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Love

6 Dating and Courting Tips for Teens

Every week, I go through the “Girl Talk” section of Project Inspired and look for those seeking advice and counsel. I want to help answer some questions you may have about living out your Christian life and walk of faith! We want PI to be a safe place where you can ask questions. 

On the Girl Talk forum, a girl asked about how to approach courtship and dating. Here are some tips and pieces of advice pertaining to the subject.

Different people have unique terms for “dating,” but the most common one in the Christian world is “courtship” or “courting.” It is an intentional way of dating in a Biblical manner. It is proper to court with purpose, not date without intention. Rather than just speed dating or dating with no accountability, courtship is in the regard of those who desire marriage or a long-term commitment. Courting is dating with boundaries and aligning with God’s Word with the vision of marriage.

Boundless.org, the singles website from Focus on the Family Radio, states that “Courtship ordinarily begins when a single man approaches a single woman by going through the woman’s father, and then conducts his relationship with the woman under the authority of her father, family or church, whichever is most appropriate. Courtship always has marriage as its direct goal.”

 

Evaluate Your Relationship

First things first, ladies, we need to make sure you are of age to date and/or court (Biblically date). The initial question you want to ask yourself is: “Is this person a true believer and follower of Christ? Does he represent a godly man who is pursuing the Kingdom? Does he act out what he professes to believe?” Many people “claim” Christianity as if it is a nationality or something they were born into, but it is a lifestyle, and who you worship reflects what you believe. If you are in the faith, the fruit will show. This doesn’t mean people don’t have ups and downs, but for the majority of the person’s recent time in their life, you want to evaluate and ask yourself, “Is this person a Christian, a follower of Jesus and a genuine worshipper of God?”

The Holy Spirit will guide you. If you are a believer and want to be in an intentional relationship with a man of God, then you will want to be with someone who is on the same path spiritually (not holding you back, or just simply attending church). If he attends, great, but you don’t want to have to keep pulling him up. There are different opinions on this, because some can be won over by the actions of the woman, but just keep this in mind, especially if you tend to be a strong believer in the Lord.

 

Honor, Respect, Purity

Next, I would ask, “Does he respect me and honor me? Does he treat me with righteous, moral boundaries physically?” Make sure you set boundaries in purity BEFORE you really commit to dating so he knows where you stand. If the guy who wants to date or court you is trying to pressure you sexually, then he is probably not the man of God for you. If you both have agreed on certain guidelines (this also can include kissing or not kissing), make sure you are both on the same page so that you don’t put yourself in a tempting or vulnerable situation. If he doesn’t respect you, then this is a clear sign that it could be a distraction, so be prayerful in how to handle the situation. The Bible is very clear about purity and not dabbling with sexual immorality (1 Corinthians 6:18). Set the boundary lines before you even consider dating or courting. If he is willing to wait for you and honor you in purity, this is a huge sign that he is a quality guy and also is a man of character.

 

Courting: Dating with Intention

Allow him to approach your dad or father figure. If you are still living at home, having your boyfriend or the guy whom you are being courted by or dating meet your father is a good idea. You should run him by your close family and friends to see what they think of the person you are interested in. Hopefully, they will give you positive feedback. It is good for a man to be one-on-one with your father and to be able to talk to him. Keep the relationship open and healthy and be praying for your family and friends as well. Definitely heed to wise counsel (Proverbs 1:15) because your family and friends care for you, but make sure the counsel aligns itself with the Bible, and if it is about superficial reasons or something opposing a good thing God has joined, then use caution. You cannot please everyone, and you have to ultimately go with what God has for you and what makes you happy.

 

Equally Yoked (Spiritually Same Level)

If the relationship is moving you away from God, then you may want to consider the relationship itself. Is this relationship worth risking your future—not only here, but in eternity? What vision, mission and goals do you have for your future? Do you desire to grow in the Lord and to expand God’s Kingdom? If there is a call of God on your life, you cannot be aloof. You need to be vigilant and prudent about whom you are dating and giving your heart to. The Bible says that Satan is on the prowl like a lion, and that he is also like a sneaky slithering snake (1 Peter 5:8). Remember, when you are deceived, you do not know until the wolf has taken off the mask and the true character is revealed. Many people “claim” Jesus and God, but are not the real thing. This is a called a counterfeit. Just like there is money that looks real, that doesn’t mean it is real. Spiritually we are to be discerning as well—if you are spirit-filled, anointed and read the Holy Word of God (the truth), you will be sharpened and will be able to spot a counterfeit. Like a well-trained banker, you will be able to see a counterfeit when it is presented to you.

 

Beware of Counterfeits

Precious, beloved girls, I pray the Lord Jesus protects you from all wolves in sheep’s clothing and counterfeits, as you are priceless, cherished and valued Princess Daughters of God! Don’t let a man fool you, Christian or not! Amen? (Matthew 7:15) I know people who have met “Christian” men who are just the same as the worldly guys and sometimes can be worse…so beware! Ask God to show you and help you. Don’t ignore the red flags or checks in your spirit. God gives us the Holy Spirit and our conscience for a REASON. It is to warn us. Let us heed the warning in faith, knowing God has the BEST in store for us, not the worst (Jeremiah 29:11),and also not be in fear and try to hold onto something that is a fake, an imposter or not the real deal, amen?

 

Examine the Fruit of the Relationship: Peace or Disorder?

Ultimately, God works and operates in order. He is the author and perfector of our faith and our life (Hebrews 12:2). God is NOT the author of confusion(1 Corinthians 14:33). If you feel confused, disillusioned, off balance, unclear, uncertain, foggy in your emotions, drained or not in peace, I have news for you: He is NOT the one.

 

6 Tips on Courtship and Dating

1. Pray; seek God first.

2. Does he respect you and honor you physically?

3. Be wise, guard your heart, set boundaries.

4. Get Godly advice and counsel, and be inviting.

5. Be alert—spot the real from counterfeits.

6. Recognize the fruit (peace or disorder).

 

I definitely encourage you to pray, to seek God’s Word and His counsel, and also remember the things of God will chase YOU down. You are royalty. Goodness and mercy follow YOU. You are too special and treasured to compromise. I love you, PI Girls—hope this helped!

 

[Sources: www.boundless.org/; www.joshharris.com]

 

Image: Thinkstock | iStock

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26 Comments

  1. Project Inspired

    Posted by whatsupwiththat on January 15, 2015 at 08:36

    i needed this today. i met this nice guy and we had a great first date and then he stopped talking to me after three days later. that last part really helped clear me up. pray for me please.

  2. eponastone

    Posted by eponastone on January 14, 2015 at 22:15

    Thank you so much for posting this. I am soon going to enter a relationship with a close friend of mine. He is a great guy and I really want to do this right, but haven’t been sure if I have been. Reading this and seeing that you have suggested all that I have been trying to do makes me feel good about where this is going to end up. I know his parents and he knows mine. He has told his parents about how both of us feel for each other and I told mine. He is setting up a date to talk to my dad and brother one on one and all of my friend and family approve of him. I have a good feeling on gods plan for this relationship And I am meeting him tomorrow to talk to him about where each our boundaries are 🙂

  3. kate9800

    Posted by kate9800 on October 10, 2014 at 15:18

    Girls, I need some help. I’ve been dating my boyfriend for 13 months. Is it too early to court? I have bigger plans than just dating him, I have plans for our future. Should I bring up the courting idea or just let things be? Thanks!

  4. aria

    Posted by aria on August 4, 2014 at 17:27

    I so needed to read this! It helped me understand a lot, thank you very much!

  5. Project Inspired

    Posted by Ellie Huerta on July 29, 2014 at 01:13

    This helped me so SO much!! Exactly what I needed!! Thank you so very much!! God is good, yes? He has used you greatly!! And he will still use you!! Set Your eyes on him!! Thank you and God Bless!! ❤

  6. SoZo

    Posted by SoZo on July 29, 2014 at 01:01

    Well said Christi 😀 You could not explain it better! xxx

  7. ChristinaGiven

    Posted by ChristinaGiven on July 16, 2014 at 16:24

    Glad this helped some of you-no one is perfect and God will show you the way! <3 Love you girls 🙂

  8. 01banana

    Posted by 01banana on July 7, 2014 at 17:19

    I agree with this post. Two thumbs up.

  9. Musician4Life

    Posted by Musician4Life on July 3, 2014 at 19:17

    I’m sorry but I don’t completely agree with all of this. Yes most of the boundaries are good (such as him being a professing Christian and having morals/standards) but nowadays Christians put so much weight on teen dating. First off I don’t agree with courting as a substitute for dating AT ALL but that’s a rant for another day. I’m not saying date anyone for any reason, but don’t overthink a relationship. If you like a guy and he meets your biggest standards (girls, NO guy will meet all of them!) then go for it and have fun! Don’t sit there wringing your hands going “oh no will anything come of our relationship?? Will we get married or is it headed downhill??” You’re a teenager, go date cute guys and have fun! It doesn’t all have to be so uniform.

  10. Mandi Pi

    Posted by Mandi Pi on July 3, 2014 at 16:37

    @cobbcats, hello! I’m 13 and no expert, I’m just going off my knowledge based on seeing/hearing from other people. 🙂

    As Christians, often when we are unsure or uneasy about something, it’s the Holy Spirit inside of us–because God IS alive, and His Spirit IS active in us! So reason #1 is that it’s God telling you that this is not a good guy for you, and He has better plans. Reason #2 is that, when you’re in love with someone, you will know that they are the one. You probably have a best friend, correct? Let me ask you a question: do you love your best friend? Are you uncertain about whether or not you love them? I’m guessing that you do love them, and of course you are certain about that. If you were uncertain, you could not really consider them your best friend, right? Now just translate that into a situation with a boy. If you’re not sure you love him, or at certain times you don’t love him, then he’s not the guy. Just remember that you’re looking for someone to spend the rest of your LIFE with–and would you want to spend the rest of your life in uncertainty?

    Hope this helped! Let me know if you want thoughts on anything else. 🙂

    • kath660

      Posted by kath660 on January 15, 2015 at 08:26

      Just want to clarify- by “love” you mean the active kind of love that wants the best for the other person. I know sometimes it is easy to get confused into thinking that if I don’t always want to hang out with another person and if sometimes I don’t feel happy feelings about them, that they’re not the one- but as an introvert, I never really feel like loving people the way they want to be loved. So girls, just remember to be discerning about your motives here 🙂

    • SoZo

      Posted by SoZo on July 29, 2014 at 00:54

      Hi Mandi Pi 🙂 Just wanted to say that you are such a wonderful little witness for God! I am sure he is very proud of you and even though I don’t know you the Christ connection we share makes me proud of you too 😀
      Keep going girl! May God watch over you and nurture you as long as you live xxx

    • cobbcats

      Posted by cobbcats on July 14, 2014 at 14:02

      Thank you so much!!! That did help a lot!!! 🙂

  11. cobbcats

    Posted by cobbcats on July 3, 2014 at 09:02

    I have a question for anyone who may be able to answer. Christi said that if you are confused, or unsure about the guy, then he is not the one for you. Why is that? Can someone please explain? Please and thank you!!! 🙂

  12. Grace_F

    Posted by Grace_F on July 2, 2014 at 13:11

    These articles always bother me because you are basically saying, “He has to have everything figured out.” But that’s unrealistic, and honestly not fair because us girls don’t have everything figured out either! My boyfriend and I have been dating for almost 2 years, he respects me both on an emotional and physical basis, and we don’t cross our boundaries. He has struggled with his faith for awhile because his family aren’t really fully practicing Catholics, he has had over 20 family members die in his life(he gets anxious in mass bc all he really remembers are funerals), and one of his best friends committed suicide. So he isn’t exactly sure in his faith; he’ll go to church with me sometimes and I pray for him every day. I have talked to my youth group leaders who have given me fantastic advice; they along with my parents and myself all think that ditching the relationship we have would be unreasonable. He is not pulling me away from God he is bringing me closer to Him, because I see all the amazing things that have come out of my prayers. It is great to be the one who brings Christ to another person, as long as you remember “God’s will be done” and you let Him guide you.

    • Project Inspired

      Posted by JesusFreak3278 on September 27, 2014 at 10:27

      I would have to say that I agree with you… AND with the article. No relationship or human being can be put into a neat little box (so to speak). However, this article does address a few major points about dating/courting. When I do start dating, I definitely want to make sure my parents approve of him and that he respects all of my boundaries (and vice versa). No, I probably won’t begin dating looking into marriage. But I won’t just date any random guy just for the heck of it, either. There is a fine line between the two. In my opinion, if you really like the guy and he likes you, and you both treat each other well and respect boundaries, its fine to date him. Ideally, he would be a Christian as well, but in some situations (like Grace_F’s) it might be ok. Maybe his faith will grow stronger through the relationship -only God knows. 🙂

  13. lotr1997

    Posted by lotr1997 on July 2, 2014 at 07:17

    This is perfect! Well said. I hope all young ladies will heed this advice so that they can have happy, God honoring relationships in their lives.

  14. JessicaAnne

    Posted by JessicaAnne on July 2, 2014 at 05:40

    This is so awesome!! Thank you so much for writing this, Christi. 🙂 It can be kind of a controversial issue, but you did really well explaining it! I don’t want to date just for fun, I want to save myself wholly for marriage and only court Godly men whom I might marry. Thank you for this great list!!

  15. Eurydice

    Posted by Eurydice on July 2, 2014 at 03:32

    That sounds horrible!

  16. Project Inspired

    Posted by pretty10 on July 2, 2014 at 00:22

    Christi I am not saved, I just grew up around the gospel message. I have said the prayer a lot but it has meant nothing. Now I feel like seeking him is simple but I find myself procrastinating or like it is never enough, or I’m not doing something right. I find myself addicted to sins in my life. I using this website called setting captives free. Do you have any advice on spending time with God consistently? Even when I spend time with God I find myself thinking about something else like my future husband or an improper movie or show. Also would you pray for me and if you see this comment.

    • Mandi Pi

      Posted by Mandi Pi on July 2, 2014 at 07:11

      Hi! I’m not Christi but I’ll reply anyway. 😉 It’s great you’re trying to get closer to God! Let me tell you:

      1. When you accept Jesus in your heart and choose to follow him, it’s not going to be some magical “AHA!” moment with angels singing and instruments playing. 🙂 The way you know is that you believe with all your heart that Jesus died on the cross for you and is the ONLY one who can save you from yourself, the ONLY one who loves you unconditionally, and the ONLY one worth following. If you have ever felt that, then congrats, you have the Holy Spirit in you. 🙂

      2. We ALL struggle with sins, I promise. The most Christ-like people struggle with addictions and sin. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak (Matthew 26:41). The difference as a Christian is that we know that every time we fall, we can go to God, ask for forgiveness, and try harder next time.

      3. Reading my Bible is my #1 struggle in my relationship with God–I think it’s one of the top struggles for a lot of Christians. But what people most frequently suggest is that you set aside a certain time (the same every day) to be with God. You can start with just 5 minutes even, and slowly progress from there–as long as you encounter God at all in your day.

      4. Before reading your Bible, pray that God will open your heart and mind to what He has to say, and that He will keep you focused on Him. And every time you get distracted, just focus your attention on Him again and keep going. The devil wants you to stop growing closer to God, but if you persevere, he will give up. 🙂

      5. I’m praying for you girly! I know that God is working in your life, even if you don’t see it yet. He WILL come through, I promise (actually, He promises 🙂 )! Just keep trusting Him and trying your best. God does not expect us to be perfect–all that He asks is that we do our best to serve Him. 🙂

      I hope this helped at all! I would LOVE for you to email me so we can talk (if you’re okay with that). If you ever have any questions or need advice/encouragement, my address is Amfin@earthlink.net. I love you! <3

  17. Project Inspired

    Posted by pretty10 on July 1, 2014 at 23:51

    Christi your awesome. I was wondering when you would give dating advice because all your other words of wisdom have been great.

  18. Mandi Pi

    Posted by Mandi Pi on July 1, 2014 at 16:07

    Wholeheartedly agree.