Christians & Dating

Christians aren’t very good at dating. There have been plenty of Christian dating books and articles, and all of them have addressed the fact that there is a problem with the way we view dating, but none of them have really gotten to the root of the problem.

Ultimately, I think there are two reasons why the way we date doesn’t really work too well.

1. We either take dating too lightly, by simply dating someone to have fun or to fit in: in doing this we don’t even treat dating as a gateway to marriage – we hardly ever even consider marriage as an option.

2. Or we over-spiritualize and/or over-romanticize dating: in doing this we think that somehow “the one” is out there waiting for us – as if God designed a soul mate specifically for us.

Both of which are destructive.

I don’t think that the answer to either of these problems are as black and white as we like to think they are, or that they can be fixed as easily as we think they can be. These problems can’t be fixed with strategies and formulas, that is what makes them tough.

I do think that if we get to the root of these problems that they will be much easier to fix. Most dating books and articles talk about the actions that take place within dating, they talk about how to date. I don’t think the answers we’re looking for will be found in behavior modification – we have to dig deeper than that. We have to find our motive and intention behind wanting to date someone, we have to find the reason for which we date someone.

I think focusing on the root of the problem rather than the surface of the problem is universally effective, yet we don’t apply this logic to dating.

This is why I wrote Dear Guys: A New Way To Date. It’s not your typical Christian dating book. It’s not a book telling you when to date, or how to date, it’s all about why we date – because when we figure out the why, it will change the when and the how.

32 thoughts on “Christians & Dating

  1. It is uncanny how much you and I think alike on this topic! I see dating as a gateway to marriage and it should be taken seriously but free enough to allow for some laughs and fun. (I’ve seen friends take dating way too seriously and it isn’t fun for either one).

    I look forward to checking out your book! Thanks for sharing that with fellow Christians.

  2. Amazing! I have been dating for several years now and if you’d asked me about 8 months ago if I was dating for fun or on my way to marriage, I would have probably shouted, “why, marriage of course!!” And then if you’d asked me why the heck I’d been dating guys I already knew I’d never considering marrying, I’m pretty sure I would have stood in stunned silence in that revelation. I just dated because I felt like, as a single woman, I should. I was bored and liked the companionship and attention. I’ve only recently decided (within the last three months) that I want to be married now and that I’m ready! I said I was ready before, yet said things like, “I don’t want to share my space” and “ew, imagine if I were married…I’d have to cook dinner tonight and I don’t feel like it!” My “why’s” were all messed up. I look at dating (and marriage!) differently now, and I agree with you wholeheartedly that we’ve got to use some logic like we do with most other life issues and get our heads right before we can truly date the “right way.” Good stuff Cole.

  3. You’ve begun to address the why, when, and how, but completely ignored the if. I think this is the habit of almost all Christians, despite the words of Paul in 1 Corinthians 7.

    “I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord. But the married man is anxious about worldly things, how to please his wife, and his interests are divided.”

    Obviously, in that chapter, Paul does refer to the fact that some are given the ability to stay single without succumbing to passion, and some are given to marriage. We’re all called, but not necessarily to the same things — the trouble is that is not the message of most American Christians and churches; everyone would rather celebrate marriages which about half the time end in divorce. I agree that marriage should be on the mind, but also not too much the focal point of people who are dating… But shouldn’t we ask ourselves and each other if dating or marriage are even best for us?

  4. I totally agree! I just had an experience with someone who had problem #2. A guy and I had been talking, just as friends for a few weeks. He asked me if I wanted to go see a movie with him, so of course I said yes. The day we were supposed to see the movie, he texted me and said that God had told him he should no longer pursue this (whatever “this” is) and that he could not be disobedient. We were just going to see a movie, not get married!

    Anyway – thanks for this post! I think you have a lot of great things to say.

  5. I admire how you’re approaching the topic of Christian dating in such a sensible way, instead of just writing a new set of useless rules for sheeple to try to follow!

  6. I think that if we live in a constant state of Fearing God and Looking out to love others above ourselves – we would start to not suck so much in this area.

    Get some WOTL in ya! (word of the lord)

  7. I have to say, I agree that over-spiritualizing the way we approach dating is an issue, but I do not believe that the problem is simply in the thought that God is preparing someone for us, and is preparing us for someone, I think the problem lies in when we aren’t seeking to become a “worthy” husband or wife for that person, and instead are seeking them as if they are the ultimate desire of our hearts and we will be fulfilled by them. In that sense, we are basically using God for our desires by making that “future person” an idol.

    What we should do as believers is, if we find ourselves beginning to consider dating and marriage and thinking it may be a fun idea (even if we’re not super serious about it yet), We should read up on what God says about dating and marriage. We should immerse ourselves with God’s view, because if we don’t we will get caught up in the World’s view.

    After that we should set-up some boundaries, being prayerful about it, and list a few key details we are looking for (or would look for) in a husband or wife.
    Example: If I am to get married, I want to marry a God-fearing man in Christ after God’s own heart.
    Doing this helps me zero-in so-to-speak on what I’m looking for. So if some dude walks up to me with no fear of God in him at all that’s an automatic “no” from me, so I’m not even going to give him the time of day as far as dating is concerned.

    We should know what we’re looking for, and seek to become the husband or wife we need to be (in Christ).

    So I don’t think looking for that “special someone” is wrong, I think looking without guidelines, and/or without any regard to becoming a man or woman or noble character is a severely deluded way of dating.

    • This post is rather short and simple. I go into more depth in the book. Much of what you just said I would agree with it. Like I said, it’s not very black & white.

    • I absolutely agree. Sometimes I hear other Christians (and even myself) taking about their future spouses like they’re the main goal or achievement of life. And I’ve heard “Focus on the Lord until/ while you wait for your future so- and- so”. UNTIL? What happens after that, then? Go back to sinning and the world as usual? Psh. Godly marriage is intended to be a benefit of life and an option for those who need a physical partner.

      • … not to be the whole kit-and-kaboodle. I’ve basically resolved within myself that I won’t marry unless I can do more for the Kingdom of God with a husband than without. Took years of struggle to get to that conclusion, but I’m not going to rip my hair out over what may or may not be in His plan for me, simply because it’s the cultural norm. Ha, sad to say even Christians have set cultural expectations. Okay, my two cents have become a quarter. :)

  8. Pingback: Welcome to a new friend| Cole Ryan | Hey Sweetheart, Get Me Rewrite!

  9. it is super hard to find that balance between God’s views on relationships, and being in a relationship. It hard for me at times because my boyfriend literally feels like a bother sometimes. I struggle with dating and Christianity.

  10. How old are you? Rhetorical question. :-) You are wise beyond your years. It took me awhile to figure this out, but I think you’re right. We need to question our motives for dating. I’m thirty-something and swiftly approaching 40 and I’ve never been married. For the first time in my life I don’t see marriage as a means to my happiness. For me, I’ve had to question whether or not I placed too high a priority on marriage even to the point of desiring marriage more than I did God. I am content and if God sees fit to keep me single then so be it. That’s not to say that I don’t desire marriage. I do! He hasn’t gone so far as to remove the desire from my heart; He’s just teaching me how to live with unfulfilled desires and to trust Him with it. Great post!!

  11. Very insightful! Even as a non-Christian, I think these values are important. No matter your faith, dating is still a complex activity with consequences and outcomes that must be considered. Good luck with your book!

  12. I love this. I think all too often we can be distracted by the feeling that we “need” to be dating somebody and then when we are dating that person it “needs” to be heading to marriage – and quickly. I know I’ve felt a lot of pressure to date from people who mean well within my church family. I think that we sometimes make a happy christian marriage our ultimate goal rather than a life in which we further our relationship with God every day.

    Again, love this!

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