We will lovingly follow the truth at all times
- Ephesians 4:15 -
When it comes to principles for dating, first and foremost you need to invite God into the process.
Allow the truth about who He is to influence your thoughts and actions. Prayer frees you from the terror of being alone — and protects you from compromising your standards. You can relax and enjoy every moment because you rest in the knowledge that your strong and loving God is leading you in a good way. When you have a clear connection with God, you can see people as precious creations, made in His image — not to use, but to honor.
In dating, that honor begins when you follow the second principle of dating: provide clarity to the other person.
In Ephesians 4:15, Paul says a hallmark of Believers is that they “speak the truth in love.” Let the other person know how you are feeling about the experience — don’t keep him or her wondering what will happen next. Also, be clear if the relationship might end. Share your feelings and be willing to stop without putting pressure on each other if one of you feels uncomfortable. There should be a clear door out.
Believers in Jesus do not need to play mind games. You don’t have time to mess around with people’s emotions. Say what you mean. Mean what you say. Be clear about the process.
The third principle for dating is that it should be between Believers in Christ. The Bible is clear those who trust in Jesus are to date (and marry) those who trust in Jesus. You are to love those who do not believe, but you are not to extend a romantic relationship with them. As a Believer, dating is part of being in community with other Believers — a covenant relationship. God does not recognize dating as a “status.” You are either brother and sister in Christ, or you are husband and wife. There is no intermediate sphere. So don’t get this confused.
Finally, the Bible draws a hard boundary between what is permissible sexually. In marriage, much is permissible. In singleness, none is permissible. And in dating, still, none is permissible. True love does not request access to your body while simultaneously avoiding any responsibility to care for you emotionally and financially. So, until the two of you are married before God, you are still two. You are separate.
You are accountable before God for your own life. So treat dating as a season of evaluation that leads to a solid conclusion about the other person. Use dating to determine whether you are in a good partnership or not.