What Should Christian Dating Look Like?

by | Jun 8, 2023 | Christian Living

Are you a Christian walking through the dating season?

Dating in itself can be confusing – figuring out what you want, what you don’t want and what that looks like. Add to it seeking to honour God, following His will and sticking to your convictions… it’s a lot to navigate! Dating as a Christian in this world can be challenging, I get it.

And the current trend of online dating doesn’t make things any easier. The questions ruminate in your mind as your thumb pauses before the swipe.

How old is he?

Is he tall enough?

What does he do for work?

Does he smoke?

What type of relationship is he looking for?

Is he a genuine Christian?

You go through a mental checklist with each profile you view and decision fatigue sets in quickly. It’s a screening process that may not be as strict if you first met them in person.

The “getting to know you” process looks a lot different in today’s world of online dating. The stories of people meeting their spouses at work, church, the supermarket and through mutual friends are becoming rarer.

Sometimes, I wish I could get one of my dad’s employees to go and fetch me a suitable husband (see Genesis 24) and all would be sorted! I joke. Kind of.

Still, greater clarity in the process would be helpful. But how do you get that clarity? How do you know what Christian dating should look like?

Sure, you can flick through the love stories of the Bible and get an idea of the biblical principles you can apply in your own life. You can turn to the scriptures about love and marriage to get a clue of what God values in relationships.

What I’ve realised, though, is there’s no set formula for Christian dating. It looks different from one person to another.

So, rather than focusing on what Christian dating should look like, I believe we should look to scripture for wisdom on how to personally navigate this journey.

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.

James 1:5 ESV

Image of two people sitting together over coffee. Faces are hidden but you can see them holding hands.

Below are a few words of wisdom from scriptures that have recently spoken to me in relation to the Christian dating journey.

 

Seek God first and He will look after the details

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Matthew 6:33 NIV

As Christians, we tend to put too much pressure on ourselves to get it right. We obsess over whether we’re making the right decision at every stage. And that leads to allowing dating to consume our thoughts rather than Jesus.

We end up focusing more on the problems and challenges of dating and we miss the heavenly solutions, losing sight of what God is doing and revealing to us. When we instead make pursuing God and becoming more like Christ our #1 priority, God works in His divine providence to give us the desires of our hearts.

Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Psalm 37:4 NIV

 

Trust God and not your own wisdom

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV

When it comes to dating, it’s tempting to keep going back to our “list” (am I the only one?) to see whether the person we’re getting to know measures up. And when they don’t tick a few of the boxes but we enjoy spending time with them, we get confused and try to make sense of things.

How about we get rid of that list (okay, maybe except one or two non-negotiables) and ask God what He wants for us in a future spouse? Trusting in His ability to choose rather than trying to figure it all out on our own.

I bet when we do, we’ll see God make a way without us having to struggle or strive to see things happen. And, I don’t know about you, but I believe God would do a better job of choosing my life partner than I would!

 

Ask God to show you what He sees

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

1 Samuel 16:7 NIV

Like God, we’re to look at the heart above all else.

When we read about the ministry of Jesus throughout the New Testament, we see that He spent time with those who didn’t appear to have it all together but whose hearts were pure in seeking Him. Now, I’m not saying you should go find a partner at the nearest brothel (leave that story to the prophet Hosea). It’s more about looking to what’s on the inside rather than focusing on what’s outside.

That can be tricky, especially with online dating. And I’m preaching to myself more than anyone here! Your first impression is only what you see “on paper” and physical appearance is a big part of that.

Sussing out someone’s heart isn’t easy to do based on online interactions, but it’s not impossible. It requires intentionality and asking God to help you see what He sees. To give you spiritual eyes to see beyond the surface to the unspoken; the unwritten things.

Image of a man and woman on a date, holding coffee cups toward each other doing a toast.

Photo by DocuSign on Unsplash

Pay attention to their words

A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.

Luke 6:45 NIV

As a writer, I have a special appreciation for words. I believe in using them with intention and I naturally pay attention to the words people use. I do this especially when I’m drawing stories and messages out of clients but have found myself doing it more in my personal life, too.

You see, what people speak about reflects their heart. The things that matter most to them.

So, during your next phone chat or date with that person you’re getting to know, pay close attention to their words. What are they saying?

Are they speaking life? Do their words encourage? What language are they using? Do their words echo God’s heart or the things of the world?

More importantly, observe about how you feel when you walk away from time with them. If you’re looking for someone who loves like Jesus, they’ll build you (and others) up.

 

Observe their life and its fruit

As water reflects the face, so one’s life reflects the heart.

Proverbs 27:19 NIV

Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit.

Matthew 12:33 NIV

Okay, as I write this, I’m seeing a theme emerging. Are you seeing it, too?

All roads seem to lead back to the heart. Because even if we’re dazzled by the exterior – looks, money, job, resources, connections, even friends and family – it’s what lies in the heart that will surface sooner or later. And isn’t it better to discover it before you say, “I do”?

As great as it is to pay attention to what the person you’re dating is saying, some people are all talk and no action. And in some cases, there’s inconsistency between their words and their actions. Hello, red flag!

But it’s more than just taking note of whether their words and actions are aligned. It’s watching how they live their life. What do they spend their time doing? Who do they spend time with? What are their relationships like?

These will give you clues on their core values and priorities. Then, you can determine whether they align with what’s matters to you. And more importantly, what matters to God. 

 

Aim to bless, not impress

The one who blesses others is abundantly blessed; those who help others are helped.

Proverbs 11:25 MSG

I picked up this piece of advice from a Christian dating Bible reading plan! Don’t judge haha. When I’m in unfamiliar territory, other than prayer, I don’t hesitate to seek wise counsel from those who’ve gone before me.

When I read this one though, I took it and ran with it. And it’s done wonders for my dating experience so far. Rather than getting caught up in impressing the other person, seek to bless them. Even if it doesn’t go beyond the first date.

Here’s what that could look like practically…

Imagine you’re about to go on a coffee date with someone and meet them in person for the first time. The nerves have gotten the better of you and your stomach is doing somersaults as you get ready. Rather than feed the nerves by worrying about what you’re going to say and how you’re going to make a good first impression, pray. Ask God to show you ways to bless that person during your time together. Ask Holy Spirit to nudge you when there’s an opportunity to encourage them in some way.

And that’s the biblical advice I’ve gathered along my Christian dating experience.  

Now, I don’t claim to know it all. In fact, I know next to nothing about Christian dating. But I have learned a thing or two along the journey as I keep going back to the Source for wisdom. My prayer is that you do, too.

Have you got any sound advice or encouraging scripture you’ve held on to as you’ve dated? If so, please drop a comment below! For more of my personal revelations to build your faith straight into your inbox, sign up for my emails.

Headshot of Oyelola

Written by Oyelola

Oyelola is a freelance writer based in Sydney, Australia. When not writing for clients, she shares her musings from life with Jesus through He Speaks, I Write. Beyond writing, she enjoys throwing back a frothy matcha latte, bushwalks with friends and curling up with a good book.

More From This Category

The God Who Sees: The Story of Hagar

The God Who Sees: The Story of Hagar

Whether we admit it or not, we all desire to be seen and heard. To at least have that one person who truly sees you. Someone who understands you. That’s where we meet Hagar in Genesis 16.

read more

Why is renewing your mind so important?

Have you ever woken up in the morning thinking, “Gosh, I’m hungry”? But in your rush to get ready and start your workday on time, you have no time for breakfast. So, you give food little thought as you focus on other priorities. Before you know it, it’s lunchtime and...

read more

2 Comments

  1. Dannielle

    This was encouraging to read and I loved the Scriptures!

    Reply
    • Oyelola

      I’m glad you found it encouraging, Dannielle :). I love how we can apply scriptures to anything and everything in life!

      Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *