Should Christian Singles Date More Than One Person at a Time?
Here’s a often highly-debated question: Should Christian singles date more than one person at a time?
The reason it’s so often debated because it’s such a murky question. Before we can even begin to attack the question, we have to consider: what’s the purpose of dating anyway? And – shouldn’t we be ‘courting’ instead of ‘dating’?
What is the purpose of dating? According to today’s culture, it’s a way of getting to know someone, to hang out with a member of the opposite sex, to have someone to escort you (or be escorted) to an important event or (depending on how worldly you are) a way of obtaining a regular sex partner. Courting is considered to be dating, but with one very important caveat: you are seeing that person as preparation for getting married. Therefore, courting is usually considered much more serious.
So, returning to the original question (now that we have a working definition of dating), should Christians date more than one person at a time? What do you think about it?
I personally think it’s a bad idea. Why? Because, with all things, the more factors you throw into the pot, the more confusing things will be. Let’s say you are going out with Bill (whom you like), occasionally spend time with Tim (because he has a really cool-looking car) and have just started seeing Steve (because he is so fine). What do you think will become of all these relationships? You like Bill, but he will more than likely get lost in the shuffle as you juggle him and two other men. Tim is cool, but he doesn’t have a lot to say for himself. However, you get a personal high from being seen in his Corvette, so you continue to waste time with him. And Steve? You may or may not like him, but you don’t know because you don’t have the time or energy to spend much time with him! So you are dating three men, but not getting a whole lot of fun. Are you having fun yet?
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I think it is easier (and much more productive) to just date one person at a time. In a perfect world, I would even advise courting, as opposed to dating. That way you would both know that what you are doing is getting to know each other and preparing for marriage with that person. But I recognize that we do not live in a perfect world (and most men and women aren’t ready to be that committed until they’ve spent more time with a person), so my best advice would be to just spend time with one person. (When I say in earlier chapters you should ‘keep your options’ open, this usually applies to someone you are just getting to know. If you have been dating a few people casually and finally decide with whom you want to be serious, then it’s time to finally close those options.)
Why? Because your life is busy enough as it is – you have church, you have your family, you have your friends, and possibly school and a job. Dating more than one person will definitely detract from all these things. I think your time will be much better spent doing things to build your life, your finances and your relationship with God. And, as I mentioned in an earlier chapter, Does Being Single Mean Putting Your Life on Hold?, when you are single, you are focused on God. And on serving Him. As a married person, you will more naturally begin to become more focused on pleasing your mate. So, since you know that will happen once you get married, it is important as a single person to make sure God is your primary focus so that you can have this relationship to build upon (the one with God) when you are married (because having a strong relationship with God is what is going to allow you to have a strong relationship with your husband). And you will not be able to focus on your relationship with God if you are dating several people at once!
So, if you are dating more than one person right now, seriously consider why this is. Do you find none of them very satisfying as a potential mate? Are you trying to be a player? Are you just not looking to be serious right now? Or do you just think this is the norm?
And, after you have answered those questions, consider if that is the best use of your time. Only you know what is going on in your life, so only you can make that decision. I only hope (and pray) you make the best choice for yourself.