My wife and I have four children in their 20’s who are not yet married. I am writing to you what we have shared with them through the years about dating from a grace perspective in hopes that it will help you or someone you know.
The reality is that most people are not taught what God thinks about dating and how to be successful at it. Most acquire their dating advice from friends or the media but we can learn plenty from God and His Word.
When our kids were getting close to dating age, here are some of the most important things Ellen and I shared with them. I encouraged them not to date at all until they got in college or beyond. I told them it was primarily because I didn’t want them to experience broken hearts before they entered into marriage one day. My encouragement was for them to focus on their getting an education. However, I did give them grace by saying that if they dated, Ellen and I would support them and walk with them.
Two of our boys did decide to date some. We did walk with them during those times. Each had one relationship that brought pain but I did not say, “I told you so”. We loved them where they were just like God does with us. One of our boys did not date anyone seriously because of school work. Our daughter with Downs wants a boyfriend and we keep telling her to ask Jesus for one.
The main non-negotiable we have continued to strongly encourage our kids to decide is to only date and marry someone who loves Jesus as much as they do. Notice that we did not say someone who is a Christian or church goer. There are people who claim to be Christians and go to church but do not have a genuine relationship with Jesus. 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?” Though the context of that verse is about business, it certainly applies to dating and marriage.
As one who has Christ in you, you need to only date and marry someone who also has Christ in them but more than that, has a vibrant relationship with Him. How do you know if they do? If they don’t talk about their relationship with Jesus during the first one or two dates, you can be sure they don’t have that relationship. You can always ask them what kind of faith in God they have. Their answer will be very tell-tale, also.
I have counseled many Christ followers through the years, who are miserable because they married an unbeliever or a believer whose relationship with God was a “private matter”. They allowed themselves to fall in love with that person believing that it wasn’t a big deal or that the person would one day come to Christ. In most cases, that doesn’t happen.
You tend to marry people you date! So if you are currently dating or are of dating age, you need to make a decision NOW that you will only date and marry someone who loves Jesus as much as you do. If you are currently dating someone who does not, I urge you to break off that relationship. Though it may be painful now, you will save yourself from a lifetime of future misery and regret.
Is the topic of dating and relational health important to your family? check out our teen conference! You are never too young to learn who you are in Christ! We are also here for your whole family through personal counseling, Follow the link below to connect with us!