The words “dating” or “courtship” are not found in the Bible. However, practically if any person desires to seek a meaningful and loving relationship with the opposite sex, then a form of dating or courtship is necessary. The decision to choose a spouse cannot be made instantly or irrationally. Choosing a future husband or future wife is one of the most important life decisions that anyone can ever make.
Dating is meant to seek out someone who you think could be a potential spouse. It is an activity of discovering each other’s personalities and background and there is no commitment to marriage.
The person you are dating might be the right person or he/she might actually be the wrong person for you. However, the aim of dating is to find out whether the person you like could become more than just a friend, but potentially be the one whom you could spend the rest of your life with.
Courtship however is more serious and reflects more commitment than dating. Courtship is meant to show the one you love that he/she is your true love and you have the genuine intention to marry. Courtship reveals that you have found the one whom you want to spend the rest of your life with and you are making practical life steps to get married to that person in the future.
Dating & Courtship Must Be Biblical
It is important to understand that the way the world views dating and courtship is totally different from how Christians should view dating or courtship.
Romans 12:2 says that we should not be conformed to the standards or patterns of this world.
Therefore the world may believe in ungodly principles such as premarital sex or adultery. The world may also believe in dating or courting more than one person at the same time.
However, the Christian / Biblical principles regarding dating or courtship are opposite to the standards of the world.
Therefore during courtship or dating, it is important that a couple abstain from sex until they are married. There are many verses in the Bible that declare sex before marriage to be a sin. For example, Galatians 5:19, Ephesians 5:3, Mark 7:21 and Colossians 3:5.
1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 says: For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; 4 that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, 5 not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God;
Therefore sex was created by God in order to be enjoyed only within the confines of marriage and Christians are not to follow the path of the world.
One should date or court a person who is genuinely single and not married. It is adultery for a married person to be in a “courtship” or “dating” relationship with a person who is not his/her spouse (Deuteronomy 5:18).
God says that we should not covet or desire another man’s spouse (Deuteronomy 5:21).
Therefore courtship and dating must be among two people who are genuinely single.
A Christian must date or court another Christian believer. There is a principle reflected within the scriptures that Christians should avoid getting married to people who are unbelievers in order to avoid being corrupted or deceived by a partner who does not believe in the Christian faith.
2 Corinthians 6:14 says: Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?
1 Corinthians 15:33 says “Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character”.
Therefore when a Christian dates or courts a non-Christian, this could eventually lead to future problems within the relationship or marriage due to a difference of values and beliefs.
Involve God Regarding Dating & Courtship
Biblical dating and courtship requires godly wisdom. It is important to always be prayerful and involve God in every relationship decision that you make. Without God it can be impossible to make the right decisions regarding specifically who you should or should not marry.
Proverbs 16:1 says “To man belong the plans of the heart, but from the Lord comes the reply of the tongue”.
Proverbs 16:3 says “Commit to the Lord whatever you do and your plans will succeed”.
Therefore God is able to choose the right person for you to marry but it is important that we trust Him and involve Him in all of our plans and decision making.
Furthermore, our commitment to loving God is very crucial and important in our life. We must love God more than we love others (Matthew 10:37).
When we love God above others, then we will learn to love others with the love of God and we will live our life according to God’s principles and values. Jesus said that if we love Him, then we will obey His commandments (John 14:15).
Therefore courtship and dating must be Biblical because we are motivated by the love of God.