1. Romantic love is a gift from God and should be welcomed as such.
In the beginning, before the fall, God observed that people should not be alone and so found it suitable for a man and woman to know each other in an intimate, exclusive, and sexual way (Gen. 2:18; Matthew 19:4-6). It is something to be enjoyed, and the desire to know someone in this manner should not be minimized or ignored. Love and sex are good gifts to be enjoyed within the confines of marriage. There is an entire book of the Bible, Song of Songs, dedicated to the subject of love. In spite of its possible allegorical interpretation, it remains a monument to the sacred place of sexuality in God’s design of humanity.
2. Romantic love is not the be-all end-all, and partners don’t “complete” one another.
Jesus teaches that at the Resurrection, (or in the afterlife) people will not be married (Matthew 22:30). In writing to the Corinthians who were severely confused regarding God’s vision for sexuality, the Apostle Paul elevates celibacy (singleness) to a type of ideal state for carrying out focused, kingdom ministry (1 Corinthians 7:29:31). Love and romance should therefore be understood as a penultimate gift that utterly pales in comparison to the gift of knowing and loving God (Psalm 73:25–26).
3. Romantic relationships should be based on love and mutual submission.
Instead of taking cues from popular culture or the ancient world, the church ought to pursue a model of love as the Bible defines it, which is modeled by Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 13). This love is marked by self-sacrifice and mutual submission (Ephesians 5:21), implying that each person should find their identity primarily in Christ, not in their spouse. Discerning vocations, where to live, etc. should all be prayerfully considered and neither spouse should ever be emotionally or spiritually manipulated into losing his or her personal identity.
4. There is a time for love, and that time is not any-time.
There are seasons when romantic love is not appropriate or perhaps not beneficial for the calling God has for your life (Ecclesiastes 3:8; Solomon 2:7). Practically, this rules out casual dating, dating without discerning marriage as its ultimate goal, or dating a young age. Choosing to practice this kind of purposeful dating is deeply counter-cultural but is an occasion for profound spiritual formation.
5. Your worth is not determined by your relationship status.
Our worth is found in Christ alone (See Ephesians 2:4-7.) Every person is priceless in the eyes of God, and that will never change based on relationship status. Self-worth is often affected by perceived desirability, and that often changes depending on whether we are in a romantic relationship at the time. But, in the eyes of God, you are always loved and cherished.
6. Those who are “seeking” should focus their highest energies on becoming the ideal spouse, not finding the ideal spouse.
In describing the life of the church, the Apostle Paul says that community exists to bring us to full maturation in Christ (Ephesians 4:1-16). Investing in community will help shape God’s people into the character and quality that is attractive in God’s kingdom. Rather than despairing about finding that special someone, focus on faithfully following Jesus. This demonstrates commitment to your future spouse and positions us to respond appropriately when we find that person. Love tends to find us when we least expect it, and a proper order of pursuit (Jesus first) will give a healthy shape to our desire for love.
7. Romantic love is a symbol and pointer to our unique relationship with God.
Scripture is saturated with metaphors of God betrothed to his people. Consider the many voices of the prophets: “Behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her.” (Hosea 2:14; see further, Isaiah 62:5; Jeremiah 2:2; 2 Corinthians 11:2; Revelation 19:7-8) Some Christian traditions even consider marriage to be a sacrament—an outward sign of inward grace. This means that marriage is a gospel signpost, reminding the world of Jesus’ love for his people. Finally, Scripture teaches that Christians should limit their romantic interests to other Christians because of the spiritual and practical implications involved in making a lifelong covenant (1 Corinthians 7:39).