Christian Dating: Dos and Dont's

Recently, a few girls I know in their twenties, wanted to talk with me about “being single.” They asked me an array of questions like, “Why do I need to be single? How can I be content while being single? How do I let a guy pursue me?” and so on.

This post could go into a million different directions. The topic of “singledom” is always a hot one, especially in Christian circles. I’d like to hone in on one particular facet of the single Christian life (and save the other stuff for the next two Wednesdays): Dating.

To those who are married, “dating” sounds almost like a four letter word. My skin kinda crawls and I think, “Man, I’m so glad that’s over.” Terrible, right? I mean, I don’t know many Christians who actually enjoy dating. They are so focused on “finding the right one” and “hearing from God” and looking out for “lightning in the sky” that they suck all the fun out of it.

Dating should be fun. Why is it that so many single Christians turn dating into some kind of checklist and interviewing process? Ladies are the worst with the checklist. Here’s a tip girls: if you have a checklist, look it over, count up all those necessary character traits, then crumple it up and chuck it in the trash bin—‘cause that’s where it belongs.

God doesn’t care about your list…

He cares about your holiness and whichever man can help grow you in the holiness department will be on God’s list.

I also always hear girls saying things like, I want a man to pursue me.” Well, that’s swell. I’m all for pursuit. Except that the girls spouting this line are then the same girls who sit on the sidelines and don’t do anything while expecting to get a date. Or then complain when they aren’t asked out. (Next Wednesday, I’ll address the issue of whether or not women should pursue or be pursued).

You want a man to ask you out? Then be around. Go to parties, hang out with friends in group settings, get to know other single people. And here’s a scandalous idea that I’m sure someone will disagree with, but oh well: try flirting. I don’t mean wear a push-up bra and sit on his lap. I mean smile, be interested, be interesting, ask questions, touch his shoulder, laugh at his jokes. It’s like bees to honey, baby.

There is also a camp among Christians who fear dating. They think it will turn into a tempting situation (which it could), or that God hasn’t “called” them to date anyone (which may be true). More often than not, though, guys are chickening out and pulling the ol’ “I’ve kissed dating goodbye” bit. In order to have kissed dating goodbye, you have to have actually dated.

Dating doesn’t inevitably lead to sin. And God may not be calling you to date someone in particular, but that doesn’t mean that He has said to not date anyone at all.

Dating, also, does not inevitably lead to marriage. Many people refuse to get a cup of coffee with someone of the opposite sex for fear that sipping a caffeinated beverage is a precursor to chapel bells and flower girls. Just because you went on a (as in singular) date with someone does not mean they are the person you are going to marry. And if they think you are their future spouse as the result of one date, run away—quickly. You wouldn’t want to marry a kook like that anyway.

All too often believers over-spiritualize dating and try turning it into some kind of holy act. It’s not. It’s a date. Boy meets girl. Boy likes girl. Girl likes boy. Boy asks girl on a date. Simple. Over-thinking it leads to discontent single people who wonder when and where the “right one” is instead of going on a date to actually find out.

What did I miss in the Christian dating world? What are or were your frustrations with the Christian dating scene? What have you learned that works or doesn’t work?

23 thoughts on “Christian Dating: Dos and Dont's”

  1. I can’t speak much on the “Christian Dating Scene” as I am not exclusively in that scene juts yet, but dating in general feels like a losing battle. I personally work three jobs and do what I can to make time for church, friends, family, and dating… However, due to my busy schedule, I personally have an account on two seperate dating websites because I obviously don’t have much time to just meet people in public. But even the guys on there that claim to be Christian are far from who they say they are in their online profile! It seems as though the most difficult part of dating is weeding out the losers. Once you’ve done that, the pickings are definitely slim, but dating becomes less stressful. I really agree with the point you made about throwing away the check list. If you limit yourself to a wishlist, your wish of finding a man -or having him find you- will never come true.

    1. First off, the fact that your twitter handle is tinydancer makes you the coolest person around!

      Secondly, I agree that a lot of dating is weeding out the scum or less than stellar options. That being said, I have seen too many Christian women turn down perfectly good guys because they don’t meet all of their requirements. I want to say, “Look chick, you aren’t exactly the Mona Lisa either!” I’m glad you aren’t working off of a checklist. Even though you’ve seen some duds, the fact that you are open and willing will lead to a fun relationship. I have no doubt.

      1. LOL! Thanks! It’s a rather accurate nickname one friend gave me not too long ago and others have picked it up since. =)

        You’re so right… It seems that all to often women are looking for this ideally perfect man when they aren’t close to perfect themselves. I recently heard this at a church group function:

        Be what you’re looking for [in a partner]. If one of the things you want on your man is a six pack, you better be hitting the gym!

        And it’s true! If you do have a checklist, you have to make sure you are living up to those expectations yourself. You can’t expect to have someone else walk the straight and narrow if you aren’t doing it yourself. Not to mention, you attract what you are so if you keep attracting scumbags, then maybe you need to take a look in the mirror and figure out what you need to work on yourself!

        And I think I’m ready to step off my soapbox…lol Thanks!!

  2. Aw man, “It’s like bees to honey, baby” made this post epic. Who’s awesome? You’re awesome Nicole, you’re awesome.

    As a guy I agree with your advice to throw out the checklist. I used to automatically think of a girl as high maintenance once I realized I was being compared to some list of qualities her “dream husband must have”.

    Dating should be less about marking off a checklist and should be more about relating to each other and learning about them AND yourself. I learned A LOT about myself from dating and I’m STILL learning in marriage. Relationships aren’t some exam or test, but rather an experience(or journey) with another person, whether that journey is temporary (dating) or permanent (marriage).

    Awesome post Nicole, also extra points for not being scared to tell Christians to FLIRT! Seriously, how else is that guy going to know you’re interested? It becomes bad when it’s not done in moderation (like most things).

    1. Thanks Chris, you’re awesome too!

      You said: “Dating should be less about marking off a checklist and should be more about relating to each other and learning about them AND yourself.” EXACTLY! You nailed it.

      Dating isn’t suppose to be only frivolous or only the pathway to marriage. It can also be about finding out what you like, dislike, need, don’t need and vice versa.

      And seriously, we need to bring back flirting. Glad you agree. Thanks for the great comment.

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  4. Thank you so much for this post. I wonder sometimes if some Christian women {myself included} wait around under the guise of waiting for God to put Mr. Husband underneath our noses and for us to wake up and smell the coffee. We wait for the lightning to strike, angels to sing, horns to blow etc, and sometimes it just doesn’t happen that way. Couple that with the confusion of pursue vs pursuit {and wondering if it’s okay for me to tell him I’m interested in him or is that wrong?} and I’m just a mess when it comes to dating.

    I can’t wait to see what you post about the pursue vs pursuit topic!

  5. yes i look forward to hearing more from you..is there a e mail address..as i miss some stuff here…
    and yes that is me all the way…i just dont date…its been 10 years and she is 30 now…lol i do socialize…i guess i dont know what to say cause hmmmmm i dont know what to say. And i like to=
    do evangelism every day…that is what me and my x did on our honeymoon and had a great time!
    I love life and am happy..am on a free date sight that gives limited time without money payement..and hehe i would rather share Jesus than get a date…but it would be nice to do both and find my true love to care for and be cared for forevermore. hehe especially my x if she got help about her unfaithfuless with anger at her dad. Yet, i am free unburdened and grieved through…ty hehe Romans 1:16 to share the gospel unashamed. and “It is not good for a person to be alone.”

  6. Interesting article. I must admit dating confuses the snot out of me… guess that explains my “never been on a date” status.

    I definitely think you raised some good points… I remember when I was in high school/early college and made a list. Just thinking about the stuff on there is simultaneously cringe worthy and gut burstingly funny.

    As for the rest of your points I can’t comment well aside from flirting (at which I’m abysmal)since I’ve never had the opportunity to even get to the first step of getting a date let alone jump the gun assuming it’ll lead to (fill in the blank with any of the listed points)

    So in conclusion, I haven’t the foggiest what works in the Christian dating scene.

  7. “Dating, also, does not inevitably lead to marriage. Many people refuse to get a cup of coffee with someone of the opposite sex for fear that sipping a caffeinated beverage is a precursor to chapel bells and flower girls.”

    Laughed. Out. Loud.

    So, so true with most of my Christian guy friends… There’s also a similar response if you dare to put an ‘x’ on the end of a text message even if it’s a generic thing – GOD FORBID!

  8. THANK YOU!! I LOVED this post. I’m a happily married man and like you am so glad I don’t have to play the dating game anymore.

    That being said my dating “life” sucked because I got brainwashed by all that “I kissed dating goodbye” crap. I got a bone to pick with Joshua Harris.

    You know when I met my wife? Two weeks after I kissed “I kissed dating goodbye” goodbye. No joke.

    Dating should be fun. Amen.

  9. I have a chirstian friend who family allows his girlfriend to sleep in the same house with them and him, they sleep in different rooms, she has become very attached to him, they act like as if they are married, what should I do, “to me”, they shouldn’t even be living in the same house house befor they get married, your advice is much needed.

  10. I’ve recently chosen to let God into my life and its the best decision I ever made! Your article was a much needed help, but I still have concerns of what’s allowed and frowned upon. If someone could point me in the right direction with advice, it would be much apprechiated

  11. Everyone has their own take on this but for me, I’m a checklist person anyway. I make checklists for errands, groceries, and projects around the house. It helps me focus and prioritize. When it comes to dating, my list has absolutes and some that would be nice, but realistically I’m flexible with eye color and his guitar skills. He does; however, need to be seeking the Lord, have an even temper, appreciate family, and respect me. I would like to meet someone with a great voice and mad guitar skills but I’m not going to give someone the boot for playing the keyboard instead. :) I just don’t think lists are a bad idea.

  12. I really have a question about dating men who aren’t Christian.
    I want to date but am landlocked by tundra and expensive plane flights out (Alaska!). *sigh*

  13. Truth be told, I was scared off from Christian girls because I felt like their list of dos n’ don’ts were much higher than that of a non-Christian girl’s. My first girlfriend didn’t work out and my second girlfriend was Baptist and my third was a Pentecostal just like me. While I had my own things to deal with (that’s a story for another time [read: probably never]) so there’s that but right off the bat, with the Chrstian girlfriends, I indeed felt like I was under a lot of scrutiny and being placed under a microscope, being analyzed down to the atom. I started to wonder if dating was the same as being married without being married. Anywho, I’m single now and while I know you don’t have to be married, I feel myself being sucked into the hive mentality that marriage = what you do/should have done when you’re in your late 20s. Aarghburgers! XO

  14. My English not too good but wanted to add a comment.
    I found your advice carnal, and destructive to young people soul. How spiritual is that? Telling a degenerate youth today to go parties, to get out and flirting. That’s sinful. When they were in the world that’s the pathway they took to have a relationship so now you are encouraged them to have the same life styles. Don’t you know that the flesh has desire contrary to the spirit. Traditional dating is erratic and not spiritual. I am an unmarried Man in mid 20s.I know where traditional dating leads to so we advice people not to go there because won’t let no sin go unpunished. When dating there shouldn’t be no kiss, no night out with two of you, no being in a room alone, no kising till we both say I do. The bible do not explicitly talking about how to date but as Christian who’s trying to be a model for the world, a salt for the world there’s some life styles and destructive we shouldn’t not engaged ourselves in. Don’t play caution with sin Joseph didn’t play caution with potifa’s wife but he literally run away from her. The bible says do not touch a woman without a commitment. Woman guard yourself and the best thing is to pray God and let him know your needs. Go on youtube and listen to paul washer on dating. God bless

  15. Employee handbooks list the disciplinary processes for workers failing to perform in accordance
    with their stated job descriptions. In the beginning stages of dating, you’re still getting to know someone you know very little about. Always I repeat always, let someone you love and trust know where you are going and where you have been.

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