Answers to Pertinent Questions Christian Singles Ask
1. What are Christian views on dating?
The Bible, especially the Old Testament, reveals that it was parental responsibility to look for a spouse for their son. We see that with Abraham seeking a wife for Isaac, and Hagar marrying a girl for her son, Ishmael.
When a young man loved a girl, he would send his parents to propose to her parents, as Shechem did for Jacob’s daughter, Dinah.
A man could also give his daughter to an outstanding man such as Moses or David, or to whosoever pleased him.
In most cases, the girl’s consent was never considered important. Marriage was contracted between the families, usually cemented by the payment of the bride price, with the male relatives having the authority to decide what happened.
This is a sharp contrast to our society today where a man and woman get attracted to each other, spend a season knowing themselves in what we call dating. This can include meeting families and friends, and getting parental approval of the dating relationship.
If things work well, there is the proposal, usually with a ring, and finally the wedding. If things sour, there’s a breakup, usually painful.
With the rise in popularity of online dating and speed dating, many Christians want to know if these are valid ways to get a mate. Is today’s culture wrong?
Dating and its practices have more to do with culture, with subcultures existing even among Christians.
In some areas or Christian communities, two people get to study each other for marriage compatibility by spending time together in social activities, while in others, a young man, having prayed, approaches a girl with a direct marriage proposal. She then prays before giving him a response.
The response could be negative or positive. Yet a positive answer doesn’t mean the relationship will mature into marriage. A breakup can still happen.
What American Christians tolerate during dating, an African Christian will find offensive or sinful, even if she indulges it.
Notwithstanding, there are generally accepted Christian dating rules which center mostly on the purpose of dating and the pursuit of sexual purity in the relationship.
Date with the aim of getting married, and stay sexually pure during dating.
2. What is the difference between dating and courtship?
It’s hard to draw a simple line. Many people agree that dating is when two people with attraction for each other spend a season determining their compatibility for marriage.
They can do this especially through social activities where they spend time alone and or with friends and family.
If they believe they are compatible, they proceed to courtship where talks about marriage and wedding intensify.
Christians with a dislike for dating prefer courtship where the man gets approval from the woman’s parents or pastor to court their daughter for marriage. The belief is that the method eliminates some perceived dangers of dating such as sexual immorality or lack of commitment and accountability.
3. What should I look for in a mate?
Pray and God will show you who to marry. End of story.
I hope you took that as a comic half-truth.
God can show you who to marry, but by ignoring certain guidelines, some Christians have made terrible mistakes in choosing a mate. Never choose a mate based on what you believe God told you. Why? Because you can hear God wrongly about who to marry!
Before you accept to marry a man, three forces of attraction should inform your decision. Your potential mate doesn’t have to be perfect in these attractions, but he should score high in each category or improve in areas of weakness. Overall, you should ‘like and be proud’ of who you marry.
a. Spiritual attraction
The person must be a Christian with similar beliefs. Disagreements over major doctrines can strain a marriage.
Major doctrines include Salvation by grace through faith in Christ alone, the after-life, stances on abortion, homosexuality, polygamy. A Christian couple should have no disagreements over these.
But you can agree to disagree over type of music in church, Christian involvement in politics, minor doctrines that have little consequence on personal salvation and relationship with God.
Another aspect of spiritual attraction is character and morality. Your potential spouse should live out what they believe and desire to build a godly home. It is not enough to believe the right things.
A word of caution: you are not looking for a flawless mate but a Jesus-loving man who is growing in his relationship with the Lord.
b. Physical attraction
Looks will change over time, and they’re not very important in keeping a marriage together. So don’t pay undue attention to physical attractiveness.
However, the man you marry must be attractive to you, because if you dislike his features you would resent having sex with him. You would not be happy seeing his resemblance in your children. Marry someone you would not be ashamed of being with in public.
Included in physical attraction is the person’s health.
Although serious medical conditions should not break a relationship, assess your readiness to deal with the inconveniences.
Do not marry a health-challenged man out of pity. Choose him because you love him despite his condition.
c. Mental attraction
Biologic maturity is not a qualification for marriage. A potential mate must show proof of mental maturity to withstand the challenges of marriage.
Their reasoning capacity and articulation count. A deficit doesn’t disqualify them, but shows they need to improve.
4. Should I marry someone I don’t like?
If your dating relationship is just beginning, give it time. Do not reject the man or woman because there’s no affection or romantic feelings yet. It is possible that things may change with time, and the person’s behavior and personality would cause the feelings to come before marriage.
Think of the bigger picture. Is he or she a serious Christian? Will they help you fulfill God’s purpose for your life? Will he make a good husband, will she make a good wife?
Communicate. Ask questions and discover more about him or her. Pray that God will help you see things in their right perspective. The more compatibilities you find between you two, the better the chance the affection has of developing.
But if the relationship is older and the guy or girl wants to proceed to marriage, and you are still unsure about spending the rest of your life with them, let the relationship go. Do not swallow the unease you feel now because that might be a reason for regret tomorrow.
5. Can I marry a non-Christian and change them?
Yes, you can marry a non-Christian because you have the will to choose. No, you can’t change a person. You might influence him or her to change, but there is no guarantee.
To marry a non-Christian is to violate scriptural principles. Christians are not to be unequally yoked with unbelievers.
One area of compatibility in marriage is spiritual compatibility. Even between two Christians seeking marriage, differences in theology and perspectives may break the dating relationship.
If there’s no Christian single man or woman available where you are, seek God to understand what to do.
6. Should I date or wait?
Seek God first. Get your instructions from Him. If He tells you to wait, wait. If He instructs you to date, including online dating, obey.
Each person is unique and so are individual journeys to marriage. Most Christian singles jump on the dating wagon without God’s approval. Then they suffer heartbreak or other emotional, psychological, and spiritual consequences of relationships out of the will of God.
7. What should I do as I wait for God’s timing for a husband?
Build your spiritual life, develop yourself, pursue you purpose, prepare for marriage.
8. Why is God making me wait?
It is not yet time for marriage. It is time to get busy or remain busy with other important activities. Remember you don’t have to understand fully why God is making you wait before you obey Him.
9. God has shown me my future husband. What should I do?
Ask the Lord what you should do. Then do it.
There are several reasons why God might be showing you your future husband. He may want to protect you from a wrong choice, He may want you to adjust some things in your life to receive the man, He might want you to intercede for the guy, or He might just want you to know and keep calm.
You need to understand why the Lord is showing you your future husband. And the only way to do that if by asking Him.
For the most part, because you’re a woman, you will have to wait for the Lord to bring the man to you. If the Lord is showing you your future husband, He would also show the guy his future wife, that is, you.
“It’s been two, five, seven years.”
Probably, it is not God talking to you. Seek to overcome your feelings or whatever voice might have spoken to you.
10. Can I Approach a man When God Shows me he’s my Future Husband?
Is it wrong to approach a man when God shows you your future husband? Does the Bible forbid a woman from going to a man? Is a lady committing a sin or a crime if she opens up to a man about her feelings for him, especially a man she’s convinced God has told her he will be her husband?
My answer is yes and no. It depends. Find out more in this post: When God shows you your future husband.
11. What should I pray about for my future spouse?
- Pray that he or she will grow in their relationship with the Lord
- Pray that he or she will discover God’s purpose for him or her and walk in it.
- Pray that God will help them to overcome the temptations common to single people. For example, sexual purity.
As a general rule, I do not encourage singles to pray for their future spouses. It can breed impatience and distraction. But I’m not saying you sin if you do.
God knows who fits you better than you do. Focus on your purpose and trust in Him to bring your suitable mate to you.
“Wait, some people got exactly what they prayed for.”
This is my opinion: people who prayed got more aware and firm about what they want in a mate. It doesn’t mean that if you never pray for your future spouse, you would get a bad mate.
12. Is it reasonable to hope for a godly mate when so few singles are seeking God?
Marriage is a sacred institution. It is a ministry. Your spousal responsibilities are a vocation.
It is important to engage in that institution, that ministry, that vocation, with someone who resembles you–your beliefs, your goals, your purpose.
This doesn’t mean an exact copy of you, but there should be agreement on indispensible qualities, because two cannot walk together unless they agree (Amos 3:3).
13. Why should I wait until marriage for sex?
Because the Bible calls sex out of marriage a sin, fornication.
Even if you plan to and will marry the person you are dating, until you do so, they are not your spouse. Therefore, honor God with your body. Practice self-control and take all the necessary steps to marriage. Then, enjoy sex there, because God limited that enjoyment within a heterosexual marriage.
“What if I can’t find a man who is waiting?”
Sis, don’t be deceived. There are still godly brothers practicing abstinence until marriage. If you honor the Lord, He will honor you with a godly man.
14. My partner wants sex before marriage. What should I do?
Run for your dear life! The right person will respect your body and wait until marriage. They will honor God and help you do the same.
15. What does the Bible say about kissing before marriage?
The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (revised edition) defines kissing as, “Touching with the lips, a gesture of affection or homage usually devoid of erotic content in the Bible.”
This touching with the lips mustn’t be lip to lip. It could be lip to beard, feet, or cheek. Thus, friends could kiss, enemies kissed as a sign of reconciliation, and parents kiss their children to show affection.
There’s hardly any mention in the Bible of opposite sexes kissing in an erotic context, which I assume is because it is a sexual act. Lip to lip kissing in romantic relationships is stimulated by or can lead to sexual arousal, with many singles going beyond the kiss to full-blown sexual intercourse.
To maintain sexual purity during dating, it is safer not to indulge in kissing before marriage. Wait and enjoy the thrill in marriage.
16. Is it possible to live sexually pure?
Contrary to popular opinion, not everyone is having sex out of marriage. And this includes people who don’t masturbate either.
If you accept the lie that it is impossible to be sexually pure long term, you already give your flesh and Satan an upper hand. Settle it in your heart that sexual purity is possible. In Christ, God’s Spirit lives in us and helps us to obey His will.
17. What should I do if my parents dislike the person I’m dating?
Not only parents, but spiritual leaders and friends can disapprove of your choice. The best response is not to ignore them or tell them they’re wrong.
Find out the reason for their rejection, and test it with Scriptures. Does the person you are dating have an unpleasant character? Is he or she a non-Christian pretending to be a believer?
Such things happen. While romantic feelings may blind you, your parents, pastor, and others can see better.
However, parents and spiritual leaders may disapprove of some choices for wrong reasons: Maybe educational and social status or they hate the region or part of the world the man or woman comes from.
Try as much as it lies in your power to make peace with your parents before marriage. Although, as an adult, you can get married without parental consent, that shouldn’t be your first line of action until all your options at reconciliation fail.
18. How do we handle each other’s past?
Everyone has a past but some people’s pasts are uglier and have permanent consequences which must be made known before marriage so you can accept the person with full knowledge of what to expect or what miracle to believe God for.
Not every past must be dug up. Tell each other only the past that still haunts today. For example, it is unnecessary to name every man you’ve ever slept with. You can summarize all those experiences in a simple statement: “I’m not a virgin.”
Pasts that must be revealed to your partner include prostitution, involvement in porn, abortions, or sexually transmissible infections with potential to affect your fertility or to be transmitted to your mate.
It is wrong to allow fear to hinder you from exposing an ugly past to your potential mate. They may reject you for that past, but it is better to be rejected now for who you are, than to deceive someone to accept you now but later reject you. That stings more. If someone loves you, they would accept your past.
After you discuss the past and proceed with marriage plans, bury that past. Never dig it up as a weapon against your partner.
19. How can I find a husband after age 35?
I don’t think it’s any different from finding a husband at a younger age. You might get fewer prospects but you only get married to one man.
Focus on God. Build your spiritual life and trust in Him to lead you to a suitable mate. Get your instructions from God, not from the wisdom of the world.
20. Am I meant to be a lifelong single?
If you have sexual desire, you were not meant to remain single for life.
That doesn’t mean you must get married. Some people, for reasons such as commitment to vocation or purpose, choose to remain single. The Lord Jesus also says that some people were born to remain celibate.
Another set of singles never finds someone to marry. This could result from a very strict attitude towards qualities to look for in a mate, which means that no one is good enough for them. Some singles may have a nasty character that sends away potential mates.
If you choose to remain single, your decision must consider your sexual desire. If you cannot contain it, seek a mate.
Any other question?
There can be no end to questions singles ask about marriage, dating, and singleness. If you have any other question, please ask in the comment section.