How can I honor God in my dating relationships?

Can I Get a Witness for the Biblical Way to Date?

We’ve all seen too many dating disaster stories – the nasty breakups, the heartbreak, the compromise of values. As Christian young people trying to figure out the dating game, it can be tempting to throw in the towel and just follow the mainstream crowd. But we know God has a better way! Dating with wisdom and purpose, centered on honoring Him, can lead to healthier relationships and save us a lot of pain down the road.

So how exactly do we “honor God” in our dating lives? Let’s break it down with some practical tips:

Start with the Right Motivations

Before even going on that first date, we need to check our motivations. Are we pursuing romance for selfish reasons – just to impress others, physical desires, or feeling lonely? Or are we open to God’s will and seeking a relationship that will bring glory to Him? The right motives focused on pleasing God make all the difference.

1 Corinthians 10:31 says “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” That includes dating! We should commit to keeping Christ at the center, not just using our relationships to fulfill our own wants.

honor God in my dating: Stay Physically Pure

This one’s a biggie. Our culture constantly pushes the opposite message, but we know that God’s plan for sex is between one man and one woman within marriage (1 Corinthians 7:2-3). That means any sexual activity before marriage is a no-go zone. Even just “going too far” physically can open the door to great temptation.

Ephesians 5:3 instructs us “Among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality.” Whoa, not even a hint! So we need to purpose to stay far away from the line by setting firm physical boundaries from the start. Make a commitment to not send suggestive pics or messages, keep movie viewing and date activities PG, and avoid being alone in compromising situations. Control the “hint” and you’re less likely to give into bigger compromises.

Pray Together from the Start

If you’re dating with the intention of finding a godly spouse, then your spiritual compatibility and commitment to Christ need to be primary focuses from day one. An awesome way to get that going is to make praying together a regular part of your dating routine.

It doesn’t have to be awkward either – just start small by saying a prayer before your dates or while in the car together. Then work up to deeper conversations about faith and praying together over decisions, struggles, etc. Maintaining that spiritual discipline will grow your connection and help discern if this is someone you could build a strong spiritual household with down the road.

Guard Your Emotional Purity

Going “all in” emotionally from the get-go is a fast track to heartbreak if that relationship doesn’t pan out. Physical purity gets a lot of attention, but we need to be just as intentional about emotional purity while dating.

In Song of Songs 8:4, the lover cautions, “Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires.” In other words, don’t go melting over someone or get your hopes up too high until you’ve pursued that person with intentionality, involvement of mentors/parents, and commitment. Take it slow with the gushy emotions at first to guard your heart and your date’s heart!

Have Discernment about Character

While physical attraction and chemistry are nice, we all know that lasting relationships need way more substantive qualities to keep them going strong. That’s why we have to keep our eyes peeled for true, godly character in whomever we’re dating. Don’t ignore red flags just because someone seems fun or looks good!

Instead, pray for discernment and look for fruits of the Spirit like integrity, patience, kindness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). Do they demonstrate humility and willing to be held accountable? Are they mature in their faith and passionate about growing spiritually? If you have nagging gut feelings that this person isn’t lining up with biblical character, don’t ignore them! Better to pump the brakes than pursue something that will likely bring lifelong issues.

Involve Trusted People

Yeah, it can be awkward to share about your dating life with parents or mentors. But pursuing a relationship in isolation or total secrecy is a breeding ground for deception and unhealthy habits to creep in. We need to have the courage to bring godly people we trust into the loop!

Engaging them from the outset keeps us accountable, provides wisdom, and helps us see potential blindspots in the person we’re interested in. It may be uncomfortable, but it’s so valuable to have seasoned voices speaking into our dating lives to help us stay on track. That’s the kind of guidance and perspective we desperately need!

At the end of the day, dating with the goal of honoring God takes serious commitment and intentionality. It will require us to swim against the strong cultural tides telling us to just indulge our desires and emotions. But isn’t that sacrifice and obedience worth it to experience relationships rooted in God’s amazing wisdom and design?

So let’s propose to keep Him at the center, whether ending up married or realizing along the way it isn’t a good match. Pleasing the Lord leads to life and meaning in our romances that the world could never offer. Who’s with me to honor the King in our dating lives?

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