Anybody can say they love Jesus, or that they're a Christian, for that matter. But when you've got stars in your eyes and love is filling your heart, how do you know if the object of your affection is the real deal or not? The Bible doesn't talk about the kind of dating relationships we see today; in fact, the only romantic relationships written in the Bible's history are either marriage relationships or adulterous relationships. Does this mean that there's nothing to learn about dating from the Bible? Actually, there's a lot we can figure out about what a boyfriend should be, based upon these real stories.
First and foremost, a Christian boyfriend should be a man you plan to marry—or at least someone who would make a good Christian husband. You want to look for someone who is serious about God and serious about his relationship with you. He isn't going to be a guy who just dates girls for fun; he has marriage in mind, too. You're so much more than just a "fun date"!
The Bible is full of verses that describe what a Christian man should be like. If you were going to make a "wish list" for a potential husband, this would be an excellent place to start. To fall in love with someone and then discover he is not spiritually qualified to be your mate is to invite heartache and put yourself in a very challenging place.
Keep in mind that nobody is perfect, and no one can meet every criterion that God has laid out for us (Romans 3:23). We can't expect everyone to meet a standard we could never meet ourselves. That said, a Christian boyfriend should still be willing to listen to God and follow His will for his life, even if he struggles in some areas.
Humble and teachable: The Bible says that a righteous man, or a wise man, will take instruction gladly, even when it's painful to hear (Psalm 141:5; Proverbs 9:9; 12:15). A righteous man shows a willingness to be corrected by Scripture. He'll also have a tendency to love and listen to those who can teach him from the Bible.
Honest: The tired old phrase "actions speak louder than words" still holds true. Do his actions agree with his words? Do his promises have integrity? The Bible says that a righteous man is characterized by honesty in his personal relationships and professional situations (Ephesians 4:28). When he makes a promise, he keeps his promise—even when it hurts (Psalm 15:2-5).
Selfless: The Bible speaks specifically to husbands in Ephesians 5:25-28, telling them to love their wives as they love their own bodies, just like Christ loved the church and gave His life for her. A Christian boyfriend should begin to exhibit this kind of care and love for his girlfriend long before he even talks about marriage. Love is easy at the beginning of a relationship, but a Christian boyfriend should be the kind of man whose behavior and intentions will be loving no matter what (1 John 3:18).
Ready and willing to provide: First Timothy 5:8 says, "A man who doesn't provide for his family is worse than an unbeliever." Now, provision doesn't necessarily mean "bring in a huge paycheck." The real provision comes from taking responsibility for the welfare of his wife and children. Did you catch that? A Christian man will take responsibility for those whom God puts in his care. A man who has no desire to provide is very hard to respect, and if a wife has a hard time respecting her husband, their problems will only get worse. A woman's respect for her man and a man's love for his wife must both be present in order to make a relationship work (Ephesians 5:25-32).
Ready and willing to protect: Sorry, girls, but both physically and emotionally, females tend to be weaker and more easily hurt than men. Yes, there are exceptions, but didn't you ever play princess, pretending that a knight in shining armor would rescue you from a dragon? That desire comes from our deep need to be protected. Women need to be understood and protected and cared for in an intentional way. A good Christian boyfriend wants to be your knight in shining armor; he's a man who will look out for and care for you and carry this passion for protecting you into marriage (1 Peter 3:7).
Okay, so those are some of the good things to look for. Here are a few negative things to watch out for: a love of "stuff" and things (1 John 2:15-16; 1 Timothy 6:10); lying (Proverbs 12:22, 19:22); sexual unfaithfulness, including premarital sex and pornography (Ecclesiastes 7:26; Proverbs 7); and poor treatment of family members, especially his mom (Proverbs 15:20, 19:26; 20:20; 23:22). Odd as it sounds, usually a man's treatment of his mother is a good indication of how he will treat his future wife.
Also, watch out for irrational, controlling, or jealous tendencies, as these often lead to violence (Proverbs 6:34; 27:4). If you see signs of violence in your boyfriend, get out of that relationship immediately. He's so not worth it.
Finally, a Christian boyfriend is one who is evenly matched with you. First, in the spiritual sense—a couple's relationship with God should be number one in their minds. Believers are commanded to marry other believers (2 Corinthians 6:14), so there is no reason to be dating someone who does not believe in and follow God. But a couple should also be evenly matched in more practical aspects, like having similar temperaments and energy levels. They might have shared life-goals and hobbies or interests. These things add tremendously to happiness in a relationship.
On a final note, if a man has a good sense of humor and a steady, cheerful disposition, that can carry you through a lot of troubles. Nobody can be "up" all the time, but a man who displays the peace and joy of the Holy Spirit is a total win-win. I used to say that whoever I was going to marry had to have a sense of humor because after his good looks turned old, bald, and wrinkled, he would still be able to make me laugh. Life is hard, and marriage is hard, too. There will always be times of sadness or conflict, but a cheerful, encouraging spouse can make going through it so much easier (Proverbs 16:24; 17:22; 15:30).
Firstly, a Christian boyfriend should be a man you plan to marry—or at least someone who would make a good Christian husband. He should be serious about God and serious about his relationship with you. He isn't going to be a guy who just dates for fun; he has marriage in mind, too. While not everybody is perfect, these are some qualities that are good signs that he's on the right track to becoming a godly man: humble, teachable, honest, selfless, willing to provide and protect, and shows control over his anger and physical desires. And don't forget that a good sense of humor will get any couple through a lot of hard times. ☺
Cat is the web producer and editor of 412teens.org. She loves audiobooks, feeding the people she cares about, and using Christmas lights to illuminate a room. When Catiana is not writing, cooking, or drawing, she enjoys spending time with her two kids, five socially-awkward cats, and her amazing friend-amily.