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Casual Dating as a Christian?

with

Kait Tomlin

Dating… we’ll gosh, what does dating as a Christian even supposed to look like?

Let me first start off by saying, that dating is NOT explicitly in the Bible. So, because of that everyone has therefore made up their own set of rules on dating. Those 'rules' end up being based on a variety of factors…influences from their personal cultural experiences, their local church community, the pastoral teachings they’ve heard, real-life examples around them, thought leaders they listen to, and of course their friends. So what happens? Well, chances are they may go on a date with another Christian who has a completely DIFFERENT set of 'rules' and way to 'date the right way' and that’s just how it is. This leads to everyone out here in the Christian dating world writing their own playbook on how to 'date the right way', but no one's playbooks are aligned! Messy right?!

One thing that truly TRANSFORMED my view on dating was getting really clear on the stages that led from singleness to marriage. Stages like singleness - DATING - Relationship - Engaged - Married. Yes, dating and relationship are different stages… that’s where the lines are blurred and people get confused.

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So, what is the dating stage?

The dating stage is a time when you go on dates and build FRIENDSHIP with another man or woman of God who is of interest to you. On each date in the dating phase, the goal is to take it ONE date at a time as you approach the other person with curiosity. The point of this stage is ultimately to see (through TIME) if you want to be in a RELATIONSHIP with the person you are building friendship and going on dates with. 

Instead of the ridiculously high stakes, “will-I-marry-this-person” mentality, the dating phase should be paced with WISDOM. It's a low-pressure, low-stakes means of getting to know someone on a friendship level BEFORE you commit to pursuing a deep romantic connection in a relationship. Sounds easy breezy right?

That’s why I encourage “casual dating” even as a Christian.

What is casual dating and what does it look like

BEFORE you freak out, hear me out!

Over the years, I have found that casually dating or dating multiple people in THIS context to be so TRANSFORMATIVE to my dating life leading me into marriage now. This mindset actually what I believe helped lead me to meet JJ and to start building a foundation for a healthy marriage. Having the mindset of getting to know someone through time without RUSHING the process allowed me to take the pressure off and make sound decisions without all the deep feelings overriding me and without committing to the wrong person for me too early.

But with casual dating comes great responsibility… Disclaimer: This is a process and a journey you can go on while also HONORING the people in front of you and approaching every date/interaction with the utmost INTEGRITY. Don’t take this idea and run with it, be open and honest with yourself and everyone you interact with on this dating journey.

How should you casually date effectively and respectfully as a Christian?

Throughout my process of dating multiple people, I challenged myself to journal after every date. I made notes of how I was feeling and even brought in trusted people (keyword: trusted) in my inner circle to process through the dates. Most importantly, I invited God into the depths of her thoughts and feelings and allowed HIM to ultimately guide the process of discernment and curiosity.

I KNOW this kind of approach to dating is not for everyone. But this may be for a person like me. . .The person who finds themselves over-committing too soon...The person who was giving their heart away too early on...The person who was left disappointed, confused, and hurt over and over again... if that is you, this could be a win. This approach to dating changed my life, literally. 


The last caveat I have to say about this process is that it HAS to be done with ACCOUNTABILITY. There are many elements to this process that must be done with wisdom and accountability.


If you’re thinking about taking this approach and changing your dating mindset, check out some of our recent highlighted episodes, HOD Select: Casual Dating Tell All with Kat Harris and Carrie Llyod and HOD Select: Dating Multiple People as a Christian to learn more!

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