The words "dating" or "courting" do not appear in the Bible, yet God's Word does have wisdom to offer about these relationships before marriage.
The ultimate goal of biblical dating is to discover and confirm a marriage partner. A Christian who dates to get to know someone with marriage in mind should be asking several questions.
First, is this person a Christian (John 3:3–8)? The Bible tells us not to enter into partnerships with those who are not fellow believers (2 Corinthians 6:14–15). A lifelong spouse is the ultimate partner.
Also, does this person desire to grow in their relationship with Jesus, becoming more like Him (Philippians 2:1–11; Romans 12:1–2; John 15:1-17)? Does this person put their relationship with God as a priority over all others, even you (Matthew 10:37)? Are they removing idols from their life (Galatians 5:20; Colossians 3:5)?
Does the person you want to date have a commitment to abstain from sex until marriage (1 Corinthians 6:9, 18; 2 Timothy 2:22)? Though many in society engage in so-called casual sex or even serial monogamy in committed dating, there is no place in biblical dating or courtship for sex. Christians are called to sexual purity in both actions and thought. In a committed marriage between husband and wife, sex is a beautiful and meaningful gift. Save this gift for marriage.
Also ask yourself some questions. Does this person help or hinder your walk with Christ? Are you making sure not to idolize this person or your relationship, or even the goal of marriage? Are you able to remain sexually pure with this person? Do you feel comfortable to be yourself with this person? Are you being honest in the relationship? Are you feeling challenged to grow in this relationship?
Dating is a time when people get to know one another on a deeper level. We discover things about each other's personality, likes and dislikes, hopes and dreams by spending time together. A good marriage partner will exhibit character traits of God such as generosity, forgiveness, grace, mercy, love, selflessness, patience, and righteousness. They will also help us to exhibit these traits.
God designed marriage between one man and one woman to become one, to be married for a lifetime, and to honor Him (Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:5). Spouses should encourage one another in their walks with the Lord and help each other become more godly. A good marriage involves both spouses giving selflessly of their love to one another. It is about knowing and being known, being authentic with one another and partnering in life together with God's love. A dating relationship is one in which you get to know the other person and determine if marriage would be a good fit.
Consider your motives for dating and compare them to what God desires for relationships and marriage. Seek His wisdom (James 1:5) and proceed with purity and joy. Whether a dating relationship turns into a marriage or not, it is an opportunity to get to know another person, grow in your relationship with Christ, and to exhibit God's love.
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