The Christian Broadcasting Network


13 Steps to Successful Dating

New Life Ministries – Drs. Henry Cloud and John Townsend offer this advice from their book, God Will Make a Way: Personal Discovery Guide.

1. Begin with pursuing God (Matthew 6:25-34) and become the healthiest person you can become.

2. Get your relationship needs met outside the dating context.

3. Learn your patterns (old relationship patterns from your original family, seeking completion for something you lack in yourself, idealistic wishes for yourself, inability to set boundaries, fear of closeness or intimacy) and work on them so you do not repeat them.

4. Date according to a few nonnegotiable values (faith, honesty, sexual purity, etc.). Avoid vileness, faithlessness, perversity, slander, evil, pride, deceit, and lying.

5. Expand your tastes. Be open to going out with people who you would normally not have on your list.

6. Be yourself from the beginning. Don't adapt to what you think the other person will like. Be who you are and give the other person the freedom to do the same.

7. Don't put up with bad behavior, and set good boundaries.

8. Take your time. You would not allow a stranger into your house without proper identification, but many people allow virtual strangers into their hearts, minds, souls, and bodies.

9. Stay connected in other relationships. Members of your support system are the ones who are most objective about the people you are dating.

10. Get active. Network with friends and family, pursue the things you enjoy, join others who have the same need, use your gift of hospitality, and do something structured.

11. Look in the mirror. Is something about your personality, behavior, or the way you come across to others getting in the way of meeting people?

12. Keep yourself sexually pure. Honor sex as something holy and keep it confined to the marriage relationship.

13. Abide in God - and have fun! God is the one who will make a way, so walk with Him daily. Pray about your dating life and ask Him what He wants you to do.

Excerpted from God Will Make a Way: Personal Discovery Guide by Drs. Henry Cloud and John Townsend.

Used by permission of New Life Ministries. New Life Ministries has a variety of resources on men, women, and relationships. Call 1-800-NEW-LIFE or visit

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