11 Feb Should Christians date?
I have seen many Christian singles ponder on this topic. It is somewhat the unsaid topic. We know what it is, but we don’t talk about it. If you are a Nigerian, then I bet your parents have painted dating to be that unholy, bad and unspoken thing, and you dare not even think about dating, especially if you are female. When you have finished university, they just miraculously expect a man to appear from the sky and you get married. So it is no wonder that many people in this part of the world, shy away from talking about dating.
So what really is dating? Dating is when two people go out together, to get to know themselves because they are attracted to one another and would like to see if they are compatible enough and if there is a future for them as a couple. The ultimate goal of dating is marriage. Sometimes people use the term courting. Both terms mean the same thing, although, people most likely use the term courting, when the couple have officially decided to head towards marriage, that is, the man has proposed to the woman.
The concept of marriage as seen in the Bible first starts in Genesis when God made man and then wanted a companion and helper for him, so he caused him to fall into a deep sleep and made a woman out of the rib of Adam (Genesis 2:21-24). The passage went on to quote that this is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.
Dating is a very modern act and didn’t go in the days of the Bible. In Bible times and a lot down the line, when parents see that their children were ripe for marriage, they sought after a wife or husband for their child. Usually, it was amongst their country, and what they looked for was the belief of the family to ensure it aligned with theirs, that the to-be spouse was a good, responsible and godly adult. The man initiated the interest and the family of the woman agreed and then gave their daughter’s hand in marriage. Both will consummate the marriage and live on together and bear children. A clear example of this in the bible is the marriage between Isaac and Rebekah. However, we see another aspect where a man himself finds a woman attractive and pursues her not by approaching her but approaching her parents. A clear example of this is Jacob and Rachael.
The bible does not talk about dating as it was not a practice in those times, however, the world has evolved and so has practises changed. In today’s society, dating is crucial. We see that the difference between dating and what went on in the bible times was that the couples handled it themselves first, before involving their parent. Unlike the bible times when the parents were the ones responsible for checking the belief, character and attributes of the intended spouse of their child, this time the couples take the responsibilities for themselves and do their own checks. The most important thing we can draw from this is that before marriage, it is important to:
- know who your spouse really is
- know the attitude and character of your spouse.
- know about the beliefs of your spouse
- know the goals and aspirations of your spouse
The Bible gives clear guidelines as to the relationship between a man a woman. Since the goal of dating is marriage, then let’s use marriage as a guideline to know what is expected.
We see that marriage in the bible was between a man and a woman. A man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife”, not husband. In other parts of the Bible, we see that homosexuality is regarded as a sin in God’s eyes. Therefore, dating should only be between a man and a woman.
We see that the man is to be working as he is expected to provide for the family. The woman is also expected to be hardworking who multiplies the income with her skills. and wisdom. Therefore she is the perfect helper, helping the man in caring for the home, children, and work. So marriage is not for the jobless and lazy but for two hardworking and responsible adults. Therefore dating is supposed to be between two hardworking people already making a living for themselves. Now, this is not about you being rich and but you must be doing something to cater for yourself and your expenses. If a man doesn’t have a job or a business, don’t marry him. If a woman doesn’t have a job or a business, don’t marry her. No one is to be a liability. It is not about how much you earn but the fact that you can take care of yourself If you cannot care for yourself as a man or woman, you will not be able to care for your spouse and children.
It is also clear that marriage is the only avenue where sex is permitted and the Bible makes it clear that there should be no sexual practises outside of marriage as it is regarded as a sin. So during dating, there should be no sexual immorality of any kind.
Therefore, in summary, dating should be between a man and a woman who are good, responsible, hardworking and godly adults, devoid of any form of sexual pleasure. The intent is to get to know one another and head into marriage. I do not see the need for dating to go on for years as it shows you were not ready when you started it, and it only brings room for high emotions which leads to immorality. But that is my humble opinion and advice.
So what should the process of getting finding a mate and getting married be like? A simple guide is that men or women should have healthy friendships with one another, where they fellowship with one another, sharpening each other in the lord and growing one another. This is not dating but friendships. Christians should endeavour to form godly friendships with the same sex and also the opposite sex because apart from being a solid ground to find a godly spouse, these friends help to sharpen your faith and foster your spiritual growth and you all help each other to stand firm and strong in the things of God.
Through friendships, there is a tendency to be attracted to one particular person The man is to let his intentions be known to the woman, telling her he is attracted to her and so that they can both agree to begin dating and be intentional about getting to know each other better. Now, some of you might ask why a woman shouldn’t be the one to make the move, well right from the Bible times, even in the creation of man and woman, God asked the man to leave his father and mother and cleave to the wife and they both will become one flesh. It was not the other way round. The man is to seek after the woman, and the woman is to accept or reject the proposal. A woman is expected to be homely and chaste, not seeking after male attention. A man is to find her in her place of duty, not she going around looking for a man. The bible likens such acts to be prostitution. So I am a firm believer that a woman is to busy herself in her duty post and the man will find her. Rebekah was found as she went about her daily chores to fetch water, Rachael was found doing her daily chores.
Now once both parties have begun dating, they both are to spend time talking to each other about their past, growing up, likes, dislikes, beliefs, opinions, goals, and God. They should communicate most especially about their faith and ensure they are on the same page in their belief. They also should spend time praying individually and collectively about the will of God concerning their intended union, and when they are sure they want to take the step forward, the man is to propose to her, then he is to then see her parents and inform them of his intentions and they are to begin planning for their wedding.
In conclusion, we see that there is nothing wrong with dating, but we should ensure that dating should be done rightly, with the intention of getting to know one another and leading into marriage. There should be no sexual immorality involved but good communication, where both parties build each other up.
I wish you a healthy relationship and a happy marriage. Amen