Is It Okay to Date Just for Fun?

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The Bible doesn't specifically condemn dating. However the wisdom of dating just for fun is more questionable.

Hey, girls! We've been talking about guys and romance for years here on the blog. In fact, we are revisiting some of our most read posts this month as part of our attempt to give you some great advice on the subject of romance. Even if you've read these posts before, we encourage you to check them out again as a refresher on God's plan for your love life.

One of you recently asked, "Is it okay to date just for fun?" In a word—yes. The Bible doesn't specifically condemn dating. That being said, I think there is a more important question we should be asking. Is it wise to date just for fun? In two words—probably not.

Since I am an old married type, I understand that you might not be overly interested in my take on this issue. (In case you are interested, here is my personal dating testimony. I dated A LOT of guys. The result was a lot of unnecessary turmoil and heartbreak. Then I met and married my man and suddenly wished I had saved every moment of romance for him. He was so worth the wait!) Since I realize this is a difficult area to hear truth, I've come armed with God's Word! Here are several scriptural points to consider when choosing whether or not to date for fun. 

1. Timing is everything.

  • Song of Solomon 2:7 says, "Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you by the gazelles and by the does of the field: Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires."
  • Song of Solomon 3:5 says, "Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you by the gazelles and by the does of the field: Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires." 
  • Song of Solomon 8:4 says, "Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you: Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires."

What's up with the repetition? I think Solomon really wanted to make his point. 

Romantic love is a great thing. God created romantic love, but if the timing is off, romance can lead to a heap of trouble. Since we're asking tough questions here, I have to wonder, is it wise to fall in love long before you are ready for marriage? Wouldn't it be better to wait for a season of life that would allow you to marry the one you've fallen head over heels for?

2. Broken hearts stink!

Proverbs 4:23 says, "Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it."

Guarding our hearts isn't easy. It becomes nearly impossible in the context of a dating relationship. You can say you're just dating for fun all day long, but the truth is you will have little control over the feelings of your heart once you're in a relationship. The best way to guard yourself against a broken heart is to stay away from romantic entanglements until they can take you toward marriage instead of a breakup.

3. God's purity standards are high.

God asks us to save sex for the marriage bed (Hebrews 13:4). He also tells us to refrain from lustful thoughts (Matthew 5:28). These standards are easy to agree to when you're at a True Love Waits rally with your youth group or shopping for purity rings with your mom, but they are tough to stick to when your heart is fully engaged in a romantic relationship. Just ask the hundreds of Christian girls who have lamented over mistakes in this area through this site. These aren't girls who don't love Jesus. They aren't girls who were wishy-washy in their stand for purity. They are girls who got caught up in a romantic relationship too soon. The best way to guard your purity in the years before you are able to marry is to avoid romantic relationships all together. 

4. Parents rule.

Colossians 3:20 says, "Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord."

I don't know many Christian parents who are saying to their kiddos, "Go on, date just for fun!" Most of them are setting some fairly strict parameters on if and when they will allow their children to date. I don't think they are doing this to torture you. It seems likely to me that they've already realized points 1-3. God's Word asks us to obey our parents in all things. That means stick to whatever boundaries they have set for you when it comes to dating. 

Personally, my husband and I have decided to encourage our kiddos not to date at all in high school. My hubby is going to rebuild an old car with each kid. If they don't date until after high school, they get to keep the car. Our motivation is not to appear like a living version of the Price is Right. We simply want to do everything we can to help them guard their own hearts. If you are struggling in this area, ask your parents to help you come up with some additional motivation. You may not get a car out of the deal, but I bet you and your parents can come up with a creative way to help you stay on track.

I've been involved in student ministry for more than a decade. In all that time, I've seen more tears shed over this issue than any other issue. I wish I could line up and show you the girls who have sat in my living room and wished they had never started dating until they were ready for marriage. The line would be too long and the tears would be too many. But I think I know what they'd each tell you—"Wait!" It's worth it.

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