- Gender and Relationships
Usual Stages of Christian Dating
Christian singles are constantly being bombarded by the media with messages of dating and sex which are geared to appeal to our fantasies.
Due to the differing rules which apply to Christian dating and the behavioral traits which it demands, there should be a progression which takes place during the building of a Christian dating relationship.
The information which follows is to be considered as a mini guide outlining the developments of Christian dating and for Christians to take into account while they build on their dating relationship.
Please do not assume that it counts you out if you are single and reading this, it applies greatly to you too.
With these suggestions considered it will help you succeed in your future relationship and will serve you and partner well for years to come.
First 6 months: The Fantasy Stage
- An immediate attraction takes place between each Christian, each thinks to themselves they have found their soul mate. Ironically, there is not much more than a physical attraction which takes place at this stage.
- During this fantasy stage there is a temptation for Christian singles to start saying "I love you", what is probably more likey is that this means - I'm in love with the thought of being in love, beware however as this is dangerously self-serving.
- Attention should be given to enjoying one another's company and to focus soley on building a strong and trusting friendship, no more just yet.
- When the first couple of months of dating at this level mentioned previously have taken place, and each partner feels equally happy to do so, it is time to move on and begin a more exclusive arrangement for your relationship. One which must be fully understood by each Christian single.
- An important factor while actively dating at this more developed stage is for each person to have a group of people or someone, preferably of their own gender, who they can turn to and talk openly with at any time. This will be a valuable resource for seeking correct and honest guidance from people who value and honor your relationship.
6 months - 1 Year: Confirming Stage
- When the couple reach a point in their relationship where they agree there is something special between them and they want to take the next steps, the couple need to work on a plan which will allow them to get to know each other in all situations and not just those within their dating relationship.
Such a plan would most likely highlight spending time with each others family and friends for example.
Seeing how your partner treats others and conducts themselves within these relationships will help you to really get to know your partner on a deeper level.
- Although the temptation at this stage is to be with each other all of the time, it would be wiser to abstain from doing so, it could potentially harm your relationship.
As a Christian courting relationship is a deep and meaningful one, your emotions have to be nurtured and must "grow" into the relationship, by forcing your emotions into a quicker pace you run the risk overlooking some areas of your partner's character, resulting in an untrue view of your partner.
Think of this example - both in the relationship or maybe one person, enjoys spending their alone time more than actually being together, this would flag a warning that more emphasis was leaning on self-satisfaction in this relationship and also a healthy bonding of the couple wasn't actually forming.
- Recognising and knowing your partner's character is vital at this stage of Christian dating, therefore it is wise to set times during your dating where you will be together in enough different settings and surroundings to truly learn the different character traits of your partner.
After enough time you will have seen habits and characteristics rising to the surface and will be clearer in the knowledge of your partner's true and genuine character.
It is vital to know this if you are planning to marry as character is what commitment is built upon, be aware that one's character will not change just because they are married. Get to know what your partner is really like before you commit to a marital relationship.
1 to 2 Years: The Pre-engagement Stage
- After having spent time successfully building up their relationship, the couple are now at a point where marriage is now in both of their minds, therefore the next step is to move into a pre-engagement period. It is more important than the amount of time the couple dedicate to it, that this step actually be completed. Couples will decide what suits them uniquely in terms of a time frame.
- To ensure your Christian dating relationship is as healthy as possible PRIOR to marriage, your partner and you need to find out the exact areas of each other in which you are truly "in tune" with, this can be achievd through temperament sorting and marital inventories. These are excellent sources to enable each individual to know about themselves and others. Christian counselors are able to provide couples wonderful insights into the results found amongst these inventories.
- The couple now need to spend some time - at least a few sessions - with a trained Christian counselor, one who is also trained in pre-marital counseling, it is important that this counselor have their input and that the coupe listen to, respect and perhaps action any further advice given.
- To gain the blessings and agreements from family and close friends is vital at this stage too, should there be disagreements or objections the couple must listen closely to those concerned and take further action in ensuring that they work through the problems to reach a happy and healthy conclusion for all involved.
The Engagement Stage:
- At the point when the couple firmly believe and know they want to be married and have received all blessings and affirmations, they now can confidently progress into the engagment stage from their Christian dating relationship.
- To avoid any "falling at the last hurdle" hazards, such as pre-marital sex, an engagement should aim not to be prolonged.
The Marriage Stage:
As this marriage was the result of a well built upon and healthy Christian dating process, the couple are now able to enjoy their one-ness and of being blessed by God as well as by family and friends.
They can move ahead with the knowledge and assurance that they have taken the necessary steps to give themselves the best chance of a long and happy, loving and fulfilling marriage.
Many modern day messages encourage us to rush into marriage, they suggest it could be with anyone - just as long as we find a strong attraction. As a Christian, remember this is not what God wants for you, He wants you to mature in your bonding, courtship and Christian dating process.
I sincerely hope that this short guide will help you whether you are single or not, and that you will have strength in succeeding to build a strong and special relationship.