Whether you’re 40 and single, or 16 and single, if you desire to be married, that desire is good and it’s from God, so align your emotions with what God wants for you, and not what everyone else is doing.
Here are 13 biblical values I see when it comes to dating and Christianity:
(1) Take Advantage of Your Singleness.
If all you do while you’re single is sit around a dream about marriage and romantic love and constantly search for it, you’ll miss out on what God wants to do in you right now while you’re single. I feel strongly you should finish your education before marriage – and get your theology firm about God before marriage. Give your time to travel and go on church mission trips and work hard hours in your career and pay off any debt you owe. Don’t waste your single years away.
(2) Don’t Pursue a Serious Relationship Until You’re Mature Enough to Marry.
The movies and books and our friends are all about LOVE LOVE LOVE, vying to find that Prince Charming and that happy ending, but there should be a lengthy period of time in everyone’s life where we’re not thinking about crushes and romance and finding a spouse.
You should be preparing yourself for marriage. Some single people need biblical counseling to overcome a habitual sin in their lives – whether it’s pornography, or lying, or stealing, or substance abuse – so they can mature as a Christian.
If someone is a new or immature Christian, or if their just moving out of mom and dad’s home, or if they’re just getting into their career and this “bill paying” thing they’ll be doing until death – these are all good reasons to delay a serious relationship until maturity happens.
Until someone is mature enough to handle the responsibilities of marriage, they shouldn’t be in a romantic relationship. Instead they should be using their energy and experiences to mature.
3) Don’t Set Your Expectations Too High or Too Low.
Setting your expectations too low in a potential mate may lead to you making the worst mistake of your life. You’ll be miserable, and you deserve better. I don’t like it when people settle for just anyone due to low confidence, or because all their friends are getting hitched.
Now if you set your expectations too high, that can be futile as well. There was a period of time in my single life where I was only going get married to the actress Natalie Portman. It kind of narrowed my options down and had I stuck with it that silly expectation, I’d still be single and miss out on the person God wanted me to marry.
I’m not a fan of Christian singles having a long list of what they’re looking for in a lover. I think making a list of what you’re looking for in love is idolatrous because it’s just made up of what you dream about over thoughts of Jesus. And that list is probably someone just like you instead of finding someone different from you that you can learn to love and serve.
4) Don’t Even Think About Having a Romantic Relationship With Someone Who Doesn’t Love Jesus.
If Jesus is truly the center of your life, then a non-Christian won’t understand who you are, what you value, or even how to treat you the way God wants them to.
If you’re in a relationship with someone who doesn’t care about Jesus, then arguing over their sin will be a mess because they have no standard of morality outside of their own worldview.
Now, you can and should have non-romantic, evangelistic connections with non-Christians. Introduce your unbelieving female friends to Christian girls. Introduce your unbelieving male friends to Christian boys and pray for them date Jesus first before they date you.
If you’re in a marital relationship with an unbeliever, pray, pray, pray for them, be a Christ-like example to them, and keep your commitment to them. But know there will be difficulty because you submit to God and they don’t.
5) You Should Only Be in a Dating Relationship With One Person at a Time.
The goal of a Christian who isn’t called to be single is not to be someone’s boyfriend or girlfriend, it’s to be married.
I can’t stand the act of cheating. And even if it’s mutual to date around, it’s straight up mean to date multiple people at once, making them compete for your affection and attention.
I also think being in numerous relationships at once is better preparations for adultery in the future and not a covenantal marriage.
6) He Should Initiate and She Should Respond.
Any serious dating relationship should begin beautifully, and that beautiful genesis should be a man taking the brave step to kindly requesting an opportunity to get to know the woman better.
Any Christian woman going out on the prowl herself needs to drop hints, but not initiate. Guys are dense, yes, but she shouldn’t become the leader.
7) Get Your Head Out of the Clouds and Notice Who God’s Put in Front of You.
I get this feeling that Christian singles dream of some mythical person to be with when there are great single Christians in their church, or at their work, or somewhere right in front of them. In God’s plan, faithful awesome people are right in front of you. And while the girl shouldn’t chase the guy, she can put herself directly in front of him.
This is what the Old Testament book of Ruth is all about. God providentially put Ruth in Boaz’s field, but they weren’t together until Ruth considered the counsel of older believing women, got all dressed up and put herself in front of Boaz, not to chase him, but get in his way so he noticed her, and it ended up being one of the sweetest love stories in all of history.
8) Choose to Use Technology Wisely.
Stop looking at images dealing with pornography. That’s stupid and destructive. If you’re addicted to that, find a Christian friend to truthfully hold you accountable.
If you’re texting the opposite sex inappropriate statements, stop it.
If you’ve got pictures on social media that will cause someone else to stumble, take them off. Use technology wisely, as if Jesus is sitting next to you.
9) Invest Yourself in a Dating Relationship Only if You’re Completely Attracted to Them.
Duh, right? You should get excited and feel some butterflies and be attracted to them if you’re going to date them.
But attraction is more than someone who is hot and rich and hot. Attraction to a person must mean you’re attracted to the whole person.
Are you mentally attracted to them? Do you enjoy talking about faith and deep topics and like learning from them? Married couples could do well to remember their first few dates where it was all about learning about one another. Some of y’all cute married couples have stopped learning about one another. We never fully know God or our spouses on this side of heaven, so keep having great conversations.
You should be financially attracted to one another so you both can agree on the kind of lifestyle you dream about. If their bank account is unattractive to you and that matters, that’s what I mean by being completely drawn to them.
Above all you should be spiritually attracted to them. Do they inspire you by how much they love Jesus? By how much Scripture they know? By how loving and giving they are to others? By how pure they’re committed to being because they love Jesus more than they love their hormones?
I’m “integrity attracted” to my wife – I love watching the Holy Spirit work on her through the time she gives to God through reading the Bible. I love watching the Holy Spirit work through her to help others.
I’m “ministry attracted” to her as well, watching her be the church and serve others.
10) Only Get Serious With Someone Who Agrees With You on Primary Theological Issues.
As you get to know them better, get to know their theology better. It’s not enough to marry someone who calls themselves a Christian. If you want peace in the home, both sides need to have the same theological convictions.
For my wife and I, here’s what I mean: We both agree the Bible is God’s Word – that every syllable is from God’s mouth.
We both agree that God is Trinitarian – Father, Son, and Spirit. We both agree that the Son, Jesus, lived a perfect life and died for His imperfect creation. We both have a protestant view of Scripture.
We both agree on gender and family roles from the Bible – not from the 90’s, or the 50’s, or from our parents. The husband leads, the wife follows, the husband loves, the wife respects, and the children are a blessing from God. Our children aren’t ours, they’re God’s, and God has allowed us to care for them in a loving way to lead them to Christ.
We both agree that baptism is a command to obey from Jesus and that means a body under the water and back up, not sprinkling. We both agree that elders who lead the church are holy men, not women. From day one of our marriage we have never missed a tithe (givingi God 10% of our after-tax income) which shows God we also view money as something we borrow from God and use for Him and the church and others.
We both agree Christians are to be in the world and not of it. We look forward to being around sinners and loving them, but not participate with them in their sin…..I could go on, but be sure you’re having these important conversations, and if there’s a core disagreement, don’t overlook it. Get into Scripture together and you’ll find that conversation might lead to a break up, or for y’all to grow in your faith together and become more knowledgeable about God. You should be allies with your potential spouse on core values, not enemies – plus, raising the children is good this way, and going to the same church as a whole family is beneficial.
11) Protect Your Heart.
Getting to know someone takes time, so let’s not say “I love you” on your first date as you’re pulling into Micky D’s. Protect your heart.
If you give your heart away too quickly, you’ll find yourself trying to make the relationship work and be heartbroken in the end. It’s a momentous act to give your heart away, but it should only be done in the act of marriage.
12) Marry Someone Who Will Enjoy Every Season of Life With You.
I love my wife more today in my 30’s than I did in my early 20’s. We’ve grown through dating and working and moving and adopting and parenting and home buying and loving the church and I’m stoked about what’s coming our way next in life. I want to grow old with her. Don’t just think about how fun they are now, or how your wedding would be, or sex, try to think ahead for once at what every season of life.
13) Don’t have any sexual contact until marriage.
Single Christians, whether teens or older, are prone to ask the question, “Where is the line on how far is too far?”
This question irks my tater. How far is too far? The question is sinful because it’s asking how close can you get to sin without asking how close can you get to Jesus?
Ephesians 5:23 says, But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity….because these are improper for God’s holy people.
Not even a hint.
Massages don’t lead to prayer time. Being alone with the person you’re dating at night doesn’t lead to putting more clothes on. Not even a hint.
It’s possible for single Christians to avoid sexual sin. It’s possible by the power and wisdom of Christ to remain pure. As theologian John Piper writes, “theology can conquer over biology”. It is possible to remain pure.
Put Jesus above all, raise your children to love Him above all, and if you desire to please Him and pray, you’ll find love.
Thanks for reading. You are loved.