Christian relationships and dating present many challenges not often faced by non-Christians. It is impossible to cover all the possible situations that might arise while you navigate the world of dating. Ask yourself, "What would Jesus do?" to discover ways to put Christ first and glorify his love in all your relationships. Finding a Christian partner can make dating and relating much easier. Instead of having to proselytize to secular dates, you can spend your time sharing your favorite Bible verses and going to each other's churches.
Finding the Right People to Date
Making your relationship flow smoothly depends almost entirely on choosing the right people to date. You might be tempted to date other members of your church, which might be a bad idea. If things don't go well between the two of you, it could lead to problems and discomfort at church every Sunday. Attend services at churches other than your own to meet other Christian singles. Church fellowship gatherings after Sunday services provide a great way to meet prospective dates in a safe Christian environment. You might also try a few of the various online Christian dating services. It will be easier to abstain from sex if you date like-minded Christians.
Sex and Abstinence
The Internet is full of people asking the question, "Is it OK for Christians to have sex before marriage?" The answer is unequivocally no. While some people enjoy finding ways around this, it is clear that the Bible forbids sex before marriage. Deuteronomy 22:21 states that a woman who is promiscuous while still in her father's home should be stoned to death. People will not be stoned to death in the United States for having sex before marriage, but 1 Corinthians 6:18 states that "he who sins sexually sins against his own body."
Courting or Dating?
That dating often means sharing intimacy before a commitment has been agreed upon. Christians who wish to glorify Christ in their relationships can do so by replacing dating with courting. The main difference between the two is that courting involves getting to know the other person and demonstrating your attraction to them long before intimacy is breached, while dating can imply promiscuity and a casual approach that might never imply an intention to marry. In courtship, the intention to find a marriage partner is clear from the beginning.
Signs of a Good Christian Partner
It is important that your partner is someone you can have a good laugh with. It is also important that he or she can take you seriously when necessary. A suitable partner will be always seeking to be closer to Christ and to love and exalt him more and more each day. A partner who honors you and Christ will not try to manipulate you into having sex before marriage. A good Christian partner will be honest and will respect your feelings consistently. Pay careful attention to your feelings in the early stages of your relationship. Notice whether your partner enhances or diminishes you. Take action accordingly.
Stages of Christian Relationships
The first few months of a relationship is the infatuation stage. It is difficult to know enough about another person to consider yourselves truly in love in the early stages of a relationship. The initial attraction will either fade away into friendship or blossom into something more. Bonding is the next stage in a relationship. Bonding can last for a few months up to a few years. During this stage you will benefit from spending vacations together and doing activities that will help you build intimacy and get to know each other more deeply.
After bonding comes the engagement stage. This stage can last anywhere from a couple of months to a couple of years. A marriage proposal is a life-changing step in any relationship. You will spend more and more time around your prospective spouse. It is good to attend services at each other's churches often to get a feel for your individual perceptions of Christianity. This will ensure that you get any misunderstandings out of the way before they create problems.
The final lifelong stage begins when you get married. This promises to be the most glorious part of your relationship if you have selected the right partner. Your marriage will be a vessel for the Holy Spirit as the two of you become one in Christ. You will be free to live with your husband or wife, to have sex and to have children together. A good marriage between two Christians will radiate love to everyone with whom they come in contact.