Is Christian Dating Acceptable?

One of my earliest memories of wanting some romance in my life was after watching a proposal scene in the TV series ‘Flash’, as a preteen. The protagonist, Barry, was about to ask his lover, Iris West, to spend forever with him and he broke into the most romantic song ever written in my opinion:

Can’t say how the days will unfold,

Can’t change what the future may hold

But, I want you in it

Every hour, every minute

And all my life I promise to

Keep running home to you” 

I was just 11 or 12 years old at the time, but after seeing that beautiful scene, I knew I had to meet someone to whom I could pledge to keep running home for the rest of my life.

Dating and Romance

Romantic love is beautiful. It’s unique. It hits differently. You might have experienced parental love in the family or brotherly love in friendships but romance is different. It’s deeper and more intimate. It’s stronger and sweeter. It’s every human’s desire to be fully known and fully loved by someone you esteem, romantic love is that desirable. The delight wells up in you when your beloved says “I want you” is indescribable. You want to be known and loved.

Romance is lovely but when it ends at that, it fades. It should lead up to something else — a vow. A vow to make the state of love permanent. Romance should lead to a commitment to being together forever. It should lead to marriage. If it doesn’t lead up to that, it becomes ugly. 

This is why God in His wisdom designed marriage to be the bed that type of love lays on, not dating. Dating is someone saying “I want you, but I’m not sure yet if I want you forever, so I can break this off at any time I feel like it.” Marriage was invented by God. Dating was invented by man. That’s not to say it’s bad or good. Dating is a tool that can be used rightly or wrongly. 

Dating is a New Concept 

It might interest you to know that the concept of dating was only invented a little over a hundred years ago. The word dating was originally seen as a euphemism for prostitution largely due to confusion because the two practices seemed so similar. Women will go on dates and give sexual pleasure in exchange for a good meal or a good time. Dating later became culturally accepted as the trial stage for a future intimate relationship. However, there was a social movement called the ”sexual revolution” in the 1960s, which challenged traditional codes of behavior related to sexuality. After that, the meaning of ‘dating’ shifted to include a more informal use that refers solely to a romantic, sexual relationship itself, not an introductory or trial stage before marriage. This birthed the worldly dating concepts we hear today like, “love at first sight”, “being a good ‘player’”, “dating for fun”, and of course, sexual intimacy outside of marriage. 

The Effects Of Modern Dating Culture 

In our culture, dating is quickly replacing marriage; people are quick to date but slow to marry. Dating is considered cool, and marriage is perceived as a bondage that should be postponed until you’ve enjoyed all of your independence as a single person. People are dating like they’re married and divorcing like they’re dating. Prior to the dating culture, more people were getting married, getting married earlier, and staying happily married than they are now. 

Christian Dating Culture 

  1. Sadly, from the way Christians date today, we see that the decay of the dating culture has crept into the church. Christian men look for the most beautiful women based on cultural standards of beauty, and Christian women look for the most attractive rich men based on cultural standards. Young people are content in the dating phase and slow to make the marital commitment. 
  2. Even among Christians, commitment while dating is weak. It’s easy to jump in and out of it and the result of that is multiple heartbreaks that could have been avoided. This kind of Christian dating doesn’t prepare you to stay married. In marriage, no matter the offense you’re bound by the vows to work things out and keep loving each other till death. 
  3. As a Christian, adopting modern dating culture doesn’t prepare you to be monogamous. If someone said they have dated three people in the past you might not think it’s problematic, but if someone said they have been married to 3 different people in the past you would think it’s problematic. Why?

Is Christian Dating Okay or Not? 

Again, dating isn’t necessarily an awful idea. Dating can be redeemed and utilised correctly if it is done to God’s glory. However, we must be conscious of how far our culture has deviated from the biblical order in order to recognize the importance of returning to God’s original purpose. The goal of romantic love is a marriage that reflects Christ’s love for the church, not a fun dating relationship. This goal should be reflected in the way we date. 

So, is Christian dating acceptable? Yes, it is. We can date, but only for God’s glory to be revealed in marriage.

Written by Joy Ademuagun

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