Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Characteristics of a Biblical Dating Relationship

Ever wondered what a Biblical dating relationship looks like? In our society today, many people are confused about how to build and maintain good relationships. Even in the church there is a lot of confusion on this issue, and many Christian singles wonder whether they are doing things right or not. I’ll not attempt to give a step-by-step formula, but here are some essential characteristics of a Biblical dating relationship for your consideration. I’ll just list them now as food for thought and later go into more depth on each one.

A Biblical dating relationship is…
§  Pure
§  Respectful
§  Accountable
§  Based on good communication and trust
What do you think these terms mean within a dating relationship? Are there any other characteristics that should be included in this list? Can you think of practical ways to include these characteristics in a relationship? How would you examine a relationship to see if it meets all of these criteria? What happens when a relationship is missing any one of these characteristics?
I'll be talking about each of these characteristics in more depth over the next few weeks so stay tuned.

Linked up with The Alabaster Jar, Seeds of Faith, To Love Honor and VacuumNOBH, WFMW, WLWW, and Yes They're All Ours.


  1. What about Under Authority -- a relationship that is not going against the express wishes of the parents.

    1. Yes, that's definitely important. I was going to cover that under Accountability, but I suppose it's really it's own topic. Thanks for the input!

    2. I will be interested to see how this is covered, because I don't think this is necessarily a trademark of a Biblical dating relationship. There are many reasons people may marry against the express wishes of their (imperfect) parents. Probably most obviously a converted Christian whose parents are non-religious or from a different religion, who oppose to the convert marrying another Christian.
      From personal experience, I have seen parents withhold approval over what are only in retrospect very silly reasons. And then use their "disapproval" to not support the new union (even though once the vows are made, regardless of their approval, they should do everything they can to disciple and grow up the marriage).
      Good council is important yes, and parents are important... but not infallible.

    3. I agree that in some circumstances it is permissible to go against the will of parents in choosing a spouse. The situation you mentioned of unbelieving parents is a good example. Still, parents are an earthly authority over us before we are married and we are commanded to honor our parents. Just as we are to obey government as an authority over us, we are to obey our parents (until we marry and they are peers rather than authority figures). However, in either case, if we are told by an authority to do something which contradicts God's word, God's word must take precedence as the higher authority. Even in such cases where disobedience is necessary, it is important to do so with respect.

    4. The important point here is that GOD has given us our parents for a reason. We cannot just nonchalantly ignore their wishes. Even unsaved parents need to be respected. The Bible talks about the power of an appeal. I believe any Christian would want to win their parents over to a decision to marry. God could be using even an unsaved parent to give caution in the selection of a mate. If it can't wait maybe it shouldn't happen. It is not about infallibility. It is about relying on the wisdom and power of God to give you a "green light" to make one of the most important decisions in life. Don't reject your parents advice. I certainly agree that if a parent wanted you to marry an unbeliever, we are allowed to respectfully abstain from that. But is it worthwhile to take the time to reason with parents and rely on their parental God-given wisdom to help in your selection of a lifemate.

  2. Good steps for developing a Biblical relationships are:
    1-Finding Spiritual unity with the other person. Are you compatible spiritually and doctrinally? Of course, we're talking about both being Christians but also being able to track doctrinally so that there is little confusion with raising children.
    This would come first before any other step can be taken. This would be during the stage that you are getting to know the other person. Not giving your heart to them yet.
    2-Finding rational unity (for lack of a better term). Once you are both on the same track spiritually, are your goals as a person compatible with each other? How do you see setting up a houseshold together? Ask a lot of questions. As you see your lives coming together in a positive way, you can now risk giving your heart to the other person. This would lead to and continue through the engagement period.
    3-After marriage, you consumate your marriage physically. Those who wait to express physical affection until after marriage (saying, "I do") find a greater amount of trust throughout their marriage. Showing restraint and waiting for the "first kiss" makes is very special for this couple. The more you save for the marriage, the better you enjoy those things that only a marriage couple should share together.
    Problem is that many people do it the opposite way. Physical then mental and lastly spiritual. That makes for many "unequally yoked" people and many broken hearts.

    1. Very true. That's the proper sequence for developing a romantic relationship. There is often some overlap in finding out about spiritual and rational/personaity compatibility, however. For example, you might find out that you are both Christians, but then talk about major life goals before talking out the details of your theology. In general, however, you want to know you are compatible on major spiritual issues and life goals before becoming emotionally attached to one another.

      For a list of some of the things to determine about each other before getting too attached, see my post on Items to Discuss Before Engagement .

  3. My first thought was that this list looks like what a Biblical marriage should look like too. Kudos to you for addressing such an important and useful topic. I thank God, literally, every day for my sweet husband. I can't imagine having to date again. But I know my children will get there before I'm ready. It would be nice to have posts such as these which address the components of a healthy Biblical dating relationship. Thank you for sharing and for linking up with NOBH. Smiles -

    1. Yes, these characteristics carry over into having a Biblical marriage. That's why it's important to develop these traits during the dating stage so that they set a good foundation for a good marriage. Thanks for your input, Amy!