Guys on a Date

Richard Phillips

There are so many reasons that I praise God for my marriage.  One of them is that I don’t have to date anymore!  What does a guy do on a date?  Drawing from my book on manhood, The Masculine Mandate, let me offer some guy rules for Christian dating.  

First, let me refer you to Genesis 2:15, which I have called the Masculine Mandate: “The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.”  There is a lot to say about this verse, which I consider to establish a paradigm for godly masculinity.  God places a male in a garden and gives him two tasks: to work and to keep.  To “work” means to minister or serve.  In the context of the garden it has an agricultural meaning: “working” is to tend and cause to grow fruitful.  Godly masculinity therefore involves nurture: a ministry of love and grace in the heart of others for sake of their growth.  To “keep” means to guard.  A keeper is one who watches over and ensures safety.  To keep is to be a guardian.  These are the two primary callings of a man, which are worked out in various ways throughout the Bible.  A godly man nurtures growth and keeps safe.

There is much more that I can say about this (and have said), but let me get from this to just three simple rules for Christian guys on a date.

Rule #1:  Assume that this woman is going to be your wife someday or, if not, the wife of a Christian brother. 

It hardly needs to be said that a Christian man should only go on a date with a Christian woman.  The Bible clearly states that a Christian may only marry a fellow Christian (2 Cor. 6:14).  The way not to marry a non-Christian is not to date a non-Christian.  Dating is how you end up married!  So now that you are on a date with a Christian woman, this is someone who may be your wife.  She is not a toy.  She is not there just to gratify your emotional needs.  So treat her with respect and cherish her.  And if she is not your wife, then she is some other Christian guy’s wife and that other Christian guy may be on a date with your future wife.  Let all Christian men treat women this way on dates, because these women are precious to God and precious to men as your future wives and the mothers of your children.

Rule #2:  Your job is to minister to her, so that she is spiritually and emotionally blessed by her time with you.

In Genesis 2:15, God told Adam that his first calling was to work: to nurture and cultivate.  “Be fruitful!” God told him in Genesis 1:28.  If you are on a date with a woman, her heart is your garden for that evening.  Bless that heart!  Take an interest in her on a spiritual and emotional level.  Ask her about herself!  Encourage her with God’s Word!  Find out what she enjoys and enjoy it with her!  Be kind, courteous, and caring.  Maybe the date will end up with her thinking that you are not the one.  But she should absolutely think, “I was really blessed to be with that Christian guy!” 

Rule #3:  Your job is to keep her safe: physically and morally.

The second part of the Masculine Mandate is keeping.  That means that she is under your care for the evening and you are called to ensure her safety.  That will include things like the way that you drive.  Where you take her.  Are you subjecting her to moral temptation?  Is something threatening her?  Then defend her.  Is it your sin that threatens her?  Mortify that sin.  Keeping involves protection from moral danger as well as physical.  It means that the Christian man ensures there is no sexual sin – and she knows she will be kept safe not only from sexual sin but even situations that will promote it.

I hope these simple rules will help Christian guys (and Christian girls).  Whether or not she falls in love with you is her busy (together with God).  But if you treat her like a future wife, if you make sure that she is blessed and built up by her time with you, and if you protect her from every kind of danger and harm, then you are a Christian man who has been pleasing to God.  One more thing, though – if you treat a Christian girl this way on a date, there is a pretty good chance that she will fall in love with you.  This is the kind of love God has prepared them to desire.  So treat precious Christian women as future wives, minister to them for their blessing, and keep them safe.  And you are likely to receive the inestimable blessing of the love of a Christian girl.

Richard Phillips