Resources > Dating - Marriage > Guidelines for dating

Biblical guidelines for dating

God wants the best for us in every area of our lives. This includes relationships with boyfriends or girlfriends. We should date for fun, friendship, personality development and selection of a mate, not to be popular or for security. Don't allow peer pressure to force you into dating situations that are not appropriate. Realize that over 50% of boys and over 40% of girls never date in high school. So, don't think that you are not special or cool if you don't have a personal dating person yet.

Although dating isn't mentioned in the Bible (dating wasn't invented yet) the Bible gives us clear principles to guide us in making decisions related to dating:

1. Guard your heart
The Bible tells us to be very careful about giving our affections, because our heart influences everything else in our life. Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life (Proverbs 4:23).

2. You are known by the company you keep
We also tend to become like the company we keep. This principle is closely related to the first one and is just as important in friendships as in dating. Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character (1 Corinthians 15:33).

3. Christians should only date other Christians
Although it is fine for Christians to have non-Christian friends, those who are especially close to our heart should be mature believers who are seeking to follow Christ with their lives.
Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? (2 Corinthians 6:14).
Let's listen to pastor Tim Keller, what he says about dating (video below).

4. Is it really love?
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 defines real love.
Ask yourself these questions:
Are you patient with each other?
Are you kind to each other?
Are you never envious of each other?
Do you never boast to or about each other?
Is your relationship characterized by humility?
Are you never rude to each other?
Are you not self-seeking?
Are you not easily angered with each other?
Do you keep no record of wrongs?
Are you truthful with each other?
Do you protect each other?
Do you trust each other?
If you answered “yes” to the above questions, then 1 Corinthians 13 says that you truly have a loving relationship. If you answered “no” to any of the above questions, then maybe you should discuss those issues with your boyfriend or girlfriend.
How far is too far?
Many students ask the question, “How far should I go on a date?” Let's hear what pastor Tim Keller says about premarital sex (video below).

Appropriate behavior on a date
Here are some principles that will help you decide what is appropriate behavior on a date.

  1. Does the situation I put myself in invite sexual immorality or help me avoid it? 1 Corinthians 6:18-20 says to "flee from sexual immorality." We cannot do this if we are tempting ourselves through carelessness.
  2. What kind of reputation does my potential date have? When you accept a date you are essentially saying, “My values are the same as your values.” That in itself can put you in a position you may regret later. Remember 1 Corinthians 15:33, "Bad company corrupts good character."
  3. Will there be any pressure to use alcohol or drugs? Don't give up your values for a date.
  4. Am I attracting the wrong type of person? Make sure that the message you send with your actions doesn't attract people who will lead you to compromise your values.
  5. Am I aware that sin is first committed in the heart? Matthew 5:28 says, "But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart."
  6. Are you going to the right kind of place for a date? Many good intentions have been forgotten because the temptation and opportunity were too great.
  7. Am I doing anything to encourage sexual desire? Don't engage in any impure contact that is sexually motivated, such as petting.

If you have already gone too far, why stop?
  1. God is forgiving. 1 John 1:9 tells us that God is faithful and just to forgive our sins if we confess them. You can start fresh with God anytime you want to.
  2. God is holy. His word tells us that sexual sin is wrong, and He knows what is best.
  3. God is caring. God knows that going too far before marriage tends to break up couples and leads to less happy marriages. He knows that most guys do not want to marry a girl who has been intimate with someone else.