My Problem with Christian Dating
Okay, normally I try not to rant on here, but I’ve recently read something that made me lose it.
It was midnight, and I was looking online for devotions for dating couples. And then somehow I stumbled upon some forum post from a Christian girl saying she refused to do devotionals with a boyfriend because she wanted to guard her heart.
Yup. She said even praying together was too intimate–more than sex!
I’m not trying to judge this person, as we all have different convictions. And she did have some good points about making sure people are solid in their faith personally before entering a relationship.
The real problem I’m having is that I see this type of thinking in a lot of Christian relationships.
Guard your heart. Protect yourself. No intimacy of any kind.
Why Are We Guarding?
Sometimes as Christians, we can take scripture and twist it in ways that seem harmless, but are actually out of balance.
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. (Proverbs 4:23 NIV)
When Jesus tells us to guard our hearts, it’s not so we can shut people out. We need to guard our hearts from sin so we can love others better–so love can flow from us.
I used to be afraid because when I was younger and not a serious Christian, I was in relationships that I gave my heart into–foolishly.
That’s my nature. I’m caring, and I’m not afraid to love. I did make mistakes, but I’ve also learned a lot and how to do things better.
Because of what I read online from Christian articles, I honestly feared I would never find love again. That I had given too much of my emotions or self away. That God would deny me a future with someone to love.
But as always, Jesus proved me wrong. And right now I’m in a relationship with someone amazing (although imperfect–just like me) who loves Jesus too.
The Risk of Love
Lovely one, please remember that you are the daughter of a God of redemption. A God of grace.
A God of love.
This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. (1 John 3:16 NIV)
Jesus didn’t die for us to shut ourselves away from love or to think we are unworthy of love. He died because He saw us–in our sin and mess–and said we were worth the cost.
Love isn’t safe. It’s risky. But love isn’t something to guard yourself from.
After all, the cross was pretty risky, right? Why on earth would we be commanded to love one another if it was easy?
Of course, we shouldn’t throw caution to the wind with dating. Love and marriage are important commitments. We should pray and read the Word while asking for wisdom.
But let’s stop dating like scared little girls who won’t let anyone in and calling it Biblical, okay?
Date with purity and reverence for God. Take things slow. Pray and read the Word together. As you grow closer, you will develop a spiritual intimacy that will show whether or not you can ever have a healthy marriage.
This advice isn’t just for dating relationships either. Learning to love with honesty and vulnerability is the key to having thriving relationships in all areas of our lives. Of course it doesn’t always come easily, but God walks with us one step at a time.
Don’t be afraid to love. It’s the very thing that sets us free.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13:13 NIV)
Thanks for reading! Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below 🙂
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Great post! As a teenage girl, it’s encouraging to hear others’ wisdom on things that are important issues to me and my age category. Thank you!🤗
Thank you for commenting Makayla! I’m so glad I could encourage you. Relationships are such an important topic and God has so much wisdom in His Word to give us. 💙
This is great advice Emily! As I’ve mentioned before, I was a Christian all through my teen years – which I’m honestly grateful for.
Nonetheless, I am familiar with what you’re talking about. I once read a Christian book that instructed young girls to practice a long list of boundaries in interacting with boys, and avoid getting too close. For years, I kept guys I knew at arms length, worried it would somehow be bad or wrong if I got too close to one of them. Today, some of my closest friends are guys who I consider my brothers in Christ, and I’ve realized that advice, well meaning as it was, blew respectful boundaries way out of proportion. There’s a difference between being careful and being paranoid, and sometimes, sadly, people end up pushing the opposite gender away out of fear.
Anyways, lovely thoughts! Sorry I sort of wrote a book here!😂
I always love it when you share your thoughts Courtney (and I’m sure others find them valuable too). I’ve read tons of stuff like that unfortunately, and it really makes me sad how legalistic it is. Yes, we do need boundaries. But most of us know our in hearts when the Holy Spirit is convicting us to back off from something. Then it’s our choice to obey. We need friendships with both guys and girls in order to serve in ministry together. 😊
I have definitely missed out on all your amazing posts! There’s so much to catch up on! Haven’t really read any dating posts from you, so this is new for me and I love it! I like how you don’t encourage the usual fear to shy away from being vulnerable or intimate (spiritually), I think everyone should try that. You kept saying don’t be afraid to love…and I was like girl, is she talking to me? Lol. It’s risky and scary for me but I pray to find that freedom from it as you’ve mentioned. I’ve missed you! Xx
Aww M I’ve missed you too! I was just thinking that I need to go through your blog 😊 thank you so much! I normally don’t post much on relationships, but I think I’m going to do more. It is hard to be vulnerable and open ourselves up to love. But it’s so worth it! I’ll be praying for you xoxo
I had a similar mindset when I was dating as well. The thing that set my husband apart from “others” when we dated was that he was willing to open his heart (as a man, I’ve heard that’s tough!) You have a great perspective on dating – Christ’s love is a firm foundation so that a strong relationship can be built upon it!
Thanks so much Kaila! It took me quite a while to get to this place (and I have much to learn). I pray that God blesses your marriage. 💙
Absolutely beautiful! Love conquerors all things and indeed sets us free!
Thanks Keisha! You’re so right about that!
Emily, I love these thoughts! The ‘guard your heart’ has always been a struggle for me…I like how you explained it. If we guard too deep we are cold and can keep ourselves from some pretty amazing stuff. I’ve also hear ‘guard your heart’ described as taking things to God before one another – not a bad thing I don’t think especially if it’s something you disagree on. Could be eye opening what God reveals through it. With an almost 18 year old daughter who has just started dating her long time Christian friend, I love hearing what you have to say! I’ll be in touch for sure. Praying for you and your new relationship! God is faithful!
Oh that’s awesome! I really like those points you made. And I’m happy for your daughter. If I can be of any help let me know. Thank you for your support 😊
Well said. I can see your heart in this and I trust God has the right person for you.
Wow, thank you! That’s very encouraging. 😊
I appreciate your post very much – though we’ve been married for 33 years, Rob and I are completely different people today than we were when we were 18 and 20… Or 36 and 38, or 41 and 43… Or we will be at 64 and 66. And we’ve hurt each other (and ourselves) along the way and we will again. We are not perfect. We all still need to not fear to love. We all need to practice loving each other – dating, engaged or married for decades. Rob’s parents are married 60 years and they’ve built their relationship in these last 20 years on exploring Scripture together. Yes. Maybe that’s the point I’m trying to get to… Practice love.
Thank you so much for your wisdom Lori! I really appreciate it. It’s so true that building a foundation in Christ sustains a marriage because it anchors both spouses. 💙