12 Tips for the UNsuccessful Christian Dater

Christian dating ... is this even biblical? The first thing to remember is that we must separate from the world's view on dating because God's way contradicts the world's (2 Peter 2:20). Discovering the character of a person who stands on a strong foundation of faith is important before making any commitment to him or her. While the world's view may be to date around as much as we want, a Christian should not go into dating without marriage in mind. This is what some call "intentional dating."

If you are a Christian, and dating hasn't exactly "worked out" for you, consider approaching the topic of dating with these helpful tips in mind:

Tip 12. Don't be attracted to the wrong things.

Are you attracted to superficial things, such as physical beauty, financial status, or job and credentials? This could seriously mislead you, not to mention that it is shallow to prioritize or focus only on these qualities. "Like a gold ring in a pig's snout is a beautiful woman without discretion." (Proverbs 11:22) Instead, look for someone who loves the Lord with all his or her heart.

Tip 11. Do not be yoked with unbelievers.

It might not sound pleasant to many today, but this biblical mandate is to be heeded. Numerous references in the Bible command God's people not to mix with unbelievers.

2 Corinthians 6:14 reads, "Do not be yoked together with unbelievers is. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?"

Likewise, Leviticus 19:19 also says, "Keep my decrees. Do not mate different kinds of animals. Do not plant your field with two kinds of seed. Do not wear clothing woven of two."

The believer and the unbeliever are driven by a different set of values. One follows God's will and the other does not. How then can this relationship even begin to work if we are Christians called to honor God?

Tip 10. Are you looking just to date and nothing more?

In other words, maybe you are not really serious about the relationship. We live in a culture of casual dating, but dating should be done from a biblical perspective and with commitment in mind. It is not to be taken lightly. Do not waste your time and the other person's time if you are just looking to have fun.

Tip 9. Your life priorities and values need a review.

Again, you need to seriously question your motives. Ask yourself, "Why I am looking to date? Why is finding a Christian partner important to me?" If you can't clearly answer these questions, you are not ready. You need to grow and mature more spiritually. Do not rush into dating, but start with prayer and Scripture. Your ultimate motivation should be a strong, Christ-honoring holy marriage in the future, not simply happiness or personal satisfaction right now.

Tip 8. Evaluate the qualities you are looking for in the other person.

Think seriously about the person that you could potentially spend the rest of your life with. Life is not a fairytale, and you would need someone guided by biblical principles and wisdom — someone willing to grow together in Christ throughout the relationship and who holds a shared hope in the Gospel with you.

Tip 7. Do not make early sexual advances.

Instead of bringing you closer, this could be turning the other person further away. What went wrong, you may ask? You broke the order. Commitment comes first (marriage) before any physical interaction. Anything outside of this order is done to satisfy "passionate lust," as mentioned in 1 Thessalonians 4:3-7. Read this carefully, word for word.

It is God's will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong or take advantage of a brother or sister. The Lord will punish all those who commit such sins, as we told you and warned you before. For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life.

Tip 6. Reduce "me" and get to know the "other person" more.

If your focus is solely on "me, myself and I," you will end up with only "me, myself and I" by your side. If you are genuinely interested in the significant other, you'll find yourself asking a lot of questions about that person and prompting deeper conversations. In that process, you might discover layers of rich character and inner lasting beauty previously unknown to you. Vice versa, you'll gain insight clearly indicating that he or she is NOT the one, and that it's time to end the relationship.

Tip 5. Do not look for perfection.

You are not perfect, so don't expect others to be. When your expectations are realistic, you will not be disappointed. Keep in mind that you also are severely flawed, and that only the grace of Jesus Christ made you whole. Do you really want a perfect "significant other"? I would be more scared that this "perfect" person would criticize everything that is NOT perfect about me. So don't go for that.

We should constantly remind ourselves that God loved us even with all our flaws, and be thankful. The only area we should strive to find perfection is in Christ-like "love," as Jesus spoke of in Matthew 5:48.

Tip 4. Seek godly advice from godly people.

Surround yourself with wise friends and spiritual leaders who genuinely care for you, and seek their advice. Connect with your church. Finding a life-long partner is the most important life decision you'll make. Do not let emotion cloud your thinking.

Tip 3. Pray sincerely and specifically.

God is interested in you and your marriage. Put it in God's hands, and let God guide you. Many people struggle in dating — how can you possibly discern your feelings, balance priorities and reject temptation without asking the Holy Spirit for help, wisdom and strength? Without prayer, don't expect dating to end well.

Tip 2. Strive to be as faithful a Christian as you want your partner to be.

Don't just dream up your ideal "good Christian woman" or "good Christian man." Strive to be a faithful Christian first. Make a list of how to you need to grow and change so you can be a good spouse first. Seek to become deeper in faith.

And finally ... the NUMBER ONE tip which is actually a rule that must never be compromised.

Tip 1. "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength." (Mark 12:30)

As theologian John Piper advised, the first rule in dating is the first rule in all of life. "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength." (Mark 12:30)

"You will not truly love anyone else if you do not love God first and most. And no one will truly love you if they do not love God more than they love you."