Type the word “dating” into your Bible search tool and what comes up?
When I was single, I remember wishing there was an entire book—or even just a chapter—of the Bible dedicated to the topic of dating. But though the Scriptures are filled with foundational life-changing truths, there are plenty of topics the Bible doesn’t specifically speak to.
Not only is there nothing in the Bible specifically about dating, but the concept of dating didn’t even exist in biblical times. Even today in many areas of the Middle East, dating is a relatively new concept and couples can’t even be seen together in public unless they are officially “engaged” to be married.
In biblical times, the process of meeting a spouse had very little to do with compatibility and personality traits, and everything to do with family lineage and economic status. Finding a mate functioned a lot more like a bartering system than dinner and a movie.
In most aspects of modern life, God doesn’t provide cookie-cutter answers or formulas. But be encouraged, though He may not always provide us with the direct plan, He always gives us everything we need to get where He wants us to go.
Though the Bible doesn’t talk directly about dating, it does speak volumes about relationships, godly interactions and principles that can be applied to how you date. 1 Corinthians 10:31 reminds us that no matter what it is we’re doing; it can be used as a means to glorify God. When it comes to dating, I think we could all benefit from relaxing a bit about searching for hard and fast rules, and learning to apply Godly wisdom to every single part of our lives.
The Bible makes it clear that life is less about the “do’s” and “don’ts” and so much more about doing what’s beneficial, healthy, and righteous (1 Corinthians 10:23). So what does that mean when it comes to dating? How can dating be done in a way that’s healthy and righteous?
Become a Healthy Person
The best way to have a healthy dating relationship is to become a healthy person. God’s Word reminds us of the need for us to throw off the old baggage of sin, bad habits and hang-ups—and to become new each and every single day (Ephesians 4:22-24).
Becoming more like Christ sets us up for interactions with others that reflect love, healing and wholeness. I’d say that’s a step in the right direction when it comes to dating well.
Date a Healthy Person
God’s Word reminds us of the importance of connecting with people who are in line with our spiritual life (2 Corinthians 6:14, 1 Corinthians 15:33). The truth about relationships is that the healthier both individuals are emotionally and spiritually, the healthier the relationship will be.
Apply this truth to dating by connecting with people who are on the same page as you are spiritually and emotionally.
See Dating as an Opportunity for Encouragement
No matter where we are or who we are with, above all else, we are called to reflect God’s love, encouraging and uplifting those around us (1 Thessalonians 5:11).
It’s important to remember that though dating should not be used for the purpose of bringing the person you’re dating to know Jesus, it’s still a chance to encourage and uplift those we come into contact with. Healthy interactions with others will leave us with little regrets, no matter what the long-term outcomes.
All over Scripture, we are reminded of the value of a physical relationship within the context of a committed marriage and the risks of intimacy outside of marriage (Hebrews 13:4, Song of Solomon 8:4).
Dating well means we make sure to honor and respect this portion of our future marriage by setting physical limits and boundaries when it comes to interacting with the opposite sex. Dating with wisdom means we also understand the importance of emotional and spiritual boundaries by learning not to go too deep, too fast. God’s word tells us to guard our hearts, because the truth is, everything valuable is worth protecting.
Bring It to God
It’s easy to include God in our spiritual lives, but why not include Him in our relational world, as well? Throughout God’s Word, He encourages us again and again to bring our needs, concerns and desires to Him (Matthew 7:7). He cares about the things that concern us, and He’s longing to connect with us in a way that’s meaningful.
Our relationships can be an instrument that draws us close to God, as we seek Him for wisdom, guidance and discernment along the way (Psalm 34:10).
It’s time to take the pressure off of trying to date “biblically” and instead see the entirety of our interactions with others (including how we date) as an opportunity to connect with God, to become our best and reflect Him to the people He brings into our lives. Because there is truly nothing more “biblical” than that.
This article was originally posted on truelovedates.com. Used with permission.
Debra is a Licensed Professional Counselor, relationship expert, speaker and author of several books, including True Love Dates. Debra is also the creator of the popular relationship advice blog TrueLoveDates.com, reaching millions of people with the message that healthy people make healthy relationships. Connect with her on Facebook or Twitter.