You’re single and you’re a Christian. So how do you honour God in your dating life? It can be a very challenging question for many people. Christian dating is rife with confusion and can be extremely frustrating for singles. In this 20Twenty conversation, we explore what makes a relationship work.
Missionary, author and relationship specialist Eric Demeter joined us to share his insights on the issue. Eric is a single guy who’s given the subject a lot of thought for his new book, ‘How Should a Christian Date?’ He separates the truths of scripture from the baggage of Christian dating subculture.
Dating principles, wrong beliefs and unhealthy habits that cause needless heartache are all issues that Eric says impact Christian dating. He is currently a missionary, as well as a relationship and conflict resolution specialist who works with YWAM staff and missionary students.
Eric believes that we can glorify God through our dating life. In 1 Corinthians 10:31, Paul tells us that whatever we eat or drink or whatever we do, do it all for the glory of God. But we don’t have to make all our own mistakes in relationships. We can learn from the experiences of others. How we date and the positive and negative patterns we have, can be things that we later take into a marriage.
“I’m a 45-year-old single guy who was engaged once,” says Eric. “Like most people I can’t answer that all elusive question of why my relationships haven’t worked out. I think that Christians get stuck thinking that they can do all the right things. They can wait for sex, they can date all the right people, but yet still not be married. And that can lead to frustration with God.”
There are some preconceived notions that have seeped into Christian dating that Eric believes are just not right. One is that God will do it all, and just bring a spouse to our doorstep. God wants to partner with us in our search. This is true, whether we’re searching for our calling, or trying to find a job that fits. Dating is the same thing. Can God just bring you that right person? Absolutely. But chances are it will take some effort on your part.
“I think that dating when you’re really desperate is probably dangerous,” says Eric. “Be very cautious and allow God to heal you first. I am reasonably content, but I still think that marriage is something that God puts on the hearts of most people. But we need the freedom to have times when we don’t call it dating. Maybe you go out a few times and have the freedom to spend time with someone without calling it a date.”
Eric doesn’t agree with casual dating. All dating should have a purpose and the litmus test is simply, are you curious for the possibility of marriage? If you’re not, then don’t go on a date. But if there’s a spark, there’s a hint that they could be the one, then go for it. If you follow Jesus, you need to share that foundation with whoever you date. It can be tempting to date some someone outside of the faith.
“Be cautious,” Eric says. “The Bible doesn’t talk about dating specifically, but it gives us wisdom. If you marry someone who doesn’t share your faith, how will you raise your kids? It’s going to create a lot of future problems. From a practical point of view, I could not marry someone outside the faith. Because I talk about Jesus all the time. I don’t know what I would talk about if they weren’t a Christian.”
It can be a struggle and there are some really good people out there who don’t know Christ. But Eric’s advice is to wait. If you need to expand your circle, try something like attending a new Bible study.
“There are still so many good Christian men and women out there. The most important thing we can do is pray to meet that right person in God’s timing,” says Eric.
Reflect + Respond
- Are you waiting to meet that right person in God’s timing? How can you spend your waiting time purposefully?
- What wrong pre-conceived notion did you have about God’s provision of a spouse? What changes can you make?
- How has the article impacted you on your view on casual dating and what you are looking out for in a prospective spouse?
To listen to the rest of Eric’s conversation with Neil on the pitfalls of Christian dating, click here
More About 20Twenty
Helping you make sense of culture, events and happenings through Biblical perspectives.
Tune into 20Twenty and join the conversation with Neil Johnson, weekdays on Vision Christian Radio. Download Vision Christian Media app to listen on the go. You can also listen to the podcast online. Click here for your local station and times.