As moms, the issue of dating is one of those areas where we want to have all the answers. We’d love to have a black and white biblical list of rules that we can hand our daughters and tell them to follow, but other than a few books with “Christian philosophies” that are there for us to consider, the bottom line is that there are no hard and fast Biblical rules.
When my daughter was growing up, there were a number of popular “Christian” books available to help us form our philosophy of dating. We read a few of them and decided what we thought was important. But ultimately, we found that what was most important was that we give room for God to work in our daughter as an individual, giving her an opportunity to learn, grow, and think for herself (with our guidance of course.).
With some trial and error along the way, here are some things we learned:
4 Things Not To Do:
Don’t react against our cultural extremes by going to another extreme. Just because our culture may not have boundaries in dating doesn’t mean the concept is wrong. Of course, we must separate from any worldview that is not consistent with God’s heart. (2 Peter 2: 20)
Don’t idealize the practices of another era (i.e. the Victorian era) or culture and decide that it is “God’s way” to do things.
Don’t let this issue be one that causes division among believers. I’ve known moms that proudly announce “MY kids DON’T date!” and with that announcement they put up walls between themselves and another mom whose kids do date, or whose kids may be struggling in this particular area.
Glean what you can from books written about the topic of dating, but don’t hold them up as the gospel. Since there is so little in scripture written about the subject, we must remember that these suggestions about how one might date in a God honoring way.
5 Things To Do:
Pray for wisdom. The fact that the rules of dating are not found in scripture give us as moms another opportunity to pray for God to guide us in the lives of our daughters, and even consider the fact that they are individuals and that this might even look a bit different from one child to the next. If you need help knowing what to pray for your children, Pray the Word Journal can help.
Teach them. We can look at biblical principles and do our best to teach them to our daughters so they can apply them to all their relationships, including those of the opposite sex in whom they may find themselves attracted to.
Start the conversation early. Since there is no “biblical” or magical age for when dating should begin, we might want to view it in light of maturity rather than age. But the discussion can start long before our daughters are anywhere near the time when dating might begin. We all know that being attracted to the opposite sex begins very early in life. It is a normal, God given desire and attraction. We should never make them feel guilty for having a normal attraction, but begin the discussion about how to handle that desire.
Come up with some goals. You can begin by sharing that the ultimate goal in dating is to meet a potential marriage partner. But it can also provide a way for us to learn how to interact with the opposite sex in a God honoring way.
Try not to dictate. We need to remember that our children are individuals who will be attracted to, and want to spend time with, the opposite sex as they get older. We need to take the time to engage our daughters in an ongoing conversation about this, drawing them out so we cna hear their thoughts and heart, and not just dictate to them how they should think.
SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT
Read the Word, pray, seek God’s direction, pray for your daughter, and remember that He is more than able to guide and do a miraculous work in your precious daughter’s life…even in the area of dating!
SOMETHING TO PRAY
Father, thank You for the gift of my daughter. Lead us as we care for her and help us to have wisdom as we lead her throughout her life. In Jesus’ Name, amen.
James 1:5 “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.”
Psalm 32:8 “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.”
Proverbs 3: 5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”
Psalm 25:9 “He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way.”