My marriage day is only a few months away. As Denise and I start pre-marital counseling and begin this new journey together, I’ve been thinking about our time in the awkward middle — you know, when you’re not married or single. Let’s face it: dating for Christians can be weird, so maybe the pointers below will help.
Before we get to the tips, however, I’m writing this blog post with a lot of assumptions:
- I’m assuming that the girl you’re dating is actually a Christian.
- I’m assuming that you’re a member of a (good) local church.
- I’m assuming that you’re regularly living in Christian community.
- I’m assuming that you’ve consistently made your intentions clear with your lady.
If these are a reality in your life, then we can move on.
I can’t cover everything in one article. I’ve intentionally made this post brief because I think that we can over-complicate dating. But I do think a few points are worth making.
Here’s 4 quick dating tips for Christian men.
1. Pursue holiness.
If you get this wrong, it doesn’t matter what you get right.
The most important thing you should focus on is your personal character.
Most of the posts I’ve read online about Christian dating have been artificial, surface-level kind of stuff. “Don’t hang out past 7:00pm on the weekends or else!”
Don’t get me wrong. Some of the popular points are helpful, but they never seem to address the core issues. Because that’s what really matters. And in the Christian life in general, and dating in particular, personal holiness should be your main aim.
Yes, have accountability partners. Yes, be intentional. Yes, don’t be unwise and hang out alone all the time. Yes, yes, and yes.
But if you’re not godly, then all the lists and tips and practical advice that you’ll receive will eventually break down.
Character, as they say, is king.
2. Pursue friendship and fun.
News flash: It’s okay to be friends and have fun.
Crazy, I know.
But after being in the church for many years and seeing several Christian couples interact with one another, I’m convinced that many would-be happy dating Christians are anxious and joyless simply because they’re putting too much pressure on the relationship. You should seek to be purposeful. But that doesn’t mean you have to be miserable.
Men, if you’re serious about the girl you’re dating (as you should be), then pursue her friendship. Become her best friend. Ask her questions. Get to know her. Go out on dates. Know what she likes, what she doesn’t like. Know what makes her happy, what makes her sad. Eventually, you should be her #1 cheerleader and best friend.
3. Pursue purity.
I don’t know a single Christian dating couple that hasn’t struggled with sexual temptation, whether in thought or deed. This part is hard, and Lord knows I haven’t been perfect. But take heart: If you’re pursing godliness, the Lord will sustain you and keep you on track.
My best advice to pursue purity is to meet with a married Christian couple you know and trust and talk to them about sexual purity in your dating relationship. Then read Sex, Dating, and Relationships, and keep doing point number one listed above.
Also remember your identity in Christ. Paul makes over 200+ references to union with Christ in the New Testament. That means you’re as secure as Christ is. Feast on the gospel daily, and allow the power of the Spirit to empower your pursuit of purity.
4. Pursue marriage.
If you like the girl you’re dating, and she actually likes you, then you should probably get married. Soon.
I proposed to Denise after about six months of dating, but we’ve been (best!) friends for over three years. Non-Christians won’t get you, and they may call you prude or weird or whatever for intentionally pursuing marriage. The pain is worse if it’s from family. Listen and be kind, but you just may have to ignore the naysayers.
As a general rule, six months of dating someone is a good timeline to then get engaged. And if you’ve been dating a girl longer than 18 months and you’re still not engaged, you may need to seriously question your motives.I’ve never heard a Christian couple regret all they didn't do before they were married. - Kevin DeYoung Click To Tweet
I’m no dating guru and have never claimed to be one. And often we Christians tend to over-complicate and hyper-spiritualize everything. But if you pursue holiness, purity, friendship, and community, you may not be far away from marriage — which is something you should also pursue. And hopefully without regrets. As Kevin DeYoung says, “I’ve never heard a Christian couple regret all they didn’t do before they were married.”
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