Christian relationship


STAGES in Christian Dating/
Courtship Relationship
There is a progression that should take
place in building a Christian dating
relationship. The following is offered as a
short Christian dating guide for Christian
singles to consider as they build a
Christian dating relationship.
(Note: As soon as I say Christian dating
guide, every single Christian reading this
will think they are an exception and the
timing noted does not apply to them. Yes
– it does! One of the strangest
phenomenons that I have observed is
that singles dating behavior is more
common than most of us think. I
encourage you to not look for the
“exception” but where you can build the
type Christian dating relationship that will
serve you and your partner well for years
to come.)
FANTASY STAGE: 1 – 6 months
1. There is an attraction to each other
and Christian singles immediately (or
soon thereafter) think they have found
their soul mate. Candidly, there is really
little more in the Christian dating
relationship during this stage than
“physical attraction”.
2. There is a temptation for Christian
singles to begin saying, “I love you”
during this fantasy stage. What the
expression really is saying is – “I am in
love with the idea of being in love” AND
“I really think you are the answer for
ME”! It is mostly self-serving.
3. The emphasis should be upon enjoying
each other’s company and building a
FRIENDSHIP and refraining from going any
further.
4. After 2 to 3 months of this type of
dating and it is mutually agreed, the
Christian dating relationship can move
into an exclusive dating arrangement. This
should be mutually agreed to and clearly
understood by both Christian singles.
5. It is very important that each person
have their own accountability group of
their own gender. The progress of the
Christian dating relationship should be
shared so that their objectivity and
accountability can be a valuable resource
to the couple.
AFFIRMING STAGE: 6 – 12 months
1. Once a couple is satisfied that there is
something to take to the next level, the
couple should develop a plan in how they
can best get to know each other in “real
settings” not just in Christian dating
situations. This plan will include such
things as spending time around family and
close friends to enable each other to see
how the other person builds and sustains
all relationships.
2. I do not suggest that the couple spend
all their time together at this stage. It is a
temptation to do so, but I suggest that it
is actually unhealthy for the Christian
dating relationship. Our emotions need to
“grow” into this type of deep Christian
dating relationship. Pushing the pace
causes areas of each other’s character to
not be observed. For example: Can the
couple enjoy their alone time as well as
their together time? If not, what is the
“force” at play that is “pushing”? This
often means that a healthy bonding is not
taking place and the emphasis is upon
self-satisfaction in this Christian dating
relationship.
3. It is very important to look for
CHARACTER issues in each other during
this stage of Christian dating. Give
yourself enough time and enough settings
where character issues can surface. Why
is this important? Individuals can “mask”
character issues for an extended period of
time – especially a few months during the
fantasy period of Christian dating. But
character is the foundation upon which
commitment is built. Character does not
change just because one gets married.
You need to know “what they are really
like” before you move into a marital
relationship.
PRE-ENGAGEMENT STAGE: 1 to 2 years
1. The couple has spent a good deal of
time building their Christian dating
relationship. They mutually agree that
this relationship has the great potential of
moving into marriage. It is important that
there be a “pre” engagement period of
time. There is no set time frame for a
pre-engagement period. It is more
important that the process be completed
than the time completed.
2. Marital inventories and temperament
sorting should be taken at this stage.
These are a wonderful means of finding
out which areas you are really in “sync”
and where you are apart. It serves as a
basis for building the Christian dating
relationship into as healthy a one as
possible BEFORE marriage. There
are many counselors who can provide
Christian singles with insights into the
results found in these inventories. The
Myers-Briggs temperament sorting is
another excellent source of information
that each person should know about
themselves and each other.)
3. At least 4 sessions should be spent
with a Christian counselor who is trained
in pre-marital counseling. It would be
especially helpful to take the inventories
mentioned above to the counselor for
their input.
4. It is very important that the couple
receive affirmations from family and
friends during this stage. If they do not
(unless there is a good reason), the
couple should take the time to listen to
the concerns and take steps to ensure
that they are embracing and working
through them.
ENGAGEMENT STAGE:
1. Once a couple arrives at the point that
they “know” that they want to be married
and have all the affirmations that they
can receive, they can move from the
Christian dating stage with confidence
into the engagement stage.
2. I do not recommend a prolonged
engagement once the couple decides to
get married. If they have done the
process in a “seasoning” manner, they
should plan to marry as practical – with
mutual agreement. I say this so that pre-
marital sex will not be a temptation.
MARRIAGE STAGE:
The couple should be able to enjoy the
blessings of God as well as family and
friends as they move into a marriage that
has been well planned and confirmed in a
healthy process. They can be assured that
they have taken the steps to assure a
long and satisfying marriage.
There are so many voices at play in our
world today. Many of these encourage us
to rush into marriage with anyone as soon
as we find a strong attraction. This is not
wise and God wants to mature you in
your Christian dating and bonding
process. It is my prayer that Christian
singles will use the above to develop
their own Christian dating guide for
building a strong and satisfying
relationship.
Source : (excerpt from the Article
“Christian dating: what are the
“NORMAL” stages in dating for Christian
singles?” )

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