“Every girl has to kiss a few frogs before she meets her prince, right?” With as many opinions on dating as there are variations on ice cream, we probably all need to have a DTR (Define the Relationship) on the topic. For some it’s a social convention and for others it’s something to “kiss goodbye.” So what’s a godly girl to do? Should we forgo filling our Friday nights? Or has God given us guidelines for dating relationships that can keep us somewhere between living in heartbreak and living in a convent? While the Bible doesn’t speak directly to dating, it has a lot to say about purity, guarding your heart and trusting God with your future. Setting healthy emotional and physical boundaries can be the difference between a break up and a break down!
Don’t Ditch the Girls: Keeping trusted friends in the loop lets others keep you accountable and gives you a clear-headed perspective from people that aren’t seeing him through rose-colored glasses. Your friends will often care enough to say what is in your best interest, even if it’s not necessarily what you want to hear. Prov. 27:6 says that the wounds from a friend are faithful while the kisses from an enemy are deceptive. Allow the godly friends in your life to hold you accountable.
Avoid Being Alone: Being alone in a house, apartment, or dorm room is usually unwise. Situations where there’s no chance that a roommate could walk by, where your time is unaccounted for and where you are alone behind closed doors sets you up for future temptation. Even if there’s nothing inappropriate happening, ask yourself, “Does this help me walk in purity?” Plus, you’re probably building a level of intimacy that doesn’t match where the relationship actually is, or “playing house.” Where emotional boundaries are unguarded, physical boundaries are more easily blurred. Romans 13:14 commands us to “make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.”
Mind the Time: Spending too much time together and settling into the pattern of being a couple is one of the quickest ways to train wreck a potentially good relationship. You and I also have to guard the “movie screen” of our inner world – if you’re thinking and talking about him with an intensity that doesn’t match the stage of the relationship, you’re more likely to act on your emotions and not the facts. Proverbs 19:2 says, “Desire without knowledge is not good, and whoever makes haste with his feet misses his way.” Guard your time and thoughts against moving too fast too soon.
“Be Careful Little Lips…” What you talk about has the potential to build an emotional connection too quickly. We girls are naturally relational – when we talk, we bond. As author Ben Young explains in the book The Ten Commandments of Dating, “There is a time to be open and vulnerable but it’s not when you are just getting to know someone.” Proverbs 17:27 says “Whoever restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding.” If you’re in a relationship, avoid discussing your future as a couple until God reveals His plan for you both. Side note: Praying together as a couple early on can seriously escalate a relationship. Spiritual connection intensifies the level of bonding you feel, sometimes even more than physical affection. Unless you’re moving toward marriage, stick to praying in groups or with another girl.
Read the signs: Between the starry eyes and the butterflies, you may be tempted to ignore some negative character patterns. Does he show self-control over his temper? Prov. 22:24 tells us not to be friends with a man given to anger. Does he isolate you from your family and friends and compromise your boundaries or does he protect your reputation? Prov. 22:1 says that a good name is even more valuable than money. Don’t ignore the red flags!
Proceed with Caution: Like my mom told me, “There are only so many progressions that a relationship can take. The faster you begin them, the faster you progress.” The longer you can delay even innocent PDA, the more you can build a secure friendship based on what really matters in a relationship…and not what makes you weak in the knees! Set clear physical boundaries that are specific to your relationship and what you both need to stay pure and above reproach. Ephesians 5:3 says, “But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints.” And 1 Corinthians 6:18 commands us to “flee immorality”. The challenge of pausing is much less difficult than the challenge of hitting the reverse button!
The most important principle for the Godly Girl’s Guide to Guys is to “Guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” (Prov. 4:23). Remember Whose you are – that you were bought with a price and are of incredible worth to Your Creator (I Cor. 6:20, 1 Peter 5:7). And there’s no need to kiss the frogs to find your prince – Your Prince of Peace has established your steps. (Prov. 16:9)