By Tyson Thorne

February 19, 2014

Dating large

A wise friend and mentor of mine once told me that a successful date was a planned date, and that a successful relationship was one where both the man and the woman have identified a biblical role in dating. Having received that advice in college I can attest to its truthfulness, and I bet I can guess what your next question is.

“What about spontaneity?”

Being spontaneous with someone you care about can be one of the most memorable and most exciting times in a relationship. Doesn’t this kind of planning negate the possibility of spontaneity? Not at all, because the plan is regarding your conduct rather than the activity of the date. You might begin heading south to Chili’s for dinner, and end up heading East for a hike in the mountains. That is spontaneity. But to begin heading toward a God-honoring relationship and end up compromising your sexual integrity isn’t spontaneous, it’s sin. A good dating plan would include the following:

  • Set standards of conduct before the date. Commit to being responsible and to God’s law. Review in your mind what you will and will not be doing. Evaluate your plan for the date and look for weaknesses in the plan. Plan active dates – double date whenever possible – and beware of too much time alone.
  • Communicate those standards to your date. This doesn’t have to be preachy or condescending. Make sure you are not assuming too much as well. In the movie Transporter 2 a married woman shows up at the hero’s door, drunk and clearly intending to seduce him. When he sends her home she asks if he is turning her away because of who she is – a wealthy housewife whose husband pays the hero’s salary. He replies, “No, its because of who I am.” As children of God we need to know who we are and behave accordingly.
  • Pray together as a couple. If the person you are dating isn’t a Christ-follower, then you need to break it off now. If the relationship doesn’t have a spiritual foundation it will not last. A woman I worked with at Dare 2 Share Ministries was also a wife and mother. When her daughters began dating she prepared them with truth from the Bible. When they were beginning to get serious in a relationship she would sit her daughter down and ask, “Does he love the Lord his God with all his heart, might, strength and soul?” If the answer was “yes” then she gave her approval.

These suggestions may appear a bit conservative, but they are far better options for you and your future family than disobeying God and compromising your sexual integrity. Sexual activity outside of marriage takes away the peace of your soul (1 Peter 2.11), damages your relationship with God (Isaiah 59.2), impairs your usefulness to God (2 Timothy 2.21), cause guilt in marriage, and results in comparing your future spouse with previous lovers. If simple dating requires this kind of thought and planning, then how much more our future marriage? Now is the time to begin planning a God-honoring home.

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