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Boy Meets Girl with Destiny in Mind

By Dr. Don Dunlap
Pastoral Counselor
The main purpose of dating should be to encourage the other person to be more like Jesus Christ.


Family Counseling Ministries   - Family Counseling Ministries  

Many varied opinions exist among Christians regarding dating and courtship. Thus, it is helpful to consider a general definition of Christian dating. In the 2nd of six articles on dating, Dr. Don Dunlap examines the concept of dating in light of Scripture. Based upon the scriptural commands to pursue righteousness and flee temptation, a date between a young man and a young woman should be a wholesome social activity in a public setting.

Christian young people often begin dating relationships falsely assuming that “missionary” dating is a biblical option. They believe that when they meet someone who is unsaved, but seemingly outstanding in every other way, they can win the person to Christ by dating him or her. God’s Word pointedly warns us that bad company corrupts good morals. Although Believers should befriend lost people to seek to win them to Christ, they must not have close, mutually dependent relationships with non-Christians.

What is Christian dating and what is the purpose for it?

In light of the many, varied opinions that exist among Christians regarding dating and courtship, it is helpful to consider a general definition of Christian dating. Based upon the scriptural commands to pursue righteousness and to flee temptation, a date between a young man and a young woman should be a wholesome social activity in a public setting. 

The purpose of Christian dating is to help prepare young men and women for marriage, by providing opportunities to develop certain skills that are necessary to succeed in a marriage relationship.  

This includes learning how to properly respond to offenses, learning the biblical principles of forgiveness, developing self-control, honoring our parents and practicing the commands to consider others as more important than ourselves.

The main purpose of dating should be to encourage the other person to be more like Jesus.

In the process of Christian dating, young men and women should encourage each other’s growth in Jesus Christ. They can accomplish this primarily by seeking to obey the Lord, by living according to their biblical convictions and by maintaining a servant’s heart toward others. Dating is a time to become acquainted with the other person’s goals and personal habits, his or her likes and dislikes, and the seriousness of his or her commitment to Christ. These are all essential requirements for choosing the right life partner.

There are many wrong reasons for dating. We should never date someone in order to upgrade our image. If we think we will gain a degree of prestige by dating a particular individual, we have wrong motives. If we date someone in order to make someone else jealous and cause him or her to notice us, we become guilty of using people. We should never date someone on the rebound for the purpose of revenge. 

The misery loves company scenario is often another misguided reason why young people date each other. They perceive themselves to be social “outcasts” and they believe that no one else understands their feelings. So they turn to one another for understanding and consolation. 

If we’ve been guilty of dating for the wrong reasons, we should repent and ask God for the strength to honor Him in our dating lives.

Because none of these reasons to date are biblical, they all come to spiritual “dead-ends,” inevitably leaving people hurt and bitter. These young men and women then carry their unresolved anger and bitterness to the next dating relationship. They become caught up in a tragic cycle of repeating their mistakes and wrong choices in a succession of relationships. In His Word, God has established higher standards and provided clear instructions for how to be ambassadors for Jesus Christ in our dating lives.

 




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