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How Should a Christian Date? - Eric Demeter

Building Relationships / Dr. Gary Chapman
The Truth Network Radio
November 6, 2021 1:00 am

How Should a Christian Date? - Eric Demeter

Building Relationships / Dr. Gary Chapman

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November 6, 2021 1:00 am

No matter what you may have heard, God didn’t mandate a divine way to date. On today's Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, Eric Demeter (DEM uh tuhr) says the issue is not as complicated as you may think. But there are principles from God’s Word that deal with your dating life.

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Today on Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, a fresh look at dating and the Christian.

Anything worth doing, whether it's going to school, finding your calling, all that takes work and it probably will take a few days at least for you to meet that right person. But again, God wants to empower you with His grace and partner with you in that search. Welcome to Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, author of the New York Times bestseller, "The 5 Love Languages" . Today our guest says you can toss the rule book about Christian dating out the window. It's not as complicated as we've made it to be. So says Eric Demeter, who has written our featured resource today, How Should a Christian Date?

You can find it at And Gary, when we open the phone lines each month and you answer questions, this is one of the recurring questions that you're asked, isn't it? Absolutely, Chris.

A lot of singles listen to the program and they have questions about dating as well as other relationships. So I'm excited about our conversation today with Eric. Let me introduce him.

Eric Demeter, D-E-M-E-T-E-R, is a relationship and conflict resolution specialist with Advanced Studies in Mediation, Peacemaking and Negotiation from the Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver and Peacemaker Ministries. He's currently a missionary with Youth with a Mission, or YWAM, based in Athens, Greece, where he disciples young people from the Middle East and teaches conflict resolution and healthy relationships to YWAM staff and missionary students. His experiences growing up, listening to heavy metal, working alongside ex-convicts and being raised in the Roman Catholic tradition, give him the ability to connect well with people of diverse belief systems.

You're going to hear that today. He considers every reader a friend and challenges everyone to become more like Christ in everything they do. So if you go to, you'll see our featured resource, How Should a Christian Date? It's not as complicated as you think.

You can find it at Well, Eric, welcome to Building Relationships. Thanks so much for having me. Now, you have a wide range of life experiences, as Chris just shared.

Tell us a little about yourself and why this topic is something you're so passionate about. Yeah, you know, I had a mentor, a wonderful mentor, said that he passed away at an early age, but he was a professor of family therapy. And he took me under his wing in 2000, 2001. And he just poured into me, was really helpful in my healing process, taught me how to date well, taught me how to communicate well.

His passion for relationships was contagious. So I think that that affected me a lot. And I saw when I became a Christian at 21, I looked at Christian dating and I was a Christian dater myself.

And I saw that there were some gaps. I read some really, really good books. And I saw that I could also contribute to the conversation with my unique experience. Well, you know, many of us are familiar with YWAM.

And as Chris said, you spend a lot of your time in Athens, Greece, and you spend some time here in the States. So we're just delighted that we can have this conversation with you today. You know, just speak a word to Christian singles who are out there. I think a lot of them sometimes feel like they're left out when they go to church, that the pastors preach on marriage and parenting. They don't usually have sermons to single adults.

So just say a word of encouragement to them. Yeah, that you're a whole person, whether you're married or not. You can be just as mature and complete being single as you are married. Sometimes the church touts marriage as the be all and end all, and you've sort of arrived in life. But just because you're married doesn't make you mature. It just makes you married.

So you can lead as fulfilling of a life and serve God, love people, love, you know, your friends, your family, and lead a really rich life, whether you're single or decide to get married. Yeah, well, you mentioned earlier that you've read a lot of books on dating from a Christian perspective. But what have we gotten wrong, typically, about dating from the Christian world perspective?

I want to speak into that. At the same time, I have to be very humble in my criticism because I'm part of that Christian single dating crowd. I think one of the things that we do, though, is we over-spiritualize our language. We kind of use God at times. So instead of just saying, Hey, I like you.

Would you want to go out on a date? And I've heard of some people, instead of you seeing that clear question, say stuff like, God told me this and God told me that. I see that God might have spoken to you, and that's great. And I never want to challenge how someone heard from God because maybe they did. But the thing is that that kind of over-spiritual language is not helpful in dating.

So we need to be clear, and we need to speak from our heart. Because I don't know really any woman that wants to hear, God told me to ask you out. I think that woman would say, Well, that's great that God thinks that, but what do you think? Because it probably communicates, I didn't really want to do this, but God told me to do it.

Yeah, yeah. And when we break up, sometimes we play the God card and say, God didn't give me peace about you, or God said that I'm not going to marry you. Again, maybe God did.

But people want to know what you think. And so we sort of use God as a hook to get what we want, and we can use him as an escape hatch when we want out. So you don't believe that God has given us ten commandments of dating? You know, I like to say that God didn't invent dating that we did, our culture did, but he definitely still cares about how we get there.

He cares about the process. I mean, God created marriage and he loves marriage, he loves relationships, and he uses dating for better or for worse to get people married. But yeah, the Bible primarily focuses on marriage and who to look for in a spouse. And I talk about how to actually date, and I think God gives us a big yard. You know, if you think of like a big yard, God gives us a lot of options and different ways to date, different ways to meet people. But there is a fence, and that's God's moral boundary. So I think that within that fence, within God's best, within the scriptural mandates, we are free to try different ways of dating and see what works for us.

Yeah. Why do you think there's so much confusion about dating in the Christian world? That's a good question. I think that there's a lack of teaching. I haven't heard many sermons on singleness and on dating. I've heard maybe one or two on singleness from the pulpit.

I've heard one or two, but not any on dating. And I think that the church has such an opportunity to invest in the lives of singles and those who are dating. So I think we need some good teaching, some good preaching. Often churches, they definitely care about marriages. They care about when couples get engaged, but I think that they enter the relationship too late.

So I think that they need to enter in and disciple singles who are dating before their reach engagement. Thanks for joining us for Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, author of the New York Times bestseller, "The 5 Love Languages" . If you'd like to know more about our guest or learn your love language, go to our website, Today, Eric Demeter is helping singles. Our featured resource is his book, How Should a Christian Date? It's Not as Complicated as You Think. Find out more at our website,

That's Eric, you mentioned earlier that dating is a cultural thing. That is, it's not found in all cultures of the world.

We have, of course, in the Western world. What do you think is the value of dating or what is the purpose of dating from your perspective or a Christian perspective? Yeah, I think that the value is that you get to know someone in hopefully a safe environment and you get to go on different dates and that helps you choose. I mean, if we were raised in a culture where prearranged marriages was the norm, then I think we would do it totally different.

They actually commit first as opposed to we sort of have a slow, you know, a slow burn. So there are pluses and minuses to both. And I would say that the main benefit of dating is you get to build that friendship with someone and learn about them before you actually commit for marriage. And that learning can be true even if the dating relationship does not lead to marriage, Yeah, all healthy dating is beneficial.

You can learn a lot about yourself, about what you value. So even if the relationship doesn't make it to marriage done in the right way, you will be at a good place and be ready for that next person. And hopefully it won't take too many dates.

It will probably take some. But leaving a dating relationship well will prepare you for the next one. Yeah. How is your book different from some of the other dating books that are out there? Well, for one, I wasn't a Christian until I was 21. So I dated outside the church. Then when I became a Christian, I dated inside the church.

So I feel that God's given me the ability through His grace to speak to new Christians, you know, and to even speak to those outside the church, but also being a Christian now for over 20 years that I can speak to those that have been following Jesus for quite a while. Yeah. And there's many good dating books. Your book, Five Love Languages, I quote that in my book.

So that's an amazing one. I go into not just who to date. You know, a lot of dating books talk about, oh, these are the red flags. You know, these are the things to watch out for. This is what the Bible says about sex.

Those are all great. I talk about those things, but I just don't talk about who to date. I talk about how to date. Well, why is it important that Christians get dating right? Well, we want to glorify God, you know, in everything that we do.

You know, 1 Corinthians 10, where Paul is saying that, so whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, you can glorify God. So whether your dating is messy and often it is or imperfect, we can glorify God. Practically, we can save ourselves pain. I like to say, you know, you don't have to commit all your own mistakes because I made plenty of them for you. You can't remove all of the pain in dating.

There will always be risk, but there are things that we can do to save ourselves pain, and there are things that we can do that can make it easier. What do you think are some of the things that especially Christian daters end up getting wrong? Well, I'm going to say something that might be controversial, that two strong Christians don't necessarily form a good relationship, and that's the mentality that things must work, you know, that I'm a solid Christian, they're a solid Christian, and that some way that that equals a good relationship. But I like to say a relationship is a relationship, so it's how you relate.

And just because they follow Jesus and you follow Jesus, of course, that's the foundation that you definitely want to start with, but that doesn't equal a good relationship. I mean, I talk about a cheesecake, you know, in my book, and with the right ingredients baked in the oven, you have an amazing cheesecake. But I like wasabi too.

But wasabi is a great ingredient, but it goes well on sushi, not on cheesecake. So you can have two strong Christians that don't necessarily form a life-giving relationship. Yeah. In other words, you can have the same commitment to Christ, but there's a lot of other aspects to life under his control, obviously, but that if we're going to have good relationships, those things are important also. So you say in your book that we don't always have to call it a date. You don't have to use that word in order to go out on what we think of as a date. Why do you make that point? Well, I like to talk about the nuance of dating because there are gray areas. One reason is that different cultures mean, you know, understand dating to be different. I know in Greece that the evangelical couples, they don't announce that they're dating until they're engaged because to say you're dating means that you're actually having sex. So it's like, yeah.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-26 19:43:49 / 2023-07-26 19:49:24 / 6

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