“What do you do for work? Tell me about your family. What did you major in? What’s your go-to driving playlist? Dream vacation destination? Top three bucket list items?”
All questions that let you know more about someone before or during a first date. They’re fun and let you into the inner workings of the person you’re sitting across from. You learn more about their past, who they are now, their goals for the future.
I’m not someone that dates a lot. Like any late 20-something in the current world, I’d love to have a partner. It’s a desire of mine to get married and go on adventures with someone and live on a farm and raise a family. Hopefully that’ll come in time.
For now, I go on dates. Plenty of first dates. That sometimes leads to second and third dates (and I’d reckon 95% of the time to ghosting but that’s an article for another time when I can write why ghosting is the worst without mentally murdering someone). And for some reason – probably because I love spending time with people in deep, vulnerable conversations – first dates fascinate me. Sure, I get that nervous feeling in the pit of my stomach, but I look forward to them when they happen.
I remember hearing a piece of advice when I first started dating as an adult. It was repeated in self-help articles on how to be the best date and lock down a man. How to not seem anything negative: overbearing, pushy, too confident, too opinionated. That advice? Two things not to talk about on a first date – politics and religion.
If you’re reading this article, I’m going to guess you’re Christian, or leaning that way. Maybe you’re a lifelong follower of Jesus or maybe you’re just coming back to it. Maybe this is brand new to you and you’re turning a new page in your life. No matter what, Christian dating can be extremely strange and difficult (can I get an amen from all the single folk?).
Many Christians, myself included, are trying to find a biblical spouse. Someone who follows the same Book as you, is pursuing a relationship with Jesus, and trying to be the best disciple possible. You want to have a relationship with someone on the same path as you and to marry a strong Christian. You want to date someone who holds the same convictions – studying Scripture, praying, growing in spiritual disciplines, waiting til marriage for sex.
Why wait to find all this out after a few dates? Maybe I’m just tired of getting three dates in before finding out I’m not on the same page as someone (yeah – I’m still a little salty about getting ghosted from these situations), but maybe it’s also just good practice to talk about your faith with a stranger.
Maybe you’re like me and you’ve attempted to date non-Christians because let’s face it – sometimes it’s hard to date within your church walls. Or maybe you don’t have a church community just yet. Or maybe because gosh dangit you just want to date anyone (guilty as charged). For me, dating non-Christians went very NOT great. And left me feeling like I was trying to fill a gap that could only be filled by God.
So you re-focus and prioritize on dating only Christians. You meet someone cute at church. Or in the current dating world, you swipe right on them. Some apps make this easy nowadays with a specific prompt for religious affiliation and settings you can put in place to filter to a specific one. It still takes some digging and discernment, but eventually you have a conversation and land a first date with someone labeled “Christian.”
It isn’t very deep choosing that on a profile. So let’s dig deeper.
You don’t have to be *that* Christian and ask flat out. Look back at those questions at the very top of this article – they’re fun and lighthearted. And talking about your faith in Jesus should be just as easy! Ask things like:
What do your weekends look like? What do you do on Saturdays and Sundays?
This opens up the conversation to what church you both attend and what worship services look like. You can talk about what teams you both serve on, what their favorite part of church community is, and why they attend the church they do. You get to talk about yours and the same reasons you love it. Maybe even some other churches you both hopped around before finding the fit for you. You also get a solid look into what their life is like around the typical Sunday morning. What are they doing the day leading up to time in church community? Are they hanging with friends and family? Playing intramural sports? Brunching with the squad? Going out to bars? And what do their Sunday afternoons look like? Are they battling the Sunday scaries and getting ready for the week ahead, or knocked out on the sofa for a long nap? Not only is a great introduction to your faith lives BUT you also get a great insight into their lives outside of the workweek and how yours could potentially line up.
What do you do for fun after work each day?
This open-ended question lets you both share what you do for fun – happy hours with friends, Bible study or small groups, running or cycling on the local trails, going to support local restaurants or live music. If either or both of you are part of groups, you can talk about what book you’re reading or how close your group is. What book of the Bible you’re currently digging through. It’s a double-whammy question – it opens up the conversation to your hobbies/interests/passions and what their spiritual growth looks like throughout the week. Boom.
What artists do you listen to the most? What genres do you love?
While this can stay in the secular world, it might open up to a cool conversation on the variety of styles in worship music and all the different Christian artists out there – from Chris Tomlin to Needtobreathe or Andy Mineo to Kings Kaleidoscope. This is a go-to of mine because I’m a big fan of live music and love getting to share about my and learn about their favorite concert experiences to date.
Those three questions are just the beginning. If the conversation flows on about growing up in church and current pop culture, ask things like:
And if you’re feeling like going *deeper* and having some vulnerable moments with your date (disclaimer – you definitely want to feel this out; don’t want to be too vulnerable, especially if they aren’t comfortable and if you’re not feeling it):
And to end – two things I think you definitely shouldn’t ask on a first date, or really until you’ve established a relationship with them:
Why not ask these? These are better suited for small groups and trusted leaders. Prayer requests can be very vulnerable and are better suited for someone they have an existing relationship with. It also ties you both together in a more intimate way than is established. Yes – many prayer requests are simple and easy to follow up on: hard project at work, health scare, an important interview – but my advice is still to wait until you’re a few dates in and can trust the person with something like that.
No matter the end result of that first date – because we all know it could lead to a second or just end there – hopefully you get to have some great conversations that let you know their heart. Get to know your date better, have an authentic conversation on faith, and ultimately – have fun!
Kat is a full-time ministry worker and has a passion for sharing the Gospel in creative ways. You can find her spending her weekends outdoors and on crazy adventures, reading a new book every week, attempting to perfect the art of making lattes, listening to all things indie and alternative, and binge watching Marvel, Star Wars, and action dramas.