What does the Bible teach about dating and choosing a life partner?


Greetings kind sir.  I'm a 19 year old college student and i have never had any girlfriend in all my life.  Well, I had a girl in the past with whom I had a mutual understanding but, nevertheless, she was not my girlfriend.  Right now, I have been emotionally attached to a girl of about 16 years of age and we have been hanging out together for almost two months now. I do like her very much, but I have no intention as of the moment to court her for I still want to know her deeper and I want to be spiritually fit before I enter into such relationships.  My question is this, "What does the Bible teach about dating and choosing a life partner? And what does it teach about the romantic kind of love?"  By the way, i have already told this girl that I like her, but I made it clear to her that I was not yet in love. 


I'm glad you are approaching your friendship with this young lady in a reasonable fashion. Though it is exciting to find a person interested in you, both you and she are at an age where emotions and sensual feelings get in the way of reasonable thought. Since girls mature more rapidly than boys, it is very common for a fifteen or sixteen year old girl to find young men more interesting that boys closer to their own age. At the same time, young men, who typically don't finish maturing mentally until age 24, find it easier to get along with younger girls. None of this is completely bad, especially if the couple approaches it as a long term relationship.

The difficulty is that most teenage girls are not able to maintain a long term relationship. Like young men, young women continue to mentally mature for years after they physically mature. In the meantime, they are emotional roller-coasters which doesn't lend to a stable relationship. This is one reason we have laws in the United States forbidding sex between adults and minors. Minors have not developed the mental capacity to handle the complications of a sexual relationship -- though they think they can because they are physically able to have sex. Even when the relationship is consensual, sex between a 19 year old and a 16 year old is automatically classified as rape. It is an acknowledgment that the minor hasn't mentally developed enough to give a truly informed consent.

Of course, in the Scriptures, God forbids all sex outside of a marriage covenant (Hebrews 13:4). So if you are committed to following God's laws, this shouldn't be an issue -- unless you allow your feelings to run ahead of your reason.

Too often dating is simply treated as a form of entertainment. While it is fun to go on dates, dating should be viewed as time spent in locating a future mate. Of course, people always seem to be in a rush. They lock on to one person at a time, usually the next one that comes along, and immediately want to make it an exclusive relationship. There is a time when exclusiveness is necessary, but every relationship should not start with such a commitment.

I wrote two books, one for boys and one for girls, about issues that arise as a person grows up. In there are chapters on how to date (boy | girl), the dangers to avoid in dating (boy | girl), and how to decide who you are going to marry (boy | girl).

For details about romantic love and how to treat a person of the opposite sex in a proper manner, the Bible has an entire book on the subject, called the Song of Solomon. It is a bit difficult at first to decipher as it is written as poem almost entirely in dialog form (very little narrative). There is a workbook that you can use to study the book and learn the lessons the Song of Solomon offers. See "The Greatest Love Song Written." The first seven chapters of the workbook cover the dating and engagement period of a relationship.

Finally, when you do get serious about a particular woman and decide to get married, there is a study called "Preparation for a Lifetime" that I use in my pre-marriage counseling classes.