Dating in the western culture for Christians is so confusing if you ask me. Should you date? Should you not date? Is there such a thing as God having “the one” for you, and if so, what’s the use of dating? If that’s the case, then shouldn’t I just continue my walk and eventually whoever God has for me will come?
Yeah, it’s official. Dating is complicated.
There’s no definitive guide on what to do and what not to do for us believers because the word “dating” isn’t even in the bible. So what do we do? Do we do what we were doing B.C. (before Christ)? Do we go for what we know? Do we do what everyone else is doing? Is this “dating” thing pretty much trial and error, and we’ll figure it out along the way? These are real questions, questions that I dealt with when I started dating and through my experiences I can try my best to tell you, not what to do, but what NOT to do in the process.
I had people argue me down about how they felt it was OK to date multiple people. They would say things like “How do you know what you like and don’t like if you don’t date? I get it, but that is also kind of like saying, “We have to live together before we get married because that’s how I’ll know if I can marry this person”.
Look, I get the sentiments so let me clarify: You can’t date multiple people with the intention to marry them all. You can only do that with one person at a time.
Here are 5 things good reasons why it would be wise to date (with intent to marry) one person at a time…
What we call dating nowadays crosses too many lines. I mean you go from coffee at Starbucks, to Netflix and chillin’. Next thing you know, you wake up to find yourself in a position that you were trying to avoid. Things can escalate quickly so don’t blur the lines. You guys are “just dating,” right?
I hope you can see where this could be an issue because if this is protocol for all the people you’re dating, well, that’s a problem. Let’s say you have 3 different people that you’re dating at once. You hold hands with each of them. You kiss and hug each of them, and I’m not referring to the church hugs. You spend time, intimate time, with each of them as well as have intimate conversations with each person.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock you know that certain circumstances can go from 0 to 100 real quick. Meaning one moment one of them have come over to enjoy a movie, and the next moment you find yourself repenting in the morning.
On top of that….
Try telling the person that you just “Netflix and Chilled” with that you would see them today, but you have a movie date with someone else. Yeah, that won’t turn out well. Set “dating” guidelines, and define what dating looks like for you. Here’s a hint. Take ALL the romantic, touchy-feely stuff out of the equation so lines don’t get crossed or blurred.
My wife and I had an interesting conversation on this topic. See I didn’t find anything wrong with expressing interest in more than one person at a time. But from what she revealed to me is that women are completely different. Men have a way of disconnecting themselves emotionally even if they’ve had sex with the person. Women on the other hand, get emotionally involved quickly even if you guys have never kissed.
Here’s my challenge to men. You might not fully agree with this viewpoint but you have to take it into consideration at least. If this person is a believer, then she is technically your sister in Christ. Do you have a sister? Let me ask you something. Would you be more careful about how you treated your sister than some random girl? We think that soul ties happen when sex happens, but on the contrary, soul ties can happen even if you’re never sexually intimate with a person.
For example, King David and Jonathan had a soul tie.
[shadowbox]1 Samuel 18:1, “And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking unto Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.”[/shadowbox]
Jonathan loved David like he loved his own self. Does that sound familiar? Sounds a lot like, “Love your neighbor as yourself” to me. Now of course we know that these two men were not sexually intimate. You see how ties were created even though sex was not a part of the equation? We think that just “sex” create soul ties but that is not true. With that being the case, MEN, we have to make better decisions and not lead women on when it comes to dating. They get emotionally involved much quicker than we do.
It’s only fair to ask that you have control over who you fall for. What if you fall for a guy because he’s charming but later you find out that he’s verbally abusive?
You have to learn how to have control over your emotions. It’s dangerous to just let “how you feel” decide who you’re going to spend your life with.
Here’s one thing that may come as a shock, but you can’t always TRUST YOUR HEART. Trusting your heart can lead anyone into making bad decisions. When we say “trust your heart” what we really mean is “trust how you feel” and without me referring to any scripture right now ask yourself, “Has trusting how I felt led me in the wrong direction before?”
Feelings by themselves can be a slippery slope.
[shadowbox]Jeremiah 17:9 says “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?”[/shadowbox]
I think Jeremiah hit the nail on the head. Who can understand and know the heart? Can you really say that you have “the heart” figured out? We’ve all been in relational situations where we’ve found out we were wrong, but if you let our feelings tell it, that was the person we thought we’d spend the rest of our lives with.
There are two questions you should be asking each other from the very beginning, and those 2 questions are: What is this? And what are we doing? Dating is already confusing as it is so set the expectations before, not after. Communication is the key to hearts not being broken.
Men, if you know that you purely just interested in getting to know her then tell her that. If you’re single right now and you haven’t found someone that you’re ready to be exclusive with then the person you’re dating should know that from the beginning. Don’t expect them to figure it out. Because figuring it out leaves room for their own interpretation and you could be saying and doing something that is leading them on unintentionally.
Also, if you’re not expecting to be “just friends” with someone then you should let them know that the first time you guys talk on the phone or have a cup of coffee. Most of the time people get trapped in the friend zone because they never let their intentions be known from the beginning. If you get trapped after them saying they never have and never will see you like that then unfortunately that is your fault. You have to know when to give up and move on.
Ladies, if a guy is telling you that you are just friends right now, don’t take it for more than that, especially if you haven’t crossed any romantic lines. Don’t assume that this will grow into something unless he tells you that he wants something more. Follow his lead and if he’s being flaky and doesn’t seem to know what he wants he can figure it out by wasting someone else’s time, not yours. Deuces!
Don’t send mixed signals. You can’t be kissing this person and then say you’re not ready to be exclusive with them. Those are the blurred lines I was referring to earlier. Communication doesn’t just begin with what you say, it also starts with what you do. So my question to you is what are you saying with your actions?
Don’t Be Deceitful
Dating multiple people at once can comes off as deceitful.
Seriously though, if you know what you want, and who you want, why waste time playing the field? Maybe that’s the key issue. You really don’t know what you want and you think you’re going to find the answer to that question through the people you date. You think you’re going to find out what you like and what you don’t like so you can eventually find a spouse that’s just how you like them.
If you are going to waste time playing the field it shows that you’re probably not as ready as you think you are for marriage. Or maybe you’re wasting time because you’re afraid that the feelings aren’t mutual. That they don’t want you like you want them, so you keep your options open just in case. But here’s a reality check, back-up plans always back fire.
Think about this. I don’t know if you’re into football but check it. Is it easier for you to catch a football when no one is guarding you, or when there’s a defender who puts their hand in your face with the objective of trying to make sure you don’t complete the pass? If it’s just you and the quarterback on the field that’s when you can focus. Chemistry with the quarterback doesn’t start on the field it starts off the field. It starts behind closed doors during the practice that no one really cares about.
If you want to be successful on the field of marriage be focused on one person off the field.
Creating Commitment Issues
Let me ask you something. Like seriously, I want to know. How does dating multiple people at once prepare you for marriage? I’m really perplexed by this because I would think if anything, it would create commitment issues, not make you more committed. Can you date multiple gods at once? I know that’s extreme but hear me out. You maybe can “try” and experiment with different religions at the same time, but once you decide to be exclusive you can’t be a Christian and a Muslim at the same time.
At what point do you get serious and say I’m going all in? Or do you just try to figure it out along the way?
I think making a commitment puts each and every one of us in a vulnerable place. Because, what if it doesn’t work out? What if we invest all of this time into each other just to figure out that this person isn’t the one for me? What if they do or say something that I don’t agree with constantly but I’m stuck with them for the rest of my life? I get it. I get it. Remember that until you actually marry this person you’re not stuck with them for the rest of your life.
I think it’s all about your attitude when it comes to dating. Our approach to dating and people cannot be the same as someone who doesn’t have a relationship with Christ. We have to be concerned with how our actions affect others, even in our dating life, especially with those within the body.
I’m sorry, but you won’t have all the answers before you decide to be fully committed. You won’t figure this person out completely because that takes a lifetime. That’s the risk you take. But you know what, that’s called faith.