TOPIC #1: Know Yourself
Ponder what attributes of your character would bless someone else. It’s natural to focus so much on what you want from a person, you forget to evaluate what you can give. So, before you make that list of your perfect someone, evaluate yourself.
Are you ready to be someone’s someone? And if so what would that look like? Honestly consider the type of person you are. Are you selfish or generous? Are you kind or harsh? When you picture yourself married, do you imagine all the things your spouse will do for you, or do you consider how your character qualities could be a blessing to a partner? Most of us wrestle with being self-focused. We long for a Prince charming who will fill all our emotional needs to give us a happy life we think we deserve. But if this is the goal of your dating experience you’ll likely become disappointed when, at some point, you realize another person cannot be the source of your happiness.
The best relationships are enjoyed by two people who know themselves well, realize their strengths, work on their weaknesses, and are determined to give rather than expecting to receive. (Crosswalk Plus)
TOPIC # 2: Prepare yourself
Psalm 119: says, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light unto my path.” As you journey through life, God provides you with tools to discern where He would have you go. Meeting with God regularly in the pages of scripture is an excellent way to prepare yourself to date in a manner that brings Him glory, and protects you from being deceived or making life-altering mistakes.
Reading and memorizing scripture will transform you. Ask God to implant His Truth into your heart. You’ll never see yourself more clearly than through the lens of scripture. So make time to study the Bible. As you study, ask God to search your heart and reveal to you any areas in your life that He would like to make you more like Christ––before you start dating.
Don’t wait until you meet someone who catches your eye. Prepare yourself now for a godly dating life later. This practice will make you sensitive to the Lord’s leading to one day help you discern who He might have you marry. (Crosswalk Plus)
Topic #3: Ask for Advice
When Allison and Sean met they had both come out of difficult relationships. Allison grew up in the church, but in a season of rebellion she’d gotten pregnant and was now a single mom. Allison says, “I wasn’t looking for anyone to date. I just wanted to raise my son and serve the Lord.”
One day while listening to a preacher on Christian Radio, Sean surrendered to Christ. When a co-worker invited him to church he went reluctantly. That’s where he met Allison. Sean said, “I had been in some pretty bad relationships. I didn’t think God would ever bless me with someone like Allison.”
As time went on, the two found themselves in the same small group Bible study, and other events that brought them together. Since both were unsure of what The Lord would have them do, they sought out godly counselors. Their pastor encouraged them not to date, so they could each mature in their walk with Christ.
Sean and Allison honored their mentor’s advice and remained friends for over a year. Then one day their pastor encouraged Sean to take Allison out to coffee. our emotions and sexual attraction may cause us to jump ahead of God’s timing. If you invite godly counselors, friends, and older mentors into our life you will discover a wealth of wisdom and non-emotional insights to help you discern when––and if, a particular person is someone you should date. (Crosswalk Plus)
Topic #4: Commit to Purity
What’s purity? Some people think “Well as long as you don’t actually do the thing that makes a baby––you’re ok.” And truth be known, many Christians are under this same delusion. Maybe you think this is a fair standard as well. The problem lies in not understanding your sexuality. Let me explain. For more than 30 years my husband and I have done biblical premarital counseling with engaged couples. One of the final sessions is on enjoying sex in the marriage bed. Hebrews 13:4 says the marriage bed is undefiled. God actually wants married couples to have a great sex life! So, He created our bodies to enjoy the act of marriage. And He made our bodies to respond to foreplay leading up to intercourse. (You may be uncomfortable, but stay with me here.) What happens when singles enjoy “make-out sessions” is they are actually involving themselves in foreplay, that act God designed to prepare our bodies for sex.
When unmarried couples play with this kind of fire, their bodies are thinking, Ok, I am preparing for sex. So, depending on how long this type of interaction occurs in their dating relationship, eventually, the couple’s defenses let down, and they give in to what their actions have been preparing their bodies to do.
In other words, foreplay is sex. It’s all sex. And in the marriage bed, it pleases the Lord. Outside of marriage, these actions will take you down a path that is not Spirit-led, confuses your emotions, and tempts you to have sex before you wed––even though you may have committed to staying pure.
You might be thinking, How prudish to expect Christian singles to abstain from sex until marriage. But God’s Word is unchanging. As a loving Father, His commands are for your protection and good.
When a Christian couple has sex before marriage, the Holy Spirit will convict their hearts of their sin. Many miss-matched couples have married out of guilt (or unplanned pregnancy) which leads to all kinds of difficulties in marriage.
And if you’re caught in the habitual sin of immorality, your actions quench the Spirit’s leading in your life. Imagine the trouble that can come from not being Spirit-led while making the most important decision of your life––choosing with whom you’ll marry and raise a family. (Crosswalk Plus)
Topic #5: Is the person you are dating kind?
I’ve been married to my husband, Steve, for 39 years. I can honestly say he is the kindest person I’ve ever known. He is kind to me, to our kids, and to others. When I was young, I observed how honorably he treated his parents, his siblings, and pretty much anyone else he encountered. The one time I remember him losing his temper was when we were dating. I was waterskiing. He was in the boat with friends. When I went down a boat behind me nearly ran me over. (I literally pushed the boat’s bow away from me!) When I came up from underwater Steve was shouting at the boat’s driver. I completely understand the reason for his less-than-kind response, but it truly took me by surprise to see his angry response, because anger was not in his wheelhouse. Over the years I’ve met many individuals who overlooked harshness or anger triggers in one they dated. They convinced themselves their harshness, or anger, would not be an issue once they wed. Sadly, most of these people later found themselves trapped in a marriage where they must walk on eggshells to keep their spouse from flying into an angry tirade. So, learn from their mistakes. Look ahead and choose wisely who you date.
And you must learn to practice kindness. It’s not fair to hold someone you’re dating to the high standard of kindness if you’re an unkind person. So, if you deal with anger issues, before dating seek out godly counselors to help you learn to respond with Christlike kindness. It’s tempting to say, “That’s just how I am.” But if you are in Christ, God calls you to not sin in anger. And if God calls you to it, He is more than able to help you change–-if you’re willing to do the work. Angry people raise angry people. But by God’s grace none of us have to pass anger on to our children. (Crosswalk Plus)
Topic #6: Know Your Worth
Whether you were raised by parents who celebrated all of your accomplishments, or you grew up in foster care with few accolades, it is tempting to think your worth lies in finding someone to love you. Every fairytale delivers this subtle message.
But if you fall into this trap, you’ll search for a dating partner who will validate your worth. Whether you expect them to celebrate you as your parents did, or offer you affirmation that you didn’t receive as a child, eventually they will let you down. Because we are all human and don’t have the capacity to carry the heavy weight of being the source of someone’s worth. God created you to long for love and to find your worth in who cares for you. But that type of love can only be found in a relationship with your Creator. The Bible says, “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called the children of God…” And, He showed us that great love by sending Jesus to die for our sins and purchase us with His blood to become God’s treasures. (See: 1 John 3:1, John 3:16, Revelation 5:9.)
The more committed you are to finding your value in Christ’s love for you, the more ready you will be to date for the right reasons. And, when you are confident in your worth because of Christ, you’ll not be that needy person who sucks the life out of the one they’re dating, in an attempt to find affirmation.
That doesn’t mean you don’t want to date a person who compliments and affirms you. Or that you shouldn’t lift others up with your words. But when you are wisely grounded in God’s love for you, their compliments will endear them to you and bless you for the right reasons. (Crosswalk Plus)