Christian dating is seemingly uncharted territory. Nobody talks about it, causing it to be filled with gray areas and confusion. Many questions can roar through your head: Does God want me to date him/her? Can we kiss? How much is too much? Is this love or lust?
In the world, dating is taken very lightly. Teens (even adults) get in relationships just because everyone is doing it. We hop on the bandwagon out of fear of being alone. As Christians, dating should be a whole different experience. We know that, if God calls us to marriage, then He has a special person in mind. Not just that single guy with facial hair, or the single girl with the high cheekbones. How do you know if God is nudging you to date someone or your if it is your own mind?
“Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company ruins good morals.’” 1 Corinthians 15:33
Bad company ruins good morals. In other words: You are who you surround yourself with, so choose carefully. This is not saying that you cannot be friends or socialize with unbelievers (see Mark 2:16-17), but in a relationship you must both have a heart for Jesus. This is crucial to a successful, God-made match.
“Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?” 2 Corinthians 6:14
This verse goes along with latter. The person God has for you will know Jesus as his/her personal savior, as the Word tells us that we should not date/marry people who do not follow God. Do not think it is okay to date someone to lead them to Christ. You should both be solid in your faith before choosing to date each other.
The process of dating should be handled with care. Yes, dating is vastly different from marriage, but we should treat it with the same exclusiveness and finality that marriage possesses. Meaning if you do not see a future with someone, do not date them. You don’t plant a seed if you have no intent of nurturing it to maturity. If, in your time dating, God shows you that he/she isn’t the one you can end it safely, unlike in marriage where it is final.
Many Christian teens in relationships find themselves faced with the question: how much is too much? This question is usually born out of talk of kissing. Unfortunately, there is no one verse that says “Romantic kissing is okay before marriage.” Or “Romantic kissing is a big no-no before marriage.” So what are we to do? A good place to start is to sit down with your boy/girlfriend and lay out boundaries. But again this raises the question of where exactly should Godly teens draw the line in terms of physical affection.
Kissing in itself is not a sin. Kissing is referenced many times in the bible (ex. Luke 7:45) and is not a sinful act. It does, however, have the potential to to become wrong when combined with inherently sinful things. Lust is one of these things.
“For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world.” 1 John 2:16
“[A] very strong sexual desire” is the definition of lust. “An intense feeling of deep affection” defines love. See the difference? Lust is not from God, love is. We need to analyze what is going on through our minds when we kiss. Is it love, or is it lust? Talk to God about this and let Him guide you. Pray with your partner and talk about your feelings.
“But each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.” James 1:14-15
Temptation is a very real point to consider when setting your boundaries. When we have Jesus, we have self control (2 Tim. 1:7). Then again, we are human. We slip. Temptation may be everywhere in our world, but there is no temptation we cannot overcome (1 Corinthians 10:13). Self control is something we need to take ahold of as Christians. We are not slaves to sin.
“That each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable,” 1 Thessalonians 4:4
Do you have control over your own body? Or does sin? You may be quick to answer yes, of course you can control yourself. In truth, your brain is still developing. It is scientifically proven that it is harder for a teenager to make quick decisions than an adult. “[Adolescent’s] actions are guided more by the emotional and reactive amygdala and less by the thoughtful, logical frontal cortex.” says the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) . Purity pledges can easily slip to the back of our minds while engaging in a make-out session. It can be oh-so tempting to do something you will likely regret. The bible tells us to abstain from sex until marriage (Hebrews 13:4) and to flee from temptation (2 Tim. 2:22), so why would we put ourselves in that situation?
Is kissing okay before marriage? There is still no solid answer. You will hear many different opinions but in truth it is between you, your partner, and God. Be armed with the abundant facts the bible holds. Take time to talk as a couple and create a list of physical boundaries and hold each other to it. Seeing that marriage and relationships are earthly (Matt. 22:30), you and your partner should be spiritual buddies first. Your main goal is to help one another with love and gentle instruction until our earthly lives have passed.
Be ever prayerful and always listen to that little voice inside you. It knows what’s right and what’s wrong. God bless.