The Bible has a lot of guidelines for dating and marriage that some people might scoff at for being irrelevant nowadays.
However, Marshall Segal, executive assistant of Desiring God's John Piper, says that God is still the author of every Christian's love story.
"At every step, look to God, every person's hope for true happiness and the author of every Christian love story, and let your longing for marriage, your prayers, and your life make much of Him," writes Segal in the Desiring God website.
He then shares five "outdated" dating tips for people who are seeking relationships and marriage nowadays:
1. Put the pressure on God, and not yourself.
Segal says that Christians who long to be married but aren't are likely to think that the problem lies in them, so they feel pressured to change and try something new. However, they should consider that God simply wants them to wait while He works.
"God not only joins a husband and a wife (Matthew 19:6), but he brings them to each other. If you're mainly looking to yourself to get married, you've put the pressure in the wrong place. Lean on God while you wait and date," he says.
2. Pursue him or her with an open hand.
When it comes to dating, Segal says Christians should be reminded of the Bible verse Luke 22:42: "Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done."
"Until you say your vows at the altar, know that God may write a different wedding story than you would write for yourself. And with all of his wisdom, power, and love, we have reason to praise him that he does," he says.
3. Pray, and pray, and pray.
People love to pray prayers that are immediately answered, but what if God won't answer prayers until after a year or more? Segal says that maybe God is biding time because He does not want His people to take anything for granted in this life, particularly their spouses.
"He wants all the glory in giving you what's best for you whenever He gives it to you," Segal explains. "If we desire a husband or wife, we should love casting our anxiety and longing on the one who cares for us (1 Peter 5:7; Philippians 4:6–7). Don't start dating without praying, and don't stop praying while you're waiting."
4. Date for more than marriage.
People who are dating who want to be married might view marriage as their "long-awaited promised land," but Segal says this should be avoided because it is wrong to idolise marriage and rest hope and happiness on it rather than on God.
"If you're dating — any given night out or a decade of trying — ends in marriage and not worship, it will be empty and unsatisfying. Date for more than marriage," he says.
5. Look to loved ones for confirmation.
"Lastly, let the people around you who love you confirm he or she is the one," advises Segal. If God blesses a union, He will make it clear to other believers in one's life.
"If people who love you and follow Jesus have serious reservations about your relationship, you should probably have serious reservations, too," he says. "If they are enthusiastic about your relationship and encourage you to get married, you should feel greater peace and confidence about moving forward. Trust God enough to listen to other believers in your life."