Originally posted on trippatkinson.com. Week 2 from High School series “Status” at Sugar Hill Church.
When students ask if a dating relationship is a good idea, my answer is always the same. “It depends.” I’ve seen some high school relationships handled extremely well, and they have proved to be mutually encouraging and beneficial. I have seen other high school relationships (OK, most of them) that end in heartache, regret, and ruined friendships. Much of this pain and regret can be avoided by taking the time to wisely and honestly answer a few questions on the front end.
“Enthusiasm without knowledge is no good; haste makes mistakes.” – Proverbs 19:2
Here are seven questions to ask to determine if a relationship is a good idea…
7 QUESTIONS TO ASK BEFORE DATING…
1) AM I BEING LED BY THE LORD?
You may have talked to a best friend or sibling about it, but have you talked to God about it? James 1:5 states, “If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.”
The best advice I ever heard on discerning the will of God was this: “Walk with God, and he will never lead you out of his will.” God wants the very best for you…allow him to lead you to it!
2) ARE MY PARENTS SUPPORTIVE OF THIS?
I know, I know. Your parents know nothing of this dating thing. It’s a brand new concept that’s only been around a few years. And besides, they want you to be miserable, right?! While some students actually think this, there comes a time for virtually every student (typically a couple of years into college) when you will realize the wisdom and value of parents. I have seen many, many students determined to be in a relationship against their parents’ wishes, only to have major regret later.
If you are in high school, here is the bottom line: while the Bible does not specifically call you to be in a dating relationship in high school, the Bible does clearly command you to honor your parents.
“Honor your father and mother. Then you will live a long, full life in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” – Exodus 20:12
If it is God’s will for you to ultimately be with someone, it will still be his will when you graduate high school. Honor your parents. It is not worth ruining your life-long relationship with your parents for the less-than-2% chance you may end up marrying your high school crush.
3) DO I KNOW WHY I AM DATING?
There are two questions that will help you clarify this.
– What is the purpose of dating? Serious question.
– Why do I want to date this person? This answer will reveal a lot.
Write your answers to these questions on paper. Seeing it can bring good perspective. (You may also want to bring these answers to the conversation with you parents about dating.)
4) AM I FULFILLED APART FROM THE RELATIONSHIP?
God did not create Eve to complete Adam…or the other way around. He created them to help each other. (Genesis 2:18) While God certainly does use us in each other’s lives, God never intended for others to be the primary object of our fulfillment. No guy or girl will ever be able to save you from loneliness, depression, or insecurity. God didn’t create them to do that. God created you to seek him first (Matthew 6:33), and to be in a relationship with him before you seek fulfillment in anyone else.
We can only experience fulfillment in a love relationship with Christ. In such a relationship, we begin to realize our true identity in Christ, and can begin to embrace our unique design. As we do this, we can experience authentic relationships as a part of the body of Christ.
(For more info on how you can find fulfillment in Christ, check out this article: “From Lonely to Fulfilled…“)
5) ARE WE GOING TO HELP EACH OTHER SEEK FULFILLMENT IN CHRIST?
Consider each aspect of the graphic above. Is this person going to encourage you in these areas?
Here is some Scripture to consider:
2 Corinthians 6:14, “Don’t team up with those who are unbelievers. How can righteousness be a partner with wickedness? How can light live with darkness?” Is this person a follower of Christ who is growing in their love relationship with him?
1 Corinthians 15:33, “Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character.’” I’ve heard many students state that God could use them in a dating relationship to change someone. While God certainly can use us in the lives of others, this is a VERY unwise approach to dating.
2 Timothy 2:22, “Run from anything that stimulates youthful lusts. Instead, pursue righteous living, faithfulness, love, and peace. Enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts.” So much heartache could be avoided by rightly discerning the motives of the heart.
So if you are convinced that the other person will encourage you in each of these areas, then will you honestly do the same?
6) AM I READY TO DATE?
You probably already know the answer to this. Based on your circumstances, maturity, season of life, spiritual condition, and other priorities, are you even ready to date? Many students feel pressure to date or date out of a fear of missing an opportunity. Don’t buy the lies. What is the wise thing to do?
7) IF THIS RELATIONSHIP DOES NOT LEAD TO MARRIAGE, HOW DO WE WANT IT TO END?
I can guarantee you that VERY FEW students ask this question before they get in a relationship, but most wish they had after the relationship ends. The reality is the overwhelming majority of high school relationships do not lead to marriage (over 98% is what I’ve read a number of places). I know it sounds depressing to consider how a relationship would end before it even gets started, but such careful consideration could completely change how you view dating.
How many people do you know who were good friends before they started dating, and then their friendship was completely ruined by how the relationship was handled? Yeah, me too.
Have a plan to avoid this as much as possible. Answer the tough questions.
Here are 4 Practical Tips for Dating:
1. Build a great friendship before a serious relationship.
2. Seek wise counsel.
3. Set up clear boundaries and don’t ever cross those lines; you can never go back once you have. (And things can quickly go downhill from there.)
4. Keep Christ at the center of everything you do.
AND ALWAYS REMEMBER THIS:
Psalm 37:3-4, “Trust in the Lord and do good…Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires.”
God wants the best for you…don’t be afraid to wait for it!!
As you do, you can change your status from “looking” to “trusting.”