While the Bible addresses singleness, betrothal, and marriage, it never references let alone puts forth statues for dating. That being said, please don’t take my answers to the following questions as Scripture. I will do my best to back up my opinions with Scripture, but they are not authoritative. Seek the Lord as He reveals Himself in His Word and test my answers against what you find there. Only then will you be able to “discern what is the will of God – what is good and acceptable and perfect” for your dating life and beyond (Romans 12:2b).
WHAT KIND OF MAN WOULD YOU NEVER DATE?
I think (or at least hope) that a non-Christian would be the obvious answer to this question. To share my life so intimately with someone who does not share my faith is unfathomable. After all, “What do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?” (2 Corinthians 6:14b-15). However, for the sake of a more interesting post, I’ll provide a less obvious answer to this question.
I’m engaged so I’ll never be dating anyone other than my sweet fiancé now, but even if I were single, I would never date someone who didn’t challenge me or encourage me to grow. I’m sure they meant it as a compliment, but I used to find it intensely annoying when guys used to tell me that I was the smartest/nicest/most perfect person they’d ever met. I used to think there’s no way I’m the smartest/nicest/most perfect person you’ve ever met and if I am, you seriously need to expand your social circle. Now I’m not saying that I don’t appreciate it when my fiancé compliments a particular virtue of mine (of course I do), but I never wanted to be with someone who viewed me as the epitome of a given virtue. I always knew that I needed someone who would both compliment the good they saw in me, and also push me to grow in holiness.
As Christians on this side of heaven, our sanctification is never done. This side of eternity we will never arrive at perfection. We are being transformed from one degree of glory to another (2 Corinthians 3:18). I never would’ve dated someone who didn’t believe that that truth was as true for me as it is for anyone else in Christ.
SHOULD I DATE SOMEONE I’M NOT PHYSICALLY ATTRACTED TO?
Christians’ answers to this question vary widely, and that’s fine; as I mentioned earlier, Scripture does not speak to questions like this. Personally, I would say yes. Physical attraction is important, but it is not the end-all. Think about it this way – when you’re old and gray or sick and worn, what will matter more? That he prays with you and checks on your heart routinely, or that he had ripped arms and six-pack abs when he was twenty-five?
Also, physical attraction can develop over time even if it is not present at the onset. As is often the case, your significant others’ body will likely seem increasingly attractive as you slowly learn the beauty of their heart.
WHAT ARE APPROPRIATE PHYSICAL BOUNDARIES FOR AN UNMARRIED COUPLE?
Oh, the oft-asked question of “How far is too far?”
I strongly dislike this question because just by nature, it opens the floodgates for legalistic answers.
“You can kiss, but nothing else.”
“You can hug briefly, but you should never be in a room alone together.”
“You can do anything you please except have sex.”
“You should really wait until you’re engaged to hold hands.”
I have heard all of those answers to the “How far is too far?” question out of the mouths of faithful Christians. With all of those various opinions being presented as “Christian opinions,” what’s an unmarried couple to do?
In my opinion, appropriate physical boundaries differ from couple to couple. Of course, the Biblical standard of saving sex (of any kind) for marriage holds true across the board (Hebrews 13:4), but the specifics of what exactly that looks like will very likely differ from one couple to the next. If both members of a Christian couple truly believe that they can honor the Lord with their relationship and kiss before they’re engaged, I don’t see a reason why they shouldn’t. However, if one or both of them know that they can’t share a kiss without fantasizing and lusting for hours afterward, they need to set their boundaries so as to not lead them into that temptation.
The way I see it, your standard for purity should never be an all-inclusive set of rules. It should be based on and powered by a strong relationship with God and a deep and abiding love for Christ (2 Corinthians 7:1). Think about your Heavenly King, His character, and His standards of righteousness, and order your actions from there (1 Peter 1:15-16).
Let me know what you thought of my answers above, and if you have any other questions you’d like me to address, please leave them in the comments section below!