When it comes to Christian relationships, or Biblical courtship, the mindset, motives and methods of the relationship can be very different than modern relationships. First and foremost, a Biblically-based relationship is about a relationship with Jesus Christ.
The Bible says “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:2-3). From this, we know that relationships take work, but they are also rooted in love.
The Bible also says “Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body” (1 Corinthians 6:18).
From this, we know that sexual immorality is a sin, and if we want to build up secure relationships that reflect Christ, we shouldn’t sin against our bodies, or the bodies of another. How does the “Christian” way of dating compare to other modern methods of dating? What does it really look like in practice?
Here are 4 ways Christian relationships look different…
1. The Motive Is Different
There are differences when it comes to biblical courtship and modern dating, particularly related to motive.
When it comes to Biblical courtship, the true motive is finding a spouse. The reason you are dating a particular man or woman is because you believe this relationship will lead to marriage.
When it comes to modern dating, often, marriage isn’t the true goal, or dating can occur without marriage in mind.
It is socially acceptable to date “just for fun” and do so casually; alongside developing emotional and physical relationships with people you have no intention of marrying. We do not see examples of recreational dating throughout the Bible because this is not a form of Biblical dating.
2. The Mindset is Different
Another difference when it comes to Biblical courtship and modern dating is related to mindset.
The mindset couples have when it comes to the relationship can be very different. Many modern relationships take an “all about me” approach. The relationship centers around the needs of the person, as opposed to the needs of the couple.
There is fear when it comes to commitment because people struggle with knowing if the one they are dating is “the one”. When it comes to Biblical courtship, the relationship mindset is centered around Christ.
These relationships are not built around selfish desires, but around finding a godly man or woman as defined by God’s Word. Yes, there is a desire for love and attraction, but also a desire that they can love
3. The Conversations Are Different
In Biblically-based relationships, the topics, communication and frequency of conversations are all based on the desire to become more deeply acquainted with each other in the hopes of being bound with the other person in marriage.
These conversations don’t defraud, but uplift. Modern relationships can lack this, because the person you are pursuing may or may not be fully committed to the idea of being fully related to you and in turn, will not work towards because there is no desire to be deeply acquainted with that person.
When it comes to casual/recreational dating, there is no need to really get to know the person because they aren’t the one.
4. The Methods Are Different
The methods when it comes to Biblical courtship and modern dating can be very different.
In Biblical courtship, commitment comes before intimacy. In modern relationship, intimacy comes before commitment.
In modern relationships, often couples will be physically and emotionally intimate before they determine if marriage makes sense. This is not the same for biblically-based relationships.
In these, commitment comes before intimacy. They keep the Biblical model from 1 Timothy 5:1-2 in mind, “treating younger women as sisters with absolutely purity.” Purity of mind, body, and spirit as it relates to the person they are with.