Should dating couples go to church together?
Christian couples in a relationship should go to church together.
If a Christian couple already has established a relationship, it’s an excellent idea for them to go to church together. A Christian couple is likely considering marriage and once married they will be expected to go to church together, whether they go to his church her church. So for them, this is excellent preparation and practice for their full responsibilities as a married Christian couple.
Christians couples just dating can visit each other’s churches when they feel ready
However, if the Christian couple is just dating and they’re not in a serious relationship, then going to church together is optional. If they’re just casually dating, then there’s no need to send the signal of potential marriage by meeting the date’s faith community, as it would be for a Christian couple who were already in a relationship.
Mixed faith couples should be careful
If one person is a Christian and the other is not, many people would not encourage them to date at all. But in fact, mixed faith dating happens all the time. If a non-Christian is willing to check a date’s church, that’s fine but don’t expect every church to be fully accepting of the relationship.
Another factor is when people from very different churches get together, such as if one is a charismatic and the other comes from a mainline traditional Church. Their ministry and worship styles may be very different and they may experience a lot of them uncomfortableness over which church to attend and how often to attend.
Benefits of going to church together
Get to know the community
The social benefits of going to church together are very strong. This is an excellent way for the person that you are dating to get to know your community of Faith, and for the people in your faith community to get to know the person you’re dating. The person you’re dating should get to know the people who you are a close to in your church. This is an important part of getting to know the real you. And if you do go further the relationship, you will want your church Community to accept and approve of your date.
Get to see the date with other friends
Sometimes when we date people, they can present an image that is too perfect but when they’re with their friends, even their church friends, you’ll see how others respond to them, respect them, and how people deal with you in a relationship with them. If you think their church friends are worthwhile people, that’s a sign that you’re the person you’re dating is actually a good and worthwhile person as well. But if you’re not impressed with your date’s friends, then that is a signal that there could be conflict in the relationship’s future.
Receive wisdom from the elders
A church should be a place to find and apply wisdom from experienced, older, and more mature believers. It is an excellent idea to have your date meet with mature believers in your church in a friendly way. Sometimes the elders will give you wisdom on how you can be a more successful couple or point out likely troubles of your future relationship.
Drawbacks of going to church together
May expose cultural incompatibilities
Unfortunately, there are a number of drawbacks to going to church together. One problem is it may expose the fact that you come from different cultures. Every church has its own unique culture, not merely that of race and nationality but also based on worship style, prayer, and how you express reverence for God. Sometimes these different church cultures can be difficult to adjust to. It’s better to find that out earlier rather later that your expressions of church and faith are in conflict.
May start a round of gossip
It’s unfortunate fact that church people gossip about each other all the time. When you bring a new person to the church other people will start to talk about you they and your date. Some of them will be jealous and they will not say kind things. Some people will make up things that are completely untrue and others will point out things that were best forgotten and these two factions will make you and your date uncomfortable. However, if the church leadership is strong, they’ll be able to minimize the gossip that can hurt you and your relationship.
May strengthen feelings of inadequacy
Bringing your date to church could make other people in your church feel that you have rejected them. For example, if a man brings a woman to church, the other women in the church may feel hurt and disappointed that you have brought an outsider into their community. They may be jealous of the relationship or overly protective of the church.
In the same way, the woman you are dating may visit the church and feel inadequate compared to the perceived Sunday perfection of the other women who dressed up in their perfect Sunday clothes acting with their perfect Sunday manners. That is because she is comparing her daily imperfections with their Sunday best.
Should dating couples pray together?
Yes, this can strengthen the relationship
Praying is an excellent way to enhance your spiritual life and when a couple prays together, they can strengthen not only their own spiritual lives but their relationship together as a couple. Everybody knows that couples have a physical relationship and they have an emotional relationship, but prayer reminds us that we also have a spiritual relationship. That spiritual relationship is both more important and can be more influential than the emotional or the physical level for some people.
Yes, praying together puts God in the center of the relationship
Praying is merely talking with God. However, praying also humbles you before God and before your date. Thus, praying together is an excellent way for both of you to put God first in your lives. It reduces the temptation to idolize the person you’re dating or to treat them in an unholy or possessive way because, through prayer, you’re both constantly reminded that you serve a higher master.
Yes, praying together invites a new level of transparency and vulnerability
When a couple prays together, they expose the deeper levels of their heart (if they are praying from their heart and not just for show). Many times people will Express things in prayer that they could never say to their loved one face to face. And in this way, praying will help the couple reveal more about themselves as well as the revealing more about their relationship with God. And once they understand each other’s hearts better, they are challenged before God to protect that person’s heart and to help them grow in union, not just with each other, but in union with God.
The downside of prayer together
Praying together may expose incomparable expressions of faith
Unfortunately, prayer doesn’t solve all problems. In fact, prayer sometimes creates problems. Sometimes people discovered that they have different cultures of prayer. There is a danger that the praying couple will discover that they have incompatible ways of prayer and one or both of them are going to have to make a great adjustment to pray with the united heart. If a couple is unable to make these adjustments, this will hurt their prayer life and may hurt their entire relationship.
Praying together may signal greater commitment than intended
Because earnest prayer is very open and vulnerable, this may create a signal that you are much more committed and ready for intimacy than you had intended. Usually, in the first stages of dating, we guard our hearts and we don’t reveal too much personal information, but some people get very expressive in their prayer and they reveal the great depths of their heart. Furthermore, for those who are not yet mature, spiritual intimacy can lead to inappropriate emotional and physical intimacy before marriage. Unmarried Christian couples should be wary of such temptations.
Praying together may lead to a false sense of spirituality
Prayer is not the same as spirituality. Prayer is talking with God, but spirituality is based on obedience to God. Some people who are very good at prayer are not good at obeying God. Thus, they may seem more spiritual than they really are. This may lead one or both of the couple to overestimate their spiritual maturity. Likewise, some people are weak at group prayer, but very obedient, leading some to underestimate their spirituality.
Additionally, not all prayer pleases God; a prayer given with the wrong intention or the wrong motivation displeases God. The consequence is that a couple may be misled into thinking that their many and deep prayers are a sign of their advanced spiritual level and so become conceited and proud. This couple could easily fall into all kinds of sin and yet be blind to their transgressions. Unfortunately, because the couple is united together in error, they may resist the help and wisdom of the church.