What on earth has gone wrong with Christian dating? Why does it seem so much more difficult today than it was just a generation ago? In this video I discuss some common questions about dating and purity. It is available in both YouTube and Facebook formats.
How should Christians approach dating in our culture today?
So, somehow between 1998 when I got married and today, all sorts of weird things have happened. And somehow dating, pursuing marriage has become really, really difficult. It used to be pretty easy. Two people would indicate interest in one another, and in some way you’d start as friends, and at some point you’d ask the awkward question, and you’d go on a date, and you’d realize you’d have to have that question, that conversation too, hey, are we dating now, that kind of stuff. And it just happened. Somewhere along the way and probably Josh Harris has something to do with this, with I Kissed Dating Goodbye, somehow it became really, really complicated. And then the patriarchy movement came along with this idea that you needed to do courtship, that that was the right way to date. Then you started hearing people talk about dortship, which was some weird dating, courting hybrid and it just became really, really difficult.
Honestly, I don’t think it needs to be that difficult. I think a guy and a girl who are single can indicate interest in one another, start doing casual things together, and eventually simply end up having that conversation. Are we dating now? I really like you. Can we progress? Things are more difficult than they need to be. So, as Christians, I think we just need to kind of break it down and make it simple again. Allow people the freedom to get to know one another in casual settings, and then progress from there into a dating relationship and from there to marriage.
How can a Christian couple keep themselves pure while dating?
Well, I think, you’ve got to understand that Satan’s great desire for a couple is that they would have as much sex, before they get married, as possible, and as little as possible after they get married, right. That’s his great desire. He wants couples to bring all sorts of baggage into marriage, to do all sorts of regrettable things. Accumulate all sorts of baggage and then have to deal with that in marriage and many couples will attest that they now regret what they did before they were married because the consequences do add up. God doesn’t just let us sin and just get away with it, right. We often bring those consequences into marriage and I think often those consequences we deal with are of the actions we took, the sins we committed in that dating stage.
So, how do you avoid committing sexual sin, how do you remain pure? I think a couple of things are in play. First, find a scriptural basis for purity. And many people find it in different places. I think it’s helpful to go to 1 Timothy and to just see Paul’s breakdown there of “treat younger women as sisters, older women as mothers in absolute purity”. So that gives us this breakdown of, if she’s not your wife, she’s either your sister or your mother. So, until you’re actually married, then she becomes your wife and then you can relate to her as a wife, which includes, of course, a sexual relationship. Until that stage, you must treat her as a mother, treat her as a sister. And of course, you would never commit any kind of sexual deed with a mother or sister. You’d treat them with absolute purity. So, use that basis, find other things in scripture that just lay down the challenge. And don’t assume that you’ll be the one couple or the one person who never struggles in this way. It’s God’s good desire that that sexual desire grows throughout your relationship leading to marriage. In fact, it’s more concerning if there is no sexual desire than if there is. So there ought to be the growth of that desire, yet it ought to be kept under control until it can be consummated within the marriage relationship.
Community is so helpful in appealing to other people. Can you ask us hard questions? That’s the best thing you can do. Find an older couple, give them absolute freedom to ask you difficult questions, and then commit between the two of you, you will always ask, no answer honestly. If you know there’s a couple you love and respect, who’ll be coming to you and saying, how are you guys doing? Are you behaving? Are you sleeping together? Asking you those blunt questions, that will be tremendously, tremendously helpful. You can appeal to them, you can ask them for help, you can ask them for prayer.
But so much of the Christian life comes down to this. I want to be holy more than I want to sin. So, pray that God would give you a deep desire for holiness, take away the desire to sin.