In many parts of the world, it’s Valentine’s Day today, a day to celebrate our love for the special people in our life. In this blog, we’ll be thinking about what the Bible says about love and dating as a Christian. Read on for a checklist for your relationship and some romantic Bible verses.
Historians aren’t sure where Valentine’s Day originated but one tale says that Emperor Claudius II had banned marriage because he thought married men made bad soldiers. Valentine felt this was unfair, so he broke the rules and arranged marriages in secret. When Claudius found out, Valentine was thrown in jail and sentenced to death. Whilst he was in prison, he fell in love with the jailer’s daughter and when he was taken to be killed on 14 February, he sent her a love letter signed “from your Valentine”. Whatever its exact origins, the popularity of Valentine’s Day has endured to this day.
Show your love
Today, we use Valentine’s Day to remind those dearest to us that we love them. Love makes the world go around and Jesus says in the Bible that people will know us by our love. John 13:34-35 reads, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another.”
So, let’s be known as people who love lavishly.
In this blog, we’re going to be looking at what the Bible says about love and about Christian dating? Are there any rules? How do we know we’re on the right track? Can we hear God’s guidance? How do we know when we’ve met “the one?”
Let’s dive right in with a checklist to help us to know if we’re on the right track. Before we do though, please take the advice in this blog in the context of God being a God of love. We are His beloved children. Our life is a path that we can walk with Him. Think of your life as a field that you are wandering through with God, rather than a tightrope where if you make the smallest deviation from the path, you will plunge to the ground. Read more about listening to God here.
1. You haven’t committed to anything yet
As Christians, dating is a time where we can get to know each other, with the goal being to decide whether we are right for each other and whether this could work towards marriage. There is nothing wrong with dating – how else can we know if it would work? If there’s someone that you are attracted to, then spend some time together. Remember that during the dating phase, you are free to break it off. You haven’t committed to anything. Dating as a Christian is a chance to test the waters to see if the relationship could work. It is far better to break off a relationship or even an engagement that you know isn’t right, than get married, knowing it’s the wrong decision. You will just end up pushing the problem further down the track.
2. Listen to your gut
What does your heart say? Do you feel safe, honored and loved by the person you are dating? If yes then great but if you have a niggling uncertainty in your heart, listen to it. Ask family and friends for advice. Trust your instincts.
3. Look at the facts
A new relationship can be all-consuming but sometimes we have to step back from the giddy feeling of being “in love” and just look at the facts. Are you good friends? Are you both heading in the same direction? Do you want the same things? Could you stay together for the rest of your lives? As Christians, we believe that marriage is for a lifetime. It is a huge decision and should definitely not be rushed into.
4. Pushed or pulled?
Does being together with your boyfriend or girlfriend draw you closer to God or push you further away? As Christians, we want our lifestyles to draw us near to God. Being in a relationship with someone who encourages you on your path makes a huge difference. It sets you up for a whole lifetime of having a best friend who is also seeking God in all of their decision-making. As Amos 3:3 says “Can two people walk together without agreeing on the direction?” (NLT). Better to agree on a direction and travel together. Living as a Christian means that we look to God and the Bible for guidance, which can be very different from the world’s ways. It can add stress to a relationship if you feel like you’re on a different page.
5. Honor God
I remember when I was dating the man who was later to become my husband, I was so worried about whether he was “the one” and how I would know for sure. God doesn’t want us to worry – He wants us to have faith that He has the best in store for us and that He will make it clear to us if it’s not right. Instead of worrying, ask God how you can honor Him in your relationship.
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:1-2.
6. Why wait?
My husband and I married at 21 and 22 because we wanted to move to France and start doing life together. A lot of our friends thought we were crazy but we knew it was the right decision. If you know you have met the one for you, then why wait?
So, at the end of the day, this checklist for dating as a Christian and finding a suitable life partner comes down to two things. Ask yourself these questions:
1) Do they love God?
2) Do they love me?
If you can answer yes to these two things, then you’re off to a good start. They are the fundamentals. After that, you just have to decide whether you would get along!
With all this in mind, here are three Bible verses celebrating love for the special man or woman in our life.
Bible verses about love
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
The classic verse about love. A great idea when reading this is to substitute your or your partner’s name for love. How well are you loving your partner? What areas could you improve in? You could also use this to point to any warning signs in your relationship.
“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
I love this image of the strength of Christian relationships. With the love of God in our relationship, we become stronger: a cord of three strands that can stand the test of time.
“Let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” 1 John 3:18
Show your love through your actions, not just your words. You can take the quiz here to check out your love language!
“How beautiful you are, my darling! Oh, how beautiful! Your eyes are doves.” Song of Solomon 1:15
The whole of Song of Solomon (or Songs of Songs as it is often called) is one beautiful love poem between two lovers. It reminds us to tell our partners what we love about them. We often forget and it can be so easy to take each other for granted.
We hope this blog has encouraged you to evaluate your relationship. It’s a good reminder to learn to lavish your love on that special person in your life and to reflect on the enduring power of love to protect, trust, hope and persevere.