I want to suggest that we can make this whole dating thing a lot simpler and less confusing by simply holding fast to the clear, relatively few principles spelled out in Scripture. Christians Pursue Jesus Above All This is the overriding principle which must govern every relationship.
Loving Jesus first and foremost means seeking him above all else and obeying his commands above all else. Once this is set firmly in place for both individuals in the relationship, many of the other details will fall into place.
Obedience to Jesus is the filter through which every action must pass. Christians Pursue God’s Wisdom When it comes to dating, God’s wisdom is desperately needed.
Is it just me, or has the whole Christian dating/courting/dorting thing become really, really complicated?
When Josh Harris wrote I Kissed Dating Goodbye, he had good intentions.
He was reacting against the casual, recreational, aimless dating that had come to dominate the American landscape. But, as we are so prone to do, we took good principles and distorted them and distilled them into a series of unhelpful/legalistic practices.
He was trying to help young men and women stop hurting each other through the endless hooking up, breaking up, hooking up, breaking up, etc. Dating/courting has turned into an elaborate set of unwritten rules which must be followed to the letter, no matter what the circumstances. But the reality is, you can’t slap these practices on top of every relationship and expect the relationship to go well.
Is it sinful for a couple to drive to a deserted area at night just to “hang out”? Is it wise for a young man to talk to a young woman’s parents about dating/courting their daughter? It depends on whether the parents are Christians, how old the woman is, and a host of other conditions.
Does a young man need to have financial stability before he can get married? Here’s why: part of this is principle and part of this is practice. The practices, however, may differ from relationship to relationship. Making out in the bedroom is off limits, as is all sexual activity.
Not necessarily, but it is wise for him to think through his financial status. But there are certain things that may be tempting for some people and not others, like holding hands.
A guy must ask a girl’s dad first, then the guy must ask the girl, then the girl must say yes, then the couple can start seeing each other IN GROUPS (! If things go well for the first eight months or so, the couple may or may not be allowed to spend semi-unsupervised time together and possibly even (GASP! Once the young man has firmly established himself financially and is sufficiently godly, he can ask the girl to marry him. Both families, as well as lots of church members, must be involved in the entire process, from start to finish. There are so many variables in each relationship: the age of the couple, the spiritual maturity of the couple, whether or not both sets of parents are believers, how long the guy and girl have been a Christian, the ethnicity of the couple, and on and on.
To take some variation of the practices above and arbitrarily slap them onto a relationship can actually end up harming the relationship.
And here’s the kicker: believe it or not, the Bible doesn’t actually say a whole lot about dating/courting relationships.
When we place our above Biblical principles, it’s a recipe for disaster.