Why Are Christians So Bad at Dating?

Here’s a reality check for the confusion and fear we’ve built around relationships.

Once upon a time, I freaked out about dating.

As hard as it is now to admit, I was that young Christian girl who jumped on the bandwagon of kissing dating goodbye—except, of course, for dating Jesus. I repressed my desire for dating and decided that courtship was the “holier” course of action for my life. Interacting with the opposite sex became this pressure-filled, awkward interaction that left me feeling confused, impatient and lacking control. I bought into the theory that dating was wrong and that the only way to find God’s one and only match for my life would be to wait for Him.

You can’t have a healthy relationship if you don’t first have a good handle on who you are.

So, I waited. And waited. And waited.

Then in walked Mr. Prince Somewhat-Charming. He initiated, and I responded. That’s how it’s supposed to work, isn’t it? So excited to finally meet a man who pursued me, I jumped at the chance to enter into a relationship with him. But the longer the relationship progressed, the more I was certain that it was not the right fit for my life. I was so afraid of playing the dating game, however, that I stayed in the relationship far longer than I should have.

Though I wish I could change my relationship history, my choices make sense in the context of my former belief system. Let’s be honest: The world of dating can be hard to navigate for a young Christian. Dating in wider society is often portrayed as a feel-good experience. If you feel “right” together, if you’re having fun, if there’s passion and pleasure, then it must be a good relationship. But if this is the foundation of a relationship, commitment is often trumped by chemistry and loyalty is often replaced with lust. It’s a mentality that causes us to live in the moment, rather than building a future at the same time.
It’s no wonder Christians tend to freak out about dating. Rather than trying to navigate through the world of dating in a healthy way, it’s easier to overcompensate for one extreme by simply developing another. So in the Christian community, models of courtship, no kissing until the altar, “God-told-me-to” break-up excuses and other confusing circumstances abound.

Yet as I began to engage in the balancing act between the world’s perspective of dating vs. the “Christian” perspective of dating, I found myself empowered and my relationships enhanced. I finally felt that I was able to take control of my life and relationships, rather than allowing my culture and sub-culture to take control of me. And before I knew it, I also stopped freaking out about dating. Here are a few things that helped me—and can maybe help you—reclaim this balanced perspective when it comes to dating:

Date to know Yourself

You can’t have a healthy relationship if you don’t first have a good handle on who you are. And if you don’t know yourself, you won’t know what you’re really looking for in a boyfriend or girlfriend. It’s important to begin this journey long before you are in a dating relationship, but to then allow this process to extend into your dating relationships. Take time to reflect on who you are, what you want and where you are going. See your interactions as a reflection of your strengths, weaknesses and tendencies. Be observant and cultivate self-awareness so that, through every relationship in your life, you can become a better version of yourself.

I was using dating as the scapegoat for my own fears and deep-seated insecurities. Dating wasn’t the problem, the problem was with me.

Take it one date at a time

Everything good in life happens as a result of time. Growth, intimacy and commitment in a relationship are all things that require life’s natural unfolding to bring them into full bloom. If time brings things into fruition, why do Christians psyche themselves out into thinking that they have to know if that person is “The One” within 24 hours of meeting them? Talk about some serious pressure. It’s no wonder she’s afraid to text him back, and he’s afraid to ask her out for coffee. A word for you: Relax. Take it one date at a time, and trust God’s leading along the way. You don’t have to have it all figured out, or know that this is “The One,” as long as He’s guiding you every step of the way.

Date toward no regrets

Though the modern concept of dating is not mentioned in Scripture, principles of interacting with one another are everywhere in the Bible. Applying these standards to your actions will give you guidance in interacting with the opposite sex in a way that will leave you without regrets. We are called engage in relationships that are mutually edifying, encouraging and uplifting (1 Thessalonians 5:11). We are asked to reserve sexual intimacy for the covenant relationship through marriage (Song of Solomon 8:4, Hebrews 13:4, 1 Thessalonians 4:3). We are encouraged to see everything we do in life as an opportunity to glorify God (1 Corinthians 10:31). Why not see dating as just another means to this glorious end?

But here’s the real reason Christians are bad at dating. And I can say this from personal experience: I was using dating as the scapegoat for my own fears and deep-seated insecurities. Dating wasn’t the problem, the problem was with me. When I finally came to terms with the reality that dating was not the enemy, I was freed to address my own misconceptions and issues when it came to relating to the opposite sex. And I was free to take control of my relationships rather than allowing them to take control of me.

Dating is confusing, exciting, difficult and really fun. But it’s time to change the subculture of fear we as Christians have sometimes created around it. It’s time to stop freaking out about dating and see it as an opportunity for connection and growth. It’s time to take the pressure off of “finding The One” and instead learn to glorify The One through every interaction that we have with those around us—dating included.

27 Comments

Galactus Schroeder

3

Galactus Schroeder commented…

Yeah I unfortunately was inspired to never date for fear of ever having sex with someone by an overzealous traveling religious speaker who came to our youth group once.

It ultimately became a crutch to avoid social interactions and I regret that decision pretty much every day of my therapy.

Franc Werner

12

Franc Werner commented…

Women today are very frustrated because of dating but they really dont know why. The reason why is b/c today there are no rules for courtship and dating. This wasnt always so. Before the sexual revolution there were a lot of rules and regulatons set up by society which worked like safe and healthy boundaries, but after the sexual revolution they were thrown out of the window, and all that was left was frustration without knowing why. See, 60 years ago it was impossible for a boy to se the bedroom of a girl, but today boys see their bedrooms, their lingery laying around, there is no mystery anymore. Christians are bad at dating b/c they are more naive than other people, sad but true, and then they make huge mistakes by being alone with that certain somebody, and then the train gets into motion, and no one alife can stop that train, and then after that you are in a vulnerable situation, and then it breaks up b/c there was no commitment, and then your heart is broken, which, in fact, never heals after you have been emotionally bound to someone by an physical act, and then you read break up books and accidentally also books about dealing with bereavement, and you realise that the steps for healing after a break up and after somebody died are actually the same, and you are wounded for the rest of your life, and this wound makes you do all kinds of crazy stuff in the beginning. Jesus never wanted us to have a broken heart. Thats why we should in courtship follow the road marked on our heavenly Fathers map.

Its not only important to know yourself but to believe that you are a creature unlike any other, and to behave like that.

Dating is like a job, and it needs rules and regulations. Always end a date first. Never talk to a man first or ask him to dance. Never call a man end rarely return his calls. Always and a phone call first, preferably after 4 minutes to leave him with the impression, I want more! If you talk on the phone 4 hours he will know everything about you and it will become lame. You see, men like to hunt, but we dont like when the dear shots itself and jumps on the truck. Its all about playing hard to get. Its about having healthy boundaries to protect you from a vulnerable situation.

Wesley Hague

8

Wesley Hague commented…

Bout time, I get to read something like this.

Christianity as a whole has made "dating/courting/finding a partner somehow" such a convoluted mess. There is so many "rules and regulations" we set up, and well if you screw up, your going to Hell.

The entire point of "dating" is spending time with someone to see if they are compatible. To see how you get along, to see how you are treated, and how you are able to treat the other person. To see how well each person respects the other persons boundaries. To see how each peoples react to the differences in all of us. Its not about just spending time alone, and while it should always have the end goal of marriage, this part does not need to be answered immediately.

There are so many stupid rules, that are so stereotypically horrible, that only serve to confused people. The only RULES that should be followed are the ones that every Christian should follow, not these stupid convoluted rules that make communication impossible.

Millie Anderson

14

Millie Anderson commented…

Thank you so much, Debra! You have some really good insight on this subject. This is something that needs to be said - well done! :)

Joe Rol

1

Joe Rol commented…

Hey guys great article. And if your looking for a good website to date and chat with other Christians check this out. Online Fellowships

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