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"Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock" (Matt. 7:24 KJV).

In order to begin a marriage on a solid foundation, we must look at the beginning of the dating process. Each individual must have prerequisites for dating. I am often asked, "How old should a person be before he or she starts to date?"

First of all, you must realize that marriage is the ultimate goal of dating. Secondly, you must understand all God's requirements for marriage. Generally speaking, however, you are old enough to date when you've met these four requirements:
  1. You're aware of both the benefits and dangers of dating. In other words, you've considered its advantages and disadvantages before you enter the relationship.
  2. You've worked out a set of personal dating standards from Scripture, which simply means that, in addition to God's standards, you've established your own personal values for choosing the right life-partner.
  3. You've purposed in your heart not to lower your standards, even if it means losing dates or relationships.

    This last prerequisite is especially important because emotions can pull you in the wrong direction if you let them. If you're not careful, they'll automatically decide for you what you'll do in the early stages of a dating relationship.

    But most of the time you don't really see what you're dealing with until you've been dating for at least six months. By then, the initial feelings have begun to wear off and you may find that you want to get out of the relationship. That's when people can get hurt.

    It is much easier to set your standards ahead of time and learn how to control your emotions.
  4. Never, never date someone you won't consider for marriage!

    The main reason for establishing a set of standards before you start to date is so you can seek God apart from the pressures and the emotions of dating. You need that time to determine the sort of person who will be right for you.

    Then you need to settle in your heart that you're not going to let anything or anyone cause you to lower your standards. So once you set your standards, stick to them. You'll both save yourself a lot of time and trouble by refusing to compromise.
  5. When you establish your own personal standards for relationships, God honors that. He will bless you with "Mr. or Miss Right," and when the right one comes along, you will know it!
Scripture References: Matt. 7:24-27

Keith Butler Ministries
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Author Biography

Deborah Butler
Web site: Word of Faith International Christian Center
Pastor Deborah L. Butler serves in ministry with her husband, Bishop Keith A. Butler at Word of Faith International Christian Center in Southfield, MI. She is a licensed and ordained minister of the Gospel.

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