Question: What dating advice does the Bible give to believers?
Answer: Dating is not something that we find expressly discussed in the Bible. There were customs of the day regarding marriage and courtships but those are not common in today’s culture. However, there is very good Biblical advice that is given regarding how the individual should behave. Several of that advice is practical when discussing dating. One the outset of this answer, I want to make it clear that a lot of my approach here is my advice as I look at the Bible. There are things that other teachers may add that never occurred to me. My advice is in no way definitive, but it does carry the authority from God’s Word.
Dating should never involve sex. Sex is a sin that does damage to the body because it involves placing the body under the control of another body. The New Testament is full of instructions to believers to avoid fornication. Sex outside of marriage and with anyone other than a person’s spouse is not to be done by believers. 1 Corinthians 6:18-20 makes a very strong statement that believer’s bodies are spiritual joined with Jesus and are now the temple of the Holy Ghost. We are no longer in possession of our bodies because we have been bought by the blood of Jesus. Christian dating today flirts with very fine lines that easy lead to sex before marriage. A good rule of thumb for Christians is that they should date with the intent of marriage, not sexual gratification. Another piece of advice would be to avoid placing yourself in a situation that leads to sex. Don’t be alone with one another. Don’t dress immodestly. Respect your partner by doing everything for their good, not for their temptation.
I believe this one is sorely missing in many Christian dating situations. Often, people go into the dating world looking for Mr. or Mrs. Perfect. They are so focused on what they want in a partner that they completely forget that they are responsible for their fellowship with the Lord. People being to criticize others and make it out that they have no issues themselves. If you want to find a good spouse, reflect the Biblical characteristics in your walk with the Lord. 1 John details all about proper fellowship. Do you love the Lord as much as you expect your spouse to love the Lord? Do you live in such a way you expect your spouse the love Him? Many times, this doesn’t happen. People end up settling for whatever they can find because they aren’t really disciplined themselves.
Talk with your partner about marriage. Many people will say this is crazy and “too soon”. Why? If the whole purpose is to get marriage and honor God, then why not talk about marriage? I think the only reason someone who say that’s “too soon” is because they have intentions that would be about their own gratification. I don’t mean that you can’t get to know someone. That’s just fine. But, if the relationship is developing and you see a future with this person, why not put them in the best position for blessings from God by talking about marriage? Then, talk about values. If you are both walking with the Lord and obeying His Word, then you’ll most likely line up on a lot of different values.
I do want to warn that too much communication can lead to dead air. I have seen relationships where they talk to each other for hours and hours. Eventually, there is nothing more to talk about and the relationship starts moving towards the physical. It’s not bad to talk with your partner but be careful that you are not talking for the sake of talking. Create a healthy space where you can work on your spiritual growth and maintain fellowship with the Lord.