As disciples of Jesus, we want to honor Him in every part of our lives, including our dating relationships. God’s word gives us design and wisdom on how dating can be done in a God glorifying way. Countless people have experienced the heartache and pain of dating relationships gone wrong. Typically, pain comes when we go away from God’s design for dating, ending up in a relationship with the wrong person, or taking the relationship to a place God has not ordained. Let’s look at some biblical wisdom on dating.
(Adapted from Tommy Nelson Song of Solomon series)
Dating God’s way begins with being attracted to the right kind of person and looking for the qualities that God says are good in a marriage union. You should date the person you want to marry. Dating is not random, it is an opportunity to determine if you are ready to marry someone.
Read Song of Solomon 1:1-7
v. 3 “Your oils have a pleasing fragrance, Your name is like purified oil; Therefore the maidens love you”
You want to be attracted to someone who has a “good name,” someone who all people speak well of. A pleasing fragrance means someone who has a good reputation and is thought well of by others. (Prov. 22:1) You should do your homework on the person you are interested in.
What is their reputation?
How do they treat others?
What’s their work ethic?
How do they respond to conflict?
v. 5-6 “do not stare at me for I am swarthy,…they made me caretaker of the vineyards, But I have not taken care of my own vineyard.”
You want to be attracted to someone who serves others. Though this quality is spoken of from a woman’s perspective, it applies to men also. A woman should desire a man who is selfless and works hard. Part of a man’s role in marriage is to be a provider, so you want to consider if they have the kind of spirit that works hard to serve others.
v.7 “For why should I be like one who veils herself beside the flocks of your companions?”
You want to be attracted to someone who has standards. One who veils herself describes a prostitute. The idea here is someone who is not willing to bend their morality for a relationship. Notice Chapter 2:7 as the man speaks, “I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, by the gazelles or the doves of the field, that you not stir up or awaken love until it pleases.” Also known as, he is not willing to sleep with you before marriage. A godly man has a standard of morality. Ask hard questions like, “What are your thoughts on sexual purity? Let’s discuss your sexual past…”
If you start a relationship for merely physical reasons, you are in trouble. You must consider character and most importantly, do they love Jesus? Does their love for Jesus cause them to live with morality, treat people with kindness, and serve? If they do not love Jesus, they cannot love you correctly.
Read 1 Peter 3:7
Discuss: Why would beginning with spiritual attractiveness protect you from heartache and pain down the road?
What would a man who is growing spiritually look like?
What is godly character in a man?
Read Song of Solomon 1:8-14
v.9-10 “to me, my darling, you are like my mare among the chariots of Pharaoh. Your cheeks are lovely with ornaments, your neck with strings of beads.”
You should be attracted to someone who speaks to you with kind words. Someone who sees you as special and treats you with tenderness. If someone tends to be unkind in a dating relationship, you can’t expect that marriage will change that.
Emotional beauty also does not sin in anger. It’s one thing to get angry, it’s another to become wrathful and spiteful in anger. (Eph. 4:26)
Discuss: How would a man shows tenderness in speech?
How do you know if a man is emotionally healthy?
Read Song of Solomon 1:15-17
v. 15 “how beautiful you are, my darling, How beautiful you are! Your eyes are like doves.”
The man first notices her eyes, windows to the soul. Appreciate a man who will compliment physical features that are deeper than those that arouse passion.
v. 16-17 “How handsome you are, my beloved, and so pleasant! Indeed, our couch is luxuriant! The beams of our houses are cedars, our rafters, cypresses”
Although physical beauty is not the main quality or even the first that we should desire, there is physical attraction that draws us to someone. Here the woman describes a man who is handsome. Cedars and cypresses are strong trees illustrating this woman’s attraction to his physique.
Discuss: What physical features are most attractive to you in a man?
How do we appreciate physical features without allowing them to override spiritual and emotional features?
Watch Tommy Nelson’s video on the “Art of Attraction.”
Make a list of qualities that you would like in a husband from all 3 areas: Spiritual, Emotional, Physical. Share them with the group.