One of my friends asked for dating advice. Since Jesus never dated nor married, he was wondering what guidance there might be for followers of Christ. My response:
Here we need to draw on principles found throughout scripture. Based on scripture, I’m going to suggest four principles that should govern any dating relationship:
#1 Respect: In my words and in my actions am I showing respect for this other person? Am I respecting her boundaries? Am I respecting her time? Am I respecting her body and her person by waiting until marriage before any sexual contact? Am I respecting her thoughts and opinions?
#2 Trust: Am I making it possible for this other person to feel 100% safe with me? Am I showing myself trustworthy? Do I keep my promises? Am I a man of integrity? Am I being manipulative or am I being straightforward, honest and open handed?
#3 Understanding: Am I seeking to understand this other person? Do I take the time to actively listen without passing judgment? Do I know and “speak” this person’s love language in an appropriate way?
#4 Love: While we think of romantic love, that romantic love needs to line up with a higher form of love that always seeks the best for the other person. See 1 Corinthians 13. This love says we don’t play games with her heart. This love stands ready to make sacrifices–even walk away from the relationship–if that’s what’s best for her.
Though I wrote these with males in mind, I think they apply the other way around. Thanks to John Henry for bringing these four principles into focus for me.
Photo credit: Darin Kim, Flickr (Creative Commons attribution license)