Dating is something that a lot of young Christian teens look forward to. But dating for Christians is a bit more complicated than for the rest of the world, because when we date we have to think not just of what’s fun and feels good, but what will bring glory to God!
One thing that doesn’t really bring glory to God is dating non-Christians. There are many reasons for this, so let’s take a look at why you should stick to dating those who share your faith.
If you date a non-Christian… you won’t share core values
Christians have some pretty important values that we keep at the centre of our lives. For example, we value loving others before ourselves pretty highly. That may be a value you share with your date, even if they aren’t a Christian. But there are some other values that may not be quite so shared.
For example, Christians value meeting together with other Christians regularly, for worship, learning and fellowship. Odds are, if you date a non-Christian they aren’t going to share this value, and that will be really hard on you. You’ll have to make hard choices – skip youth group to hang out with your date, or disappoint your date and go to youth group?? You can avoid these hard decisions by dating someone who values the same things you do.
If you date a non-Christian… fighting sexual temptation may be harder
For most of the world, once you’re old enough (and that age varies between countries and even individuals) dating someone means eventually sleeping with them.
So, if you date a non-Christian, most of them are going to expect you to have sex sooner or later. This can make it really hard for you to protect your purity and stay out of bed before marriage.
While you may be able to explain to your date that you’re not going to sleep with them, in moments of temptation you’ll probably be the only one fighting the urge to go further. You can lower the chance of going too far by dating someone who wants to protect their purity (and yours!) as much as you do.
If you date a non-Christian… you could have a hard marriage
If you date and then marry a non-Christian, there are three possibilities. One, you’ll spend your life trying to convince your spouse to become a Christian, and battling with them over things where your values differ. Two, your spouse will become Christian (though this is sadly rare). Three, you will give up your faith in order to keep the peace with your spouse.
Consider, also, the impact marrying a non-Christian may have on any children you have. When dad says one thing and mum says another, kids can feel confused, like they need to pick a side, or trapped. Also, how will you raise your kids? Will they go to Sunday school and youth group? Will you teach them to pray and read the Bible?
The world says, “just date! Don’t worry about marriage!” But Christians know that dating isn’t the end point, and relationships are meant to lead somewhere. If you do choose to date (even when you are many years away from feeling ready to get married), understanding the purpose of dating is still helpful. You should only date people you could marry.
But I really want to date!
This advice is all good when you’re not interested in someone. But what if you’ve got a crush on a non-Christian right now? What if they’re kind, attractive, and you think they won’t pull you away from your faith?
If you’re feeling this way, remind yourself of God’s goodness. God has a plan for your life, and you need to be patient. God’s plan is always the best plan. Dating a non-Christians will almost always lead to heartache.
My friend is dating a non-Christian… what can I do?
Many Christian teens see their friends making unwise choices and want to help. But tread carefully. It’s very important that you don’t make your friend feel judged, alienated or unwelcome at youth group or church because of their choice. Ask them, gently, why they are dating the person. Carefully raise some points from this article. But more importantly, keep in touch with them, make sure you encourage them to stay committed to meeting with other Christians, and pray for them. Maybe their boyfriend or girlfriend will become a Christian! But if not, and they break up, you want your friend to feel able to come straight back to church without feeling guilty or judged.
What if I dated a non-Christian and I wish I hadn’t?
Sometimes we let our hearts guide our decisions, instead of praying about them and asking for God’s help. But if we do make bad decisions, we can take comfort in the fact that God will always forgive us when we ask. It’s never too late to start living his way again.