I’ve been working in youth ministry in some capacity for roughly eight years, and this is one of the most common questions I’ve fielded from young Christians: “How can (insert boyfriend/girlfriend) and I have a Christian dating relationship? ” As often I’ve heard it, I still love the the heart behind the question.
A couple of youngins’ get to dating, and they want to “do it right.” They realize that God is concerned with every aspect of our lives, including our romantic involvements, so they’ve resolved to have a “Christian” dating relationship and sought guidance. Should we buy a devotional and go through it together? ” If the young man’s of a theological bent, he shows up with a potential 10-week preaching series already outlined. As I already mentioned, couples often get this idea that to be truly “spiritual” they should start interweaving their spiritual lives into one.
This will make possible the next step, which is for you to enjoy other people and to like them, and finally you will grow to love them deeply." What to avoid on dates. "Be decent and true in everything you do so that all can approve your behavior. Create in me a new, clean heart, O God, filled with clean thoughts and right desires.
Realizing that practical steps matter, most often they want tips or steps they can take to build their relationship in Christ. (Protip: this last one is definitely not a winning approach.) 4:5-20. This can actually become a problem, especially because you’re not actually married.
There are some rather obvious tips like praying for each other in your daily devotions, encouraging each other to read the Scriptures, setting appropriate boundaries (emotional, spiritual, and so on), and pursuing sexual holiness. These devotions together can develop into a couple-centered spirituality that begins to replace the church-centered relationship with God that the New Testament actually prescribes.
In fact, I’ll go out on a limb and say that if your relationship is a serious drag on your commitment to obeying Christ’s commands to gather with the body, this is actually killing your relationship with Jesus, and is therefore, by definition, not a “Christian” relationship. Women, you want a man who has solid, healthy relationships with other men in the body of Christ.
Be as jealous for his time with body as you are about his time with you.
To cap off my dating advice, I’d like to offer a warning and an encouragement. It does mean you have grounds for thinking it through with care. Finally, the encouragement: Men, make it your aim to be the first to encourage your sweetheart to be involved in fellowship with other believers, and the last to feed any desire to cut off from corporate worship.
First the warning: If you enter the relationship and suddenly stop going to church, pray less, and read less, that’s probably a sign it’s not heading in a godly direction. Be as diligent about carving out time for corporate worship as you are in carving “alone time” (the benefits of which should probably also be up for debate).Second, they do the positive work of setting your eyes on Christ and his completed work in your life.In fact, you avoid relational idolatry by setting your eyes on Christ in practices and relationships in the local body.Finally, we need to hear an outside word that we can’t quickly rationalize, twist, distort, or ignore. If your relationship becomes the center of their faith, the main and only encouragement they have in Christ, something has gone wrong. All four stand on their own as solid reasons to be committed to gathering (and being a member of) a local body.Who is there to support and encourage when you’re having a bad day, or when your relationship needs a check because it’s gone off the rails into sin? Even the best married couples need other, godly voices speaking wisdom, conviction, comfort, and healing grace into their lives. Whether you’re a Baptist, Anglican, or Presbyterian, you want to be regularly reminded that Christ alone is the source of spiritual life—he died, rose again, and our union with him is the only true food for your soul. Yet all four play an important function with respect to your relationship to each other.Indeed, I don’t know a single godly couple who would tell you otherwise. We need to feast on this truth regularly, or we will be tempted to draw strength from other, lesser sources, like your own relationship. First, they do the negative work of preventing the greatest danger in any “Christian” dating relationship—no, not sexual sin, but the human tendency to make an idol out of the beloved.