Christian and dating advice

As I mentioned, he should not do this until he is "ready" to marry.If you're not ready to marry, you're not ready to date.

As I've written on this site before, "practice" and "recreation" are not good reasons to date.

Dating is for the purpose of finding a marriage partner.

If you're still in school or not out on your own, disregard this for the moment. Your intentions and your feelings, to the extent that you can discern them and it is appropriate for you to share them, should be clear.

But if you're out of college and do not feel specifically called to singleness for biblical reasons, why are you not looking to be married? Albert Mohler has talked about a growing culture in society and in our churches of perpetual boyhood; some psychologists call it the "Peter Pan syndrome." As I said, in the Bible, marriage and family are considered a natural stage of progression toward manhood. Part of your role even at this early stage is to protect the woman of your interest from unnecessary risk and vulnerability by providing a safe context in which she can respond.

True, these passages refer to marriage, but it is wise and right to set patterns that will serve you well in marriage, especially if one accepts the premise that the purpose of dating is to find a marriage partner.

What does this actually look like in a budding relationship between two people?

If you don't desire that sort of protection or aid, at least insist that the two of you begin to meet with others who know one or both of you well so that there will be consistent accountability and an outside perspective on how the relationship is going.

Humble openness to accountability is essential to a godly relationship. It's not exhaustive coverage, I realize, but this should at least get your relationship started on broad principles.

The idea was to protect the woman from potential hurt or awkwardness, to aid her in evaluating a man whom she might not have known well at the time of his initiation, and to help ensure that the relationship was carried out honorably.

Certainly, this norm spread beyond the believing community and became more of a cultural phenomenon, but it still gels well with attempts to carry out a godly dating relationship — especially among those believers who hold a complementarian view of biblical gender roles.

In this day and age, however, the hard fact is that many single Christian women have fathers who are not involved in their lives at all, are not believers, or are indifferent to or unaware of the notion of protecting and shepherding their daughters and potential suitors in a dating context.