Seven Questions to Ask Before Dating

When a student asks if a dating relationship is a good idea, my answer is always the same: “It depends.” I’ve seen some high school relationships handled extremely well, and they have proven to be mutually encouraging and beneficial. I have seen other high school relationships (OK, most of them) that end in heartache, regret, and ruined friendships. Much of this pain and regret can be avoided by taking the time to wisely and honestly answer a few questions on the front end.

“The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it.” 

–Proverbs 22:3

“Desire without knowledge is not good, and whoever makes haste with his feet misses his way.” 

–Proverbs 19:2
Here are seven questions to ask to determine if a relationship is a good idea.

1. AM I BEING LED BY THE LORD?

You may have talked to a best friend or sibling about it, but have you talked to God about it? James 1:5 states, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.”

God also leads us through the power of his Word (Psalm 119:105), the prompting of his Spirit (John 14:26), and the counsel of wise mentors (Proverbs 19:20).

The best advice I ever heard on discerning the will of God was this: “Walk with God, and He will never lead you out of his will.” God wants the very best for you; allow Him to lead you to it!

2. ARE MY PARENTS SUPPORTIVE OF THIS?

I know, I know. Your parents know nothing of this dating thing. It’s a brand new concept that’s only been around a few years. And besides, they want you to be miserable, right?! While some students actually think this, there comes a time for virtually every student (typically a couple of years into college) when you will realize the wisdom and value of parents. I have seen many, many students determined to be in relationships against their parents’ wishes, only to have major regret later.

If you are in high school, here is the bottom line: while the Bible does not specifically call you to be in a dating relationship in high school, the Bible does clearly command you to honor your parents.

“Honor your father and mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.”

–Exodus 20:12

If it is God’s will for you to ultimately be with someone, it will still be His will when you graduate high school. Honor your parents. It is not worth ruining your life-long relationship with your parents for the less-than-2% chance you may end up marrying your high school crush.

3. DO I KNOW WHY I AM DATING?

Here are two questions that will help you clarify this:

  • What is the purpose of dating? Serious question.
  • Why do I want to date this person? This answer will reveal a lot.

Write your answers to these questions on paper. Seeing it can bring good perspective. (You may also want to bring these answers to the conversation with your parents about dating.)

4. AM I FULFILLED APART FROM THE RELATIONSHIP?

God did not create Eve to complete Adam…or the other way around. He created them to help each other (Genesis 2:18). While God certainly does use us in each other’s lives, God never intended for others to be the primary object of our fulfillment. No guy or girl will ever be able to save you from loneliness, depression, or insecurity. God didn’t create them to do that. God created you to seek Him first (Matthew 6:33), and to be in a relationship with Him before you seek fulfillment in anyone else.

We can only experience fulfillment in a love relationship with Christ. In such a relationship, we begin to realize our true identity in Christ and can begin to embrace our unique design. As we do this, we can experience authentic relationships as a part of the body of Christ.

5. ARE WE GOING TO HELP EACH OTHER SEEK FULFILLMENT IN CHRIST?

Consider each aspect of this graphic. Is this person going to encourage you in these areas?

Here is some Scripture to consider:

2 Corinthians 6:14 – “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?” Is this person a follower of Christ who is growing in their love relationship with Him?

1 Corinthians 15:33 – “Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company ruins good morals.’” I’ve heard many students state that God could use them in a dating relationship to change someone. While God certainly can use us in the lives of others, this is a VERY unwise approach to dating.

2 Timothy 2:22 – “So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.” So much heartache could be avoided by rightly discerning the motives of the heart.

So, if you are convinced that the other person will encourage you in each of these areas, then will you honestly do the same?

6. AM I READY TO DATE?

You probably already know the answer to this. Based on your circumstances, maturity, season of life, spiritual condition, and other priorities, are you even ready to date? Many students feel pressure to date or date out of a fear of missing an opportunity. Don’t buy the lies. What is the wise thing to do?

7. IF THIS RELATIONSHIP DOES NOT LEAD TO MARRIAGE, HOW DO WE WANT IT TO END?

I can guarantee you that VERY FEW students ask this question before they get in relationships, but most wish they had after the relationship ends. The reality is that the overwhelming majority of high school relationships do not lead to marriage (over 98% is what I’ve read in a number of places). I know it sounds depressing to consider how a relationship would end before it even gets started, but such careful consideration could completely change how you view dating.

How many people do you know who were good friends before they started dating and then their friendship was completely ruined by how the relationship was handled? Yeah, me too.

Have a plan to avoid this as much as possible. Answer the tough questions. Here are four practical tips for dating: 

1. Build a great friendship before a serious relationship.

2. Seek wise counsel.

3. Set up clear boundaries and don’t ever cross those lines; you can never go back once you have. (And things can quickly go downhill from there.)

4. Keep Christ at the center of everything you do.

And always remember this:

“Trust in the Lord and do good…Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”

–Psalm 37:3-4

God wants the best for you…don’t be afraid to wait for it!!!

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