Good question! No one should ever fault you for wanting to learn what the Bible says about anything. In this postmodern world of truths, it’s our anchor for ultimate truth. However, if you’re trying to learn more about what the Bible says about dating, you might be slightly disappointed.
That’s because it doesn’t directly discuss the topic at all!
That’s right, the Bible never explicitly mentions dating even once. But that doesn’t mean it forgets to address relationships or love. It definitely does! However, marriage is the primary type of romantic relationship it focuses on.
Marriage is the end goal of the dating process. If you aren’t dating to eventually become married, you aren’t dating the right way. According to the Bible, marriage is the type of relationship that God desires for romantic couples.
Therefore, Christian dating advice comes from what the Bible says about marriage!
So the question must be rephrased. Another way to ask it is, ‘What does the Bible say about marriage that can be applied to dating?’ Now that’s something which can be answered!
Here are a few Christian dating principles that stem from what the Bible says about marriage.
1 Corinthians 7:3 (NKJV)
“Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband.”
We all have a default setting for behavior that people come to expect. People notice changes in it by commenting things like “you seem happy today” or “what’s wrong?” Stepping out of that default mode, even if only slightly, becomes an important way for you to show her meaningful affection worth commenting about.
It’s no surprise that males tend to be more physical than emotional. Every person is different, and you know him better than me. However, you might never know the surpassing value of a well-timed hug. Oftentimes it’s more potent than a kiss and has the possibility of freeing emotions in him that were previously locked away.
Affection is a form of love. It is a good thing to show affection to others, especially within the context of a romantic relationship. Nevertheless, not all forms of affectionate love are appropriate or acceptable within a dating relationship. If you’re a parent supervising a relationship, don’t prohibit the display of affection between them but do guard them against inappropriate affection.
1 Peter 3:7 (NIV)
“Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.”
Always remember, the weaker partner doesn’t mean the lesser partner. Women might not be your equals in strength, but they are definitely your equals in value. They are even more capable than you in some regards. Show her the respect she deserves as a coheir of life lest you suffer consequences from God.
Generally speaking, men are better built by God for work. Their bodies were designed to sustain their families through hard labor. Affirm his importance as a provider and enjoy this blessing as part of the gracious gift of life. Be grateful for him in this regard so his temperament towards you isn’t tempted. Let him pay for that popcorn when he offers it…it’s Biblical.
According to the Bible, living with your romantic partner is reserved for the context of marriage. Sinful actions have consequences, and one of them is hindered prayers. God can choose to turn a deaf ear to you if you are living in sin and knowing it’s wrong. At that point, it becomes a willful alignment with evil.
Ephesians 5:24-25 (NLT)
“As the church submits to Christ, so you wives should submit to your husbands in everything. For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her”
Christ is your example of how to love a woman. It takes self-sacrifice to love someone the way Christ loved you. So before you pop the question to her about marriage, ask yourself if you would die for this woman. If the answer is “no” or “I don’t know,” you’re not ready for marriage.
Christian men need to be respected as the spiritual leader of the relationship. It’s an intimately important desire for them. This doesn’t mean they will always get it right, and that’s where you become unexpendable as his valuable copilot. If you still disagree after talking about it, submit to his spiritual authority and let God correct him…if and when God affirms you, it will be an embarrassment that he won’t desire to repeat.
The marriage dynamic is meant to mirror the relationship between Christ and the church. He is the husband, and together, Christians are the bride. The dating dynamic should be patterned after marriage but also tempered by a lesser degree of commitment until the wedding day comes. When it does, full devotion is an expectation of both people.
1 Corinthians 7:39 (NIV)
“A woman is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she wishes, but he must belong to the Lord.”
The flipside of this statement is also true for you. That means as long as you are dating her, you must remain faithful to her. Multiple girlfriends are not allowed, and cheating is outright forbidden. You become free to date another Christian woman only after the relationship has ended.
Breakups are hard, no doubt. In a manner of speaking, they can sometimes feel like the person is dead to us. When and if it happens, don’t forget the ultimate goal of dating. You’re looking for a spiritually mature man with pure intentions, but all the same, you’re still only looking for a Christian.
The ultimate goal of dating is the union of marriage. As the passage connotes, marriage is intended to last “until death do us part.” When death unfortunately comes, the surviving partner is free to marry another person. However, that other person must be a Christian.
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.