So, here are 10 dating tips from a Christian newlywed's perspective:
1. Make God the focus, and center, of your relationship.
There is a reason I made this the first one! "Whatever you do, whether by speech or action, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him," Colossians 3:17. Just like in life we are called to honor God in all we say and do, the same remains in our relationships. First off, seek God before entering into any relationship. You don't want to be with someone if He doesn't want you to! I prayed about every guy who asked me out, and every single time I felt like God was saying "no" except when I prayed about dating Bryan. Yes, that means that Bryan was my only boyfriend. In fact, he was my first date! That saved me so much heartbreak and it meant that my entire heart could be given to Bryan instead of leaving little pieces of it with past lovers. I actually prayed frequently that God would only let me have 1 boyfriend to save my heart. He was faithful!
Be Christlike to the person you are dating! Be kind, loving, patient, giving, and selfless. If your boyfriend/girlfriend needs help with something then be the first to volunteer. Serve each other! Go to church together. Read the Bible together.
Also remember to honor God with your bodies. "For you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body," 1 Corinthians 6:20. Remember that if you don't marry your current boyfriend/girlfriend then someone else probably will, and the same goes for you. You don't want to hurt yourself or the person you're dating by being too physical with them. If you are too physical in your dating relationship it is guaranteed to hurt you and your spouse in the future. You want all of your heart to be saved for your spouse, so don't fully give it away before you're married. General rule of thumb: while you are dating if you wouldn't do something with your date if a ton of people were watching - including your parents - then don't do it! Talk about physical boundaries with each other and don't be afraid to put your foot down if they are starting to be crossed.
2. Pray together!
Pray with each other during each date you go on. I recommend it at the beginning of each date, as it helps you focus on God instead of yourselves and starts things out right. Ask God to help keep your focus on Him, ask God if you two are supposed to get married one day, pray about the struggles each of you are going through, pray for friends and family. Pray for each other! I prayed for Bryan every night and during my quiet time and I can honestly say it made a difference.
3. Try out each others interests and hobbies.
Nothing says "I love you" more than trying something you're not any good at just so you can try to get to know your boyfriend or girlfriend better. Plus you'll probably enjoy it and will learn more about the other person! Here's a good example: The Kentucky Wildcats. I had never watched a whole basketball game before I met Bryan: The Kentucky Wildcat's biggest fan. He almost never missed a game and in 75% of the pictures I've seen of him as a child he is wearing a Kentucky wildcats jersey. All I knew about basketball was that there were 2 teams and the objective was to put the ball through the hoop. Yeah, I was pretty helpless. Even though I was pretty sure I wouldn't enjoy it, I started watching many Wildcats games with Bryan and his family. He taught me the rules of the game and what all of the lines on the court meant and how to tell if a player was good or not. I actually started to get into it! Once you learned about each player you kind of felt connected to them and then genuinely wanted them to do well and to win. I also learned a lot about Bryan through the process: that he is a good teacher, that sportsmanship is important to him, and that he is patient (I needed the rules explained to me many, many times). So find out what your boyfriend/girlfriend enjoys and try it out!
4. Remember that the person you are dating isn't perfect - and neither are you.
Sometimes you may think you're with the wrong person, but usually it's just that you're with a human. Humans make mistakes. A lot. And guess what? You're human too! So be quick to forgive and to apologize. Chances are the other person didn't even know they offended you and wouldn't have said or done whatever they did had they known it would hurt you. It's also probably the same way when your girlfriend/boyfriend gets upset with you.
5. It isn't all about you!
Okay, this one drives me crazy. I can't count how many times I've heard girls complain about how their current boyfriend (which changes every couple of weeks, by the way) isn't kind or loving because he doesn't take them out all the time or constantly buy them gifts or doesn't respond to texts or calls immediately. Maybe your boyfriend has limited money and can't afford to take you to extravagant restaurants and movies or buy you gifts all of the time. Maybe he gets busy sometimes or is a person who isn' glued to his phone (which is a good thing). The bottom line is that for a relationship to work you are going to have to serve the other person, and to let them do what they want sometimes. Let them choose where to go on a dinner date or what movie to watch. Realize that dating isn't all about your happiness and that there are 2 opinions to consider in your relationship. Remember that you aren't married yet and shouldn't expect everything from each other!
6. Compliment each other daily
This one should be self explanatory but still needs to be said. A lot of times, usually after 2 people have dated for a little while, they forget to compliment each other. Remind the person you're dating why you fell in love with them. Compliment their character, good deeds they do, how they handled a situation, how they look (and be specific), how good they are at something. It isn't a hard thing to do and it will improve your relationship.
7. Hang out with friends together
Doing this helps you get to know the person you are dating better and helps you realize there are other people in the world. I'm sure all of us have "that friend" who found a boyfriend or girlfriend and then fell off of the face of the Earth and we rarely heard from them again. If all you are doing is spending alone time with the person you are dating then you are probably giving the relationship more attention than you should. Get to know each others friends! It's fun, you'll make some new buddies, and it will help you keep the right perspective with your relationship.
8. Spend time with each others families
This one is even more important than #7! Spending time with each others families will help you understand your boyfriend or girlfriend much better. Anyway, dating is supposed to be where you try to find your future spouse, and when you get married 2 families become one, so you might as well start getting to know them anyway. Pay attention to how the person you are dating treats your family members. For instance, Bryan was great with my little siblings and was respectful to my parents. That showed me that he will be a wonderful father and that he has good character.
9. Cater to each others love languages.
There is actually a test you can take to find out your love language, and I recommend taking it. Here is the link to the test:
http://www.5lovelanguages.com/profile/. If you don't take it then at least ask your boyfriend or girlfriend what makes them feel loved - and then do it! It isn't hard! It's also surprising to find out what is important to each person. You may find that what makes you feel loved means nothing to the other person (which is probably why they weren't doing it). I know a couple where the man was constantly trying to serve his wife and do things for her (*his* love language), but then found out acts of service was her lowest love language and that all she really wanted was for him to spend time with her.
10. Remember the whole point: to find your future spouse.
This one is getting quickly lost in todays culture. A lot of people get caught up in the attraction and social side of dating. "I'm only cool if I am dating someone," or "If I go out with them then I will move up the social ladder," or "I could spend hours with him/her because they are so attractive,". NO! The entire point of dating should be to find the person you are going to marry!! If you are dating just to "have fun" or because you're bored then you are just going to end up hurt. Pray before you step into any relationship to see if God wants you with that person and if God wants you to pursue relationships at the point you are at in life.
I also highly recommend these 2 books that help you understand the opposite gender much better:
For women (about men):
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For men (about women):
...Speaking of marriage
I need your help!
Being a newlywed I would LOVE your advice on how to have a Godly and fulfilling marriage. At this point I have only been married for 18 days, so I need all of the help I can get! Post your advice in the comments section of this post, post it somewhere on my facebook page (www.facebook.com/DanielleVoudrie), or tweet me @daniellevoudrie! I'll make a new blog post with my favorite ones! Thank you in advance for your help!
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