It’s hard to date well. Going out on a date is easy enough. But making wise choices about who you date and sustaining healthy dating relationships can be tough. And nobody helps make it any easier, do they? Everybody wants and expects you to date. But nobody actually tells you how to date. So while dating is exciting, it’s also confusing and sometimes heartbreaking.
If you are single, here are three practices you can follow to date well. If you are a parent, here are three practices you can teach your kids to follow so they know how to date well:
Practice #1: Set High Standards
Many people don’t date well because they don’t set standards. They just go out with anyone who asks them! Ask yourself, “What type of guy/girl will I date?” “What type of guy/girl will I not date?” “What type of guy/girl do I want to be with?” “What type of guy/girl is best for me?” And after you set standards, say “no” to anyone who isn’t up to them. Remember, it’s better to set them too high than to set them too low or not at all.
Here are two standards someone should meet before you date them:
- Date guys/girls who love Jesus. This doesn’t mean they just call themselves a Christian. It means they go to church, read the Bible, pray, hang out with other Christians, and prove it by how they treat others.
- Date guys/girls who treat you well. Don’t date jerks! Stay away from people who just want to use or hurt you. Girls, date guys who are caring and considerate. Guys, date girls who are respectful and modest.
Practice #2: Set Holy Boundaries
Many people don’t date well because they don’t set boundaries. God wants you to only have sex with your spouse. Until then, He wants you to stay pure and not be sexual with anyone. This means you have to set boundaries that help you avoid tempting situations. It also means you only date guys/girls who are committed to being pure and respect your boundaries.
Here are two boundaries someone should agree to respect before you date them:
- Don’t be alone. Avoid being alone together. Go out on a date with a group of friends or to a public place. When you’re in the car, park under a street light or in your driveway. Don’t linger where other people can’t see you.
- Don’t be sexual. Holding hands, hugging, kissing, and cuddling are okay. Just don’t let your hands or lips wander. Keep them above the clothes, above the waist, and off the breasts. Don’t do anything that ends in “sex” or “job.”
Practice #3: Don’t Be Afraid to Break Up
Many people don’t date well because they are afraid to break up. You aren’t committed to someone until you marry them. But if you are just dating them (or even engaged to them), it’s okay to call it off! Only stay with someone if they make you a happier and better person. Don’t continue in a relationship that won’t make it in the long run. Move on and date someone else.
Here are four reasons to break up with someone:
- If they fail your standards. Maybe you think they meet your standards but as it turns out they don’t love Jesus or treat you well.
- If they violate your boundaries. Maybe they agree to respect your boundaries but as it turns out they try to get you alone and be sexual with you.
- If it isn’t working. Maybe they are too needy, too demanding, or too jealous. Maybe you don’t like dating them as much as being their friend.
- If you lie about them. You feel the need to be dishonest about your relationship and start lying about it to your parents, pastor, or friends.