Christian dating is technically occurring any time a Christian person is dating, whether their partner is a Christian or not. In general, Christian dating involves dating behaviors the couple or Christian person finds acceptable based on their religious beliefs. Every person is different, but understanding some basic and biblical principles can help more clearly define Christian dating.
Christian dating means dating in a way that is aligned with the religious values and principles of Christianity. Different denominations and individual people have different perspectives on dating. Some people believe that two people should not kiss or show any other display of physical affection until they are married. Others find non-sexual affection appropriate in Christian dating. In general, sex before marriage in unacceptable to Christians. But every individual has his own beliefs.
Social pressures increasingly lean toward sexual intercourse before marriage, provocative sexual behavior and the objectification of sexuality in general. Christian people find these secular values incompatible with their own values. Dating is a relatively hot topic in the Christian community due to this fact.
Many Christian people want to be with other Christian people. This generally makes the relationship easier, since the two people will get along better and understand each other's expectations. The general idea is that people who are not Christians want to live like the secular world and live up to secular values. In 1 John 2, it is written, "Do not love the world or anything in the world... The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever," according to the New International Version (NIV) of the Bible. But Christian people want to be like Christ and express those values in their relationships. Being with a non-Christian person can cause a values conflict within a Christian person, since they want to please the other person and their God.
Christian dating is most importantly defined through bible precedent. The Christian bible indicates that people are uniquely created by God and are special to God. Christians thus want to value each other as God's creations and not as sexual objects. They want their relationships to be part of their worship of God. The Christian attitude toward dating may be best summarized by the bible verse 1 John 2:16, which states that, "...the world---the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes...comes not from the Father but from the world." (NIV)
The precedent for dating only Christians has its roots in both the ease of the relationship and biblical principle. In 2 Corinthians 6:14, for instance, Paul writes "Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common?" (NIV) 2 Corinthians 6:3 states, "We put no stumbling block in anyone's path, so that our ministry will not be discredited." (NIV) Therefore, Christian people may not want to marry those who might cause them to sin.