Is it OK to date a non-Christian?
Think before you date: Is your relationship with God your first priority?
Although you won’t find any specific verses about dating in the Bible, you will find guidelines for life and relationships. Here are some things to think about before jumping into a relationship...
The purpose of dating
For a lot of people these days, dating is just for fun. There isn’t necessarily an end goal.
Marriage may or may not be in the picture. Dating is just whatever feels good in the moment, to fill in loneliness or status.
Dating as a Christian, however, looks completely different. If you’re considering dating someone it should be because you see yourself potentially marrying that person in the future.
Marriage is the most intimate and sacred earthly relationship two people can have with each other (see Genesis 2:24-25). It’s a pretty big deal. If you don’t see a future with someone, don’t go spending your time and emotions on them. You’ll both end up hurt.
When you date someone, you’re unavoidably putting yourself in an emotionally intimate setting with the other person. Sooner or later, you’ll face the temptation of physical intimacy.
Paul tells Timothy…
“Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” (2 Timothy 2:22) He doesn’t say this in the context of a relationship, but it does apply to our everyday life.
Paul also teaches us how to treat others…
“Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity.” (1 Timothy 5:1-2) Until marriage, this applies to you and your partner.
Now, you’ll face temptation whether or not you’re dating a Christian, but a non-Christian isn’t likely to share your views on purity. Temptation is difficult to fight, especially if you’re the only one fighting it.
Being on the same page
As a Christian, we find our identity in Christ. We strive to live the way Jesus did. Your partner won’t understand the most important part of your identity if he or she doesn’t love Jesus.
From the things we do, to the things we think and say, we need to acknowledge the Lord in everything (Proverbs 3:6).
Being a Christian isn’t just a title or a belief; it’s a way of life. What we believe influences every aspect of our lives—our actions, reactions, worldviews, decisions, and our priorities. If you don’t share those core values with your partner, it’s going to be really difficult to understand each other.
Let’s say your boyfriend isn’t a Christian and he can’t understand why you want to put God before him, or why you make your decisions based on putting God first. In this case, you’ll have to decide: Do you put God or your boyfriend at the centre of your life?
It’s one or the other; either way, one of them will be pushed aside. Unless your partner decides to become a Christian (which is possible, but shouldn’t be expected), you’ll be forced to choose who is the number one priority in your life. You should never compromise your core values to please someone else.
However, if your boyfriend is truly a follower of Jesus, not only will he understand that your relationship with God should always come first (Matthew 22:37), but he should also encourage you to deepen your relationship with God.
You’ll also share the same goal of working towards becoming more and more like Jesus, and you can take that journey together. You’ll be on the same wavelength because you have the same foundation in Christ.
Your relationship with God is more important
Dating isn’t a game. As your relationship progresses, your lives will become more intertwined, and you’ll become more emotionally attached.
You’ll make more decisions together and if you don’t share the same values, you’ll face more conflict. Both you and your partner should always encourage one another to live a Christ-centered life, and to make God-honouring decisions.
Don’t rush into anything, “but seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33)