Jefferson Bethke is rocketing to stardom with his no-nonsense approach to the Christian lifestyle. Whether dishing on dating, marriage or theology in general, Bethke has a way of cutting through the fat and getting to the marrow of what Christians are interested in. 

In this video entitled “Why Should You Date Someone?” Bethke and his wife, Alyssa, give some smart advice on what we should do when it comes to the whole courtship process.

Here are 9 nuggets you can apply to your own experiences

1. Know why you’re dating – “Dating to us (the non-Christian) is usually recreational. It’s usually to serve some selfish means. But dating truthfully is for the intent of marriage and peole who do it best… people who do it with the most wisdom… and people who get through it in a healthy way usually have a vision. Without it, we’re doing it for self serving purposes.”

2. Have a vision –  What is your vision, and do you want to take someone with you? Bethke says, “In any form of life, having no vision and no destination is extremely dangerous. Imagine going hiking to the top of Mount Rainier and you have no map… you might get lost… get frost bite… you might die… you need a map!”

3. Take into account the person you are dating – If you don’t have a plan, you could be taking someone into the wilderness and destruction with you. Bekhke admits, “I know personally, in my life, Alyssa is the only relationship really where I’ve dated with the intent of marriage… where I dated with wisdom… and it allowed us to operate in a totally different manner. All the dating relationships I had before that were painful … were destructive… and to this day, even though I’m under the grace of God, I’m still living with a lot of things that sometimes have to be walked through and struggled with even in our marriage because I had no vision and no point and I just wanted to date for selfish reasons.”

4. Don’t Jump the Gun – Bethke is quick to tell people to not get crazy when it comes to dating with vision. He talks about the opposite side of the coin, too, such as what happens in some conservative Bible colleges. “Girls can’t even go to coffee with a guy without the whole school thinking you’re going to get married!” Basically, he says, get to know each other, and if you think you want to go there, have a plan. “Be normal please!” he warns.

5. Date to learn! – Alyssa dives in with some pretty smart tips herself. She reminds us that dating can be super informative. “You learn things you want in your future spouse, things you don’t want, and things about yourself! It’s healthy!”

6. Worldviews change – Alyssa went from thinking the first guy she was going to date she would have happily ever after, but it didn’t work out that way. Through the breakups, she learned that relationships are tricky. Things don’t always go as planned.

7. Relationships are messy – Dating teaches us that being with another person is not easy. “You learn to put someone above yourself.”

8. God can use your bad relationship – Alyssa goes on to say, “No relationship is in vain… if you allow the Lord, he can use any relationship to grow you, draw you to Himself and grow the other person.” God still can use that relationship for your good has plans for you!

9. Failed relationships are amazing – Yes, it’s true. As hard as it might feel at the time, if you lean into the Lord, he can take your broken pieces and turn it into something better. The relationship might hurt, but God’s mercy and grace are forever healing.

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