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Gone are the days when people of "marrying age" chose from only a handful of potential mates. There was no swiping through Tinder or waiting for “the one” to walk into a coffee shop. There are downsides and benefits to 21st century dating, and our ability to have highly specific standards of a potential partner falls into both categories. Most of us want to find someone who shares our core beliefs about the purpose of life, so where does faith fit into that? What if you're crushing on a Christian but aren't sure about Jesus? Or perhaps you're a church girl or guy, and you're falling for someone who isn't? God cares about your dating dilemmas, and He has guidance for you.
Whether you're a follower of Jesus or interested in someone who is, it's important to know what the Bible says about dating. Specifically, it says nothing on the topic because the concept of dating, at least as we know it today, didn't exist when the Bible was written. However, Scripture does tell us God's will for marriage. You've probably heard the phrase "unequally yoked," which describes a partnership where two aren't aligned. When you talk to someone with different beliefs, it might seem like you have the same goals. Maybe you both want to have a family, build your careers, or share hobbies. But the big question is, "Why?" Christianity is about having a deep relationship with God and striving to become more like Jesus. It's a calling that should lead and direct all our motives. Christians aren't "better" than anyone else, but we are different. We believe our purpose is to glorify God in everything that we do, including through our relationships. That doesn't mean relationships never work out between Christians and non-Christians, but conflict is bound to arise when you're following a different leader. God describes marriage as “two becoming one,” and that means you and your spouse should look in the same direction.
"That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh." - Genesis 2:24
The best dating advice is to be the kind of person you want to date. That doesn't mean you need to date someone with your same personality and interests; some differences are complementary. It means you should focus on having the character and values you'd appreciate in a partner. So what does the "vice versa" mean? It's important to have someone who will encourage you to grow. That person doesn't need to be up on a pedestal to look up to, but they should be someone who will build on principles with you. For Christians, that means finding someone who strives to look more like Jesus.Here are a few questions to ask yourself, whether you're single or dating someone: How is your relationship with God? That is the most important relationship in your life and will affect every other relationship you have. Following Jesus is the only way to truly understand how to love others selflessly. If you want to learn more about Jesus, reach out or attend an Alpha group. How are you living out your principles? The more you step into becoming the person you want to be, the more you will attract someone who wants the same things. What do your actions say about you?What kind of conversations are you having? It's easy to fall into a nonchalant routine with people you regularly spend time with. You don't need to constantly bring up heady philosophical topics, but asking people about their goals and passions can make a bigger impact than you may expect. Whether romantic or platonic, relationships thrive when you pursue meaningful discussions. Where do you disagree, and where do you see those differences going in the future? Who is your "sounding block?" Prayer is the number one step I recommend when you don't know what to do next. Even without an "audible" answer, God provides peace that can clear your mind and steer your decisions. God also designed us to seek feedback from each other. Getting perspective from someone more experienced than you can help expose blind spots when it comes to relationship decisions.Even if marriage isn't on your mind, it can spare a lot of heartache to date with intention. Your relationships can help you move forward and give you opportunities to serve. Don't sell yourself short by believing that dating is just a way to pass the time. You matter, and how you interact with people will make waves in your life and in the world.
Written Content Coordinator at Sun Valley Community Church. An avid writer since the age of 5, who loves to explore new ideas and places. Inspired by Jesus, books, and travel.