We as Christians understand dating to be a step towards marriage, so we should be intentional about the relationships we find ourselves in. There are certain conversations we should have with God, ourselves, and our partners. There are also certain boundaries that should be put in place to help you and your partner date God’s way. I have zero experience with this (lol) so I have enlisted the help of the word of God and my church family (they’re so wise).  Here are some tips for dating God’s way:

Consider God’s Will

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

This ties in with last week’s post and is worth mentioning again. We all have that image of our ideal mate. We want him to be a certain height with a certain built and a certain income. Or for the men, she has to be thick in all the right places with a certain kind of hair and a certain look. There are certain attributes that really don’t matter in the long run, but we desire our mate to have, such as your wife knowing how to sing or your husband knowing how to dress. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with having a preference (I know I have mine), but don’t let that be the driving force behind deciding who you date. Let being in God’s will be your main concern. Maybe God has it set up that the person you’re with is a little shorter than you  imagined or her hair is a bit curlier than you anticipated (and I do mean natural curls, naps and all lol), but they treat you like the queen and king God designed you to be and they love God and want your relationship to glorify Him. We think we know what we want, but God knows best.

Be Complete in Jesus

John 5:11 He answered them, He that made me whole, the same said unto me, Take up thy bed, and walk.

Many people say they want to find that person who completes them, but I would encourage everyone to be complete in Christ. Relationships are not magic wands; they do not magically make life better. If you had low self esteem before you got in a relationship, it’s likely you’ll still have low self esteem once you get in a relationship. One person will not meet all of your needs and desires; total fulfillment comes from Christ alone. By relying on your mate to be everything (and more), you place unrealistic expectations and pressure on your potential husband/wife which will lead to discontentment for both of you. Be aware of the areas of your life that need improvement and share them with your Godly partner so they can encourage you, pray for you, be that listening ear, that shoulder to lean on (not too much leaning though lol). Don’t look for them to shake their magic wand and make all the bad stuff go away.

Set Boundaries

Matthew 26:41 Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.

There is no use in thinking that because you’re saved and your partner is saved, you all are going to be able to sit up under

Perhaps a nice date night (September 2015)

Perhaps a nice date night (September 2015)

the covers cuddled up at 3am and just watch a movie every Friday night. Humans are sexual beings. Just because you’re saved doesn’t mean that sexual part automatically turns off. You have to set up ways to discipline your flesh and not leave room for the Devil to come in (every time Jonathan McReynolds pops up on my newsfeed I have to say “not today Satan” lol). Some couples may not be able to kiss without it going further, other couples may not be able to hold hands, while some couples can kiss and hold hands and be okay. It’s not about how far you can go without actually “doing it,” it’s about fleeing temptations altogether. Have those awkward conversations about sex; it’s necessary. You not only get to know the other person better but within these conversations, boundaries can be set. Friends and family (even some of the saved ones) will tell you it don’t take all that and it’ll be okay if you do this or do that, but you know you and hopefully you have gotten to know your partner. The goal is to abstain from sex before marriage so set your boundaries and follow through with them no matter what. If you know at 10pm, your mind starts wondering, you all may not need to talk after 10pm. If a kiss on the neck is too much to handle, you probably shouldn’t be kissed on the neck until you’re married. Don’t wait until you’re butt naked under the covers talking about, “God if you don’t want me to do this, give me a sign. You said You would make a way of escape.” He gave you a way of escape long before it got to that point. Set boundaries and keep those boundaries so it doesn’t have to get that far.

Stay in Your Lane

1 Corinthians 7:4 The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife.

He is your boyfriend, she is your girlfriend; not your husband, not your wife. Boyfriends shouldn’t get husband privileges and girlfriends shouldn’t get wife privileges. What is deemed as privileges will be different for every couple, but there are a few general privileges (one of which we discussed earlier). 1 Corinthians 7:4 discusses our bodies belonging to our spouses, not our boyfriends/girlfriends. Our spouses get the privilege of waking up next to us every morning, not our boyfriends/girlfriends. Our spouses get the title of husband or wife, not our boyfriends/girlfriends. Wives get the privilege of sharing their husband’s last name, not girlfriends. Husbands get the privilege of leading their homes, not boyfriends. Whatever you decide are privileges, honor your future spouse enough not to give them to your boyfriend/girlfriend, even if they’re the same person. Marriage was ordained by God for a reason and with it comes certain benefits which you should only be given access to if you and your partner make a commitment to each other before the Lord.

Be Honest

John 8:32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

One of my fears is getting into a relationship and losing who I am or putting up with certain things, because I’m so wrapped up in the idea of being in a relationship and being all the things I believe my partner would like to see in a mate. I don’t like museums (although the Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta is amazing); it would be helpful if I let my partner know that, so I don’t

A day at the museum (March 2015)

A day at the museum (March 2015)

have to pretend to be interested and get annoyed because that’s what my partner wants to do every weekend. Some people speak with a direct tone, which can come off as condescending. If that’s your partner, let them know how you feel; they may not even be aware of it. I always say you can’t be upset with someone for not knowing how you feel if you’ve never said anything (something I’m still working on). If you can’t tell your partner it hurt your feelings when he/she said X, Y, and Z, imagine how that sets you all up for marriage. Have a voice in your relationship; your partner will appreciate being able to experience the real you.

Bonus Tip (this is me talking): Don’t date forever. Some people meet when they are younger, but I’m mainly talking to those over 25 years old or so and entering new relationships. Of course you want God to give you the go ahead, and you want to be financially set and comfortable with the person, but eight, nine, and ten years is a long time to be keeping boundaries and missing out on privileges. I’m not saying date two months and get married, but I am saying you deserve to be somebody’s wife (and men, somebody’s husband), not their long term girlfriend (boyfriend).

Thank you to the wonderful couples who shared their Godly wisdom with me, Sabrina and Brandon Hall and Donnell and Kathleen Bruce!