My wife and I married when we were college students and recently celebrated our 48th wedding anniversary. Though the average marrying age has risen in the last few decades, we still know plenty of students who date seriously and marry in their college years. Our hope for you is to be well equipped in dating and choosing a spouse.
Dating is an evaluation period. Is this person a good fit to be your spouse? What are her qualities? What do you like about him? What don’t you like? What do your parents and friends think? What are her core convictions and do they match yours? These are all important factors when you’re choosing a spouse and friend for life. Though our culture seems to take it less and less seriously every day, marriage is an important covenant before God.
Sue has 6 questions for people who are dating. I hope you will think through these questions in regard to your friendships and romantic relationships.
1. Would you proudly introduce this person to your family and friends?
If you’re not willing to introduce your friend or date to your parents or your friends, you better think again, because if you end up marrying this person, you are bringing him/her into a family. So think about it long and hard.
2. Are you pursuing purity?
Purity is important. If you have a problem with purity, don’t let yourself be compromised. Years ago, one of our daughters was at a different university and unexpectedly walked in on her roommate and a guy in bed together. That’s not fun for anybody; it’s inappropriate; and it’s against God’s commands.
So, if it’s hard for you to be in a room alone and not do something you shouldn’t do, then don’t be in a room alone. Don’t go off by yourselves. Stay with a crowd. We must have self-control, and purity is important.
3. How are you being treated?
If you don’t like the way you’re being treated while you are dating or in a friendship, watch out because it doesn’t get better. After you get married or when you get to be really good friends, you let your guard down, and then you’re wearing sweat pants all the time. You get sloppy. If he doesn’t open the door now, he probably won’t open the door later. If she doesn’t appreciate you now, takes you for granted, and verbally abuses you, she will probably continue those habits. This is true of most situations. You need to talk about that treatment now and make some changes. That may mean breaking up, but you would rather break up with a boyfriend or girlfriend now than marry a person who doesn’t treat you well.
4. How are your communication skills?
Communication is key. You have to be able to communicate honestly. You should be able to talk about things that aren’t just shallow, things that really matter in life. Do you talk as friends, or is your relationship characterized by shallow conversations and/or arguments? Don’t commit to someone with whom you can’t communicate.
5. Do you see maturity, flexibility, and selflessness in this person?
Is she growing? I also challenge you to turn this question back on yourself. Are you a person who is maturing and learning from your mistakes? Are you trying to live selflessly? If you want these qualities in a spouse, which you should, then you should also strive for them in your own life.
6. Most importantly, what are his core convictions? Do you share the same core convictions?
Can you build a lifetime of friendship on these convictions? If you have been friends for any length of time, you should be able to identify your friend’s core convictions simply by her behavior. Is she honest? Does he live with integrity? Is she seeking the Lord and living out generosity and patience? Does he have a relationship with Christ? Does she ask for forgiveness and lay down her pride? Obviously, neither of you is perfect, but it’s important that you’re striving for the same goal and living for the same God.
Bonus for the singles: Should girls flirt?
Yes, but not falsely.
I asked one of our sons if he thought girls should flirt. He said, “Yeah, a little bit. If I show some interest in a girl and she doesn’t let me know that she’s interested, I’m not going to give her the time of day.” If you’re interested in a guy, let him know you’re interested, but it is not your job – girls – to pursue. It is the guy’s job to pursue. So let him pursue, but let him know you are pursuable.
I hope you are asking these questions of yourself and your relationships. Again, dating is a time for evaluation. It is not a lifelong commitment, and it is not marriage. Guard yourself. Guard the person you’re dating, and commit your future spouse to prayer.
- Practical Advice: Dating and Long-Distance Relationships
- 3 Strategies that Strengthened Our Marriage
- The End of Marriage?
- Eat, Sleep and Make Friends – The Musts of College
This blog was adapted from a talk President and Mrs. Sloan gave to the students of Houston Baptist University on February 13, 2013. Edited by Joannah Buffington