Marriage is also a beautiful depiction of Christ and His bride, the church Ephesians 5. Dating is the first step toward marriage. While extreme versions of courtship can be unhealthy, the idea of casual dating among Christians is typically a bad idea.
Hearts get broken, temptations abound, and emotions run high. Are you able to bring glory to God through dating? Are you able to resist the temptation to sin sexually, or to create an idol of your developing relationship?
All these things can be overcome through the help of the Holy Spirit. None of us get it perfectly right, but giving God glory through our dating life should be our ultimate goal—even beyond the goal of marriage. The Holy Spirit then brings the living Word to life as we read and He addresses our various situations and questions. God can absolutely bring anyone to us at any time, and often, He does. But He also invites our participation into the process.
Natural attraction to someone and their good qualities can be from the Lord. If a godly man catches your eye as a godly woman, you see no red flags in his character, and he asks you on a date—then pray. Seek the peace the Lord gives, and move forward cautiously and with eager anticipation. Maybe you find something justifying this person when your friend or family member express concern in your interest. Follow your instincts—the Lord gave them to you for a reason. I once debated whether or not God wanted me to date someone, and I felt certain He did.
But once I entered into that relationship, I immediately saw red flags. I should have gotten out immediately. Instead, it took me months to quit fighting the obvious and do the right thing, and the casualties were much greater to my heart and to his. God gave you wisdom—use it. The Bible also offers plenty of more commands that apply to all Christians on their dating journey.
For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? In fact, most of them had many good qualities. We genuinely cared about each other and had fun together. In other relationships, I began to think that some of the things I had wanted in a husband were perhaps more wishful thinking than things that could actually be.
Did those caring, sensitive, funny, godly men really exist? For instance, one guy that I dated was a very nice guy. But although he said his faith was important to him, attending church and reading the Bible were not high on his priority list. But I began to notice subtle patterns that bothered me.
His job often seemed more important to him than our relationship, and he would repeatedly put friends or family before me. Once I took my fingers out of my ears and agreed to truly hear what God had to say, His answer was quite clear. Does it hurt to end a relationship?
Of course it does. After that relationship, I had come to the end of my dating rope. Since I had not done such a great job of choosing relationships on my own, I decided to let God choose the next one. It was after this that God began unfolding the events that led me to start dating Matt, the man that would become my husband. We had met in college and built a solid friendship through the years, but I had not considered him in a romantic way although he repeatedly let me know that he was somewhat interested in me.
However, once I put God in charge of my love life, a funny thing happened. I ran down the partial list in my head and realized they were all there. Godly, Christian man? Capable of being the spiritual leader in the relationship? Check, check, check! As I began to observe his life and how he interacted with others, as well as how wonderfully he always treated me, I decided that there could really be something here.
As I prayed about it, I felt like God gave me permission to pursue it. Later on, when I prayed about the possibility of marriage, God answered that prayer clearly too. The rest is history. We dated for about 10 months before he proposed. With that in mind, we know God will see us through whatever difficulties we face in the future.
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