Is having a boyfriend or girlfriend the biblical way to find a spouse?


Could you please explain what is the biblical way to find a spouse? Many people today choose a girlfriend or boyfriend (some choose more than one) before marriage. But it seems that the Bible never mentioned "boyfriend" or "girlfriend." So what is the biblical way of finding a spouse? Is it wrong to have boyfriend or girlfriend at all?


"There are three things which are too wonderful for me, yes, four which I do not understand: the way of an eagle in the air, the way of a serpent on a rock, the way of a ship in the midst of the sea, and the way of a man with a virgin" (Proverbs 30:18-19).

Many times God doesn't give specifics regarding certain customs. For example, God is very clear that people should marry (Genesis 2:18), yet God doesn't say how that marriage is to take place beyond stating that a marriage is created by a covenant (Malachi 2:14). We see hints at various marriage customs used, but no details. From that we conclude the customs for celebrating the forming of a marriage is not important and God allows people to practice as they choose.

Dating is also something we are told little about. We know marriages take place, but how a man and woman decide to marry is rarely mentioned.

Abraham's servant found a wife for Isaac, whom Isaac married and loved deeply (Genesis 24). Jacob selected his own wife and dated her seven years while working to get permission to marry her from her father (Genesis 29). Judah found his own wife, but we aren't told anything about the courtship (Genesis 38:2). The same Judah picked out a wife for his son Er (Genesis 38:6). For one of the more famous couples of the Bible, Ruth and Boaz, she had to take matters in her own hands to get Boaz to realize that she was available for marriage.

The most complete description of a courtship is found in Song of Solomon, but even here the story doesn't begin until after the engagement had already taken place.

Because of the varied circumstances mentioned in the Bible, we must conclude there isn't one set way for a boy and a girl to become interested in each other. What we do see are guidelines, such as no sex before marriage (Hebrews 13:4) and no sexual touching before marriage (I Corinthians 7:1). If a culture encourages men and women to select their own spouse, then you will expect young people to make tentative decisions which they will frequently realize were mistakes. Every once in a while you will find a few young people wise enough to consult parents or respected adults in regards to the wisdom of their selection. I could wish that it happened more often, but youth is a time when people think they know enough that they won't make a mistake. But I have also see mistakes made in cultures where the parents choose the spouse because their criteria isn't godly and doesn't consider the children's preferences. I doubt any one particular method is perfect.