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It means dating someone who meets the values and goals you have for a future spouse (more on that later).
Casual or purposeless dating has no benefit for Christians. We are designed to know why we do stuff and where we are going. Now, please, please, please don’t be a freakish weirdo. It involves sharing personal struggles and vulnerability. If you believe God is preparing you for foreign missions, is it important the person you marry shares this passion? If you love the Cowboys and your future spouse loves the Packers, is it important to work through this before marriage?
Like that annoying kid at church camp who wouldn’t leave you alone. Don’t ever date someone who won’t honor purity with you. Remember…if you are dating, you haven’t entered into the sacred bond of marriage. Co-dependent dating leads to co-dependent marriages. And co-dependent marriages eventually crumble because the weight on them is too heavy. In fact, every principle discussed in this article is null and void without God at the center.
The first instance in the Bible where God is not pleased comes when God sees Adam living in the Garden of Eden alone (Gen. Singleness can be a gift from God, but don’t use it as an excuse to be lazy. And to my church’s credit, they drilled this one point home constantly. Dating and marriage are not for those who rely on another person for joy, peace, and purpose.
This issue shapes our young people, friends, and family more than we could ever imagine. “Let’s just sit back and see what happens” might work in certain scenarios, but Christian dating isn’t one of them. I hope and pray these words spark conversations in your ministries, relationships, and homes. If you need to take a minute to let that sink in, I will be here when you get back… Here’s the deal: marriage isn’t a divine lottery where every person has one winning ticket. Hopefully one will end up as my spouse.” Not a good idea. So, the default for years is to leave as soon as a flaw arises. This requires discipline, restraint, and abstinence from activities that don’t promote holiness. A pure mind might be the greatest gift you can give your future spouse. ____________________ I hope this discussion continues. I pray parents, church leaders, friends, and family begin to spark conversations about God’s design for dating.
Most importantly, guidelines and principles for dating will transform lives and shape eternities. The brokenness you see in yourself and the brokenness you experience from your spouse point both of you to the only perfect one, God. When you pull the trigger, these balls spread over a large range, increasing the chance you hit the target.
That would be awesome, but it’s not always realistic. If you are a Christian, God isn’t a piece of your pie. Why date someone who doesn’t even have God as a piece of the pie? Pull over at the closest gas station and decide what you want in a future spouse. Your list is designed to give you a framework for dating, not be a checklist for it. Your heart and the holiness of marriage are too important to flippantly give away because you are frustrated, impatient, or settling.
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You might get into a relationship with someone who loves Jesus, meets the values you have in a future spouse, and is compatible with you. Just end the relationship, and continue to seek the Lord. Again, please don’t be a freakish weirdo and give Christians a negative label. My wife loves the Lord, and I can say with all certainty I wouldn’t be following Jesus without her. It’s dangerous riding on the road to marriage without an idea of where you are going. Don’t sit someone down on the first date and interview them to make sure they meet all of the qualities.
But once you get into the relationship, you realize things aren’t as they seemed. Having coffee or going to eat dinner with the opposite sex is not dating. There will be days when life is crashing down, your faith is wavering, and the only thing left is your spouse. In this scenario, your spouse is there to pray for you, put his or her arm around you, and walk with you.
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