Being a single parent and dating can be a great experience when it is done God’s way. In my experience, I became a single mother at 22 and came to Christ at the age of 25. I learned very quickly the difference between the world of modern dating and dating God’s way. Growing in God helped me to understand that godly dating and courtship is the precursor to marriage with God as the foundation. I also wanted to give my daughter a godly image of dating so she would be anchored in God’s ways. Here’s what dating as a single parent taught me:
- Pursue God. God wants us to pursue Him. He desires that we not search for love or seek self-worth in the pursuit of a mate. Nothing compares to a man or woman who pursues God and shines God’s love and light from the inside out. Jeremiah 31:3 says that “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness.” This means that you are already loved, fearfully and wonderfully made, and accepted by God. You can rest assured that His love is enough.
- Wisdom is the Principal Thing. How many times have you dated only to realize later that he or she was wrong for you? As you date, ask God to give you wisdom and show you His perspective on your relationship daily to make quality decisions. You can trust God to lead and protect you because He wants the absolute best for you (Proverbs 3:5-6). Once He shows you His perspective, follow His guidance. Having a Christ-centered perspective is important because our decisions are based on how we see things. Seeing your relationship from God’s vantage point will help you avoid unnecessary issues. After all, God’s goal for dating is for marriage and family. Wisdom and discernment will help you understand if you and your potential date have similar values and if children will be blessed by being a blended family.
- Have Patience. The world’s perspective on dating symbolizes a rush mentality. As Christians, God’s timing is always best because rushing into a relationship will produce half-baked results (Philippians 4:6). When dating, I learned that it was ok to relax and wait to be pursued by my mate (who is now my husband!), keeping God in the center of our relationship and lives. Understanding your motivations for dating will prevent you from jumping in and out of dating relationships. You want to make sure that the person that you date has good moral character (encourages and challenges you to walk closer with God, submissive to God, humble, self-controlled, and demonstrates good parenting behaviors).
- Set boundaries. I introduced my daughter to my mate (now my husband) slowly after dating 3 months because I wanted to make sure he was an ideal future husband and a safe influence for her. I limited the number of dates per week and even set a curfew for our dates to prevent compromising situations. It was important to follow biblical standards to show my daughter (who was then 7) how to responsibly date the godly way.
Dating as a single parent can be an awesome learning experience with God. Take time to enjoy and trust God as He leads your life, and have fun dating God’s way!