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You also probably shouldn’t tell each other about your most traumatic childhood memories or discuss your collection of rare cheeses or — I can’t believe I have to say this — drop the L-bomb. Plus, I already kind of know this guy because we’ve been in the same small group for the last three weeks.” Here’s a thought . More importantly, who made this rule about only dating the man you’re going to marry? What type of ministry do you see yourself going into?Biblically speaking, no one dated, so it’s not covered in the Good Book. “I am physically attracted to you, but before we go on our first date I need to be sure that we will eventually get married. ” That guy would run screaming in the other direction — I know I would. Even if you don’t say that out loud, guys can tell that’s what you’re thinking. When you run into Joe from your Bible study at the coffee shop and instantly start mapping out your lives together, he can tell.So stop looking for your future husband and look for a date instead. What makes up a good marriage, the type of joy-filled marriage that people see and think, “When I grow up I want a relationship that looks like that” are a couple of things. These two things are almost equally important — with commitment to Jesus edging out the other by a nose.I know I’m really blowing the lid off the whole “Only go on a date with a man you intend to marry” thing that’s popular in Christian circles, but stay with me. But there are plenty of non-Christians who also have great marriages, so clearly the mutual respect and enjoyment of your spouse is a pretty big deal.Most of us ladies have had our dream wedding and everything about it planned out since we were six — including the groom, the ring (a tasteful two-carat, emerald-cut diamond set in platinum, thank you!), the starlit evening, and the honeymoon in Spain.

I dated a bunch of Christian men I was miserable dating. Here are some other factors to consider: Do you balance each other out? I had enough of a Christian-college filter (despite thinking I had escaped without one) that when my husband and I first started dating, I was initially concerned that he hadn’t brought up his commitment to Jesus or tried to lead us in prayer before we held hands.

This issue shapes our young people, friends, and family more than we could ever imagine. “Let’s just sit back and see what happens” might work in certain scenarios, but Christian dating isn’t one of them. I hope and pray these words spark conversations in your ministries, relationships, and homes. If you need to take a minute to let that sink in, I will be here when you get back… Here’s the deal: marriage isn’t a divine lottery where every person has one winning ticket. Hopefully one will end up as my spouse.” Not a good idea. So, the default for years is to leave as soon as a flaw arises. This requires discipline, restraint, and abstinence from activities that don’t promote holiness. A pure mind might be the greatest gift you can give your future spouse. ____________________ I hope this discussion continues. I pray parents, church leaders, friends, and family begin to spark conversations about God’s design for dating.

Most importantly, guidelines and principles for dating will transform lives and shape eternities. The brokenness you see in yourself and the brokenness you experience from your spouse point both of you to the only perfect one, God. When you pull the trigger, these balls spread over a large range, increasing the chance you hit the target.

It means dating someone who meets the values and goals you have for a future spouse (more on that later).

Casual or purposeless dating has no benefit for Christians. We are designed to know why we do stuff and where we are going. Now, please, please, please don’t be a freakish weirdo. It involves sharing personal struggles and vulnerability. If you believe God is preparing you for foreign missions, is it important the person you marry shares this passion? If you love the Cowboys and your future spouse loves the Packers, is it important to work through this before marriage?

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You might get into a relationship with someone who loves Jesus, meets the values you have in a future spouse, and is compatible with you. Just end the relationship, and continue to seek the Lord. Again, please don’t be a freakish weirdo and give Christians a negative label. My wife loves the Lord, and I can say with all certainty I wouldn’t be following Jesus without her. It’s dangerous riding on the road to marriage without an idea of where you are going. Don’t sit someone down on the first date and interview them to make sure they meet all of the qualities.

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