What does the Bible say about having a relationship, dating or courting?

Last updated on March 4, 2021

What does the Bible say about having a relationship, dating or courting?

Are you looking for the love of your life? Let’s think about it for a moment. First of all, it is not a strange thing to look for the love of your life or to look for a friendship or companionship. People are relational beings. That’s how God created us. We are made to live in relationships. So, if we think about looking for an intimate relationship that ends up in marriage – we discover that the Bible gives us certain principles.

The love for Jesus has the highest priority

Before we think about courtship and relationships between people, it is important to recognize that there is one relationship that really counts. It is the most important one, and it is our relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Our Lord Himself has said:

If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:26-27)

Our relationship with God through Jesus Christ has to be our highest priority. A Christian needs to live a life that is founded upon the Word of God and led by the Holy Spirit. There must be one uncorrupted love in a Christian’s life, and that is the love for Jesus Christ.

The goal of marriage

If we want to start a relationship with someone in order to marry that person, we need to know God’s purpose with marriage. There is absolutely no goal in marriage apart from Jesus Christ. God’s will is that the Christian will be conformed to the image of His Son. In marriage, God gives a man to a woman in order to grow into the likeness of Christ. God designed marriage for one man and one woman, who both have to fulfill their God-given roles.

The spiritual meaning of marriage points us to the love of Christ for His bride, the Church. Christ laid down His life for her, so the husband needs to lay down his life for the well-being of his wife. The Church submits to the lordship of her Lord and King, and so the wife has to submit herself under the headship of her husband – not like a slave, but as someone who realizes her husband is a gift from God who has the responsibility to lead her spiritually and to seek her well-being.

How can I know whom I should marry?

God does usually not show us by supernatural signs whom we should marry. But as we grow in our Christian walk, our decisions will be based on wisdom from God rather than fleeting emotions. It is also helpful to seek good counsel from our mature Christian friends who would make sure that our emotions are not leading us into hasty irrational decisions. And it is helpful to determine the attributes we would want in our future spouse. Below you will find a few tips (not exhaustive) that can help you determine if the person fits well with you.

  • Is he or she a Christian? We know that Scripture warns Christians to not be unequally yoked (2 Corinthians 6:14) with unbelievers (which we can apply to marriage).
  • Is this person growing in his/her faith or is he/she stagnant? Consider his spiritual devotion when making your decision. Is he rooted in the Word of God? How is his prayer life? Does he frequently attend worship services? Do you see evidence of the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23)?
  • Do you trust this person? How is his character? Look at his relationships with others. Is he well regarded by everyone he encounters? Does he respect others (1 Peter 2:17)?
  • Do you like this person? Do you enjoy spending time with him or her? Can you be friends, not just lovers?
  • Will this person be able to fulfill his God-given role in marriage? Will he be a good husband and a good father for your children? Will she be a good wife and a good mother for your children?
  • Ask your friends and family – those who know you best – whether or not they think your potential girlfriend/boyfriend is right for you? Though your friends could certainly be wrong, they may be able to provide some insight into the situation that you may not be able to see.

Are you looking for a bride or bridegroom? Then make sure you are first united by faith to the heavenly Bridegroom – Jesus Christ!

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