How Do Christians Know if They're Ready to Date?
- Taylor Jensen Pastor
- Updated Feb 23, 2022
You desire to start dating, but you want to know if you are ready. You have seen yourself or others jump into dating when you or they were not ready, and it ended in disaster. So how do you know if you are ready? How do you know if God is saying to go for it and when he is saying to wait a little longer?
In this article, we will ask ourselves three questions to help reveal if we are ready to start dating and, more importantly, if the Bible has any words of wisdom to help us. But first, let's get rid of a misconception.
It's Not an Age Thing
Many have based readiness to date on age rather than on maturity or God's timing. As a youth pastor, I witnessed many good-willed parents state their children could not date until age 16.
Then on their 16th birthday, they were magically ready to date. Assuming they were prepared, the student rushed into a relationship, only to be crushed and heartbroken. Just because they were the "right age" didn't mean they were ready.
People assume that they are ready since they are of a specific age. In the Bible, though, God doesn't look at age but rather at maturity and his perfect timing.
For example, most scholars believe Mary, the mother of Jesus, was around 15 years old when she had Jesus! That is far too young by today’s standards. But God didn't think so based on the right timing in which he sent his Son in that particular cultural norm.
Yet other people in the Bible didn't meet their spouse until later in life. Most historians believe that Boaz was around 70 years old when he married Ruth.
So, Mary was ready at 14 or 15, but Boaz was 70? God doesn't seem to like formulas. What works for one person may not work for the next. He cares about each individual's journey.
So rather than giving you a formula, an age, or a checklist, let's create a filter system of questions that will tell you if you are ready or not, regardless of age.
1. Are You Healthy?
Pastor and relationship expert Jason Vallotton once said, "You are ready to date when you can be a benefit to the person you're with no matter what the outcome of the relationship."
Are you in a healthy place in your life where you can benefit someone else, or are you only dating to fill the void and needs in your own heart? Do you have a healthy view of yourself, God, work, friendships, church, and other parts of your life?
Or do you have unhealthy views? Are you filled with self-hatred, anger, or unforgiveness? Do you have good character? Are you responsible? Are you secure in who God has made you?
If you were to show up at God's front door and ask him to take his son or daughter out on a date, would he trust you? Would he see your life and say," I trust them with my child."
These questions aren't about dating. They are about being a healthy Christian. But healthy people create healthy relationships. So, if you read these questions and realize you are unhealthy, do you think it is wise to start a relationship?
He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the LORD (Proverbs 18:22, ESV).
What about your views on dating? Are they healthy? Are you dating because you hope to find the spouse God has for you? Or are you dating just because they are cute and make you feel fuzzy inside but have no desire for marriage anytime in the foreseeable future?
Many think they feel insecure because of their singleness and conclude that they won't feel insecure if they can be in a relationship. But this isn't true. Dating isn't going to cover cracks or insecurities in your heart. On the contrary, it will expose them even more.
Do you love yourself for who God made you to be? Do you believe that you belong? Do you think you have a purpose, meaning, and a future? If not, then run to God and find your identity first in him before you try to start dating. We must take our insecurities to God and Counsel and ask for him to fill the void first in our lives before we try to fill it with someone else.
There is no shame in saying, "No, I am not ready to date for a season. I need to work through my brokenness before caring for someone else." That is a very mature thing to do.
Maybe you saw all those questions and feel great about where you are in life and the Lord. Great! Jump on to the next question and see how you answer.
2. Do You Know Who You Are?
Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous — how well I know it (Psalm 139:14).
Are you thankful for how wonderfully you were made? How well do you know who you are? Who you are consists of things like your identity, beliefs, passions, and desires.
Identity: do you feel secure in your heart with God? Do you know that you are not defined by your skin, age, political views, nation, job, and status in life? Do you know your identity is in Christ?
Beliefs: do you know what you believe in and why? Do you believe in boundaries in a relationship, and what those maybe?
Desires: do you know what you are passionate about in life? How about future desires? Do you want to travel? Do you want to stay local? Do you want a big family or a small one? Do you care about a career? Do you want to adopt?
I knew a couple who, years into dating, discovered two different desires. He wanted to be a missionary in Africa. She wanted to stay in America, have a home, and raise a family.
They were devastated when they felt they had to either give up their dreams or each other. I know another couple who dated for years when he realized he didn't want kids, and her biggest dream was being a mother.
Many things you will learn as you date, but it is wise to ask yourself these questions while you are still single. People are so focused on making a list of everything they need in a spouse that they don't take the time to stop and ask themselves, "Who do I want to be in life? What do I want to bring to a relationship?"
The more you know yourself, the more of yourself you can give to someone else, and the more secure and confident you will be in a relationship.
3. What Does My Counsel Say?
Where there is no guidance, the people fall, But in an abundance of counselors, there is victory (Proverbs 11:14, ESV).
Many people jump into dating without ever asking others if they should. Instead, they assume, "If I feel like dating, I should." But we all have blind spots, and that is where we need support systems in our lives to encourage and correct us.
You may think you are not ready to date, but when you talk to your counsel, they say, "You are more than ready! Go for it!" Or you may think you are the most mature person around, but your counsel tells you, "I don't think you should date right now."
What does the Bible mean when it says, "counselors"? Counselors are not just your friends and peers but mentors in your life. They have a history of giving godly advice, even when it hurts.
They don't tell you what you want to hear but what you need to hear. They live lives above reproach, and they have maturity in their faith.
For you, this may be older married couples, pastors, small group leaders, or a godly person you know. If your response to this is, "I don't have a mentor in my life," then I would recommend finding one because you will need counseling when you are in a relationship.
If your response is, "I don't need a mentor, I can do it on my own," then I would say you are not ready to date. For dating to work, you must be teachable and open to accountability.
Notice how the Bible also says, "In an abundance of counselors, there is victory." So don't just have one person, and their advice is all you hear. You need to have at least three or four people who actively speak into your life.
I love YouTube and podcast sermons, and I learn a lot. But they are not my mentors. They don't know me and can't speak into the details of my life.
If all of your godly counsel in your life tells you that you are not ready to date, there is a good chance you are not. But if they are all saying to go for it, there is a good chance God is saying to as well!
Are You Ready?
Are you healthy? Do you know who you are? Does your counsel say go for it? Awesome! I'd say you are ready! Start dating and stay close to God and the community to help guide you through the process.
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Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/Merlas
Taylor Jensen is a missionary, pastor, and world traveler. His passion is to help equip believers with practical ways to ignite their faith and bring Jesus into the world around them. That is the goal of his personal blog Fireplace Faith. Want to Learn How to Hear God's Voice? Subscribe here to get his Free Ebook “8 Biblical Ways to Hear God's Voice.” Reach out to him any time through his blog or through his social media accounts @taylorcjensen.
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