(Dating is a relatively new, cultural innovation of the last century in the Western world. As a result, the Bible has no explicit commands on how to date. Therefore, we learn God’s will about dating by considering what the Bible says about marriage and about healthy relationships.)
I. What the Bible says about marriage leaves implications for dating.
A. Consider that God’s creation of the first marriage was occasioned by the need to overcome man’s loneliness.
1. Am I preparing myself to be such a partner as to have Christian fellowship?
2. Is the one to whom I am attracted suited to me in this way?
B. What should I look for in a husband or a wife?
1. Is this the kind of person who will provide a protecting fellowship when my needs are exposed?
2. Is this the kind of man that I can respect so fully that I want, with God’s help, to be his submissive wife?
3. Is this the kind of girl to whom I, with God’s help, would be able to give a Christ-like love?
C. Because marriage is exclusive (no parents and no other people) and permanent, is your relationship with this person capable of this quality of devotion and commitment?
II. What the Bible says about healthy relationships.
A. Learn to communicate. If two cannot discuss what they think and feel about life, God, and each other, their relationship is on shaky ground.
B. Learn to share: what you think and feel; what you have and do. Learn to make mutual decisions.
C. Get to know each other and each other’s parents.
D. Read the Bible and pray together. If you cannot, then your relationship is unhealthy!! If each is not willing to obey God’s Word now, then trouble lies ahead!
E. Realize that each is an individual as well as the two being a couple before God.
A. The powerful, ennobling, happy emotion of “being in love.”
B. The trap of sexual desire.
IV. Dating Guidelines.
A. Consider whom you date. Never date someone who clearly differs from you in core values of religion and morals.
1. Reason: friendship is mutually influencing (cf. Gen. 6).
2. Reason: dating is the first step in a process which can lead to marriage.
B. Plan your dates and activities together.
1. Set moral standards. As you date more frequently, talk about your moral standards.
2. Pace your relationship, by being realistic and careful about the powers of sexual desires (no Christian young person thinks they will have pre-marital sex, but…). Avoid deliberate temptation!
C. Prayerfully study the principles of God’s Word alone and together.
D. Examine whether you are meant for one another, by considering the questions under #I above. Also in this regard it is the wise child who consults with his parents.