(The following article has been adapted from a previous article the author wrote 12 years ago for Ignite magazine by Kaio Publications).

As a Christian man, husband, father, and minister, please allow me to shoot you straight on this issue of dating. It’s dangerous! As a matter of fact, if you are not careful, intentional, and courageous, this dating thing will eat you and your children alive. I am convinced that some of Satan’s best work is in the area of dating. After spending the first 18 years of ministry working with young people in the Lord’s church, I must tell you that many of those youth did not make it out alive. I don’t mean they physically passed from this earth, but they did NOT make it through the “dating season” healthy, unharmed, and spiritual-minded. Furthermore, many of those young people gave their hearts and bodies over to the opposite sex when they were 14, 15, or 16 years old (all in the name of “dating”), and now they live with continual regret and guilt. As a reminder, when a 15-year-old child develops regret and guilt at such a young age, and those feelings go unresolved and unhealed, shame sets in, and when shame sets in, self-worth plummets. When self-worth plummets, even more serious behavior and/or sin will likely overtake his/her life.

I believe God wants better for you and your child.

God wants you and your family to live with joy and blessings! The only way that happens is to honor God the best you can with this season of life as you help your children pick out a life-long spouse. Isn’t that what “dating” is all about? Dating is not mentioned in scripture, but marriage is. Marriage is a God-created union, not a man-created one. Marriage is to be held in honor by us all (Hebrews 13:4). Marriage is serious business. Divorce is equally serious (Mark 10:2-12). We must never downplay marriage or the consequences of divorce. Souls can be easily lost when we marry or divorce for flippant reasons.

If we are going to help our children find someone who loves the Lord more than their own life, we, as parents, need to have a plan to provide guidance, wisdom, and knowledge of what is right for them. Our hearts need to stay connected to the hearts of our children. There’s too much at stake!

I suggest you fulfill the following three roles as you help them seek a Christian spouse (notice I said, “Seek a Christian spouse,” not dangerously dating just to date).

First, your role involves INFORMATION. You, Dad & mom, need to teach the truth and purpose of what godly dating needs to be:

  • Consistently help them understand what kind of person God wants them to be. It’s a person of mature, godly character (2 Peter 1:5-7).

  • Consistently help them understand that they are called to be holy and pure in ALL that they do (1 Peter 1:15-16; Matthew 5:8). A life of holiness means that Christians don’t date like the world dates. We do everything by God’s standards.

  • Consistently bless them with a healthy and Biblical understanding of sexuality (1 Corinthians 6:12-20; 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8). We can’t afford to do the one-time “talk” when it comes to God’s plan for our sexuality. Our bodies are not created for sexual immorality but to glorify the Lord as the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:12-20).

Second, your role involves DEMONSTRATION. You, Dad, and Mom need to show them what godly dating/marriage is:

  • This means you need to live out a healthy marriage in front of your children. They need to witness your steadfast commitment, unfailing love, and penitent heart when it comes to your spouse.

  • They should be able to see that you, as their father, are striving to love your bride through thick and thin as Christ loves the church (Ephesians 5:25; 33).

  • They should also be able to see that you, as their mother, are striving to be submissive and respectful to your husband in all ways (Ephesians 5:22; 33).

Third, your role involves PARTICIPATION. You, Dad, and Mom need to walk hand in hand with them on this journey. Here’s some of what that looks like:

  • This means you need to evaluate whether or not they are emotionally, spiritually, and physically ready to start looking for a future mate. There is a season for marriage. As the parent, you know, when they are entering the season of marriage.

  • This means they need to respect your advice and godly wisdom.

  • This means praying diligently into the ear of your child for the Lord to bring a godly disciple of Jesus into their life when the time is right.

  • This means helping them through all the decisions and emotions that come with picking out a godly person to eventually marry.

  • This means helping your child create a set of standards of what the other person’s character should be (my spouse and I created a 13-point standard card for our children of what the other person must be for our child to consider them for marriage. Points like: “Is he a genuine disciple of Jesus who shares his faith?” “Does he worship every Lord’s Day/midweek?” “Does he use good manners and good language?” Parents, put time into this and make your own list for your son and daughter.)

If you choose to allow your child to go at this alone, it will, more than likely, be a heart-breaking or even disastrous journey. However, if you fulfill your God-given role as a godly parent, this journey will likely create generations of “for-life” marriages!

Steve Minor
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Steve was born in Hollis, OK.  Steve graduated from Oklahoma Christian with a degree in Youth Ministry in 1998.  OC is where Steve met the love of his life, Stephani Jimenez, and married in 1996.  The Lord gave them three amazing children: Micah (husband, Joel Turner), Mason, and Makenna.

Steve & Stephani have worked for congregations in Texas and Oklahoma.  Steve is the founder and director of Legacy Family Camp each October to equip and strengthen families and the MIGHTY Men’s Mentoring Conference each January to train and strengthen men to be leaders.

Steve is the preaching minister for the Wylie Church of Christ in Wylie, Texas.