Dating According to God’s Plan

5 Mins read

When we think about God’s plan for relationships, we generally go straight to how God wants us to handle being married. However, if you have yet to make your way down the aisle, God is still interested in your relationship. Your relationship with your boyfriend or girlfriend is an important part of who you are, and God wants to be an active participant in that relationship.

If you’re in an exclusive dating relationship, or even if you aren’t, it’s important that you start allowing God to mold you into the person that you need to be. God has a plan for every relationship in your life, including the one with your boyfriend or girlfriend. Submitting your will to His and allowing Him to mold you in the same way that the potter molds the clay (Isaiah 64:8) can not only ensure that you’re ready for marriage whenever that becomes your reality, but it also puts you in a position to date God’s way.

What does the Bible say about dating? How can you become a Godlier participant in your romantic relationship? As is always the case, the Bible provides the answers to the questions that we have.

Follow the Leader
Psalm 19:7-9 (TPT)

God’s Word is perfect in every way; how it revives our souls! His laws lead us to truth, and his ways change the simple into wise. His teachings make us joyful and radiate his light; his precepts are so pure! His commands, how they challenge us to keep close to his heart! The revelation-light of his word makes my spirit shine radiant. Every one of the Lord’s commands is right; following them brings cheer. Nothing he says ever needs to be changed.

The word “dating” never occurs in the Bible. However, that doesn’t mean that the Bible doesn’t contain a wealth of information about how we should handle romantic relationships.

Unless you’re in your first relationship, you’ve probably made some dating mistakes in the past. You’ve probably had some relationships that were going pretty well fall apart. Maybe you were partially to blame, maybe you were completely to blame or maybe it ended through no fault of your own. However, the pain and the baggage that stems from a failed relationship can last for a long time.

One of the best ways to make yourself a better dater is to follow God’s Word and His plan for you. In the 19th Psalm, David spent a great deal of time writing about the goodness of Scripture. No, you will never read the words, “to be a better boyfriend/girlfriend, do this” in the Bible. However, a large portion of God’s Word discusses interpersonal relationships. Spend some time studying God’s Word and asking the Holy Spirit how you can make changes in your character, so you live a Godlier life. The natural result will be that you become better at all of your relationships, including your romantic ones.
David said that God’s perfect Word revives us, leads us and changes us. His teachings lead us into joy and cause us to radiate His light. When that happens, you will be a better participant in your relationship.

Finding Shared Values
2 Corinthians 6:14-16 (TPT)

Don’t continue to team up with unbelievers in mismatched alliances, for what partnership is there between righteousness and rebellion? Who could mingle light with darkness? What harmony can there be between Christ and Satan? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What friendship does God’s temple have with demons? For indeed, we are the temple of the living God, just as God has said : I will make my home in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they will be my people.

This portion of Scripture makes people very uncomfortable because it forces us to carefully examine the kind of people that we are aligning ourselves with. However, Paul seems pretty clear about the importance of letting your closest relationships be with other Christians.

Think of your dating relationship like rowing a boat. With two people in the boat, each of them holding a paddle, it’s crucial that both parties are rowing in the same direction, pursuing the same destination. If the person in the front wants to go to the left but the person in the back is trying to steer the boat to the right, what happens? The boat ends up spinning in tiny circles, no closer to either shore than it was when the rowing started.

In a similar fashion, a child of God who is trying to pursue God teaming with an unbeliever who is pursuing the desires of their own flesh can’t go anywhere. Why? Because they are in pursuit of polar opposite desires.

Before you enter into a romantic relationship, spend some time praying about who God wants you to be in that relationship with. He will never direct you to connect romantically with someone who is going to be pulling in a different direction. Instead, He will pair you with someone who shares your values and the two of you can encourage each other to pursue God and His design for your lives and your relationship.

Setting Boundaries
Ephesians 5:3 (TPT)

And have nothing to do with sexual immorality, lust, or greed-for you are his holy ones and let no one be able to accuse you of them in any form.

Make no mistake about it, God created sex. In Genesis 1:26-28, God gave Adam and Eve two commandments: have dominion over the animals and the plants on the earth, and be fruitful and multiply. However, God didn’t tell them to begin that fruitful multiplying until after He had divinely joined them together .In the New Testament, Paul commands several churches to abstain from sexual immorality. If you back up to the events that culminated in the birth of Christ, you find that Mary had never had sexual relationships with any man.
The commandments found in both the Old and New Testaments make it plain that sexual intercourse is meant to be enjoyed by people who have entered into a marriage together. That means that God doesn’t want us to commit any kind of sexual immorality, including sex before marriage.

One great way to ensure that you’re dating according to God’s Word and not falling into the trap of premarital sex is to set boundaries early. When you and your partner come to an agreement about what is acceptable and what isn’t, you can work together to set these boundaries. Part of the process of setting boundaries is acknowledging your own weaknesses. If you know that you are prone to get carried away in the heat of the moment, set clear rules about when you’re going to be alone with your partner.

The earmark of a strong Christian is not the ability to get as close to temptation as possible and still resist it. Instead, it is finding the ability to recognize your areas of weakness and stay away form them completely. When your relationship has boundaries from the beginning, there is a much smaller chance that you will do something you regret later on.

No, God’s Word never provides a chapter of dos and don’ts for dating. Part of that is because of the cultural norms at the time compared to the ones we have now. In ancient times, people didn’t meet someone online, in person or through friends and enter into a romantic relationship with them. Instead, most marriages were arranged between families, often before the couple had even been born. Other relationships were created out of agreements that looked more like business transactions. However, God’s Word still includes plenty of commandments and suggestions about how to handle all types of interpersonal relationships, including romantic ones outside of marriage. Spend some time asking the Holy Spirit to help you become a Godly participant in your romantic relationships.

A Closing Prayer:
help me to become more like you in all of my relationships, including those of a romantic nature. (If you’re already in one) Help me to show your love to the person I’m dating. (If you’re still waiting) God, bring me a partner who will join me in pursuit of Your will. Give us the strength to pursue You and help us to set boundaries so we do not sin against You. In Christ’s name, Amen.

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