As in, pay attention to what they’re saying, don’t just wait for them to take a breath so you can jump in with your own story.Next, ask a follow-up question or comment on what they just said.That’s a little trickier, especially in this digital age when so much “conversation” is done via text, e-mail, and so on.But don’t fret: If the thought of actually talking to another person without benefit of technology makes you nervous, just think of conversation as a game.Dating with a trajectory towards marriage doesn’t mean you only date one person ever. So, if you choose not to get coffee or watch a movie with the opposite sex, then whatever. The ultimate purpose of marriage is sanctification (becoming like God). If you have no idea what values are important to you in a future spouse, exit the road to marriage at the next off ramp. That would be awesome, but it’s not always realistic. If you are a Christian, God isn’t a piece of your pie. Why date someone who doesn’t even have God as a piece of the pie? Pull over at the closest gas station and decide what you want in a future spouse. Your list is designed to give you a framework for dating, not be a checklist for it. Your heart and the holiness of marriage are too important to flippantly give away because you are frustrated, impatient, or settling. Like that annoying kid at church camp who wouldn’t leave you alone. Don’t ever date someone who won’t honor purity with you. Remember…if you are dating, you haven’t entered into the sacred bond of marriage. Co-dependent dating leads to co-dependent marriages. And co-dependent marriages eventually crumble because the weight on them is too heavy. In fact, every principle discussed in this article is null and void without God at the center. The first instance in the Bible where God is not pleased comes when God sees Adam living in the Garden of Eden alone (Gen. Singleness can be a gift from God, but don’t use it as an excuse to be lazy. And to my church’s credit, they drilled this one point home constantly. Dating and marriage are not for those who rely on another person for joy, peace, and purpose.
But once you get into the relationship, you realize things aren’t as they seemed. Having coffee or going to eat dinner with the opposite sex is not dating. There will be days when life is crashing down, your faith is wavering, and the only thing left is your spouse. In this scenario, your spouse is there to pray for you, put his or her arm around you, and walk with you. The truth is you could spend your life with more than one person. Get to know yourself.” And as soon as the person you are dating smacks his or her gum the wrong way, you are out. I heard don’t have sex before marriage so much I actually believed getting to marriage a virgin was the only important thing. In the process, I filled my heart and mind with lust, and I secretly struggled with pornography. Christians, instead, need to teach the importance of a pure mind. Make sure God is the center of your life before you start dating. Don’t start dating without an assurance of God’s love for you and a solid understanding of the gospel. Dating with a trajectory towards marriage means dating with a purpose. Toss out a conversational pitch and see if someone catches it and lobs it back.One way to do that is to ask an open-ended question: Once you’ve asked the question—and this is the most important part of the process—shut up and listen to the answer.After a while I tuned out and entertained myself placing mental bets on how much longer they’d be able to go before passing out due to lack of oxygen. On the other hand, when someone tosses you a conversational ball, do your part to keep it moving. I really do not think my comments are more important than yours, I just get excited and want to chime in. Some things are best saved for your mom, therapist, or BFF. SEE ALSO: The Single Life: Packing for Success Do recognize that no matter what you do, some people aren’t going to play. Some people will be rude, possibly even downright offensive.There’s certainly nothing wrong with sharing an observation or story, just don’t drone on and on. Even if you’re engaged in listening, the talker will appreciate some sign that you’re still awake and alert. You don’t have to keep talking to them, but try not to respond in kind. If you have a less-than-positive experience, shake it off and get back in the game.It is time for Christians to start talking about dating. Establishing principles for Christian dating will set men and women on a course towards Christ-centered marriages. Here are 10 important principles for Christian dating. That would make God a gambler, and the Bible clearly says gambling is from the devil (only joking). Marriage isn’t as much about finding someone totally compatible as it is about committing to someone despites difficulties and differences. I fear this mentality in the dating culture is actually promoting divorce. Suddenly, when marriage begins, you are asked to flip a switch. It allows you to jump into marriage with a clear conscience. The trajectory of lives and eternities are in the balance. Laying out guidelines for dating as followers of Jesus will alter lives by keeping people out of toxic and unhealthy relationships (and ultimately marriages). “The one” says you need to find the perfect person. The beauty of marriage is God sustains you despite your flaws. The shells of a shotgun are stuffed with tiny round balls. You are asked to go from a mentality that says “End a relationship as soon as difficulty arises,” to one that says, “Don’t end the relationship regardless of the difficulty that arises.” That’s a tough switch to flip. Rule 3: Stay in Bounds Depending on the situation the old ban on discussing religion or politics may or may not apply, but don’t bring up things that you know will be divisive or hurtful. And tempting though it may be, don’t talk badly about another person, even if they’re an easy mark. Have fun out there and remember—in the conversation game, everyone can be a winner!While, “the words of a gossip are like tasty bits of food. and That’s an Order Rule 4: Play Nice Remember the things your mother always told you? Susan Ellingburg is a natural-born Texan who sings at every opportunity, reads as much as possible, and cherishes every day she gets to spend with friends.