Where’s the line? How spiritually mature does someone need to be before you date them? What should a Christian compromise on and what should they require?
Here are 5 non-negotiables every Christian must see before entering into a relationship with someone.
1. They Must Be Able to Verbally Articulate How They Were Saved By Jesus
Most Christians know that they must be equally yoked in a relationship (2 Corinthians 6:14). But how can we make sure we are entering into a relationship where we are actually equally yoked? There are many good answers to this question. You should see the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). You should see eye-to-eye on important theological topics. And you should be generally headed in the same direction in life.
However, before all of that, the first thing you should require to make sure you are equally yoked with someone is that they can verbally articulate how Jesus saved them. If someone says, “Yes, I’m a Christian,” they could mean anything by that. It is much better to ask, “What’s your testimony?”
As someone expresses the gospel in their own words, you don’t need to dissect every statement with a theological magnifying glass. However, when a real Christian talks about how they were saved, it will be clear that they understand they were saved by grace alone through faith alone (Ephesians 2:8-10).
If they can’t articulate this basic understanding of the gospel, I would recommend you don’t date them.
2. They Must Be Ready to Let Past Relationships Go While Being Open to Meeting Someone New
It’s never acceptable to be with someone when their heart is still with someone else. It’s okay to date someone who is still healing. It’s okay to date someone with baggage. But if this person still wants to be in a relationship with that person in their past, don’t settle for being this person’s backup plan. You deserve better than that.
One quality about Ruth that is often forgotten is that she was a widow. It would have been very understandable if she was still grieving the loss of her husband. There would be nothing wrong if she didn’t want to marry Boaz because her heart still belonged to her deceased spouse. However, if she was unable to give her heart fully to Boaz, this would have been a sign to Boaz that she was not the one for him.
As Song of Solomon 2:16 states, “My beloved is mine, and I am his.”
3. They Must Regularly Seek God’s Personal Leading in Their Life
There are plenty of people who can articulate how they put their faith in Jesus. And there are plenty of people who are healed from past wounds and prepared to open their heart to someone new. However, if you really want to marry a godly spouse who can fulfill the biblical role of a husband or wife, this person must have a personal, ongoing relationship with God.
If he or she doesn’t pause to ask God for guidance, if they don’t open their Bible to gain wisdom, and if they only rely on human logic, they won’t be what you need (Galatians 5:25).
4. They Must Have a Christian Community (Even If It’s Very Small)
It’s not a choice. When you become a Christian, God grafts you into his family (Romans 11:17-24). All Christians create the body of Christ together, forming the Universal Church. However, what is our choice is our personal participation in the local church.
Ideally, a Christian will be a member of a local church. However, it’s not an instant dealbreaker if they are not. Perhaps this person has tried to find a good church near them but they’ve not found success yet. In any case, they should have some other Christians in their life. If they don’t, they must at least be trying to find other Christians to do life with (2 Timothy 2:22).
If this person is content to be a loner, they are not fit to be your future husband or wife (Hebrews 10:25)
5. They Must Be More Focused on Serving Rather than Being Served
The demands laid on the wife and husband are simple but also severe. A wife is called to respect and submit (Ephesians 5:22) and the husband is called to sacrificially protect and provide (Ephesians 5:25-28).
Notice, however, that each command placed on the woman and the man is directed towards the woman and the man. In other words, neither person should be trying to make the other person do what they should. It has to be both of their own choices.
According to the Bible, true love is always rooted in self-sacrifice (John 15:13). If the sacrifice is one sided, this is when abuse and dysfunction occur. Therefore, a wife and husband will only form a healthy relationship when both of them are willingly choosing to sacrifice themselves for the other person.