The Dating Game

dating1“An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit.” (1 Corinthians 7:34)

Guys. College campuses are filled with them (unless you go to an all-girl school). Guys that you don’t know and have never met. Guys you would like to meet. It can be very easy to get distracted by and caught up in the dating game. But this can be one time when just because everyone else is doing it (and it seems they really are) doesn’t mean it’s the best thing––or the right thing–––to do.

I was never much for the big dating scene, although I still did go out on occasional dates with guys. However, I believe this could lead us into major temptation (Matthew 26:41), resulting in major consequences. Many times, we think of the only consequences of dating around as being the more severe ones, such as pregnancy or STDs. But it is so much more than that. There are other consequences that can be just as devastating, occurring even when there is no sex involved in the relationship. Not only do we risk being emotionally hurt, or emotionally hurting someone else, but we become so involved in the guys we are dating that we forget Who should be our focus––God (1 Corinthians 7:34).

What am I supposed to avoid?

I know that it is very hard to stand against the crowd. But there are many times when God calls us to do just that out of obedience to His Word. Second Timothy 2:22 tells us to “flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace.” As difficult as it is to admit, being a part of the dating game is a worldly desire. We feel as though we are not cool or popular if we’re not dating around. We worry that others will make fun of us. But it is God we should be trying to please––not those around us. (Romans 8:8; Galatians 1:10)

I believe it is a very bad idea to go out on dates with a guy––even a serious boyfriend––where the two of you will be alone. Nowhere in God’s Word does He tell us that it’s critical to have alone time with a guy in order to know if he’s marriage material. Just the opposite, He warns us against sexual immorality, which is all too easy to become entangled in when we are alone with a guy (1 Corinthians 6:18).

dating2Not only should we be discerning about going out on dates alone with a guy, but we also need to consider our actions when we’re around guys––even if they’re just friends. Scripture warns us about a woman’s suggestive actions, which can include a wide range of things, such as flirting, close hugging, and sitting on laps. Even our words can be inappropriately misleading. To the writer of Proverbs, a beautiful woman who shows no discretion is like a gold ring in a pig’s snout (11:22). Nice word picture, huh? The beauty of the woman, like a gold ring in a pig’s snout, gets lost in the ugliness of her indiscretion. And while many guys will admit that they don’t mind some of these sinful indiscretions, the guys we should want to attract should care about pleasing God and finding a woman who does the same. (Ecclesiastes 7:26)

Another thing we must consider when it comes to “dating” is who we are dating. Many girls feel like they must date a hundred guys in order to find the right one for them. This is not the case. Not only does it place temptation directly in our paths, but it’s not necessary. Most often, you can tell from the start that a certain guy is not someone whom you would ever want to marry––as cool or cute as he is. We need to take finding a spouse seriously and prayerfully, asking God to lead us to the one He has been preparing for us. This is not to say that He’ll do it immediately, but we need to wait patiently on Him. (Psalms 27:14, 37:7, 37:34)

Not only should we not be dating dozens of guys in order to find Mr. Right, but God’s Word very specifically commands us to only pursue godly guys. Second Corinthians 6:14 tells us: “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common?” If you are a believer, you have nothing important in common with an unbeliever. As nice as the idea is that as a believer, you could lead an unbelieving boyfriend to God, it is a wrong idea. You can most certainly befriend an unbeliever and pray that God will use you in his life, but if you are intending to “date” a guy for the purpose of marrying him one day (the only reason any of us should date), you should not be spending your time with guys who do not have a desire for what should be your ultimate desire––God.

So how do I meet guys?

dating3So far, this may sound like a pretty hopeless situation. You have to stand against the crowd, and you have to narrow your choices down to the minority. But there are ways to get to know if a guy is someone whom you could marry. First, start by getting to know guys as friends while you are with other friends. You may not have as many of those intimate conversations you long for, but you’ll learn a lot about them just by being around them with others. If you’re taking dating seriously as a possible covenant for life, that should make you very discerning as to who gets to know your thoughts and feelings more intimately. We shouldn’t feel like we have to share every innermost thought with every guy we might be interested in. And, when with a group, you’ll see how he treats other people, and will learn more about his character than you will if he’s trying to impress you on a date.

After you’ve gotten to know a certain guy in a friendly group setting, go out on dates with him––with others. A smaller group date is a way to get to know each other better, without other distractions, but still allows you to be around others as to not fall into tempting situations. As much as this goes against what the world teaches, and what we often want to do, Matthew 26:41 tells us to watch and pray, because our spirit may be willing to obey God, but our body is weak. Set limits beforehand on what you will do if a situation arises where you’ll be alone, such as your other group members suddenly leave. Decide that you will immediately go somewhere public, so as not to leave yourselves in a tempting situation

College is a great time to meet people and make new friends, and many people meet their future spouses while there. However, we must be discerning about how we go about the dating game and remember that we are to please God, no matter how “against the crowd” that may be.

Proverbs 31:30: “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.”

By Lisa Grimenstein

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