Dating, it seems, has somewhat of a bad rap in the Christian world. I’ve heard people say things like “dating is a waste of time” or “God will bring me the right person at the right time.” I’ve also heard people say that dating is harmful, dangerous even and always leads to sexual sin and immorality.
I have to admit that I find all of this talk confusing. Just because dating as we know it isn’t explicitly outlined in scripture doesn’t mean it’s wrong, does it?
I know some people object to this idea, but I confess that I see dating as a necessary and even healthy process. Dare I say it, I even think it’s okay to date someone while knowing good and well that you are not going to marry them. Sound scandalous?
The real question is, should Christians date without purpose? Well, here’s my own personal story…
I dated a lot. I dated in high school, college, and after college. I liked dating. Granted, some of my relationships were not Godly. I wasn’t always following Christ throughout some of those periods.
However, my Christian relationships taught me a lot about marriage. They taught me a lot about how to contribute, encourage, and bless my brothers in Christ which in turn taught me how to the same as a wife.
I realized too, while dating, that sexual purity would pretty much always be a struggle for me (until marriage). Thankfully, I was able to date Christian men who were above reproach in this area and did not tempt me or pressure me.
This was huge for me. For the first time I felt freedom in a relationship–the freedom to not have sex. I knew that the Godly man I was dating loved me because of me, not because of something I was giving him.
This reality proved to be so miraculously healing for me that without it, I doubt I would have been health enough to ever marry. And this man who helped me feel confident and secure without sexual pressure is not the man that I married.
I dated another man who helped me know what it was to just enjoy time with the Lord together, as a couple. He was a catalyst for me in understanding that friendship with Jesus and the person you love did not need to be compartmentalized.
All this to say, that by the time my husband did come along, I was so much more prepared to be a wife and I owe much of that preparation to dating. Yes, the Holy Spirit did the work in me, but He used the vehicle of dating to accomplish much of that work.
When I hear Christians complaining about dating, I get frustrated. When they say that dating in and of itself is sinful or wrong, I have to object. Dating is not evil or wrong just because it isn’t mentioned in the Bible. Neither is dating someone that you might never marry.
Had I not dated the men I never married, I might not have ever married!
If God is allowed into a dating relationship, just any relationship, it can be healthy and fruitful. Some want to call dating without the intent of marriage useless or harmful. They would argue that there is no purpose in that kind of dating. However, God had great purpose in my dating relationships, some of which prepared me for marriage.
And, I believe, dating should be fun. It doesn’t need to be this serious, restrictive, or boring event. In my case, dating was enjoyable regardless of whether or not I was going to marry the guy.
I think God supports dating when it glorifies Him. I just hope more Christians would realize the same thing.
What do you think of Christians dating for fun or dating without “purpose”? Do you think it’s okay to date someone you know you will not marry? What should Christian dating look like?