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3 great books about dating

Some years back a fellow came out with a decent enough dating book, but years laters people came out complaining that his book had done serious damage to them. The problem was, they had treated his writing as if it were some sort of 11th Commandment, to be followed without question. That’s a reverence due God’s Words, and no others.

So, the books here are all recommended, but as good books… not as the Good Book. As always, read with discernment.

by John Piper
2018 / 86 pages

I was surprised in college, to learn the kind of questions my secular classmates would ask on a first date. They started off with the topics folks just don’t normally talk about in public: abortion, politics, and religion. But it made sense: if you can’t agree about the biggest issues, then why bother with a second date?

Good questions are why this slim volume, while written for couples, would be a great one for singles too. The first appendix has more than 50 good, get-to-the-heart-of-the-matter questions to help a person evaluate whether their date could be marriage material. Piper uses a lot of we’s, because he is talking to couples, so I’ve recast a few examples using you statements instead:

  • What is your understanding of headship and submission in the Bible and in marriage?
  • What makes you angry?
  • What are your views of daycare for our children?
  • Would there be one checkbook or two? Why?
  • What expectations should we have about situations where one of us might be alone with someone of the opposite sex?
  • Should we have a television?
  • How many children would you like?
  • Would you consider adoption?
  • How will we distinguish between punishment and discipline?

And, as an added bonus, this book can be downloaded for free at

by Kevin DeYoung
2009 / 128 pages

Kevin DeYoung didn’t intend this as a dating book but for Christian young men and women who are waiting on God to point them to their perfect match, this could be just what you need.

Some Christians get themselves all tied up because they believe God has one ideal path for each of our lives, and it’s our job to discover it. That really misunderstands what God expects of us. There isn’t only one right thing we can; we have all sorts of options. We could, for example, decide to have tuna on rye for lunch, or a slice of pizza instead, and either option can be God-honoring.

Of course, where God does reveal His will, we need to listen. So daters-to-be must

  1. use Scripture to rule out some options (don’t date pagans or fools)
  2. use Scripture to establish proper priorities (don’t let pretty rate higher than godly)
  3. turn to your parents (and others) for advice.
  4. pray to God for wisdom.

Will that tell you whether to date godly option #1, tall Theresa, or godly option #2, bold Brenda? Maybe not. But you don’t need to worry. DeYoung you to understand that if you’re following what God tells us in His Word then you can proceed in confidence that you are honoring God with whomever you might date. God’s secret will isn’t ours to know, so we can’t, and don’t need to, consider it.

by Ernie Baker
2016 / 170 pages

I’ve read several dating books, and while some might be a bit funnier, or a quicker read, Marry Wisely, Marry Well is the one I am most certain about. There are a lot of questions when it comes to dating, and Ernie Baker offers cautious answers – he’s trying to not say more than God does – but his answers still provide enough direction to be helpful.

Marry Wisely is not intended for parents to just drop into their teen’s hands – it’s a book to be studied, and probably best studied in a group. I could imagine it being used as the basis of a young people’s study weekend, or maybe by a pastor in some pre pre-marital class for teens. Baker wants to reach and teach young people before they start dating and have a whole mess of emotions clouding their thinking.

So what questions does Baker answer? Things like:

  • What’s God’s purpose for marriage?
  • How can I best use my single years?
  • How do I know if I’m ready?
  • How do I know if he’s the one?

This isn’t a hard or long read, and it offers a lot of valuable guidance to the young man or woman who wants it. But it is probably too meaty, and requires too much effort and study, to be the sort of thing you could spoon-feed teens who aren’t already interested.

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10 questions to discuss when “interviewing” someone for marriage

These 10 questions were crafted for Reformed Harmony by Taylor DeSoto, with the hope that they could provide guidance for prospective couples to get to know one another more deeply. He encourages singles to keep their emotions low at the outset, until compatibility on the most meaningful levels has been established. The questions are reprinted below with DeSoto’s permission, and my commentary accompanies them in the brackets. 1. When did you know your sin and misery and when did you feel the love of Christ in your life? 2. What are the core tenets of your theology? What are the secondary tenets of your theology? (Which issues are important to you, or not?) 3. What political views do you hold?  (Do you have strong views regarding political parties, poverty, abortion, the environment, or list any other topic important to you). 4. How do you view the husband-wife relationship regarding headship, chores, division of labor? 5. What are you passionate about? What are your hobbies? How do you spend your time? 6. How is your relationship with your parents and family? Do you want your parents to be involved in our relationship? 7. How do you serve your church as a single person?  (This is geared to rooting out the people who don’t go to or participate in church in a meaningful way. DeSoto believes that if you are not serving your church while you are single, then you are not going to serve it as a married person OR serve your family). 8. Do you hope to have children, and how many? How do you want to raise them - what type of schooling or catechism? Do you believe in the baptism of infants? 9. What are your deal breakers in a relationship? This covers everything - where to live, job to have, smoking, drinking alcohol, sports - he encourages people to make a list. 10. How do you want to manage finances when married? This includes views on spending money, finances, credit/debt, and how to share assets. DeSoto adds that an eleventh question could be: May I contact your pastor if I want to? This may seem extreme, but if you are going to live with this person for the rest of your life, his or her character should be known objectively, as well as possible. And if you have nothing to hide, why would it bother you?...