10 Commandments of Dating | Notes & Review

Ben Young & Sam Adams. The 10 Commandments of Dating (Student Edition). Thomas Nelson, 2004. (127 pages)

An extensive outline of the Original Edition is available at Listology. (The Ten Commandments of Dating: Time-Tested Laws for Building Successful Relationships. Thomas Nelson, 2008)


A very practical read, obviously, and one that I actually recommend. Now to the disclaimer.

I personally have hesitations with recommending books like this for a couple reasons (all of which are exhibited in this book). One, they’re often too pragmatic, which can draw too much focus and attention on the “dating” rather than the “commandments” and the “principles” of the dating (it’s the “that which you give attention, you give power” principle). That is a predisposition for any book of this genre. Sometimes I wish we would focus more on the driving truths of reality, and then apply them to practical situations, rather than address practical situations from which we grab at various truths of reality. Maybe it’s iterative, and I’m just complaining. Second, the Bible is often proof-texted after-the-fact. In other words, the principles are decided upon, and then Scriptures are sought out to substantiate the pre-determined principles. Third, and most honestly, I just like books that go deeper, and practical dating books are not in that category.

However, we started using this book for our high school curriculum, crafting and writing material around the basic framework and commandments, and I’ve been thankful for the resource. I believe it can be very helpful for those struggling in the world of dating. Here are the commandments, with very brief summary notes.

COMMANDMENT #1: Thou Shalt Get A Life. Those that don’t risk living the “un-life,” which can be characterized by desperation, dependency, and/or depression. Fundamental principle: dating is not (and should never become) your life. Love yourself the way God loves you.

COMMANDMENT #2: Thou Shalt Use Your Brain. While there’s value in romance, feelings, and emotions, there’s a counter-balance that must be employed, and that’s called “thinking.” They suggest a proper balance between head and heart, avoiding going too fast, involving others in your dating process, and evaluating along the way as helpful steps towards exercising your mind.

COMMANDMENT #3: Thou Shalt Be Equally Yoked. A principle from 2 Corinthians 6:14. While “opposites attract,” the authors point out that those “opposites” are often in the “minor” areas of the relationship. The areas that can be “compromised,” never in the “major” ones. Don’t fall into a myriad of dysfunctional relationship patterns that are marked by an imbalance of quality in character.

COMMANDMENT #4: Thou Shalt Take It Slow. Bottom line, relationships take time. “Take it slow, to get to know.”

COMMANDMENT #5: Thou Shalt Set Clear Boundaries. The balance of “responsibility” is a challenging one in any relationship. Not only ought we recognize and value our emotions and body as only “owned” by us, but how does one strive towards intimacy, which requires becoming responsible for someone else. And where is the balance? Boundaries, ultimately healthy and necessary, but delicate and difficult to discern.

COMMANDMENT #6: Thou Shalt Save Sex For Later. Because of the Christian flavor, this is an “open and shut” case for the authors; “God said so…now here’s why.” Their reasons? You experience wholeness, higher self-esteem, avoid dangerous or deadly diseases, and you ultimately value your body.

COMMANDMENT #7: Thou Shalt Not Fall For Sex Lies. Not only is not everyone doing it, and not only is it not possible to get pregnant, and not only will it bring us closer together, but they’ve got great responses to all of those lies. Celebrate purity, don’t be home alone, don’t date anyone who is a lot older, watch how you dress, and stay away from porn.

COMMANDMENT #8: Thou Shalt Not Ignore Warning Signs. Perhaps one of the most important chapters in the book. Any abuse, physical, verbal, emotional, or sexual, ought to result in an immediate break-up. There is no reasonable defense or explanation that can support any form of abuse–ever. Other warning signs are addictions, disrespectfulness, emotional baggage, denial, and irresponsible behavior.

COMMANDMENT #9: Thou Shalt Choose Wisely. Do not be fooled by externals, or blinded by sex. Look for great character, someone who is faithful, honest, committed, forgiving, and generous (giving). And be sure to check in with your friends, their other relationships (with friends and family), and give it lots of time. Reminds me of the quote, “the most unhappy people in the world are not single people wishing they were married, but married people wishing they were single.”

COMMANDMENT #10: Thou Shalt Take Action. So, if you’re going to implement these, any significant change in your life must be accompanied by action, literal, physical movement.

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  1. Andrew Abernathey

    I think the principles as well were very well outlined. I noticed it was supposed to be christain based book. but i did not agree with some of the viewpoints.
    In chapter 2, Thou shalt use your brain it states and i quote in regards to true romance, ” The key is using your head in the matters of the heart. No mention is made about how Christ has dominance in the relationship. True romance is God ordained. He should be first thought and through prayer he will guide your relationship as it was meant to be. If I’m just using my head in matters of the heart in which the Lord my God lives then I am trying to make the relationship work by my own power. Which believe it or not is pretty week compared to Gods divine power. I also did not agree spirit driven dating. It seems to conflivt a couple times in the book. It says you must have a strong spiritual connection but the relationship itself can not bne spiritually driven. Also part of a spirit driven relationship is prayer which you mention in chapter 4 ‘ Do not pray together’ Prayer and spirituallity go hand in hand. I believe as a growing bonding couple even in the early stages will exceedingly benefit from bold prayer and and the guidence of the Holy spirit.
    In chapter 3 i do agree with the statemnet regarding spritual conectivity. God calls each man to be a leader to his better half. It creates a strong bond that can not be broken. It is bound by the ropes of Christ in unity.
    I enjoyed reading the book and looking at another persons view on relationships but if your looking for a guide that shows you how to walk with Christ and be that person God wants you to be for eachother this is not the book.

  2. Doug

    While I have not read the book, I do appreciate the review/notes. I have found that youth and adults often focus on the wrong things. I find no scripture support to expect God to indentify to us who he has aleady predetermined for us to date.

    Christians should not date nonChristians. Dating nonChristians is dangerous because it may lead to a very difficult decision of ending a relationship with a person that you truly love but should not be teamed-up (yoked) with.

    There is no reason to wait for God to tell you exactly who to date or marry. Christians have often shared terrible testimonies with the unbelieving world when their “God ordained, God arranged” relationship ended in failure. God may never write a message on the wall or give you a warm fuzzy feeling that you have found the right person. He is much more concerned with HOW you treat others than WHO they are. It is much easier to put it off on God to make the selection than it is for us to work on it ourselves.

  3. Kgopotso

    At least I’ve learned important things todays
    Some of the things I’ve done in my life were totally wrong
    But there are some of the things I’ve done right
    From today,I’ll change

  4. This is helpful! Thank you very much for you review!

  5. Queen B

    Was there a chapter in this book with the commandment: “Thou Shalt Not Play House” ?

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