When Should a Christian Couple Say “I Love You” for the First Time?

The First Time You Say, "I Love You."

when should you say I love you

Ephesians 4:25, 29

When should a Christian couple say, “I love you”? Can a Christian couple say “I love you” when they are dating, courting, or only when they are engaged to be married?

The Bible does not give us a specific command on when Christian couples should say “I love you.” However, the Bible does say a lot about love and a lot about the words we speak.

Here are 4 pointers when trying to figure out if you should say “I love you” yet in your Christian relationship.

A Christian Couple Should Say “I love you” Only When They Truly Mean It

Asking this question of when you should say this phrase is important because it can be used in manipulative ways. Everybody wants to be loved. Sometimes couples say things in a relationship just to get what they want rather than because they really mean it.

If you say “I love you” in your Christian relationship just so you can tell your friends how serious the relationship is, that’s not good. If you say “I love you” to get physical affection from someone, that is sinful and manipulative.

Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. . . Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” (Ephesians 4:25, 29)

Sometimes a Christian couple will say “I love you” not because they are being manipulative or disingenuous but rather because they think they really do. However, to really love someone you have to know what real love is according to the Bible.

A Christian couple should only say “I love you” when they are ready to offer Christ-like, sacrificial love and not just emotions and selfish infatuation. Words are meaningless when we use them however we want.

A Christian Couple Should Say “I love you” Only When They Are Ready to Express Love Through Action and Commitment

Therefore, a Christian couple should only say “I love you” when they are ready to express their love through action and commitment. According to the Bible, love is an action where you do what’s best for the other person at a sacrificial cost to yourself (John 15:13).

When God says that he loves us, he also commits to us. Obviously there are different levels to love and we are called to love different people in different ways. But a love between a man and woman finds it’s culminating point in marriage. And marriage is based on commitment and faithfulness.

Therefore a Christian couple should not say “I love you” until they are willing to show their love and not just talk about it.

A Christian Couple Should Say “I love you” When They Are Prepared to Awaken Their Sexuality

God made a man and woman to express their love sexually. When a man and woman truly love one another in a romantic way, it is completely natural and good for them to be drawn to each other sexually. God made them that way.

The problem, however, is that when people start talking about love rather than committing in love, their sexuality gets awakened outside of the bonds of marriage. Therefore I believe a Christian couple should not say “I love you” until they are ready to awaken their sexual desires for one another.

When those three words leave your mouths, the sexual desire is only going to increase. This is not bad. This is good. It’s a problem if you have no sexual desire for the person you are planning on marrying. It’s only a problem when we release our sexual desires without releasing our commitment to one another in marriage as well.

For These Reasons, I Believe a Christian Couple Should Only Say “I love you” When They Get Engaged to Be Married

With all this in mind, therefore, I believe that a Christian couples should only say “I love you” when they are prepared to get married.

If you truly mean what you say, if you are ready to express your love in action and commitment, and you are ready to awaken your sexual desire, then you are ready to say “I love you.” However, if you truly are ready for these steps in the Christian relationship, it also means you are ready to get married.

To withhold love is a terrible thing. Likewise, problems occur when a couple is ready for marriage but they delay this union for secondary issues. There’s never a perfect time to get married, but things don’t need to be perfect to get married. If two Christians love each other and are mature enough to live on their own without parental supervision, there is no reason to wait.

In summary, I believe a Christian couple should say “I love you” when they are prepared to get married.