It’s hard to date well. Going out on a date is easy enough. But making wise choices about whom to date and sustaining a healthy dating relationship can be tough. And nobody makes it easier, do they? Everyone wants and expects you to date. But nobody actually tells you how. So while dating is exciting, it’s also confusing and sometimes heartbreaking.
Here are three practices you can follow to date well. If you’re a parent, here are three practices you can teach your kids:
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?” After you set standards, say “no” to anyone who doesn’t meet 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 someone who loves Jesus. This doesn’t mean they just call themselves a Christian. It means they put their faith into action by living in a way that honors Jesus.
- Date someone who treats 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 someone who is committed to being pure and respects 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: Break Up When Necessary
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’re just dating them (or even engaged), 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.
You should break up with someone when:
- They fail your standards. Maybe you thought they met your standards at first, but it turns out they don’t truly love Jesus or treat you well.
- They violate your boundaries. Maybe they agreed to respect your boundaries at first, but it turns out they try to get you alone and be sexual with you.
- It isn’t working. Maybe they’re too needy, demanding or jealous. Maybe you don’t like dating them as much as being their friend.
- You lie about them. You feel the need to be dishonest about your relationship and start lying to your parents, pastor, friends or yourself.
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