5 Steps Toward Successful Dating
You’re ready to get married. Or, at least want to be someday. You know what you’re looking for and have started dating someone. But how do you actually figure out if this person in front of you could be the godly spouse you’re looking for?
At some point in my mid-twenties, a light dawned on me. Sharon, my future wife, was pretty awesome. I was pretty sure we were going to get married. There was just one problem.
We hadn’t even started dating.
She was everything I had been praying for, everything you could hope for in a godly spouse. But I still had to get to know her and confirm my suspicion. She had to do the same with me.
How do you do that well? After you know what you’re looking for and enter a relationship, what sort of process will help you figure out if he or she is the one? Here are five ways to find out.
5 Steps Toward Successful Dating
- Decide to date only other believers. In 1 Corinthians 7:39, the Apostle Paul tells says, ‘ A wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord.’ I think it’s fair to say that he would extend that command to any unmarried Christian. If you can’t marry someone who doesn’t identify with Christ, it doesn’t make sense to head down that road in the first place.
- Be ready to walk away. Having this not work out has to be an option. From the start. If you’ve already decided in the affirmative, you can’t make an objective decision. The person you’re dating will likely feel pressure from you, which is actually unattractive.
- Spend lots of time in groups. You’ll learn so much more about the other person by doing things in groups. Yeah, it takes more effort and, if it’s going well, you’ll be tempted to make it just the two of you. Especially if you’re not living in the same area. But it’s worth it.
- Limit physical intimacy. While it’s important to be physically attracted to someone you’re dating and might marry, sex is like super glue. It’s meant to cement a whole life commitment in the context of marriage. I’m not going to lay out exact rules here; you have to prayerfully work through that with God and each other. But, when your physical involvement gets ahead of the rest of your relationship, there’s pressure to stay together. There’s a reason Song of Solomon warns us ‘not to awaken love until the time is right’ (Song of Solomon 2:7; 3:5; 8:4).
- Don’t drag your feet. If we take Jesus’ command to love others as we love ourselves seriously, then we won’t let the relationship stay in standby mode without reason. We won’t enjoy the benefits of being in a relationship without a growing commitment. And we’ll communicate with the other person appropriately about where we are, and, ask them where they are. Once we’ve worked through any obstacles or questions we have to getting married, it’s time to get engaged and move toward marriage.
- Remember what it’s all about. In Ephesians 5:31-32, the Apostle Paul reminds us that marriage is ultimately about displaying Christ’s relationship with us. When we keep this in front of us, the process is still messy, but most of our questions are put into perspective and easier to answer.
Dating: Your Next Steps
I know that doesn’t address every question or scenario. But after you’ve found someone you want to know better, keeping these tips in mind should help you do it well.
Question: If you’re in a relationship right now, which of the above suggestions is most helpful to you right now? If you’re not in a relationship yet, which one can you see helping you the most?