One common experience for Christian singles is having romantic feelings for a good friend of the opposite sex. Wanting to date your Christian friend can cause all kinds of confusion and doubts about what to do. On what hand it is exciting to think about dating a great friend. But on the other hand it can be frightening because you might ruin the friendship. What if the desire for a Christian dating relationship might not be reciprocated by the friend that you like?
In this article I will give you 9 tips when considering if you should date your Christian friend or not. I have broken the content up into three sections: When should you try to date your Christian friend? Why should you try to date your Christian friend? And how can you go about initiating this new Christian dating relationship with your good friend?
When Should You Take the Risk and Try to Date Your Christian Friend?
- You should try to date your Christian friend when you truly like this person as more than a friend and your feelings are not going away.
I’m not against going out on a lighthearted date with someone if you want to see if you two have potential as a Christian couple. As long as you are in a season where you are prepared to marry if God brought the right person into your life, I believe dating can he a healthy activity if you hope to have a Christian marriage one day.
However, when it comes to dating a good friend, I don’t believe this decision should be made so lightheartedly. So the first sign that you should perhaps start pursuing a Christian dating relationship with a good friend is if you have strong feelings for this person and they are not going away.
Don’t just flippantly go on a date with anyone as a Christian. But you should be even extra cautious if you already have a good friendship with someone because dating will change the friendship forever.
- You should try to date your good Christian friend when you are ready to accept that it will change your friendship in an irreversible way.
When it comes to relationships, I believe it is much more natural to progress in a relationship rather than go back to the way things once were. Once you enter into a romantic relationship or even express romantic interest in a friend, the friendship will not be the same.
I’m not saying you will lose this person as a friend or you will hate each other if a dating relationship doesn’t work out. My point is that once you cross that friendship-line and then try to go back to the way things were before you crossed that line, it really is never the same.
For reasons we will discuss further in this article, I don’t think this is always a bad thing. This reality of relationships between males and females, however, is just something you have to accept. If you are prepared to risk the friendship, which many times you should be, then it might be time to try dating this person.
- You should try to date your good Christian friend when you know you have taken your friendship as far as it can go and there is now an imbalance between your intimacy and commitment towards one another.
One sign that helped me know it was time for Bethany and I to start dating rather than just remain close friends was when I knew we had taken our friendship to the maximum level of healthy boundaries for a guy and girl. We were talking on the phone a lot and emailing each other a lot (we lived in different states) and it was obvious our connection was no longer matching our commitment level.
One huge relationship principle I believe is biblical is that your commitment and intimacy level should always correlate. In friendship this means you should not appear to have the intimacy of a boyfriend and girlfriend when you are still technically “just friends.”
So you should start pursuing a dating relationship when you can no longer serve each other in a healthy way in friendship. All guy and girl friendships eventually reach that point where they need to move forward or move backwards because staying as intimate friends is like staying in no-man’s-land. You are not dating each other but you are so close to one another you are probably scaring off any other potential suitors.
I believe it’s healthy to just be friends when there’s still more intimacy and connections that can be made in a healthy way through friendship. You don’t want to rush the dating season and miss the healthy parts of friendship. But eventually remaining friends will have diminishing returns and it would be better to move on together or take a step back from one another.
Why Should You Try to Date Your Good Christian Friend?
- You should try to date your friend if you believe he or she will be a godly spouse and not just an enjoyable companion.
One of the tricky parts about deciding to date a friend or not is that friendship can often blind us to someone’s true character. If this person does not possess the qualities of godly spouse, no matter how great of friends you are with him or her, you should not enter into a Christian dating relationship with this person.
Friendship and enjoying someone socially is really important if you want a healthy Christian marriage one day. However, this person’s character and commitment to Christ is more important than the enjoyment you get from one another (1 Corinthians 15:33). A personal connection is not enough to sustain two people for the ups and downs of real life that will occur over the decades of a Christian marriage.
- Entering into a Christian dating relationship with a friend is a good idea because friendship is a great foundation for a Christian marriage.
Sometimes the best options for dating and marriage are right under your nose. Sometimes people complain about there not being many good options for Christian dating. However, if you have a Christian friend of the opposite sex that you really enjoy, it might be worth praying about dating this person.
It might feel strange at first because you haven’t thought of this friend in a romantic way before, but if you give it a try sometimes your feelings with change and you will see him or her in a different light. So if you want a Christian relationship but it doesn’t seem like there are many options, perhaps take a look at your friends to see if there is any potential there.
- You should consider dating your Christian friend because all guy and girl friendships eventually change anyways.
Point 5 may cause some of you uneasiness because in point 2 we talked about how dating will certainly change your friendship in an irreversible way. So it can seem like too big a risk to try and start dating a Christian guy or girl that you truly value as a friend. While I don’t disagree, I also think you should consider the fact that eventually your friendship will change anyway once one of you starts dating someone.
Not only will your dating relationship change your friendship, it is also true that any dating relationship one of you gets involved with will change your friendship. And once one of you gets married, your friendship should change even more. Guy and girl friendships are not built to last. Something is wrong if a husband or wife spends lots of time with friends of the opposite sex without their spouse present like they are still single.
I’m not against single guys and girls spending one on one time like some Christians are who hold to a courting model for Christian relationships. However, I am against close friendships for guys and girls who are in a relationship or are married to someone else. This can present unhealthy risks and temptations. Even if it doesn’t for some, is it really worth the risk and the perception it creates? I don’t believe it is. Hanging out in group settings with friends of the opposite sex is healthy. But if you are married and still close with a friend of the opposite sex and your spouse is not really involved in this friendship, I believe this is in not appropriate.
My point is this: if you are worried about ruining a friendship if the dating relationship doesn’t work out, you should remember that this friendship is not built to last anyway. If you share your feelings for your friend and he or she does not feel the same way, things will probably be weird. But rest assured you two were not going to be great friends for too long anyways. One of you is probably going to start dating and get married soon and your friendship would be pretty much over at that point anyway.
I’m not trying to be cold or make you sad, it’s just reality. Guy and girl friendships are not built to last and are usually very seasonal and short-term.
So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.” (2 Timothy 2:22)
How Should You Start Moving Towards Dating Your Christian Friend?
- If you are thinking about taking the risk and making a move on your Christian friend, ask your other friends what they think first.
I don’t think this step is required but I do think it is a wise idea to at least ask other people who know you both about their thoughts of you two dating. Again, because transitioning from friendship to dating is more complicated and presents more social risks when a friendship is involved, it might be helpful to get other people’s advice on what you should do or not do.
If everyone is saying it’s a terrible idea, this doesn’t mean you have to listen to them. However, I do think it would be wise to seriously listen to those who can see the situation from an objective view point. Perhaps you are just missing something. Perhaps this person really likes someone else or you just don’t have any chance. If this is the case, it’s probably best to retain the friendship rather than making things awkward for no reason.
- If you are serious about transitioning from friendship into a Christian dating relationship, you will have to have a DTR talk.
A Christian DTR talk (define the relationship talk) is something that has to happen whenever two Christians need to transition from one phase to the next in their relationship. If you want to move from friends to being a Christian dating couple, from being a dating couple to engagement, and whenever there needs to be a big shift in the relationship, a DTR talk is a must.
For more details on how to have a Christian DTR talk, click here.
- If you share your feelings for a Christian friend, give this person time before expecting them to answer about dating you.
Sometimes both people know it’s obviously time to start dating. In those cases the other person might be able to give you their answer right away. When I shared my feelings for my wife and asked her to be my girlfriend, I made sure she knew she could have time to think and pray about it. But she told me she didn’t need time because she had already prayed about it and was ready to start a Christian dating relationship with me.
This isn’t always the case. So prepare yourself if your friend is taken off guard. Let him or her know that they have plenty of time to think and pray about this. My only advice would be that you make sure the two of you actually come back to this conversation rather than pretending like it never happened. While the friendship will probably never be the same anyway, it will be needlessly even more awkward if you two just avoid each other now rather than just having a mature conversation about it not working out romantically.
Christian Dating Advice: Should You Date Your Friend?
Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12)
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