How can you honor your father and mother in Christian dating and relationships? Do Christians need their parent’s permission to date or marry someone? What does the Bible say about parental approval, obeying your parents, and honoring your parents as an adult?
Here are three pointers on this topic regarding parents and Christian dating.
Children Are Called to Obey Their Parents in the Lord, Even When It Comes to Christian Dating
The Bible does not talk a lot about obeying your parents, but what the Bible does say is very clear:
Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.” (Colossians 3:20)
“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.” (Ephesians 6:1)
The two words we really want to point out for our question about dating is “children” and “obey.” According to the Bible, children are called to obey their parents, therefore if a child’s parents does not want him or her to date someone, that child should obey.
The question that needs to be asked is, “But who is a child?” My best understanding of the biblical use of the word child when referring to human families are those people still dependent upon their parents. If someone is still living with their parents and has not taken on adult responsibilities for themselves, I believe this is what the Bible is talking about when it says “children obey your parents.”
Secondly, we also want to notice the phrase “obey your parents in the Lord.” Children are called to obey their parents. But if their parents are leading them to sin then this would not be “in the Lord” and thus the child should not obey the parents. If your parents are telling you to do something unbiblical you are not required to obey them even as a child. You must always follow the Lord through obeying his word first and foremost.
In summary, if you are living with your parents then you are biblically required to obey them if what they are requesting is not sinful.
Christians of All Ages Are Called to Respect Their Parents Even If They Disagree
The biblical guidelines for Christians and their parents change once that person is an adult and is no longer depending on their parents like a child. Adults are not commanded to obey their parents. So if you are a Christian adult and your parents do not want you to date or marry someone, you are not obligated to obey them.
However, all Christians are still called to honor their father and mother. Exodus 20:12 states, “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.” Therefore, even if you disagree with what your parents want, you must disagree in a way that is not disrespectful. You must seek to honor them even when you do not follow their counsel.
If you are not a child as defined by the Bible, then you are not commanded to obey your parents anymore but you are called to respect them. So rather than asking for their permission like a child should, Christians should do what they feel is respectful when it comes to dating and marriage.
Christian Adults Should Listen to Their Parent’s Counsel in Ways that Makes Sense Based Upon the Actual Dynamics of the Relationship Between Them
Here is my opinion about all this. When you are an adult, you should include your parents in a way that makes sense. If you are a Christian and they are not, well this obviously will change a lot. If they are a mature married couple that you really respect, this again should be factored in. You should not blindly follow your parent’s advice as an adult just because they are your parents.
But if you respect your parents and you believe they are mature Christians in the Lord, if you believe that they love you, and if your parents have a track record of offering you wise counsel, then you should value what they have to say about your romantic choices.
In most cases, unless you are coming from a dysfunctional family, your parents are the ones who are most likely to tell you the truth even though it might hurt you. Your friends might have concerns about who you are dating or going to marry but they might not tell you because they don’t want to offend you. Most likely, if you have decent parents, they will be the ones willing to offend you with the truth because they love you so much.
Even if you disagree with your parents, even if your parents end up being wrong and you get married and have a great marriage, just know that what they are saying is coming from a good place.
So Christians adults are not called to obey their parents, they are called to respect their parents, and each individual Christian adult should listen to their parent’s counsel based upon the actual relationship that exists between this adult and his or her parents.
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