To date or not to date? To have a boyfriend/girlfriend or not to have one? What is God’s view on dating (and boyfriends and girlfriends) and what does the Bible have to say about all of this?
From Genesis to Revelation, you see three (3) types of (romantic) relationships: Single, engaged (also known as betrothed), and married. We do not see dating in scripture or anything like it. The only place where we see something similar to dating mentioned is in John 4:18 when Jesus was talking to the Samaritan woman and He told her that the man she was with now was not her husband – it was exposure and a rebuke for being with someone she wasn’t married to.
Some might argue that in that time period and culture, things were different, so dating was not at all acceptable. That’s true, however, when you read the word of God and see God’s standards for how we should live in our bodies, how we should relate to and treat one another, and the topic of sexual immorality, it points to a Kingdom culture and standard that debunks dating as we know it today.
I’m well aware that this is a very sticky topic and I know many people will not agree with this viewpoint. If you don’t agree with this view, let’s just agree to disagree. (Certain topics are secondary compared to salvation and biblical doctrine and should not be a cause for division).
The Bible tells us in Song of Solomon 8:4, “I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, do not stir up nor awaken love until it pleases.” We are charged not to stir or awaken love until it’s time. Who knows when it’s time for love to be awakened for each of us? God, not us. So, who should be in charge of our relationship life (the who, how, when, and why)? God, not us.
In this post I will share a few reasons (in no particular order) why dating and having a boy/girlfriend is not biblical and how it contradicts Kingdom culture.
[Disclaimer: This post is not claiming that if you dated before marriage that God is not pleased with your marriage or He can’t/isn’t getting glory out of your union. This post is not meant to bash those who have dated or are dating. This post is meant to inform and encourage you to do relationships in a God-honoring way and to change your course if what you are doing does not honor God. See 1 Corinthians 10:23.]
(1) God is a God of COVENANT, not temporary, fleshly relationships.
All throughout scripture we see that God is a God of covenant. He came in covenant with the children of Israel and through Christ, He comes in covenant with us, the Gentiles. Covenant is defined as a usually formal, solemn, and binding agreement. God recognizes covenants, He recognizes husband and wife, not girlfriend or boyfriend. He honors marriage relationships (Heb. 13:4), not temporary boy/girlfriend relationships. Any relationship other than marriage that involves sex or sexual immorality is dishonorable and will be judged. Being in a relationship with no goal in mind, or rather without God’s goal of marriage in mind is not honorable.
Many people date to pass time because they are bored, to satisfy their fleshly desires, to fit in with others around them, or to fill an insecurity. Many Christians do not date with the intention of marriage. For many people, dating is like a game – if you lose one, you move on to try to catch the next. Or if you don’t like one anymore, you drop that one and move on to the next. They do not have covenant or commitment in mind. God does not treat us that way, so why would it be alright with Him if we treated one another that way. God is all about covenant.
(2) Do not awaken love until it’s time – Song of Solomon 8:4.
Many people have taken the reigns when it comes to when they date/get in relationships and who they date. They choose who they open up their heart to and the reason they open up their heart. They do not consult God about the season He has them in, who He wants them to connect with, or the purpose of the connection. They simply go with the flow of their own heart’s desires and ask God to bless their decisions.
Proverbs 3:4-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” If I’m instructed as a believer to acknowledge God in ALL my ways and not to lean on my own understanding, that means God has something to say about EVERY area of my life. That means I may perceive that something is good, but God knows otherwise. Sometimes we think we are ready for something or we think that someone will be good for us, but God knows that we are not ready and that that person is not who He has for us. He knows when love should be awakened for each of us and for whom it should be awakened.
We claim to trust God, we claim that we are His disciples, we claim to have surrendered our lives to Him, and we claim that He is our Lord and Savior. But when it comes to who we get into relationships with, in all honesty, many of us are our own “lords” in that area. Many have not surrendered that part of their life to God. They have taken the reigns and are directing that part of their life how they see fit and wonder why they keep getting hurt and bumping their head. STOP and give it back to Jesus! You didn’t have to go through the unnecessary hurt, pain, and confusion had you stopped awaking love before God said it was time. When He says it is time, HE will cause everything to unfold as He sees fit, drama and pain free! Dating awakens love before it’s time, let it stay asleep until The Master says you’re ready.
Imagine God knowing that the spouse He has for you is no where in sight and you won’t marry them until five years from now, but YOU CHOOSE to date a bunch of people between that time, hoping that it works out with one of them. You choose to awaken love before it’s time and, on the way, pick up a bunch of baggage. The heartache that you pick up and the people that you hurt along the way was not God’s will for you, it was your choice. We could avoid so much by simply trusting that God has a time and a person for us (if it’s in His will). In that time, you could be focusing on getting closer to God, building genuine friendships, improving your finances, traveling the world, serving, loving on your family, and just enjoying life. But instead you choose to stress over relationships that God never ordained.
There is a time for everything. Wait on your time.
(3) Your body is a temple, until you get married, you belong to God ONLY.
“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been purchased at a price. Therefore, glorify God in your body” (1 Cor. 6:19-20).
Your body belongs to God – period! Until you get married, you belong to God and God alone – period! In a dating (boy/girlfriend) relationship, you are essentially “claiming” one another. But how can you claim something that God says does not belong to you? How can you label yourself or someone else something that even God does not recognize? Dating is like playing pretend marriage (playing house). You pretend that you belong to one another, you pretend that you have rights to each other’s bodies, emotions, money, property, home, etc. You pretend that you have these rights temporarily as you feel around to see if things will work out.
Dating usually involves kissing, touching, sex, or some form of it; it involves opening yourself up and giving your emotions to someone. If you no longer belong to yourself but to God, then what gives you the right to give your body away to others? What gives you the right to give your emotions your heart away to others? Even your lips are precious to God, and they belong to Him. Many people are getting together and doing things illegally that God has not sanctioned. Some may think this view is extreme, but it was “extreme” for Jesus to die on a cross as a criminal for sins He did not commit. It was “extreme” for Him to die to save our soul and our body from eternal damnation. So when He tells us that our body (head to toe, and even heart which is your mind, will, and emotions) belongs to Him (meaning we can’t do anything with our body that displeases Him) He has EVERY right to do so, because He went to the extreme to redeem us.
You belong to God. Your lips belong to God. EVERY part of your body belongs to God once you said yes to Him. You no longer get to decide what you do with it. Unless God has given you a word that the two of you are to be husband and wife (and until you actually get married), you are pretty much illegally (unrecognized by heaven) borrowing them until your feelings about each other changes. There is nothing godly about playing house or borrowing something that God sent His Son to die for.
(4) Your affections belong to your spouse, not a temporary boyfriend/girlfriend.
“Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband…But I want you to be without care. He who is unmarried cares for the things of the Lord—how he may please the Lord. But he who is married cares about the things of the world—how he may please his wife.” (1 Cor. 7:3, 32-33).
Dating has a lot to do with giving your time, affections, and emotions to the person you are dating. But the Bible clearly states that your affections belong to your spouse and that you shouldn’t withhold it from your spouse. And if you are single, you should be devoted the Lord and serving the Lord. This is stated very clearly. It may be 2019, but God’s word never changes.
Why would God have Paul to tell us this? Because He knows that once you begin to give your affections to someone, they have your time and attention and you will eventually give, or be tempted to give, your body to them as well. This was written as a safeguard for us. It was written for our protection. You should not be giving away your heart to multiple people, whether at once or at different times. Your heart belongs to The Lord and the person you marry, not to the five people you dated last or will date in the future. You are too precious to be giving parts of yourself away every time you meet someone new that you like. Wait on the Lord.
(5) Lust is never satisfied.
Why would God put you with someone so you can be tempted sexually or possibly put yourself in a compromising situation? Dating today usually involves some sort of sexual activity. Why would God sanction it when what it involves goes against His word? Why would He tempt you to sin? God would not tell you to date anyone when He knows that you have not overcome lust or that it will lead you to sexual immorality.
“Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death” (James 1:13-14).
Many Christians are choosing to date although they know they have not mastered the temptation to lust or fornicate. They continue to put themselves in situations that cause them to fall and wonder why they keep falling. It is not God’s will for you to be in anything that you know will cause you to sin. Dating and everything that comes with it might be accepted in the world, but it does not line up with God’s word no matter how you try to flip it.
“Can a man take fire to his bosom, and his clothes not be burned? Can one walk on hot coals, and his feet not be seared?” (Proverbs 6:27-28). Don’t think that you can put yourself in a compromising situation and come out unscathed. Don’t think that you are “mature” enough to take on a lustful situation and win. Do not put confidence in your flesh. It is better to avoid – flee – youthful lust by waiting on God and His timing than stepping into a potentially lust-filled situation. That relationship may end, but the things you pick up from it (lust, lustful dreams, soul ties, an appetite for male/female attention and sex, etc.) may not leave so easily. Many people are still carrying the sexually immoral baggage that they picked up from their last three relationships. I’d rather stay pure and look like a fool waiting on God, than pick up demons I’d have to fight off in the long run.
(6) Dating is a distraction from pursuing God.
In point # 4 I quoted 1 Corinthians 7:32-33, if you are single, your attention should be on pleasing the Lord and serving Him. As believers, our main focus in life, whether single or married, is God. I strongly believe that as you pursue God, if marriage is in His will for you, He will bring the person in due time. You don’t have to take your attention off of God and pursue a relationship in order to get married. Either your attention is on God and you are seeking Him and obeying Him, or you are disobeying God and your attention is on finding a boy/girlfriend.
“Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and ALL these things will be added unto you” (Matt. 6:33). As you seek God, submit to His word, allow Him to conform you into the image of His son, serve where and how He tells you to, love people, and so on, WHEN THE TIME IS RIGHT and God says it’s time for love to be awakened for you, HE will add a spouse to you.
It’s amazing how we can have faith in God for so many things, but we don’t believe that He can add a spouse to us without us going out and getting it. Your time for love to be awakened may not be well into your 30s, God has a different timeline for everyone. Don’t compare what God is doing with others with what He is doing/not doing with you. Pursue God wholeheartedly. There are things He wants to do in and through you while you wait. Every man/woman of God that I interested in you and wants your time is not sent from God. Some are sent by the devil himself and they are counterfeits meant to distract you from what God is doing in your life. Some people get in relationships and find themselves going back to things God delivered them from years ago because they opened doors, they had no business opening. If the enemy knows he can cause you to stumble and distract you through a relationship, then he will always try to send someone your way. And usually it will be exactly what you like or think you need. Same distraction, different faces.
Dating is also a distraction in that it causes division among the brethren. Usually when you break up with someone, the next person that you date will not be friends with (or even friendly with) your ex. It causes an awkwardness among those that used to date or those that or now dating who you used to date. I have seen this happen inside the church. Now people have “beef” with each other because he/she used to date and have sex/play with the person you are now dating. It’s really all very ridiculous and immature. Ask yourself, is this really the will of God? Is it God’s will for us to become divided because we jumped unto flesh-led relationships with people that God KNEW it would not work out with? No, it is not! God is not the author of confusion, chaos, distraction, or discord, those are all fruits of Satan.
(7) Anything not done in faith is a sin (Rom. 14:23).
“Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Rom. 10:17). Faith comes by hearing a word from God. We have faith in/about something when God gives us a word about that thing. If God didn’t give you two a word about each other, if you didn’t even consult God about each other, why are you together if you are supposed to be people of faith? You either believe that God still speaks and directs and instructs or you don’t. You either believe that God wants to have a say so in who you join yourself with or you don’t. You’re either moving by faith or you’re not. There is no in-between.
Dating is like guessing, guessing to see if the relationship will work out. If you’re not in the relationship by faith, then what is your motivating factor? What brought you together? What is your foundation? Flesh? You like each other, you like how they look, how they make you feel, how much money they have, how they dress, or what they can offer you. If God is not the foundation behind that relationship, none of those things will make it last.
When people break up in a relationship they often say, “I didn’t know she/he was like that.” Or “had I known it would turn out like that, I would never have wasted my time with them.” The thing about that is, WE never know how a relationship will turn out or who someone truly is behind their smile, but GOD KNOWS, and He knows ALL things in advance. God knew that you would not be compatible with that person. God knew that they were not ready, or you were not ready. God knew that they were lukewarm and just playing church to get a “godly boo.” God knew that he/she would tempt you to do things you should not do. God knew it would not work out. Had you sought Him about the person BEFOREHAND, He could have warned you or plainly told you not to go forward with it.
Faith is consulting God. Faith is seeking God’s face about a matter and trusting what He says over what your emotions want. Faith begins with God. What did God say? You can’t have faith in your “list” of what you want in a man/woman. Your desires are flawed. God’s will for you is not. If you would position your heart in FAITH to stop fishing for a relationship and instead wait for who God has for you, then you would be more ready to receive the person He has for you. Why would He send you someone when you are not ready to receive them in faith?
(8) God has one (1, uno, un) person for you. You do not have to date a bunch of people to get to or to be prepared for that one person.
There’s this idea that you have to date a bunch of people to get “experience” in relationships. Why do I need experience with a whole bunch of people if I’m only going to be married to one person? God is FULL of wisdom and His word is FULL of wisdom on marriage and how to navigate through it. Why does someone need to go through heartbreak after heartbreak with so many people in order to be successful in a marriage with the ONE person that God will put them with and give them wisdom to live life with?
If we really think about some of the advice given on relationships today and measure them up with what the word of God says, we would see just how foolish they are. God is Sovereign and He knows how to get you with the person that He has for you without putting your heart through the emotional pain of jumping from one relationship to the next. If we really believed that He is All-Knowing, then we would trust Him and consult him BEFORE getting into a relationship with anyone. And we would trust that if He says yes about someone, then it’s meant to lead to marriage because (point #1) God is a covenant God and He honors marriage not a boy/girlfriend relationship.
Question: So, if I don’t date then how do I find someone to marry?
This is a question that people ask all the time. The simple answer is be friends. One of the main foundations of marriage is FRIENDSHIP, not romance. You can be great friends with someone and get to know them for who they are beyond romantic feelings and without the distraction and distortion of romance and attraction/lust. People usually marry someone they know (a close/casual friend or acquaintance). As you are friends with the person and get to see who they really are, how they interact with others, watch them serve, and see their love for God, God can begin to show you that that person is your spouse. Or if you are interested in them you can begin to pray and ask God about them BEFORE getting into any kind of exclusive relationship. I assure you from my own experience and the experience of many other couples that I know personally, that when it is time God can begin to deal with one or both individuals about marriage and He will begin to lead and give instructions on how to go about making your intentions know (as the man), engagement and eventually marriage.
Other than my own marriage, I personally know many couples that are married or engaged today but never dated or kissed. They were friends or acquaintances, they loved on Jesus and allowed Him to mature them and develop their character. God began to deal with one or both (but eventually both) about marriage, they came together to let their intentions be known, and when God said it was time, THEN they got engaged then married. They sought godly counsel through the process and set boundaries. Many of these couples didn’t have to kiss, date around, have sex, test the waters, or try things out to see if they were compatible, etc. They trusted God, and God confirmed His word through the testimony of 2-3 trusted witnesses.
In Biblical times it was usually the father that found a suitable spouse for his child. Today we get to choose who we will marry. But in the Kingdom of God, our Heavenly Father is the one who chooses who we will marry, not ourselves. He is All-Knowing, so He knows who is compatible with each other. He knows the assignments that He has for each of us and where He will take each of us in life. And He knows whose life will match up. God is not short-sighted, we are. So to say that we don’t believe that God can choose our spouse is to say that God is not All-knowing and perfect.
If you’ve read this, and you decide, you still want to date and you believe there’s nothing wrong with it, that is fine, you have that choice. However, if you are going to do it, do it in a way that most honors God and with the intention of marriage, but know that it comes with its baggage.
“All things are lawful [that is, morally legitimate, permissible], but not all things are beneficial or advantageous. All things are lawful, but not all things are constructive [to character] and edifying [to spiritual life].” (1 Cor. 10:23 AMP)
Many of you, if you are honest, either took advantage of someone in a relationship (played them) or you were taken advantage of (got played) and are still dealing with the consequences of it today. Whichever role you played, if you want something different, you have to do something different by REPENTING. Turn away from those same behaviors and submit to God’s way of doing relationships so that you can get God’s outcome for your life.
There are so many other points and Bible verses that can be added to back up this viewpoint. I highly suggest you seek God’s face for yourself and dig into His word to find out what He has to say, don’t just take my word for it.
I would love to hear your comments and questions on this topic and may do a video on it in the near future.
So, feel free to leave a comment below!
Also follow me on Instagram (@heart_of_worship), I will be talking about this topic a little more in my stories and answering questions if you have any!