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If you are dating or considering dating, then reading a book, talking to your parents or consulting an older Christian friend who has been on the journey before are all really good ideas. We hope this short list helps to guide your reading so you can honour God in this life stage.
One of the first questions you may wonder about as you think about dating is ‘who should I date?’
In the counselling booklet “Who Should I Date?” William P. Smith gives some direction on the sorts of character traits that may be helpful to look for in the person you are thinking about dating. His advice is biblical and practical.
Rebecca VanDoodewaard specifically addresses women in her book “Your Future ‘Other Half’”. Her goal is to help women think through the character traits of the man they are dating or are thinking of dating. The only problem is that there isn’t a similar book for the men!
Regarding the men, one very helpful resource is Voddie Baucham’s book “What He Must Be… if he wants to marry my daughter”. This book won’t help a man in knowing which girl to date but it will help him become the man that girls should want to date! Voddie lays out a picture of a godly husband and father which will challenge any young (or old) man and give them plenty to work on.
Once you have thought about who to date, it is time to consider how to date. These books will help you think through what God-honouring dating looks like.
Gerald Hiestand and Jay Thomas wrestle with the tough questions about dating in their book “Sex, Dating and Relationships”. As Christians we can swing between what Voddie Baucham calls ‘divorce practice’ of dating in our secular Western culture, and a super-serious, committed dating relationship. In particular we can struggle with sexual boundaries. Gerald and Jay tackle this problem by proposing a ‘fresh approach’ which they call ‘dating friendships’. If you are struggling to work out what dating should look like, this is a really good place to start.
In “Holding Hands Holding Hearts” Richard and Sharon Phillips provide a biblical view of dating and relationships coupled with some practical wisdom regarding how to date. The authors are trustworthy guides and their practical wisdom on how to date in such a way that results “either in a godly marriage or in a breakup that minimises emotional damage” is worth heeding.
“Letters to a Romantic on Dating” is a very helpful series of letters from Sean Perron and Spencer Harmon answering all sorts of questions that you might have about dating. Their advice is biblical, to the point and practical.
If you are not yet dating then this next book is for you. In “Not Yet Married” Marshall Segal addresses the topics of singleness and dating. He seeks to encourage the reader to seek the main thing in their singleness – the service of God and growth in Christian maturity. Marshall then provides some advice regarding dating – some of which may surprise you but all of which is beneficial.