Christian dating can be an overwhelming proposition for people who are either new to dating or new to Christianity. The stages of Christian dating are somewhat different from those of their secular counterparts, depending on the expectations of the couple's family and church, but they are also very similar. Learning about the stages of Christian dating is simply a matter of knowing what to look for.
Many Christian dating relationships start off as a simple friendship. These are often developed in group contexts at church or Bible studies. While it is not wrong to ask a girl out upon first meeting her, many Christians would view pick-up lines as shallow and too focused on someone's appearance.
Depending on the context, some churches or Christian families see asking permission to date as an important prerequisite to moving forward in a relationship. This is particularly important for the family of the woman. Though this is not as loaded as the conversation in which the man asks the woman's father for permission to marry, it is an important step in that direction.
Dating or Courtship
Throughout the dating or courtship phase of the relationship, many couples spend time together much as do their secular counterparts, with the exception of sexual activity. While Christian leaders offer differing opinions about how much sexual contact or interaction is appropriate, all of them agree that intercourse is not allowed.
Marriage is the final stage of the relationship. A wedding can be conducted in any location, but must be done by an ordained minister or priest. In Christianity, marriage is considered to be a very important decision, not to be entered into lightly. Some Christians believe that divorce is grounds for excommunication.