3 Reasons Missionary Dating Is a Bad Idea

Emily Becker

They’re really cute, you get along well, and if you brought them to church long enough, surely, Jesus would get their attention. Right? On the surface, missionary dating may seem like a cool idea. But what really happens when we date someone who’s not a Christian to try and change him or her?

1. Nothing good ever started with dishonesty.

If you’ve ever been in a relationship with a person who tried to change you, you probably weren’t too happy when you figured it out. You may have thought, “Why couldn’t he accept me for who I am?” or “Was I not good enough for her?” When we date to convert someone, we aren’t being honest with our intentions.

A foundation of dishonesty sets the tone for what the relationship will look like, even into marriage. Has your relationship been built on a solid foundation of transparency and authenticity between both people? Or have intentions been hidden, with hopes that he or she will understand later on why you weren’t completely honest?

Foundations matter, whether you’re building structures, the church, or relationships. “By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds”  (1 Corinthians 3:9-10). We should be careful how we build our relationships. If we aren’t honest from the beginning, it could crumble at any moment.

2. Your moral values don’t line up.

In dating relationships, it’s important to have similar interests and enjoy spending time with each other. However, if the person you’re dating has a different faith or no faith, it can lead to a more difficult time answering tough questions: Should we live together? Will he go to church with me? Should I pray with her? What are his beliefs on alcohol, sex, lying, or even gender roles? These moral convictions should be considered early in the relationship to determine how well matched you are.

Though missionary dating may seem like a good idea at first, it could cause some serious harm to your own faith. “The righteous choose their friends carefully, but the way of the wicked leads them astray” (Proverbs 12:26).

Anyone can stumble if surrounded by people who hold different values. Protect your faith rather than compromise it for the sake of a relationship.

You should both be heading in the same direction and aiming for the same destination.

3. You’re going against God’s plan for dating (and yes, God has a plan for dating).

While dating might be more of a modern concept, the idea of marriage is probably at the forefront of your mind, especially once a relationship starts to get serious. As the creator of marriage, God has a lot to say about what He intended it to look like. “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers...What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?” (2 Corinthians 6:14-16).

Being equally yoked means being on the same page spiritually. You should both be heading in the same direction and aiming for the same destination. If you and your significant other don’t each love Jesus, you’re not equally yoked.

Dating people into the faith rarely ends well. If you’re dating someone (or thinking about dating someone) in order to bring him or her to Jesus, consider what that might mean for your own faith and the relationship overall. Does that person know your intentions? Are you willing to compromise your beliefs? Think about God’s big picture for your life and what your marriage would look like down the road. After all, that’s what wise dating decisions help you figure out, as you listen to Jesus along the way.

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