What is the Purpose of Dating?

In “Is Dating Biblical?” we discuss some of the unbiblical reasons that a person may be dating.  Despite the negative reasons that a person may be dating, there is a biblical purpose behind it.

The main purpose of dating is to find a person that we’re compatible with and to marry them.  This may seem too simple but the concept is lost on many people.

In a perfect world where everyone followed the will of God, compatibility wouldn’t be an issue.  Disagreements would be settled civilly and husbands and wives would love each other unconditionally.  It wouldn’t matter if spouses had different opinions because they would seek peace and compromise.

Unfortunately we live in a sinful world and differences in personality mean a lot about compatibility.  Because of this we need to know if the man or woman we’re dating is “the one.”

Dating should be used to get to know a person and to determine if you can spend your lifetime with that person.  If you already know that the answer is no because you disagree on religion or how to raise a family, end the relationship.  Dating a person who is not spouse material will lead down one of two roads.  It either prolongs a relationship that isn’t meant to be and causes a breakup to be more hurtful because of all the time spent together.  Or it will end in marriage because everyone expects it after a long enough period of time and you will overlook the problems that have existed in the relationship all along.  Those problems will become amplified in marriage.

Dating should be fun and relaxed but it has a serious side to it as well.  If you’re serious about finding the right person, ask that God would eliminate the wrong people for you.  The reason for this is simple.  Every person you meet and are interested in is going to have good qualities that you’ll focus on.  In the first weeks or months all you’ll notice is the good qualities and think that this is the perfect person for you.  And so will the next person and the next person.  If you ask God for wisdom, He will show you the qualities that you don’t want in a spouse and you will know a person isn’t for you.  Unfortunately it is much easier to spot those who aren’t meant for you than the one who is.  The sooner you stop dating a person who isn’t meant for you, the sooner you can move on to the right person for you however.

Is Dating Biblical?

In 1997 Joshua Harris released a book titled “I Kissed Dating Goodbye.”  The premise was not that dating was bad but that there were better options than the frustrations of dating.

Dating as we know it doesn’t appear in the Bible.  But neither do cars, computers, or televisions.  So to simply say that people didn’t date in the Bible doesn’t make the idea of dating unbiblical.

Dating is a very recent idea compared to the history of man.  It wasn’t until the automobile in the early 1900’s that dating became popular or even really possible.  This allowed people to get away from their parents and get to know a person on a different level than before.

So the question of whether dating was in the Bible doesn’t answer the question of whether dating is in line with biblical principles.  For that we have to ask the question, “Why is a person dating?”  The motives behind dating tell us whether or not dating is biblical.  In the end, dating can be both biblical and unbiblical.  In “What is the purpose of dating?” we will discuss the biblical reason a person should date.  Here we will discuss some unbiblical reasons for dating.

For many people, dating has become equated with sex.  People hang out at bars looking for one night stands and ultimately someone to hook up with for a while.  There is no sense of commitment and a person won’t enter that phase until later when they are ready to “settle down.”  Sex outside of marriage is outside of God’s plan and should be avoided.  If this is the reason for dating, it shouldn’t be considered biblical.

Another reason people date is for a sense of conquest.  For many this is a sexual thing as mentioned above.  However for others it is a sense of pride.  A person derives self worth by their ability to find someone to date.  And the more attractive a date they can find, the better they feel about themselves.  We aren’t to derive our self worth from who we date but from God.  We are created in the image of God and therefore it doesn’t matter if others find us attractive or not.

These reasons aside, there is a good reason for dating that can be backed up with biblical principles.  This is discussed in “What is the purpose of dating?