2) Date with a trajectory toward marriage.
This quote sums it up:
Dating without the intent of getting married is like going to the grocery store with no money. You either leave unsatisfied or you take something that isn’t yours. —Jefferson Bethke
That’ll preach right there. If you are a Christian, there is no reason to follow Christian dating principles in order to date without a trajectory toward marriage. Now, I want to clarify what I mean.
Dating with a trajectory towards marriage means dating with a purpose. It means dating with an understanding of the gospel. It means dating someone who meets the values and goals you have for a future spouse (more on that later).
Casual or purposeless dating, ignoring Christian dating principles, has no benefit for Christians. We are intentional beings. We are designed to know why we do stuff and where we are going. Dating is no different.
Now, please, please, please don’t be a freakish weirdo. Dating with a trajectory toward marriage doesn’t mean you only date one person ever. That would be awesome, but it’s not always realistic.
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. But once you get into the relationship, you realize things aren’t as they seemed. Maybe they like to cuddle with cats or something. That’s always a deal breaker.
Just end the relationship, and continue to seek the Lord.
Disclaimer: A date is not dating. Again, please don’t be a freakish weirdo and give Christians a negative label. Having coffee or going to eat dinner with the opposite sex is not dating. That’s a date. Dating is more intimate. Dating involves D.T.R talks. It involves sharing personal struggles and vulnerability.
So, if you choose not to get coffee or watch a movie with the opposite sex, then whatever. But don’t place that expectation on others.
3) Don’t date non-Christians.
The ultimate purpose of marriage is sanctification (becoming like God). So, my question is, “How does dating a non-Christian aid you in this?”
If you are a Christian, God isn’t a piece of your pie. He is the pie. Why date someone who doesn’t even have God as a piece of the pie?
My wife loves the Lord, and I can say with all certainty I wouldn’t be following Jesus without her. There will be days when life is crashing down, your faith is wavering and the only thing left will be your spouse. This is the beauty of a sanctifying marriage. In this scenario, your spouse is there to pray for you, put his or her arm around you, and walk with you.