You’re a Christian that’s either in a relationship right now or preparing for one in the future. Now, you want to know if God approves of the relationship. Does God want you to date this person?
I want to first point out that the question is a valid one. However, it can also be a complex one, theologically speaking. It inquires about the will of God for a specific person (you) as related to something the Bible doesn’t directly address (dating). If you aren’t prepared, it can get real deep and real fast.
With that in mind, I’m going to spare you the theological jargon and speak as plainly as possible about the subject. I know you’re not here for a theology lesson. To accomplish that, I’ll give you a test of three simple questions. The answers to those questions will help you navigate if God wants you to date a particular person.
To begin, I want to establish a fact. Experiencing the fullness of God’s blessings requires your obedience to Him (Acts 5:32). The gift of the Holy Spirit is essential to the discernment process for dating. Therefore, with obedience in mind and the Holy Spirit as our guide, let’s ask some simple questions about you and this person.
Did You Pray About Dating?
There is absolutely no problem with being single. According to Jesus (Matthew 19:10-12) and echoed by the Apostle Paul (1Corinthians 7:38), it’s actually better to remain single than to marry. However, these passages also note that singledom is not acceptable for everyone.
If you don’t feel called to singledom, you should pray for God’s guidance before considering a relationship. The feelings that you are experiencing might be your own bodily desires pushing their way up to the top of the priority list; it happens sometimes. That doesn’t necessarily mean you shouldn’t pursue a relationship, but it might be evidence that it’s not God’s timing to look for one right now.
Once you’ve asked God through prayer about the timing, give yourself ample opportunity to hear the reply of the Holy Spirit. Be attentive to the various ways that He chooses to speak with us (through reading the Bible, personal confirmations, His words through other Christians). Be prepared to wait a significant period of time for a clear answer.
Don’t act on the first thing you hear. Sometimes we don’t get all the pieces of the puzzle at once, and it can take a while to fully discern the will of God for the situation. Keep praying a few more times for confirmation of what you perceived. When you’re certain that the Holy Spirit has spoken, act upon that answer with faith in the instructions that you received (Hebrews 11:6).
Are They Christian?
You’ll remember how I previously said at the beginning of this article that the Bible doesn’t directly address dating. As far as romantic relationships are concerned, the Bible is primarily interested in what’s supposed to come after the dating process. Marriage is the finish line and goal of dating.
A Christian is only free to marry another Christian (1Corinthians 7:39). If marriage is the ultimate goal of the dating process, then it doesn’t really make sense to date someone that isn’t already Christian. Hoping and praying for their conversion is admirable, but it’s not an acceptable excuse for dating them (2Corinthians 6:14-15).
Ask the person if they consider themselves to be a Christian. Be direct and don’t leave any room for doubt in their mind about what you’re asking. If they aren’t Christian, you can be certain that God would rather you date another person.
This is the number one question to ask anyone that you consider dating. You are hoping to find God’s special person for you. If they aren’t Christian, then by very definition, they aren’t one of God’s people.
Are They REALLY Christian?
Hypocrites and nominal Christians are real. They are people who consider themselves to be Christian but behave nothing like it. They claim Jesus as their Savior, but they don’t follow him in obedience as Lord.
Jesus speaks about these people in the parable of the wheat and weeds (Mathew 13:24-30, 36-43). They are the weeds and Christians are the wheat. Weeds look very similar to wheat during the growth process; it’s hard to tell them apart.
Only when the harvest came did the difference between them become clear. Their real identities are revealed by the change of color into golden grain. Similarly, you will be able to recognize true Christians from false Christians by their change of character and the fruit of their lifestyle (Matthew 7:15-20).
I know what you may be thinking at this point. Only God can judge the heart of a person to determine if they are Christian or not. True enough, but I was once a hypocrite and nominal Christian too…I’m speaking from experience here.
God doesn’t give up on people. I’m evidence that weeds can become wheat. But it’s only possible through transformational change brought on by the Holy Spirit. Afterward, you can’t help but be different than the weeds.
This question is meant to be difficult to answer. It requires you to truly know them. Sometimes you will already know them, but oftentimes you won’t. Here is where dating someone is a viable process for discovering the answer.
If they prove to be Christian in words only, you can be certain that they are not spiritually mature enough to marry. You could be setting yourself up for massive disappointment because not all weeds transform into wheat. Trust me, there are spiritually mature Christians out there searching for you too. Don’t settle.
However, if they prove to be Christian in actions also, there is a high degree of probability that your relationship has the approval of God backing it. You should both be dating each other with the purpose of marriage in mind. With God’s blessing, enjoy this exciting season of life!
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.