I don’t know if you know what it takes to have a godly dating relationship or what the guide to Christian dating is. So in this post, I will share a comprehensive guide to Christian dating that will answer all your questions on this topic. I know sometimes this topic might be confusing. Especially with all the rules, biblical principles, boundaries, timing, and challenges that come with dating a Christian believer. But don’t worry, I will take a step-by-step approach to help makes things clear.
As a pastor and relationship coach, I have had a chance to work with several young couples. This has been my motivation to put together this comprehensive guide for godly dating.
My goal is to guide you through the process so that you will have a great dating experience.
If you’re in a hurry these are the five books we suggest to all Christian couples.
- Boundaries by John Townsend
- The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman
- Relationship Goals by Michael Todd
- Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs
- The Man God Has For You by Stephan Labossiere
Let’s dive in.
1) Pursue Wholeness
As I mentioned in the introduction I have had the privilege of working with Christian couples for several years now. This has been a great opportunity to counsel, to advise, and sometimes just to sit and listen to their love story.
With all those long sessions I can tell you for free that the principle of pursuing wholeness has been seriously overlooked. People are jumping into relationships without taking time to discover themselves. This has become one of the root causes of so many breakups.
Okay! let me explain what wholeness means so that you can understand and start pursuing it in your own life.
According to the dictionary, wholeness is defined as
“The state of being unbroken or undamaged.”
For us here we define it as being In Control of your own emotion and state of mind. This is what the Psalmist describes in Psalm 139:14
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.Psalm 139:14
When we have come to a place of complete transparency with ourselves and accepting the works of God’s hand in our lives. Then we must deal with anything that might threaten that state to be free to love someone else.
Most people get into a relationship in search of this wholeness which leaves them frustrated. This is because no human being can give you this level of rest and assurance, only God can do that.
So how do we pursue this wholeness? Let me give you my top three recommendations.
Do this to pursue wholeness
- Identify baggage and deal with them.
- Pursue a love relationship with God. (This book will help you do that)
- Be at peace in your singlehood.
- Pray for deliverance. (some things will take God to overcome them, so pray and let Him guide you)
- Don’t wait to be in a relationship to be happy. Generate your own happiness by finding awesome fun things to do.
- Be patient and wait on God. Don’t rush into a relationship.
As you work on your wholeness, by pursuing God you can now go to principle number two.
2) Love God and Embrace His Love
This principle is absolutely important and ties in with the previous tip above. As you continue pursuing wholeness you will recognize that you cannot do that without God.
This is not just a rule for godly dating but a principle to be applied in our day-to-day life.
For us to closely walk with God we must intentionally love Him and embrace His love.
Embracing His love gives us a sense of what pure love looks like because we believe that the love of God is the purest form of true love.
This is well demonstrated by Christ dying on the cross and the sacrifice of His life. If you’re looking for any greater love there is none, this is the purest form of love in action.
Understanding how much God loves you and embracing it will shield you from any other counterfeit love that the world might promise.
It will also help you understand what love is all about if you choose to bring someone into your life. Paul in 1 Corinthians 13 tries to break down what love is all about.
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails.1 Corinthian 13:4-8a
So we can conclude that our love for God will fuel our love for others. And embracing that love of God will fill the gaps of loneliness. This will help you avoid looking for love in the wrong places because you are assured of the true love of God.
This brings us to the third principle of our guide to Christian dating.
3) Alignment of Purpose
Now that you are spiritual Intune and emotionally InTouch with yourself it’s time to date. We are assuming that you have someone in mind that you like or someone is showing interest in you. But before you jump into a relationship let me suggest to you something that will save you time and help you avoid future frustration.
Being in tune with someone spiritually is one thing, being aligned in purpose is another, which is something that you can’t afford to miss.
Most Christians look for someone who is spiritually Intune with them, but they never consider where the person is going in life in relation to where they are going themselves.
This has caused so many people to end up abandoning their God-given purpose in order to pursue their partner’s purpose.
This is not a bad thing considering that some people are called to support, but I suggest that it will be much easier and fruitful if you consider finding someone who is aligned with you as far as purpose is concerned.
So before you start dating consider finding your purpose first and then cross-check that with the person you intend to date or marry.
In the book of Amos 3:3, the prophet Amos in the bible gives us a good principle for a relationship,
Do two people walk hand in hand if they aren’t going to the same place?Amos 3:3 MSG
Being in love is good, but being aligned and in love is a great thing. So don’t settle for good when you can get great.
Am hoping this makes sense to you and if so let us go to the fourth principle.
4) Set A Good Foundation
This fourth guide to Christian dating assumes that you have already worked on the first three tips on this list and are now ready to jump into the dating experience.
I won’t lie to you relationship can sometimes be tricky and messy but how you start yours will set a good pace for you moving forward. By now you have had so many stories, read several blogs, and even watched a dozen videos online.
Even though reading and watching such stories is important, you must understand that people are different and your relationship might be very different.
Let me use a bible principle that might help bring things into context. Even though the story is talking about the word of God, the principle can as well be used here,
24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”Matthew 7:24-27 NIV
I suggest you lay a good foundation because the storm will come and the foundation will make the difference causing the relationship to be stronger or it will collapse.
A checklist for a good foundation:
Question to consider asking if you what to determine if you’re building on a good foundation.
- Am I in this relationship for the right reason
- Is there a red flag am ignoring
- Am I attracted to the person or is it just what and how they make me feel.
- Am I honoring God being with this person
- Does this relationship draw me close to God
This is not a complete checklist. I suggest you figure out what is important to you and cross-examine that with the person you dating. This guide to Christian dating is to help you cross-examine your own relationship and adjust accordingly.
5) Set and Communicate Clear Boundaries
You have set a good foundation check. You are spiritually aligned and purpose aligned. Now it’s time to set boundaries that will help you maintain the level of purity you desire in your relationship.
So I want you to think of boundaries as guard rails, they are not pretty but they come in handy when things get blurry. If you’re in a relationship and desire to honor God then, boundaries are a must-have.
Most people think that Christian relationships are boring because of so many of the boundaries that we Christian couples have. I was one of those people who struggled with boundaries, when my wife and I started dating back in the days, we decide to not kiss until marriage.
In the beginning, it was very hard for me, and there days I felt like the relationship was boring but as we continue keeping the boundaries I started finding joy in honoring God in my relationship.
I now appreciate my wife for being firm and showing me that you can actually enjoy a relationship without kissing. This boundary sets us in a good place to find new ways of intimately connecting without engaging in things that sexually arousal us.
Lessoned learned in that season;
- If you’re able to be faithful with your girlfriend while dating ( faithful to keep the boundaries), then you will be faithful to her when you’re married.
- Me keeping boundaries showed her that I love and respect what she values most.
- Keeping boundaries honors God
Keeping in mind that relationships are different and people are unique.
You might not be straggling with a kiss but most probably you have other struggles.
Setting and communicating boundaries will help both of you overcome those struggles and help you honor God and stay pure in your relationship.
I wrote this guide to Christian dating not to give you rules but to help you love God and embrace Him. Anyway, let’s get to principle number six.
6) Watch Out The Voices
As you start dating you will realize, if you haven’t yet, that people want to have a say in your relationship. Knowing who to listen to and what not to will be a game-changer for your dating experience.
It’s important to have people in your life who you respect and you have given them permission to speak wisdom and words of counsel to your relationship.
However, it’s important for the two of you as a couple to identify voices that are for your good. Being able to cherry-pick the right advice and avoiding the rest might be challenges but we suggest that you guard your heart to avoid being corrupted.
The bible gives great advice for us who are dating,
23Guard your heart with all diligence, for from it flow springs of lifeProverbs 4:23
Sieving these voices and invest more into those who build you up and speak the truth to you might be the one thing you need in your relationship right now.
We usually suggest to couples to find themselves a mentor couple to act as a voice of reason when things get blurry. These are people who are married and are wise enough to counsel you.
To be honest I have found so many couples who ruined their relationship because of listening to voices that were unhealthy for their relationship. This might be friends, colleagues,s and sometimes family members.
Consider this scripture in the bible,
The godly offer good counsel; they teach right from wrong.Psalm 37:30, NLT:
I hope from this guide to Christian dating we are giving you godly counsel to teach you what is right. Do let us know in the comments.
7) Learn To Fight Fair
We have so far covered most of the topics on this guide, but one we cannot avoid missing is conflict. Conflict is something that you won’t be able to avoid in your relationship. However, you can be able to manage it and thrive through it.
Learning to fight fair is the key to managing conflict. People react differently when they are having a conflict some want to speak up others want to process first.
Learning your partner’s way of dealing with conflict will help you manage the situation. My wife and I are very different when it comes to how we deal with conflict. I personally appreciate processing the situation first, my wife on the other hand wants us to have a solution immediately.
Sometimes it’s challenging to know how to deal with a situation, especially if it needs an immediate response. But way back when we were dating we promised each other to fight fair when we are mad and having an argument.
Fighting fair for us meant that we won’t use words that are hurting especially words that degrade the other person.
Some words that we removed from the equation especially during an argument in words such as,
- You never
- You always
These simple phrases seem simple but sometimes they carry a lot of weight. Try and discuss with your partner how you desire to handle conflict in your relationship.
Remember this guide to Christian dating is a framework that can be improved and reworked to fit your relationship preference.
Bonus Pont: The Marriage Talk
Every relationship should be focused on building you and preparing you for marriage. You should consider starting this conversation with your partner and the best place to start is doing premarital counseling.
Don’t feel the pressure you can start by asking each other these simple premarital counseling questions at home way before you start the formal sessions.
Christian dating principle is important for anyone who desires to honor God in their dating experience. I know there are some obvious principles that I have intentionally excluded from this article because I feel like they are obvious and people have already covered those topics in-depth.
These topics include Sexual Purity, Intimacy, Expectations, etc.
I hope this article answers some of your questions regarding Christian dating rules and principles. If you found it helpful leave a comment below and check out our YouTube channel for more of this visual content.
Bible verse about Godly Dating
- Matthew 7:24-27
- I Corinthians 6:9-7:19
- I Thessalonians 4:1-8
- Song of Solomon 2:7
- Proverbs 6:20-7:27
- James 1:13-15
- Romans 13:8-14
- Romans 14:1-15
- I Timothy 5:1-2
- Titus 2:6
- John 14:15
- 1 Corinthians 10:31
- Proverbs 4:23
- Matthew 6:33