This post is being written in response to some text replies I got from some single girlfriends who would like to know the answer to: “How do you date as an adult Christian?”
I only had 1 month-long relationship in high school and none in college so the majority of my relationship experience comes as an adult. I did one completely wrong, had a ten-year break from almost all dating, and did one mostly right with grace (now my husband).
Most of this post will be descriptive and some will be prescriptive.
My now-husband and I were introduced by a mutual friend in December of 2010. I tried to carry on conversations with him for about a month without much response on his part. Little did I know that he was in his research and prayer phase. We finally met on Super Bowl Sunday at a gathering with some friends, and the rest is history. We had a few dates, then starting courting. Less than two months later we were engaged, and 4 months almost to the day, we were married in front of 400 of our closest friends!
That was a fast 10 months in all – and I never thought I’d get married that quickly – but when you are in your mid-to-late 30s you kinda know what you want. I had found my Mr. Right. He was amazing.
Here are some ideas for dating as an adult that we learned in our relationship:
1. Seek prayer and accountability. We both talked to some close friends before even beginning any type of relationship. He sought his mentor, whom I knew as well. I sought a good friend and her husband. One said yes one said no. I’m glad his mentor is the one who said yes! During the relationship we sought advice and thoughts from friends, pastors, bosses. I remember just two days before we got engaged my boss and friend got to meet him. Clear winner! The Proverbs says there is much wisdom in godly counsel! This is too important of a decision to go it alone! And this accountability may or may not come from your parents. We both had our parents’ approval but I know some people don’t have believing parents and so they might not be the best ones to get counsel from. But, hopefully your parents will love your future spouse – makes holidays so much easier!
2. Keep most off social media. We didn’t post anything about our relationships on FB, etc until two days after we were engaged. We figured we didn’t need the world weighing in and influencing our decision. We had the go-ahead from the most important people in our lives. That’s all we needed.
3. Talk a lot! Don’t spend most of your dates watching tv shows or movies. My husband and I love doing that but didn’t do a lot of it during our courtship. You need to be in places you can talk and share and get to know one another.
4. Don’t spend a lot of time alone in a home or car. This gets awfully dangerous for physical intimacy. My guy and I lived 30 minutes away from each other. We spent a lot of time with friends, at restaurants, at ministry events, or on the phone – but most of our time was not spent in our homes. If we were at my apt – my roommate was home. If we were at his, we were mostly (not 100%) on the porch or it was during the day. We knew our physical limits. Didn’t want to push them.
5. Don’t get too physically intimate. The first time we kissed was after he asked me to marry him. We didn’t kiss often after that. That was very difficult and you have to approach that subject with much prayer. But, on our wedding night – neither of us would have had it any other way! What a blessing.
6. Don’t drag it out. We read Piper’s questions to ask before you get married and read through the transcripts from Capitol Hill’s pre-marriage class. Both were excellent. We did many of these early (saving some of the physical intimacy questions till right before the wedding). We didn’t need a lot of time to figure out if we were right for each other. We knew enough!
6. Be ready to get married if that is what you desire. How do you do this: be pursuing God, be learning about what it means to be a husband/wife from older godly couples, don’t get into a lot of debt. Women: be ready to be lead by a godly, wise man who is passionately in love with His Jesus. This is so important. I had been in other relationships where the guy didn’t lead. What a difference it makes when he does lead, takes initiative, and points the relationship in a godly direction.
I pray for the relationships of the readers who are reading this: that they could be Christ-focused, physically pure, and lead to God-glorifying marriages.
Do you have any thoughts or questions – please leave them in the comments – so other OSP writers can weigh in as well!