Dating is complicated. Like any relationship, a dating relationship is complex, but there are practical ways that you can set yourself up for success. The truth about dating is when it’s done right, it’s preparation and stretching of your muscles around concepts like courage, self control, honor, and transparency. But before you enter a dating relationship, think through these 3 questions to help you determine your best next step.
Question #1: Where is God in my dating relationship?
The core of a relationship starts with what you find at its center - and if you’re a follower of Jesus, the best thing to build your relationship on is Jesus. Take time to evaluate if both you and your partner are moving towards God and pulling each other in that same direction, like Proverbs 27:17 reminds us. If God is at the center of your dating relationship, you will filter all of your joys, struggles, and experiences as a couple through him, and that’s always the best place to start.
Question #2: How does the person I’m dating treat others?
Sometimes it can be tough to evaluate someone’s character when you only notice how they treat you. Be intentional to seek out how your partner (or potential partner) treats other people around them - family, friends, coworkers, even acquaintances - and take note of what you see. Odds are that the way they treat others - how they react to others’ joy, weaknesses, or mistakes - will reflect how they’ll eventually treat you. Each one of us should be honoring one another in relationships (Romans 12:10) and upholding the value that God has placed on us. Be sure that you’re treating your significant other with honor and respect, and that they are treating you with it, too.
Question #3: What kind of story do I want to write?
We all want to live a life that we’re proud of - but you don’t always think about how your decisions in the moment can impact your story in the long run. When you take time to pause and evaluate big decisions in your life - like who to begin a dating relationship with - you can save yourself a lot of pain and heartache. God’s plans for us are good plans - Jeremiah 29:11 tells us that they’re plans of hope. Even if you’ve made mistakes in the past, it’s never too late to start writing a new story that you’ll be proud to tell some day, and that story can start right now with a wise decision in your dating life.
Wherever you are on your dating journey, remember that God is for you and he wants what’s best for you. Proverbs 4:23 reminds us, “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” Be encouraged in knowing that God knows your heart and he values it - and you should value it, too.
To hear more about dating and relationships, check out the message 3 Pieces of Advice for Dating Relationships from our series It’s Complicated.