Christian dating has been a controversial topic for many over recent years. How should it be done exactly? Is it right to promote Christian dating in such a way anyway? What age parameters should be used? What are the right parameters to use in identifying potential matches?
The Bible says very little about dating and that's quite unfortunate. That's because much of dating is really more situational and cultural than it is principle-based. But that doesn't mean that it doesn't operate on foundation principles. God is a God who runs the world on principles and dating is grounded on very strong Biblical principles that help us do it in a way that honors God.
One important principle that dating operates on is purpose. Why do we date? At the end of the day, the purpose of dating is to make a clear pathway to marriage. The overarching theme is to find out whether a man or woman we are dating can and will be the person we will spend the rest of our lives with.
Marriage is strongly defined by God. From the beginning God said, "Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh." (Genesis 2:24) If dating is done right, this will be the outcome. Finding the one person whom we will share our whole life with as one flesh.
That doesn't mean you should marry the first person you date. What it does mean is that dating is meant simply to be a bridge. It's not for temporary companionship to alleviate loneliness or to mean physical needs. It's a turnstile to something greater, sweeter and better - a God-honoring purpose-fulfilling partnership in covenant relationship. That's what marriage is to be and that's what dating aims for.
Dating should be fun, but fun is not the goal. It's a part of the process and a great means to weigh in but it's not the destination. The destination is to fulfill God's good, pleasing and perfect will.
God's will has to do with meeting the purpose of the times. Ecclesiastes 3:1 reminds us, "For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven." There is a time to date but that time and season has a destination in mind.
Direction is vital. As Proverbs 29:18 (NASB) tells us, "Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained, But happy is he who keeps the law." Dating operates on laws and principles that point to a vision-lead purpose.