Questions like these can be difficult to address because they always have so many emotions tied to them. Although the Bible does not directly address the subject of dating, it does talk quite a bit about marriage. And isn’t marriage the ultimate goal of dating? Even if you are only casually dating, it is always a good idea to consider where things may end up if you continue your relationship. There are a number of principles in the Bible that are worth taking the time to think through before you enter into a dating relationship as well as when you are looking toward marriage. We would like to point out some things to consider and good verses to read, because choosing the person you will marry and live with for the rest of your life is a very big decision!
In 2 Corinthians 6:14 it says, “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?” Although this verse applies to any close relationship, whether friendships, business partners, or something similar, it is most often applied to a marriage relationship because that is the closest bond two people can have on this earth. The Bible does not say that you can’t be friends, co-workers, or teammates with non-believers, but it advises that those very closest relationships in your life should be with other believers. This does not forbid you from marrying a non-Christian, but it definitely advises against it.
So, why would the Bible suggest that you only marry (or date) a Christian?
First, there is the issue of foundational beliefs. If you believe in the truth of the Gospel and that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6) then everything you do, believe, and treasure revolves around that truth. You have been saved by grace, and your life reflects that conviction. Your whole worldview is shaped around the fact that you believe there is a God, that this God created you, and that He saved you from your sins and you now walk in the freedom of knowing and loving Him. Does the person you are dating have this conviction, confidence, and worldview? If not, it could cause conflict in your relationship if you disagree on these foundational beliefs.
Second, from a very practical point of view, if you are a follower of Christ and Jesus Christ is Lord of your life, your relationship with Him should have an influence on your daily activities. If spending time praying, reading your Bible, and going to church are normal parts of your life, it makes sense to marry someone who also makes those things a priority. Even if you seem to have everything else in common, not having a shared faith-base means you are starting your relationship from two different places.
If you are convinced that the gospel is true, it makes sense to do mission work, donate money to ministries, and spend time serving at church. If someone does not believe the gospel is true, those things seem like a waste of time and resources. Acts 2:42-47 provides a really cool picture of how the early church functioned like a family, and the book of Acts is full of stories about how the actions of the Christians seemed odd to those they encountered.
Third, you also need to consider the character and morals of the person you are dating. “Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company ruins good morals’” (1 Corinthians 15:33).
Even if the person you are dating is a Christian, it is important to ask yourself what kind of person they are and what type of character or morals they display. Do they encourage you and draw you closer to Jesus Christ, or do they do things that are against what God wants us to do? The character of the people you spend the most time with will invariably impact your own actions and character. Proverbs 13:20 says, “Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.”
This does not mean that all Christians will be moral and all non-Christians immoral. However, if a guy or girl that you are dating is truly following Jesus, there should be evidence of spiritual fruit in their life.
Finally, Romans 12:12 gives some solid advice that can be applied to any single person navigating today’s dating scene: “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Hopefully the term “affliction” isn’t too applicable in your dating life, but remember to be hopeful and faithful in prayer. Be assured that God wants what is best for you. Ask Him for wisdom and guidance in your situation, and listen to His leading.