Dating isn’t always easy. That’s for sure. Whether your dating life has been desert dry and you haven’t had a date in months (or years), or you’re just starting to like someone, new beginnings in relationships can be fraught with questions and angst.
Between the mixed signals (“Does he like me or are we just friends?”) and the uncertainty (“Will we ever get together again or was that just a ‘one and done’ event?”) the waiting and wondering can be crazy making.
You feel so out of control.
But here’s the thing. It’s important to focus on what you can control, not what you can’t. And what you can control is you and your actions. How will you approach dating and relationships? Where will you set boundaries? How will the One who loves you most, God, figure in to your dating life?
So before the phone rings, how can you be prepared to make better choices in dating and relationships?
Let’s start with the power of wisdom.
Making wiser and better choices in relationships begins as you think about how you’ll date—the world’s way or God’s way. Most often the images portrayed of dating on TV, movies and other media is the world’s way—with levels of emotional and physical intimacy that are contrary to Christian beliefs.
While the word “dating” does not appear in the Bible, we know that God desires people to treat each other with honesty, integrity, respect and honor. A few of the ways to honor someone in a relationship, according to what God says, are being more other-centered than self-centered, and holding back on total physical intimacy (sex) until after the commitment of marriage.
And, we read in 2 Corinthians 4:16, “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?”
That verse is about marriage, you might say, and you just want to have a date. I get it. First things first. But remember, every marriage starts out with a first date. If you are a Christ-follower and you want an awesome marriage one day to a godly Christian spouse, then it all starts with knowing and applying the wisdom of biblical principles in your dating life.
For instance, you can look at the commands about living a holy life and apply them to your relationships, including dating and marriage. The book of Ephesians lists a few:
Be completely humble, be patient (4:2)
Speak truthfully (4:25)
In your anger do not sin (4:26)
Build up others with your words (4:29)
Be kind and compassionate
Forgive each other (4:32) and
Live a life of love (5:2).
Also, it seems wise to get to know someone first to see if you are compatible before you connect in a dating relationship. Spend time with your friends, his friends or your singles group instead of having instant one-on-one time. That way you can prevent heartbreak for both parties if either of you discover that the other person isn’t right for you after all.
Wisdom is essential—in your dating life and in your whole life. Without it we often do foolish things that hurt others or ourselves. God’s wisdom protects you. It guides you.
As you follow the path of wisdom you grow up on the inside, and become more emotionally and spiritually mature. What does that kind of person look like?
A mature person loves, accepts and respects herself. She learns to put rejection and loss in perspective, and trust the bigger picture of God’s guiding hand. She deals with issues as they come up and doesn't let them accumulate. She doesn't hold on to the past, but clings tightly to the Savior who is her future and her hope.
A mature person lives in the reality of the present, not the fantasy of an imaginary future or the regret of the past. She doesn’t obsess over a guy who’s dumped her for far too long or imagine herself in a white dress and veil with someone who is clearly not pursing her. And, a mature person trusts that God really does know best.
When you live in the light of God’s truth and trust His ways as your guide, you become more equipped to make healthier relationship choices.