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Preparing for Dating

Have you prepared yourself for dating? Are you prepared to date? How exactly should you prepare for dating? There are many ways you can prepare yourself for dating, in the way that you live, what you consume, and your view toward others and dating itself. The devil would have you consume the entertainment and media of this world to influence how you prepare and ready yourselves for dating. As God’s children, turn from the devil’s temptation and walk in a godly path. Dating is no time to ease up on your antithetical walk. As God’s children, what kind of entertainment can you consume to grow in your understanding of dating and preparation for it? In opposition to the devil and his growing sinful influence on this earth, foster a proper view of those whom you desire to date, and grow in your spiritual walk and union with Christ.

First, the world would try to taint your perspective of the one whom you desire to date. Movies, college education, books, and politics would have you look for qualities and personalities that are not approved of God.

Young man, what kind of young woman do you look for? Do you look for the woman described by Hillary Clinton, who says, “[I am] valuable and powerful, and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world to pursue and achieve [my] own dreams”?[1] Or do you desire the woman who says, “I shall serve my Lord and fear him. I desire his kingdom to come and his will to be done”? Look for the woman described in Proverbs 31, who seeks to labor for and serve those around her. The woman who “worketh willingly with her hands” for the sake of her home is the one who has value “far above rubies” (vv. 10,13).

Young woman, do you look for the man who is a strong leader and is dedicated to the church, or the popular athlete, or the rich man? Are you attracted to his car, his biceps and his jokes, or his union with Christ? To the world, a successful man works tirelessly so that his barns are overflowing. The world’s man is praised for his lack of sleep and dedication to work in every hour of the day. Surely, look for one who works heartily, but a wise man spends time laboring in God’s word and would one day be active and lively in the home.

The world would have you, young men and women, all to focus on that beauty that is outward. The regular use of social media can lead you right into this trap. Social media is designed to seek after attention by posting the best picture. You get one chance to get the approval of others, and you better look as good as possible when you post something. The devil desires to distract you with this media from that beauty that is most important. Do not let the agendas pushed in the movies, books, and politics of this world affect your view of a godly and desirable mate. Before you ever date, you must first know and desire the right kind of person to date.

Second, as you prepare to date, grow in your spiritual life. As Rev. Engelsma says, “We should give more thought to becoming someone rather than finding someone.”[2] Take seriously your walk in fellowship with God. Pray earnestly as David in Psalm 86: “Teach me thy way, O Lord; I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name” (v. 11). Desire to be united first to God; only then will you ever find true union with another. Live in faithfulness, and in recognition of your weaknesses, strive to grow each day. Seek to learn from scripture. Take up good Reformed literature. Let your entertainment be glorifying to God’s name. Pray without ceasing.

The world does not recognize these things as the activity of a young man. A young man is supposedly in a unique position to pursue all his hobbies and desires and is not held accountable to anyone but himself. Godly young men realize they walk before their Father’s eyes. Young men, learn from God’s word how you must walk. Seek to become a man who is capable of being head of his wife (Eph. 5:23). Labor diligently to be able to provide for home and family; he that does not is “worse than an infidel” (1 Tim. 5:8). Learn to love with a love that builds up a woman in her faith as Christ loved the church and gave up himself to make her holy (Eph. 5:25–26). Trust God to lead and direct you as you grow in maturity.

Young women, be not like worldly women who seek to “usurp authority over the man,” but rather learn to submit graciously as the church does to Christ (1 Tim. 2:11–12). There is much honor to this kind of woman. Seek to grow so that one day you may be capable “to be sober, to love [your] husbands, to love [your] children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to [your] own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed” (Titus 2:4–5).

To become someone who is “dateable,” you must seek God’s strength. Pray earnestly that God would strengthen you to become such a person, to walk opposed to the world’s desires, and to desire such a holy one. “Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee” and “the man that trusteth in thee” (Ps. 84:5, 12). Do not rely on yourselves. God’s children are strongest when they rely on God the most. As the children of God cast their burdens upon him and rely upon him, they will be sustained and led in a godly walk (Ps. 55:22). Trust that God will both make you godly and bring unto you a godly companion. Know that the Lord is in control when he makes you wait for many years, or perhaps even guides you into lifelong singleness within the church.

Young people, the devil thoroughly seeks to taint the home. He knows the church’s health is found in the health of its homes. Already in the dating stage before marriages are made and homes are formed, the devil seeks to bring about destruction. The devil “deceiveth the whole world” in its view of dating and marriage (Rev. 12:9). “Be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Rom. 12:2). As you prepare for dating, seek for God to give you wisdom. All God’s children naturally lack wisdom, so “ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given [to you]” (James 1:5).

 

Originally published June 2021, Vol 80 No 6

 

[1] Hillary Clinton, Twitter post, Nov. 9, 2016, 11:51 a.m., https://twitter.com/hillaryclinton/status/796394920051441664?lang=en.

[2] Joshua Engelsma, Dating Differently (Jenison, MI: Reformed Free Publishing Association, 2019), 66.