To be honest, this is an area I have zero personal experience in ;-). But even so, I think this is a huge issue that needs addressing, as I watch people my age get hurt from the whole dating system. So I have interviewed two young adults, who have advice, in order to get their thoughts.
So, this morning, the first thing I said to my brother was,
“So, what are some dos and don’ts about dating?” He looked at me like I was out of my mind, and told me not to go dating anyone.
In the end though, he gave me some great tips.
My Brother’s Do’s
- Be transparent, either with a mentor, or an accountability partner. Don’t do things in secret. If it’s not something you're willing to share, don’t do it.
- Set boundaries before you start going out together.
- Do things as a group: Get to know your boy/girlfriends friends, and get engaged in their social group
- Date as a prerequisite to marriage, and not for any other reason (e.g., I’m lonely, all my friends are doing it, that person is good looking.)
My Brother’s Don'ts
- Don’t do things in secret. If it’s not something you're willing to share, don’t do it.
- Don’t go on your own willpower and self control, and think you don’t need anybody else involved
- Don’t date just because you're physically attracted to someone. Look at their personality first.
- Don’t date someone to *fix* them. That is not your job, and will most likely end with you get seriously hurt
My Mentor's View
I also talked to one of my young-women role model's. She has just recently gotten married to a lovely Christian man last year. Here is her advice.
- I think one of the best bits of advice I got on dating was to have a clear definition of what it is and the purpose of it. When my husband and I first started going out, I was chatting to a friend and they asked me to define dating and I really struggled. The definition I’ve come to though is that dating is a time to get to know each other and seek God together to be able to confirm whether it is God’s will that the relationship lead to marriage.
- My advice for christian dating would be to go into it with the intention of marriage- the couple should be really open with each other and God that if they don’t feel God leading them towards marriage, they should end the relationship sooner rather than later. I’ve talked to a few married friends about this and we reckon that by 6 months in you should know whether or not the relationship should keep going or not.
- The intention should also have God at the focus- the relationship should be drawing you and your partner closer to God rather than distracting you or drawing you away from Him. I would encourage couples to pray together regularly and also spend time in groups and with the other person’s family- this is where you really get to know them.
- Something else that my husband and I found really good was that when we first started going out we wrote down our list of boundaries (what we’d be comfortable doing/not doing during the dating phase) then came together to discuss them and came up with a list of boundaries for our relationship.
- We then had an older, wiser couple to mentor us and keep us accountable to those boundaries. I’d really recommend a couple like that for anyone who is dating!