How Would Jesus Date?

“Who would Jesus date?” is, I think, a question that has already been asked, and I might sound off on that sometime, but this post (including the title) is being dictated almost entirely by the Matchmaker, who likes to ask intriguing questions and then suggest that I blog about them. And the title question is the one that he’s asking. I pretty much think he should just get his own blog, but I doubt that’s really going to happen, so I hope I can do his question justice. He says to tell you that you’re not allowed to steal this title because it’s going to be the name of my next book. You never know. He might be right.

If you’ve been paying attention, you know that the Matchmaker is an agnostic of Orthodox Jewish background. He married a Jewish woman to make his parents happy and it was not a success, and he claims that his dating experiences with other Jewish women subsequently have not gone well–that in his experience they’re brusque and rude, in contrast to women of other faiths he has dated. He has this theory that Jewish parents raise their sons and daughters in such a way that they are fundamentally incompatible with each other, and he is wondering how people of other faiths find their coreligionists to be, in the dating realm.

Particularly, I guess he is wondering if there is a corresponding habitual “type” of response among Christian men and women to each other in the context of dating. Are they kinder to each other than other people who don’t claim to follow Jesus, or are they like the Jewish women the Matchmaker has reached out to? Are there any distinguishing characteristics among Christian daters? Maybe–can we genuinely see Christ reflected in each others’ actions?

This might be a difficult question for life-long evangelical Christians to answer, at least in terms of comparison, because we typically hold to the idea that we should only marry other Jesus-lovers, and so it’s possible that many of us have only ever dated other Christians and can’t compare them to dating people of other or no faith. (Okay–you all know I’m not included in that “us,” but . . . some people are.) But before I sound off my own opinions (if, indeed, I do), I (and the Matchmaker) am curious to know about your experiences with this. What do you think? How do you think Jesus would treat a date? And have you been treated that way? And do you treat others that way? I wish I did more. I’ve been mulling this over a lot since the Matchmaker mentioned it. It’s a good question, I think.

Stories, please.

17 thoughts on “How Would Jesus Date?

  1. Or would Jesus date? Which begs the question, why do we date? Obviously the Bible tells us we were created to be together, but I find it difficult to correlate that with any analogy that places Christ in a position where He was seeking some sort of fulfillment apart from, in lieu of or even next to His relationship with his Father. I’ll admit my own preconceptions leave me somehow shortsighted in spite of my desire to broaden my mind. My own weakness plays out in that I can Identify with “Paul’s” words “indeed it would be better if you did not Marry” not that I abhor marriage, I am Happily Married and perhaps your not asking about Marriage? I automatically jump to marriage when one says dating because I equate dating with marriage in that I believe there isn’t any other reason to date, is there?

    When I was dating my now wife neither one of us were really lovers of Jesus, although I had made a confession of faith my basis for interaction with my girlfriend could not be considered some how spiritually minded with any credible evidence. We were two broken people who found a lot of commonality in our life situations which eventually grew to be a bond that was re-enforced at a point where God did some amazingly, unexciting to the outside world, but foundational work inside us. I thank God for that work and am humbled by it still. So asking me “How Would Jesus Date ” leads me inexplicably to the conclusion that Jesus would be looking for a wife, yet He was perfectly and completely in unison already and would have no need.

    Rhetorical ideology here would lead down a slightly different path, but not that different. I think ultimately I cannot get past the relationship of the Trinity and it’s completeness ….I guess I’m stuck

    • Ummm . . . okay. This wasn’t meant to be this confusing really. Perhaps I should have dispensed with the title after all. More blogging will happen about this topic for clarification and because I have other thoughts, but:

      Obviously Jesus DIDN’T date. But some Christians do, and, despite the Paul-verses you mention (as does Sheri over on facebook), AND despite “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” by Josh Harris, I don’t think dating is really unbiblical. Extra-biblical maybe. In previous posts here I’ve intimated that I kind of wished Christians in the West maintained the arranged-marriage structure because it would make adhering to some of the other passages easier. But we haven’t, so in the meantime, MOST Christians who want to get married are going to date.

      Even though Jesus didn’t date and a case can be made that He never would, a case can also be made that, unless dating in general is disobedient, there must be a “Christlike” way to do it. The question is, is that HOW Christians date? Particularly anybody who is still in the dating realm (which may not be anybody I actually know anymore, who also reads this blog anyway)–what are your experiences with dating Christians? Do we live up to the name? (I mean, the name of Christ, not the negative stereotypes that often go along with the word “Christian.”)

      I think what the Matchmaker in particular is trying to find out is, are Christians kinder than other people in these sorts of scenarios?

  2. Well, you probably remember that when I started dating my husband (to whatever extent we dated) I was not a Christian, and when I became a Christian I was already in a relationship with a Christian so the dating thing hasn’t come up for me. And for anyone else reading this, I am a very strong advocate against Christians dating nonChristians, because I was in a relationship for all the wrong reasons, willing to live a lie for the young man I was dating (pretend to be a Christian), and if I didn’t have very poor self esteem I probably wouldn’t have wanted to stay in the relationship (“You’ll always be number 2 in my life” isn’t exactly a pick up line, though as a Christian it’s exactly what one would want to hear).

    I will skip over the “Would Jesus date?” question, which I think was answered not too differently than I would here and on facebook, and go to the philosophical question at hand.

    I can see a couple options.

    Jesus takes his friend on a service date. They serve in a soup kitchen together, or sort clothes at the Salvation Army, or visit a sick friend in a hospital. It’s not a traditionally romantic sort of thing, but serving together builds closeness and camaraderie, and gives you something to do while you get to know each other.

    Jesus and his friend just sit and talk, sitting outside, or in a boat. They end up talking for hours, or sometimes just sitting silently together. His friend feels like he knows her so well and he really listens, like he brings out the best in her. And unless she was really persistent in asking him to open up, she realizes afterward that while she knows a lot more about herself, she doesn’t know that much more about him.

    Jesus takes his friend on the date of her dreams. Whatever she enjoys–eating out, dancing, shopping, movies, a ball game–that’s where they go and what they do. He gives her the time of her life and even if he doesn’t love what they’re doing for its own sake, he loves it because she is radiantly happy and her happiness gives him pleasure. He makes her feel like a princess, like one of the guys, like somebody important, like his best friend all at once. She has the absolute most perfect date she’s ever imagined, and probably felt stretched as well, as Jesus encouraged her to be all she could be and do the right thing and show kindness to everyone, even though she probably was already kind and good.

    (Although maybe he would date the most stuck-up, obnoxious, mean, unlovable woman out there just to show her a better way and help her realize she had the potential to be kind and good.)

    • I LOVE your hypotheticals, Jessi! (Thanks for your honesty, too). I think you’re right on.

      Also, your parenthetical aside at the end is sort of intriguing. I was thinking about that last night–I think Jesus’ “date” (for “marriage”) is the Church, and probably the Church can fit both those descriptions (kind and good, and obnoxious, mean and unlovable). You know?

      • Jesus has “courted” each of us. 🙂

        You’re a fan of Hosea, so I’d say, it could be the most unlovable woman Jesus would choose… or maybe someone who just thought herself unlovable.

  3. “He has this theory that Jewish parents raise their sons and daughters in such a way that they are fundamentally incompatible with each other”

    I’m not entirely sure whether this isn’t also true of (most) Christians – especially those in a majority Christian culture.

    Who would Jesus date ? I’ve seen this take a mawkish turn when discussed in real life – I think a lot of people confuse indulgence with generousity.

    • I’ll be honest–the first time he brought up the “Jewish incompatibility” thing, I had the same thought you mentioned.

      I’ve never seen the “who would Jesus date” question discussed in real life, but can agree that indulgence and generosity can be confused.

  4. Great Questions.
    My thoughts on the abstract/theological side is that since we all agree that Jesus didn’t date, one of the more fruitful arenas for us to look is Jesus love and treatment of His church. Since it is repeatedly referred to his bride, and generally the symbolic wedding is seen as happening upon his return, in some sense Jesus can be said to dating the church.
    I’m tempted to try and extrapolate something out of this. But I’m still processing what it might mean, so any ramifications I initially see are likely to be ones that I later recognize as goofy. So on the philosophical side, I’ll just throw that idea out there: How Jesus would date is probably represented by how he treats the church.

    On the more pragmatic side, While dating, I was not a Christian. Yet I dated a fairly large proportion of Christian girls. I’ve never much wondered why that is. As I think about it now, I think I wanted something of the relationship they had with God. I was also a pseudo-rebel. I was safer than a “real” rebel but my long hair and darwin fish bumper stickers were enough for these girls to offend their parents and feel like they were living on the edge.
    A fundamental difference that I can note, both between dating partnerts and also in myself before and after Christ is that generally, non Christian’s standard for right and wrong is something like “If it isn’t hurting anybody else, it’s o.k. to do.” This makes it a little more o.k. to engage in self-destructive behaviors. It makes it a lot more o.k. for a person to harbor feelings and thoughts that aren’t particularly good ones. For example, I used to think that my thoughts were my own property and business; as long as I acted nicely toward others, if I was blowing them up in my imagination that was perfectally o.k.
    Unfortunately, this means that non-Christians often own their ugly feelings, experience them for a little while, and then get past them. I think we Christians sometimes just deny these feelings, push them away and ignore them instead of turning them over to Jesus. As a result, we can become nasty and unpleasant as we try to live in denial of things we haven’t really dealt with,

  5. Without giving this a whole lot of thought, my reaction is that the apostle Paul probably nailed it on the head when he said that it is good not to marry. (1 Corinthians 7). Verses 32 & 33 elaborate: an unmarried person is concerned about …the Lord’s affairs. Because Jesus was Supremely concerned about the Lord’s affairs, I doubt that He gave much attention to the issue as applied to Himself. You can read the whole chapter to get Paul’s context. But who would Jesus date? His “dates” were with tax collectors and sinners. His concern was eternal, not sexual.
    Lest I’ve raised flags about my personal opinion about marriage or my own marriage, let me assure you: I adore my husband and continue to be happily married in spite of the challenges two sinners have when they go through life together. I recommend it if it’s in God’s will. How do you know? Ask Him! Then trust and obey.

    • I kind of think in Jesus’ case “the Lord’s affairs” was one big attempt to woo a people to Himself–one big romance. Jeff (above) is right on that the primary metaphor for Christ and the Church is marriage. True, the concern was, as you say, “eternal, not sexual,” but I’m not sure that His pursuit of people in love was or is entirely different from the pursuit of a spouse–after all, the Church is called His Bride. Since the “marriage” has not yet been “consummated” with His return, one could probably make the case that we’re still dating. 😉

      I appreciate your point/reminder about “the challenges two sinners have when they go through life together.” That’s probably something to unpack in another post, and is certainly relevant to the question.

  6. I think as others have alluded to here, the question is not “How would Jesus date?” but “How would Jesus have us date?” (Similarly, WWJD doesn’t always work, as Jesus is the Son of God and we are not, so responses sometimes take different, although similar paths).

    Based on my limited experience, I will say that dating weak or “cultural” Christians is just as dangerous for a strong Christian gal (and perhaps even more so) as dating nonChristians. Aside from looking for someone who is moving “in the same direction at about the same pace,” how would Jesus have us date? I’d say following many of the same principles that God gives a married couple–see 1 Cor. 13. One of the most valuable lessons I learned from failed relationships is that I can’t wait until the ring is on my finger to start learning what it means to be a godly wife. If I wanted to find a guy worth marrying, I needed to be a woman worth marrying.

  7. Good points about our responses taking different but similar paths to Jesus’. I still like Jessi’s imaginings (and have, in fact, experienced a date similar to at least one of those). But I also heartily agree with your final point. (Actually, the previous points, too, but the heartiness is particularly strong with the last bit. 😉 ) That’s an idea I ponder with varying frequency, but have been thinking about a lot lately. I’m certainly not going to claim I’ve achieved “how would Jesus have us date” status. Although I’d like to be able to!

  8. Wow! This is a wonderful palate of responses. Looking back when I first responded I perhaps went more to the literal side of the question. Although admittedly I had some thoughts about how someone would date who loved Christ deeply, and yet still sensed he was to meet and share his life with someone!
    It is certainly a complex topic. As Jessi alluded to earlier, the date Jesus would go on would be perfect…or would it? As I think on the dysfunctions out there, yes if Jesus were there He would know and understand every nuance and would lead and react exactly in the right ways. We I think want to, especially in the beginning, we put the very best foot forward but it takes two. As a person of faith there is some tough things that go on in the dating realm. I think we battle between what we want and what is right. Pure motives to love, that is put the others needs before your own(that’s what Jesus would do) is the standard and striving in that direction isn’t a bad thing but it is in my opinion anyway, a hard thing, and one we struggle with. Being in a strong relationship (man or woman) with Jesus is a basis for proper perspective as we date always looking to Christ to strengthen us and lead us…..in the end I like to think about the “Father’s Heart” His desire to give you the best, not your best, “His”, He is not looking for you to be bound but to be free! The right life partner will make that difference.

  9. After reading this my first response is simply that Jesus wouldn’t date. However, if He did, the first question is Who would he date? But again, this isn’t what The Matchmaker was asking. I don’t know that faith-based dating can be quantified. The first thing that has to be considered is if the person you are on a date with truly believes and lives out their faith experience in a daily practical manner. This could be said if someone who calls themselves Buddhist, Jewish, Christian, Scientologist, etc.

    i have been on many dating websites, both “Christian” and secular. my profile on both are the same and emphasize my faith, because it is central to my life. i find it interesting, that in general, i’ve experienced more genuine “Christians” from secular sites than i have from the “Christian” sites. In particular the only women who i have experienced lying on their profile or in person, i have met on “Christian” websites.

    The first step is to find someone who truly shares your core values and desires, no matter your religious affiliation. In my decades as a Pastor and Counselor this seems to always be a determining factor to “smoother” waters, especially in eventual marriage. Equally yoked, if you will. Likewise, it’s been the determining factor for smoother dating. The women i have dated who aligned in this manner i remain terrific friends with.

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