Dating is a hot topic among teens these days. Some treat dating like it’s a game, while some (thankfully) take it more seriously. Dating is never specifically mentioned in the Bible, but I can almost guarantee that those who choose to take dating more seriously save themselves much heart break in the future. Even though the Bible doesn’t specifically mention dating, I think that there are some definite standards girls can set based off of God’s Word:
He must be a follower of Christ (2 Corinthians 6:14-18). We are commanded to not be unequally yolked (meaning to date/marry someone who is not a Christian). Girls, this does not mean to just find someone who calls himself a Christian or says that he goes to church. This means find someone who is wholeheartedly pursuing Jesus and has a relationship with Him. This should be the very first thing you look for when you are beginning to think of having a dating relationship with a guy; if he does not meet this standard, then stop the thought/pursuit of that relationship ASAP. “Missionary dating” is a dangerous thing to get involved with.
You must be able to see yourself marrying him (Proverbs 4:23). The Bible commands us to guard our hearts. If you cannot see yourself marrying the person that you are dating, then why risk hurt or giving your heart away to someone you know you can’t see as your husband?
You must be able to trust him as the leader of your future household (Ephesians 5:22-33). Marriage is a beautiful picture of the Gospel and the relationship that Christ has with His Church. After you are married, God will place your husband in the role as the leader of your house. If you cannot picture the guy you are with leading your household in a Christ-honoring way, or if you cannot trust him to do this, then you need to search for the guy who can do this.
He must keep himself pure (1 Corinthians 6:18-20; Matthew 5:27-30). There are several aspects to purity, with the obvious one being physical purity. Girls, I cannot tell you how important it is that a guy desires to stay sexually pure until marriage, and that he wants you to stay sexually pure as well. He must have the desire to save that part of your relationship for after you say, “I do.” Jesus designed this in this way because He knows best, and He knows the best way His gift should be used. Another aspect of purity that is huge for guys is visually purity. It is so important that he keeps his eyes pure. If you are interested in a guy who does not try his very best to keep himself from the temptation of lust and looking at a woman in only the way he should look at his wife, then this is not the guy for you.
He must be a servant of Christ (Matthew 20:28). Jesus came to serve; in fact, He did the ultimate act of service by dying for our sins. If we are to live like Jesus, then we are called to serve as well. The person who you are interested in dating must be a servant of Christ. That means that he serves the people of Christ, along with those who do not know Christ in order to bring them to Christ. Serving is a huge part of marriage because you should serve each other daily as husband and wife. Also, one of the most beautiful blessings of marriage is getting to serve alongside one another. Student ministry can be crazy, but it is also absolutely wonderful to get to serve those students alongside Jack. If the person you date and ultimately wind up marrying does not have a heart to serve, then you will miss out on what the Lord has for you in a marriage.
There are probably so many standards that I am missing. For example, is his life marked by the Fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23)? Basically, if his life does not line up with God’s Word, then end the thought/pursuit of that dating relationship.
Let’s flip the coin, though. Before you even begin to think about dating any guy, whether he meets these standards or not, you need to make sure that you meet these standards first. Are you a follower of Christ? Are you pure? Are you a servant of Christ? Overall, does your life line up with the Word of God? Sure, none of us are perfect, but I strongly encourage you to spend time finding out who you are in Christ before you pursue a dating relationship. I remember the Lord making me get to a place where I was happy being single before he allowed me to meet Jack and date him. I had to first realize that Jesus was all I needed, and that he was more than enough. Jack was just an added blessing that Jesus chose to give me.
Dating is not a game. It is not something that you do “just for fun”. Your sweet, fragile heart is involved. Be fully in love with Jesus, know that He is enough, and know who you are in Him before you begin pursuing a dating relationship. Make a list of your standards and stick to them! Jesus has only the best in mind for you!