Texas pastor Matt Chandler and his wife, Lauren, advised Christian singles in their weekly video series to be honest as they date and trust God to help find the balance between covering up the past and revealing too much, too soon.
The Village Church leader told singles it is a "good, right desire" to "guard your heart" in dating relationships, noting that the phrase comes from scripture. However he warned there is a fine line between taking it slow and being deceptive in order to win a person.
Chandler explained, "There's a legitimacy to guarding our hearts but I think we can guard too much and we can guard to the place where then we almost become used car salesmen … what I'm trying to say is all we want to do is point to the best things and we don't want to go, 'now this has been an issue historically, or this.' So we can guard our heart to the point where we're not known and we're not known in a way that increases intimacy and increases (one's ability to tell) is this moving towards marriage or is it not."
Lauren Chandler urged daters to consider what their hearts are centered on as they disclose information about themselves to a potential mate.
"What is your heart centered on? Is it centered on gaining this person? Or on, you know, 'oh I just want to be married,' or whatever it is?" She questioned viewers. Lauren encouraged viewers to set their minds and hearts on things above: "I think you set your heart on the Lord and what He's going to do."
She counseled singles that if they enter dating relationships focused on glorifying God in all they do, then they will have a more balanced perspective throughout the entire experience. "When you heart is centered on glorifying God and being safe in Him then that's going to kind of bleed into this relationship and even how you see that other person. They're not a means to this end; they are your brother, your sister in Christ that you want to treasure and get to know more and possibly be your husband or your wife."
Adjusting your focus, she said, will also help dating Christians set the right boundaries including limits on physical intimacy and the right timing to share personal information.
Single Christians socializing with a potential mate should be careful not to reveal too much too soon, encouraged Matt Chandler. During the early part of a dating relationship, he said, "If it's not something that you would share with your crew then I probably wouldn't be sharing it with who I'm dating for a good season of time until I know that this is moving to something that is greater than just dating and we're moving towards engagement and marriage and I think in those moments, now we can begin to share some of the deeper wounds, some of the deeper desires."
His wife insisted that Christian singles seek God's guidance on the right time to reveal certain details of their past or personality. She advised, "I think little by little you ask Him, 'is this something that I share with this person.'"
The response is part of a weekly video series about marriage, sex and dating. The videos are promoting Matt Chandler's upcoming book Mingling of the Soul: God's Design for Love, Marriage, Sex and Redemption. Mingling the Soul offers biblical insights on love and intimacy through the Song of Solomon. The book plus related DVDs and study guides are due out in bookstores New Year's Day.