Dating is a very popular topic, especially in the Christian community because of the wide variety of views on the subject. This post’s purpose is not to compare the views, however it seeks to present an approach that glorifies God.
First, let’s establish the posture of one who desires to be married. It is important that one is whole ( Refined by God, having dealt with emotional past, committed to the things of God and has found contentment in God). Whole does not mean perfect in any way but it means that one is allowing God to complete the good work He had begun in them (which He will continue to complete until the day of Christ’s return.) It is also important that they know what their purpose is and are working toward fulfilling it in the Kingdom of God.
Now, if one is committed to the things of God and is serving in their area of purpose, that requires a level of focus which weeds out other idle activities and thoughts. This is not to say that one will not ponder the idea of marriage, however making personal decisions about who they will marry and when is no longer a concern because they’ve submitted those things to God’s timing and will for their life. </p
Song of Solomon 3:5 "I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, By the gazelles or by the does of the field, Do not stir up nor awaken love until it pleases." Simply put don't do it until you're ready and in the right position for the commitment of marriage. It is difficult because many other influences provoke you to pursue your human desires to have companionship and share love with someone special, which are natural and not wrong. The key is to acknowledge the season you are in and conduct yourself accordingly. Consider this passage: 1 Corinthians 7:32-35 "But I want you to be without care. He who is unmarried cares for the things of the Lord- how He may please the Lord. But he who is married cares about the things of the world- how he may please his wife. There is a difference between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman cares about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit. But she who is married cares about the things of this world- how she may please her husband. And this I say for your own profit, not that I may put a leash on you, but for what is proper, and that you may serve the Lord without distraction."
Remaining single until you are lead to prepare for marriage is for our benefit so that we aren't distracted by the emotions and feelings that ultimately leads us to engage in illegitimate married couple's behaviors. (Sleep overs, joint finances, and other obligations which we are not ready to commit to full time.) Giving ourselves to God through serving Him will allow us to see ourselves bare before Him and be aware of the things we need to focus on in order to be ready for our marriage season.
It is not up to us to decide when our single season has ended. We should be lead by Holy Spirit in this step. This will occur in different ways for male and female and even from person to person. However, in your intimacy with God things will be made clear.