How much should you like someone before dating them? Is it okay to give a relationship a chance even if you don’t think it will work out long-term? Are you leading someone on if you are not that interested but you go out with them just to make sure you don’t like them?
These are good questions to ask as a Christian because they will help you guard the hearts of others while also navigating the dating season yourself.
So here are 3 tips to help you answer the question, “How much do you need to like someone to date them?”
You Only Need to Want to Take the Next Step to Take the Next Step in the Relationship
What do I mean by this? Many times people are trying to figure out what they should do early in the relationship by thinking what they want to happen later in the relationship. This is a big mistake.
To take one step forward with someone, all you need to do is want to take that step. You don’t need to want to take two steps forward. For example, if a guy asks you out on a date, you don’t need to want to be his girlfriend for you to accept. If you are unsure if you would want to be in a relationship with him but you wouldn’t mind going out to dinner and having a night out together, there is nothing wrong with accepting to see what happens.
Likewise, if you are guy wondering if you should become boyfriend and girlfriend with a woman you went on a few dates with, you don’t need to know you want to marry this person to date her. If you would like to be her boyfriend and she seems like a godly woman, you should feel free to take this next step without fully knowing if you want to take the next 20 steps together into the future. In Bible verses like Proverbs 3:5-6, there is an element of living with faith in the present knowing that God will make your path straight when you walk into the future, but not before. It reads:
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”
This process doesn’t happen all at once. As you trust God in the present, he will make your path straight and clear as you need to take the next step. So as you move forward in dating, all you need to know is what you want or don’t want to do next. You don’t have to know your whole future together.
Focusing Too Far Into the Future Will Keep You Frozen in Singleness
It’s important to think about the future so when the time comes to make a decision you know what God is leading you to do. However, if you want to know too much before making simple decisions in the present, you will always be stuck in the early phases of singleness because God rarely reveals too much to us about our futures.
So you can see how this cycle will delay you. If you won’t ever move forward in dating until God reveals the end of the story, but God does not usually reveal the future to us, then we will be frozen in the present unable to move forward.
As we discussed in point 1, God will not reveal the next 20 steps but when you rely on him and seek his wisdom, he will tell you what the next step is. So when it comes to trying to decide what to do or not to do early in a relationship as a Christian single person, try not to think too much about the distant future otherwise you will get frozen in your singleness.
Giving Someone One Chance Is Fair and Appropriate. If You Still Don’t Like Them You Are Probably Forcing It
If you don’t even want to go on one date with this person but you are wondering if you should anyways, I would say you are free to decline. Don’t feel pressured to do something you don’t want to do. Romance in the Bible is an option and not a command.
However, if you are really struggling because you feel like you should like this person and should at least give this person a chance, I would say one chance is fair and appropriate.
To me, going on one date or accepting one invitation to spend time together to see if your feelings change at all is healthy and safe. However, if you keep forcing yourself to give this person a chance even though you really don’t like this person that way, now I believe you are hurting yourself and this person. To me you would now be forcing it and probably leading this person on because they will begin to think you do like them.
So if you want to give someone a chance and explore if your feelings might change, I would only try this once. If you feel differently afterwards and you would like to keep getting to know this person, keep going. But if nothing changes and you still are not interested, then I would stop giving this person opportunities.
Out of respect I would then share clearly that you are not interested so this person understands where they now stand.