In Christian dating you choose carefully whom you date, where you go and when, what you do.
The Bible warns us, “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. What fellowship can light have with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14) What kind of influence would dating someone who is not following Jesus have on your thinking, your behavior? Of course, in casual dating you are not “yoked together” as you would be in marriage, but even a one-on-one dating relationship in high school is a special relationship in which you do influence each other.
In Proverbs 7 we read of a young man who did not make wise choices about who, where, what, and when. He was “lacking sense,” the Bible tells us: he was purposely taking the road to the home of a “loose” woman, at the end of the day. He allowed the woman to kiss him, to persuade him “with seductive speech”, and he followed her right to her bed. This young man was seeking out the wrong person, going where he shouldn’t have gone, at night — when one is more easily tempted. At any time he could have reconsidered, turned around, said “No”, but he didn’t.
In Christian dating you set boundaries on intimacy, both physical and emotional.
What are the limits of physical intimacy in Christian dating? The Apostle Paul says, “Among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity” (Ephesians 5:3). If you’re honest, and you are praying about your relationships, you know when you’re in danger of crossing the line. “How far . . .?” is the wrong question. The right question is, “Will what I’m doing, or what I’m about to do, draw me closer to God or make me want to hide from him?”
Job, the Bible tells us, said “I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a girl” (Job 31:1), and Jesus said, “Everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28).
In Christian dating, there should be no physical or emotional intimacy intended to arouse desires in the other that cannot legitimately be fulfilled outside marriage.
In Christian dating, you exercise self-control.
You can, because self-control is a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:23), and the Holy Spirit lives in the believer. Our emotions aren’t under our control, but our actions are.
In Christian dating, you focus on getting to know the whole person.
John Holzmann, pastor, counselor to young adults and author of Dating with Integrity, committed himself as a teenager to think of all girls as his “sisters in Christ” — and to treat them as if they were his “sisters in the flesh”, his biological sisters. This helped him distinguish friendly, up-building behaviour from behaviour that would stifle and destroy relationships. “It enabled me to get to know them better, too — better than almost any of their boyfriends ever knew them.”
I once overheard a teen girl telling her hairdresser about her long-term relationship with her boyfriend. The boyfriend was overseas, and she hadn’t seen him for a long time. The hairdresser said, “Oh. That must be difficult for you.” “Actually, no,” the girl said. “It’s really neat. When he’s here, all we do is make out. Now we talk on the phone, and I’m getting to really know him!”
*** If your teens are dating, do their dating rules reflect God’s values? Is their dating “Christian” dating? ***