Straight Talk for Single Ladies - The "Do's"
Let’s be clear: dating doesn’t appear in the Bible, at least not the way we know it today. Isaac and Rebekah didn’t grab coffee at their local indie coffee shop. Ruth and Boaz had no DTR (well, maybe they did, sort of). Joseph and Mary didn’t meet on Christian Mingle.
Despite this, God’s Word doesn’t leave his people without guidance on important issues like this one. On the contrary, by asking what is obedient (James 1:22-25), what is wise (Prov. 4:5-9), and what helps us flee temptation (2 Tim. 2:22), we find a wealth of guidance about what we should and should not do.So what does a Christian woman do if she wants to date? Here is some practical wisdom from my own dating experience:
Date someone who loves Jesus.
It is a joy and a privilege to be loved and led by a man who loves Jesus. My husband’s faith impacts nearly every interaction we have around anything of importance. He leads me in countless ways—reminding me of the gospel when I am discouraged, helping me think through areas of sin, leading me in parenting our kids. You want to marry someone who can do that, so date someone who can. Date with marriage in mind.
Dating is fun, but not for fun.
Dating is for marriage. Why? Your first date might lead to many subsequent dates. Phone calls will be made, texts exchanged, gallons of coffee consumed. Spending time together creates intimacy. Before you realize it, you are in relationship (whether or not you intended to be), maybe with someone who would not make a good husband. So, date when you are ready for marriage, and date someone you can marry.
Talk about important things.
The minister who did our premarital counseling told us that he once refused to marry a couple who couldn’t agree if they wanted kids. This is a marriage buster. Don’t get too deep before finding out if you’re compatible on the important issues: faith, church, family. Talk about these things, because if you are moving toward marriage, you’ll want to be on the same page about them.
Without determining a direction, relationships tend to either coast into oblivion or careen toward destruction (and heartache). Determining the direction is not primarily the responsibility of the woman, but she can insist that the man steward his responsibility well. He probably doesn't need to declare his intentions for you on the first date, but he should be clear about them sooner rather than later.
Include other people.
My husband honored my family and me by including them in the dating process. Early on, he met with my dad to share his intentions, then later asked him for my hand in marriage. He asked my brother for advice about how to pursue me in a godly way. Get input on your relationship. If including your family isn’t feasible, find a godly older couple who knows you and loves you and is willing to walk with you through your courtship.
Give a guy a chance.
Having been fed unbiblical visions of romantic love since infancy, women sometimes have unrealistic expectations about relationships. Ladies, there is no Mr. Darcy. Let that go. It might not be love at first sight, and that's ok. If a quality guy asks you out, don’t be too quick to say no (assuming there are no red flags). Much of the time, physical and emotional attraction grow as you get to know someone. Give him a chance. You may be glad you did.
Even though dating is a relatively new concept, God has not left us to figure it out alone. He not only redeems our failures in this and every area, but enables our obedience, grows us in wisdom, and helps us flee temptation. If we belong to Jesus, He, by grace, transforms every part of our lives, even (and perhaps especially) our relationships.