In part 1 we looked at what Christian dating shouldn’t look like. In part 2, we will now explore what Christian dating should look like, and discover some of the things that it should be. We are unpacking what it should involve in order to make sure we are enjoying it, treating people well, and building God-centred relationships.
Part 1 of this post looked at what Christian dating isn’t, and examined some of those assumptions and practices that I think can be unhelpful. It said that Christian dating isn’t: A Seven-Step Plan, Something to Rush, and For People Who Pray More.
This blog will begin to look at what Christian dating is, and what it should look like so that Christian dating doesn’t feel so hard. It’s important to realise how we can thrive, and bring mutual fulfilment.
So when people ask me what Christian dating is, I am keen to highlight that it should look like we are:
- Loving Our Neighbour
- Following What The Bible Says
- Being Active
- Fostering Mutual Enjoyment
Loving Our Neighbour
This might seem like it should be obvious, right? But it can be easy to forget and harder to apply. (Read Does Christian Dating Go Against God’s Views On Relationships?)
Jesus clearly wanted his followers to love their neighbours and love the people around them. He wanted us to relate lovingly to people and be other person focused. Yet our society says that when it comes dating, we need to think about ‘me me me’.
Society says we only need to think about ‘my needs’ and what ‘I want’. This is one of the biggest problems because inevitably, unkind behaviour follows.
We should be dating in a way that isn’t just thinking about number one
We’re told by God to be people that put other people first. That doesn’t mean being a doormat, but it does mean that we should be considering the feeling and wellbeing of the other person, which is often lacking when it comes to Christian dating.
We should be dating in a way that isn’t just thinking about number one, but is moulded by this core principle of loving our neighbour in this context.
Following What The Bible Says
As a Christian, I believe the Bible should be guiding us. But let me make it clear, the Bible doesn’t talk directly about dating. When the Bible was written, dating didn’t exist.
But that doesn’t mean the Bible is irrelevant. It does talk about romance, and friendships, and how we should relate to others. By exploring what it does say, what it says about relationships in general, we can use it to discover principles to navigate the new phenomenon of dating.
God’s word is able to transform culture and bring real fulfilment. It may not give black and white advice for dating, but it’s still relevant to relationships. (Read What The Bible Will And Won’t Tell You About Dating)
One of these principles is what I call Activeness. Being active is fundamental when it comes to Christian dating. If we wait for God to bring us ‘the One’, if we wait for Him to sort out the mess because we believe relationships should ‘just be easy’, then we won’t approach dating from a position of strength.
I truly believe God wants us to learn how to become a better friend, and church member, and disciple, and co-worker. He is involved in the process and helps us through his spirit, but he doesn’t wave a magic wand to make us ‘perfect’.
I think dating is no exception to this principle.
God wants us, with His help, to be active. To be involved. To be a more intentional follower. To be a participant when it comes to building better relationships.
Fulfilment… comes when we are involved in the process
Fulfilment isn’t reached by stumbling into an ‘easy perfect relationship’ (which doesn’t exist by the way). It comes when we are involved in the process, and learning to build something worth having.
Christian dating should involve activeness, and not just waiting, but involve making healthy God-centred choices. (Read One Great Dating Tip From Ruth and Boaz. Really?)
Fostering Mutual Enjoyment
I also believe God wants us to enjoy dating, but not at other people’s expense.
Society tells us to become so consumed by ‘my happiness’, that we can forget relationships involve two hearts, two minds, and two people. Christian dating should focus on mutual enjoyment.
Christian dating should fundamentally be more appealing
There is no room for abuse, for unkind break-ups, or using people for our own needs. It’s about mutual flourishing. And learning to build something worth having together. Putting each other’s needs first. (Read 15 Questions for Building Mutually Enjoyable Fulfilling Relationships).
Imagine if we made sure Christian dating was God-centred, based on his principles and hopes for us. It isn’t easy, it isn’t always straightforward, but Christian dating should fundamentally be more appealing and more attractive than what the world offers.
Christian dating should look like we are: Loving Our Neighbour, Following What The Bible Says, Being Active, Fostering Mutual Enjoyment. (Read Who Else Wants Great Relationships? Why Dating Well Still Matters.)
Why do you think Christian dating should be different? Comments welcome below
Originally posted 27/5/2019