wants to make the commitment public knowledge, then that is a more than acceptable use of the social media medium.

Christian dating Rule #4: Stay open to a friendship blossoming into something more 

One of the best pieces of Christian dating advice is something that not only Christian singles can benefit from: even non-denominational singles who are looking for commitment-minded partners would do well to remember that the basis for any truly whole-hearted relationship is often friendship.

This is friendship that starts off between a man and a woman as a shared collection of interests, invitations to community and fellowship events or through discipleships. It is during these moments that you can observe one’s godliness and involvement of faith.

Even when meeting online, once you move to a local context, compatibility can only grow deeper. Yet even Christian singles worry about being physically attracted to their potential partners when all the other “pieces” of godliness and faith in Scripture.

The fact is the quality of “godliness” is going to be attractive and sexy to one who is truly God-loving because that value matters over all others — and thus beautifies your potential partner. Even if you don’t feel a physical spark, at first, keep your potential mate close because that friendship may begin to blossom in your eyes.

The only thing to remember is this: it is great to pursue women in this spirit of friendship, a man should do so with an eye to cementing it into something defined and committed.

Christian Dating Rule #5: Even while dating, a man can (and should) “lead” his girlfriend 

Biblically-speaking, a man should always lead his wife; not simply because this reflects the complementary nature of the two, but also because it is simply practical to maintain this structure. And, yet, when you’re just getting to know each other or be in that new “boyfriend-girl” stage, it can get tricky trying to know just how far a boyfriend can or should lead.

So a good rule of thumb is to use marriage as a yardstick: while a boyfriend should not “lead” his girlfriend or potential partner to the level of a husband and wife — which is to say he is not yet charged by God to lead, cover, provide and protect — he can absolutely encourage her already present devotion and natural gifts.

Christian Dating Rule #6: Remain in a position for purity

Christian dating rules always seem to hit this one on the head with a range of edicts so let’s not issue any ultimatums here. Instead, let’s understand the following: if the situation did not even present itself, what would be the case for talking about chastity or purity? None.

In the Song of Solomon, the desire to be physically close and intimate is inevitable and even beautiful. Here, Christian singles can turn to Scripture, once again, for an idea of how to navigate through modern dating. Staying sexually pure during dating is common sense for those who hold a high regard of godliness. In the Song of Solomon 1:16-17, the couple removes themselves from all temptation by keeping themselves out of the situation to begin with.

“Behold, you are beautiful, my beloved, truly delightful, our couch is green; the beams of our house are cedar; our rafters are pine.”

Instead of remaining indoors or in seclusion, the couple is outside, and visible to the public. For Christian singles, dating in groups or in public and not at hours where any potentially bad situations could arise is the right, smart and practical thing to do.

Christian Dating Rule #7: Cultivate the right desires

Often, Christian dating rules don’t take into account that the desire to be married is not only real but very good. Coming together as man and wife is not only not sinful but a direct expression of God’s own covenants.

The Creator has woven such a desire into our hearts so that we may act upon it. Modern dating means that you’re not only trying to find someone who is equal to you in education, family background, personality and income but also someone whose faith complements your own — and helps you to grow it, ideally.

When online on dating sites like EliteSingles, the first part is done for you through profiles, a unique vetting questionnaire and the platform itself. But deciding how much importance to place on finding a counterpart who shares your faith is ultimately up to you. Luckily, there are thousands of local Christian singles who sign up, with approximately 65,000 new members signing up every week.

At the same time, “quality” matches mean more than just surface characteristics. They also call for a deeper introspection into the desire to commit long-term. Many singles will eschew their beliefs in desperation to escape loneliness or the perceived (and flawed) assumption that dating mostly results in nothing.

But dating without the intention to be married or conscious choice to pursue a partner who truly lives between the bounds of a godly covenant is giving over to the cultivation of the wrong desires — these are the desires to escape boredom or the fear of being alone.

So take it lightly and easily. Do not compromise your own beliefs simply to find someone that might “match” you but does not hold your values to the same standard you do. Take the time to cultivate the right desires and pay due diligence - or use a service like EliteSingles that can do that for you!

Either way, it continues to be admirable, worthy and godly to go about your single life with just as much devotion and involvement in discipleship as if you were with a potential partner.

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