What is the best Christian dating advice for someone who wants to be married? What Christian dating approach will work the best for Christian singles who desire to meet a godly spouse?
Questions like these are impossible to answer responsibly without knowing more information about the individual Christian hoping to be married one day. There are so many variables with each person that make common dating tips unhelpful and sometimes even damaging. If you apply the wrong dating advice to your life, that approach might keep you single for longer, thus having the opposite effect that you had hoped for.
One of the most amazing truths about the Bible is that it’s commands apply to all Christians and all times, no matter their individual circumstances and variables. Christian dating advice, however, should be viewed very, very different than biblical commands clearly stated in Scripture. The Bible doesn’t say you must date for 1 year before getting engaged, it doesn’t say you must be friends for 6 months, it doesn’t say you must only hang out with the opposite sex in group settings – in fact, the Bible doesn’t say anything directly about Christian dating or courting.
Certainly there are clear commands and principles in the Bible that should always shape your Christian dating approach (do not marry an unbeliever, do not be friends with the world, do not have premarital sex, flee sexual temptation, etc.), but there is not one Christian dating path that God has commanded for all Christians.
One of the biggest variables that should alter the Christian dating approach you are using is your age and spiritual maturity. A 20-year-old single man should be approaching Christian dating very differently than a 45-year-old single woman.
So how should your Christian dating approach change the older you get?
The Motives of Your Heart and Your Morality Should Remain the Same No Matter What Age You Are
Before we talk about how your dating approach should change, I think it is wise to first talk about what should not change. Whether you are a Christian single who wants to be married and you are 19 or you are 65, your motives for marriage and your commitment to biblical morality should be the same.
As I’ve discussed before, it is not wrong to want to be married. As long as your motives for marriage are to glorify God, then your desire for marriage his healthy and biblical. Certainly a desire for marriage can be idolatrous and sinful if your motives are impure, but God is the one who made marriage and God is the one who puts the desire for marriage on most Christians’ hearts.
Not only should your motive for marriage always be pure, your commitment to honoring God with your morality must also never waver no matter how old or young you are. Some Christians fall for the lie, “Well, I’m young so I can sin now in the relationship because God knows I’m just being an immature kid.” Others fall for the lie of, “Well those relationship rules are just for kids. I’m a mature adult so I can sin in these ways because that’s what adults do.”
The clear commands in Scripture are not given to older or younger Christians. God’s commands are given to Christians. The commands to not have premarital sex (1 Corinthians 7:2), to not marry an unbeliever (1 Corinthians 7:39), to not commit adultery (Exodus 20:14), and all the commands like these must always shape your dating approach regardless of how young or old you are.
So the inner motives and obedience to God should always be the same. Your practical approach to Christian dating should be altered with your age and spiritual maturity if you hope to see the best results as possible.
You Should Be More Patient in Practical Ways the Younger You Are to Meet People
I believe one of the biggest differences in your dating approach that should change as you get older is the time you allow relationships to develop. When you are in your early twenties for example, the advice to “just give it time” and “just try to be friends first” and other advice focused more on patience and waiting are much more appropriate and wise.
For example, when you are younger, I don’t recommend Christian online dating. Rather, you should focus on developing all the other social circles in your life as these other areas of your life are often the way you will meet your spouse. Going to small group with people your age, going to college, hanging out with other Christian friends, and joining other young adults in service projects are very common ways that God ends up brining to Christians together.
In short, when you are younger, you shouldn’t force it. Let things progress naturally.
You Should Be More Proactive in Practical Ways the Older You Are to Meet People
While the above approach certainly would not be a sin to do if you were getting older, I do believe that is wise to more proactive and intentional about meeting people the older you get. If the “just wait and see” approach has happened before the age of 25, I personally would recommend upping the energy you are putting into dating.
This is really just my opinion, but if you are single and you want to be married and you are under 25, I wouldn’t feel pressure to be more proactive. There’s nothing wrong with being more proactive if you are under 25, I just don’t think it is that necessary. Usually you will just meet someone naturally though when you are normal, socially active Christian single.
I feel that those who are over 25 are transitioning away from being a “young adult” and into being a normal adult. With this transition into full adulthood, I think it is wise to slowly begin to change your dating practices. Nothing drastic at first. I’m not saying everyone over 25 needs to freak out, everyone in the 30s must online date, and everyone in the 40s better higher a marriage recruiter.
There’s no law or formulas here. My point is that when you become an adult and you are more spiritually mature, you should feel freer to pursue a relationship in a more direct and intentional way.
You Should Be More Forward and Move Faster When You Like Someone as an Older Christian Single
These first two points are really focusing on meeting people. I’m trying to say that when you are younger you will generally meet potential Christian spouses more naturally because more people your age are single. When more people start getting married and you are more mature yourself, it just makes sense that you are just more active and intentional about meeting people from the opposite sex.
Another way I believe you should change your dating approach when you are getting older is the way you interact with someone that you like. When you are younger, I think it makes more sense to try the “become friends first” rout and just see where it goes. As you get older, I think it is wiser to be more forward and to move faster in the relationship than you would have as a young adult.
Why? Because going slow or fast is not the point. The point is to date in a way that is honoring to Christ, protects your heart, but accomplishes the purpose of dating which is to see if you two want to get married. In theory, when you are older your heart should be more mature to date faster without getting hurt or too high of expectations.
When you are young, you are prone to be naive and get hurt. Hopefully as a full adult you have learned how to engage in a dating relationship without being totally crushed if it doesn’t work out. Hopefully you are spiritually mature enough to discern more quickly if this person is a quality Christian or not. In short, as you mature you theoretically should not need as much time as a younger, less experienced Christian might need to gauge your compatibility with this person for marriage.
You Should Lean More on the Courting Side When Younger and More on the Dating Side When Older
Perhaps the best way to sum up my beliefs about how your dating approach should change with age is to say that you should lean more on the Christian courting side when you are a young adult and more on the Christian dating side when you are a full adult.
For a full explanation between the differences in Christian courting and dating, you may want to watch/read this resource What’s the Difference Between Christian Dating and Courting?
A quick summary is that courting emphasizes guarding your heart, taking things slow, using a period of friendship before courting, having lots of community accountability built into the courting relationship, and emphasizing the desire for marriage early in the courting relationship.
The Christian dating approach, however, focuses more on entering into a dating relationship faster, being open to dating before knowing the person really well, and waiting to talk about marriage until the dating relationship has progressed much further than when it first began.
As you get older and more mature, I think it is wise to transition away from the Christian courting model and move towards the Christian dating approach.