College is a fun portion of life where people get to stretch their legs away from home, often for the first time. The feeling of distance from their parents can be liberating to some and stifling to others. No matter which category you fall into, this is a time for growth and maturity in your life.
Although stretching your legs is a healthy part of growing up, you should never stretch your morals. That’s unhealthy and far from being a grown-up decision, especially when it comes to dating.
That’s why this article has a few dating tips for the Christian in college. Following them will protect you from heartache and provide you with insight into dating during this stage of life.
Take a Third Wheel (Chaperone)
No, this does not mean bring someone your parents’ age with you on the date. You should know better. Don’t get me wrong, you can do that if you want, but you might not get a second date afterward. This is a time where people are usually trying to keep away from parental figures.
Nevertheless, I bet your date has a friend that would want to tag along. Suggest that they come! Trust me, this will score you massive points with both their friend and also your date. Whether they come or not, you’ve already won half the battle just by inviting them.
Here’s the cool part. If they do come along, you’re also teaching that friend how a Christian should act on a date. They witness what you say and do, giving you an opportunity to let the light of Christ shine through your actions (Matthew 5:14-16). Whether they know it or not, your behavior helps impact what they will come to expect from their future romantic relationship.
Stick to Public Places
Ever been blamed for something that you didn’t do? Yea, multiply that feeling by a factor of infinity when it comes to dating.
The allegations that were filed against that star quarterback with the cheerleader in his bedroom; did they happen? You don’t know because they were done in private behind closed doors. You heard it from someone that heard it from someone else. Welcome to the rumor mill, where reputations go to die (Proverbs 22:1).
And that’s precisely the point. As a Christian, you have two reputations to uphold. Yours is definitely important, but Christ’s is much more significant. Don’t soil them both with bad decision-making.
The location of your date and their circumstances directly affect what can and can’t be said about you. It’s your defense against the rumor mill (1Peter 2:11-12). If your date starts and ends at the coffee shop, then that’s all anyone can ever say about it because the barista witnessed the whole thing! If you stick to public places, your reputation [and Christ’s] will remain blameless.
Talk About the Future
No, I don’t mean for you to go all Star Wars on them. If that’s what you’re both into, then go for it…you’ll both eventually grow up to value Star Trek more anyway. It’s simply superior.
Anyways, if and when those superficial conversations come to an end, you should talk about their future and your own. Discuss each other’s majors. Find out why they chose to study for their degree and what career field they’re going to pursue. These are the types of worthwhile conversations to share together.
There’s a reason that conversations about the future can both excite and scare people to talk about. God has put the concept of eternity into the hearts of all mankind (Ecclesiastes 3:11). The future is inevitable yet undetermined, but thanks to Jesus, Christians have the luxury of assurance about theirs.
Be a Good Steward of Finances
By design, college is an opportunity to learn skills that will advance your expertise and hopefully your finances also. Now is not the time to spend excessive amounts of money on your date.
Everyone expects you to be eating cup-o-noodles or whatever its $1 equivalent is nowadays. Frankly, you’re missing out on the college experience if you’re not. Now is not the time to compare your finances to the standards of others.
Don’t think you have to spend $50 or $100 on each date just to impress them. Doing so might make you look flashy for a moment, but those with knowledge will notice your foolishness being exposed (Proverbs 13:16). I’m not saying that the occasional splurge isn’t okay every once in a while. But be sensible; some of the best dates don’t cost money at all.
If you’re lucky enough not to be the one paying for dates, you still have a responsibility here. Don’t let your significant other continuously spend money on you. Suggest a date idea that doesn’t cost any money or offer to pay your half of the expenditures. You have a role to play in being a good steward also.
Remember the Purpose of Dating
Dating is full of ups and downs for everyone. New romantic relationships are exciting, and breakups are always hard. The process can leave you feeling jaded, cynical, and feeling like quitting or settling for someone.
Some of the people you date will be lots of fun but undeniably irresponsible. Some will be more attractive than others, leading you to possibly pass on quality people for superficial reasons. You would be wise to keep in mind what you should really be looking for in a man or a woman (Proverbs 31:30 & Psalm 119:9-11, respectively).
Though you will undoubtedly have fun moments along the way, you’re not dating for fun. You’re dating to find a helpmate in this life who is also a colaborer for the Lord. You’re dating to eventually marry and possibly raise a family together. Keep yourself focused on finding those qualities in a partner; make sure those boxes get checked before the others.
May God bless you and give you the desires of your heart (Psalm 37:4).
Written By: Nicholas Lakin
Nick is an academic scholar, budding theologian, and thoughtful teacher of the Bible. He has a passion to see others grow in their knowledge of God for the purpose of glorifying Christ. He’s also a graduate of Liberty University and a former United States Army soldier.
His academic works range from commentaries and exegetical analyses to nuanced details regarding the Hebrew and Greek languages of the Bible. His future endeavors include Chaplaincy and founding a nonprofit organization that’s conducive to ecumenical orthodoxy across Protestantism.