Here are 4 reasons I believe marriage should not be your goal in dating someone.
1. Clarity, Not Marriage, Should Be the Goal of Dating
When you make marriage your goal for dating, you will fear dating people because you will not know if you want to marry them. But that should be the point of dating – not to marry them but to find out if God wants you to marry them. Marriage as a goal for dating puts too much pressure on the relationship too soon.
Another danger in making marriage the goal of dating is that you will try to marry someone even when you see red flags. If you see marriage as a win and breaking up as a failure, you will try to stay together even when God is telling you to break up.
Therefore, don’t make marriage your goal for dating. Make clarity your goal for dating. A good passage to pray over is Ephesians 5:15-17, “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.”
Don’t waste time dating someone you should not date or dating someone you know you should marry. Rather, use dating to help you figure out what God’s will is. Use dating to find clarity.
2. Confirmation, Not Marriage, Should Be the Goal of Dating
As I said in point 1, if you truly know God is telling you to marry someone, I believe it is unwise to date them. Do what God says. Just marry them.
However, I don’t believe most people truly know God is telling them to marry someone until they have dated this person for an appropriate amount of time to confirm what God is saying. I believe many people think they know God told them to marry someone. I believe some of these people are right, and God really is leading them to marry this person one day. And I also believe some of these people are wrong, and thus they will not marry this person they think they will marry.
Therefore, dating should be used to find confirmation to what you believe God is saying. I believe in the principle that the bigger the decision, the more confirmation God will give you. You don’t need an abundance of confirmation to talk to someone over the phone. You don’t need an abundance of confirmation to go on one date with someone. Of course pray about these things and ask the Lord for guidance. But it’s not the end of the world whether you do it or don’t do it. God’s not going to give you huge confirmation for a small step of faith.
But when God is telling you to marry someone, he will give you an abundance of confirmation. When God reveals the one, you will date this person, the relationship will be healthy, and your inner feelings will be confirmed by outside evidence.
Proverbs 30:5 states, “Every word of God proves true.” When something is truly said by God, it will be confirmed in reality by actually happening.
3. Date to Learn More About Yourself and Others, Not to Marry the First Person You Date
There are basically two common schools of thought among Christians when it comes to the goal of dating. Some Christians fall into the “courting camp.” These people typically believe you should only court someone when you have a strong belief you want to marry this person. Other Christians fall into the “dating camp.” These people typically believe having a boyfriend or girlfriend is a good thing. Rather than dating to marry, they are fine with just dating to date.
Personally, I believe the courting mindset is too restrictive and the dating mindset is too worldly. Therefore, I believe you should try to take the best of both worlds. Unlike courting, use dating to learn more about yourself and others. Without dating, you will never really learn anything about the opposite sex, what you like, what you don’t like, who you relate to, and who you don’t. But if you just date to date, you will never get married and you will get stuck in worldly relationships.
So take the courting mindset and value marriage and take the dating mindset and value relationship experiences and form a hybrid approach that is focused on finding the one while still giving people a chance without taking every relationship too seriously too soon. Through it all, depend on the Lord for guidance (Psalm 32:8-9).
4. Date to Glorify God
Many people think that to get married, you must glorify God. Glorifying God becomes the entry price into marriage. This is not biblical.
The glory of God is not meant to be a means but an end. In other words, glorifying God is not what we must to do get other things. We must use other things in life as a means of glorifying God (1 Corinthians 10:31).
This same thing is true for dating. Use dating to bring God glory. Want to know how to do that? Here’s an article I answer the question, “How can you glorify God in a relationship?”