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Boy Meets Girl, Then What?

By Dr. Don Dunlap
Pastoral Counselor
Discover certain qualities to look for in the life of a potential dating partner.

Family Counseling Ministries   - Family Counseling Ministries  

In the 3rd installment of a six-article series on dating, Dr. Don Dunlap discusses certain qualities to look for in the life of a potential dating partner. He emphasizes the importance of a person having a vital salvation experience. Then he explains that a potential date should be in the process of achieving a proper self-identity, and should be seeking to determine God’s purpose for his or her life.

Teen-agers and single adults often ask me to describe for them some qualities to look for in the life of a potential dating partner. I always tell them that the most important qualification is that a person has a vital salvation experience.

The second most important factor is that he or she should be a person under authority. I advise them to be alert to such obvious signs as his or her unwillingness to obey parents, teachers or employers. Someone who has a problem with anger or rebellion is a poor choice for a close friend or a date.

A potential date should have certain qualities that are evident in his or her life.

I suggest that before they consider dating someone, they should be certain that he or she is in the process of achieving proper self-identity in Jesus Christ. Insecure people are often tempted to compare themselves to others. They may also become guilty of seeking their happiness in dating relationships, rather than in a relationship with the Lord. This is both sinful and emotionally suffocating. No human being can make someone else truly happy. 

Good dating candidates should understand that they are responsible to God for every word, thought, deed, attitude and motive. They must realize that they will one day have to give a full account of their lives to God. Additionally, they should be in the process of seeking to understand and determine God’s purpose and direction for their lives. 

Many young people wonder how they should act on a date?

I frequently receive inquiries about how one should behave on a date. Acting courteously is the first guiding principle. Someone has wisely said, “Good manners are made up of little sacrifices.” Courtesy is a form of thoughtfulness and considerate people are always well liked. When we consider others as more important than ourselves, we will not permit ourselves to act rudely or selfishly.

A person’s “looks” are not the most important thing in a dating relationship.

Second, we have a responsibility to be good stewards of our body—our outward appearance. We all differ in our external physical features, but the most important part of our appearance is our countenance.  

A cheerful countenance reflects a joyful heart. We generally appear to be attractive or unattractive, depending upon the character that we cultivate in our “inner man.” People are usually far more interested in how they feel when they are in our presence, than in how we look.


It is very important to learn how to carry on an interesting conversation.

Third, people value individuals who are good conversationalists. This is a skill that comes naturally to some people, but which can certainly be acquired. The ability to talk comfortably about various topics is important because it is how we communicate our feelings and ideas. In order to initiate and maintain interesting conversation, three ingredients are necessary:

First, we should seek to encourage other people to talk about themselves by asking specific questions. We may need to prepare and rehearse some general types of questions in advance, until we become more practiced at the art of conversation.

Second, we must forget about ourselves and focus on the other person. We concentrate on making him or her feel comfortable.

Third, we should really listen. We must not think about what we plan to say next. Instead, we should seek to be attentive to what the other person is saying and trust God to help us when it is time for us to respond.

Above all, we ought to remember that our greatest assets in any given situation are a clear conscience before God and man, and a growing relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.


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