Since the days of Joshua Harris’ I Kissed Dating Goodbye, it’s become increasingly common for articles and sermons to surface with advice and specific instructions on how we, as Christians, should date.
Single Christians are doing their absolute best to get this dating thing down pat, but with hundreds of different instructions being given to them, implementing what Christian dating should and should not look like, they can tend to get a little lost along their dating path.
Here are some common myths about dating that Christians actually believe:
“I’m just dating Jesus for now.”
Have you ever gotten dumped and this was their excuse? Yikes.
Don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing wrong with taking a little time to work on your personal relationship with Jesus before getting involved with someone. However, pursuing Jesus does not mean discontinuing your social and dating life.
God wants you to fellowship and date other Christians. Use your relationship to build each other closer to God and focus on Him.
“Don’t date them unless you’re sure you’re going to marry them.”
WRONG! A big problem in Christian dating culture is the idea that young adults should limit their co-ed relationships to candidates who they can fast-track to marriage. Instead of putting so much emphasis on getting the “ring by spring,” focus more on getting to know someone, spending time with them and enjoying their company.
It doesn’t have to be so serious right away. In the end, if it doesn’t end up in marriage, that’s OK too! It was a learning experience either way. Try not to focus so much on finding “the one” right away.
“If Jesus wants me to date or to be married, He will put the right person in my lap. I don’t have to try.”
If you refuse to move away from your couch and are only concerned with bingeing The Office for the 46th time in a row, God isn’t going to be able to “drop the right person in your lap.” Go out and get involved in your community and meet people.
There are plenty of different ways to get involved in your community or church that can help you meet people. Put yourself out there. It’s worth the risk. Though this may be a lot easier said than done, especially for introverts, more effort will lead to more opportunities to find lasting love.
“If we’re dating, we shouldn’t spend time together alone or be intimate in any way.”
PSA: There are other forms of intimacy that aren’t sex. The idea that you shouldn’t be alone together before you’re married sounds noble, but it actually comes from a place of fear. The solution isn’t to avoid spending alone time together at all—you need to spend quality time with each other as part of building a foundation for your relationship—but to learn discipline. You can control your hormones. You just don’t want to. And that’s something you’re going to have to overcome in order to spend some good, valuable time together.
Have deep, intellectual conversations. Ask personal questions and give vulnerable answers. Talk about your spirituality and your faith journey together. Take the time to listen to the other person’s thoughts, mindset, hopes and dreams. Intimate conversations and moments together like this could allow for a stronger, more contented relationship.
“My wife/husband is going to be ___ because I asked God for that.”
I had a friend back in high school who had a piece of paper taped to her wall. I asked her what the list was, and she said, “Oh, that’s the husband God is going to bless me with.”
The piece of paper was filled, front and back, with hardly any blank space at all.
Breaking news: There is no such thing as a perfect person. You may be looking for a tan, 6’5, muscular, guitar-playing man who loves kids and has amazing parents, but truth be told, this guy does not exist.
He probably isn’t going to want to watch HGTV with you every night, and she probably won’t be willing to spend the entire weekend watching ESPN. It’s OK to know what you’re looking for in someone and having some standards is important, but it’s also important to hold your ideals in an open palm. You never know when God’s going to surprise you.
“I’ll get my life together once I’m married.”
Since getting married feels like the most grown-up thing you can possibly do, it’s tempting to just table growing up until you get married. It’s easy to live in a state of suspended adolescence, delaying things like paying off loans, getting a disciplined sleep schedule and, you know, being an adult until marriage forces you to.
Get a jump on your life, and start being the sort of person you’d like to fall in love with. Look into some retirement plan options. Make a list of goals and stick to them. Start volunteering with charities you believe in. Being single gives you the freedom to determine what kind of life you want to live without having to factor in your commitment to a partner, so use it wisely.
These myths can really trip you up in your dating life, which is why it’s so important to know and understand the truth.