Thoughts of a messed up Christian saved by God's grace

Monday, April 7, 2014

Dating and marriage

I am going to go where not many confirmed bachelors have gone, and talk about dating and marriage. This came as a result of an article from Relevant Magazine titled, " I Like Him. How far is too far?"

  I commented on the post by saying that is the wrong question to ask. That is like asking "how close can I stand to the cliff without falling off?" That we should seek to make dating relationships as pure as we can, keeping in mind we may not marry that person after all, and it is better to not have done much with them that we will regret.

  Of course someone, a woman, commented and didn't like my comment. That happens to me fairly often, so I am used to it, so I replied with some infinite wisdom again, in a nice way. OK, maybe infinite is stretching it. Wisdom might be stretching it too......

  I got to thinking about what I said, and think I am onto something. But who knows? I am a confirmed bachelor who hasn't dated since the very early 90's. So what do I know?

  I know a lot of people who have dated a lot of people. Boys and girls, though it mostly is boys who play the field more. And these have been Christian guys. Now where I come from, we still believe in waiting til your wedding night to have sex. Yeah, it is old fashioned, but you know that big book Christians are supposed to live by? It says it is a sin to have sex outside of marriage, and uses a big word for that: fornication. It doesn't just say it is a sin, but it goes further and says all fornicators will have their place in the lake of fire. That would be hell, and the book would be The Bible, God's Holy Word.

  There is such a move on nowadays to just do whatever you want as a Christian, and ignore what the Bible says. Want to have sex outside of marriage? Go for it. God didn't really mean that. Want to have sex with the same gender? Go ahead, God didn't mean that for today.

  But ALL Scripture is inspired by God. Even the verses we don't like, and are inconvenient. Yeah, even the ones that say wait until you're married to have sex, and then stick with that person until death parts you.

  So back to this article, how far is too far? Just what is OK for a Christian couple to do before marriage, and what is not OK?

  Here is a good question I think is original with me: Say you're single and about to marry that special someone. Just how far would you want him or her to have gone with 5, 10, or more guys or girls?

  Say you're single and want to marry, but haven't found that special someone yet. You know they are out there somewhere, and you may even have your eye on who you hope it is. How far do you want them to go with the person they are dating now, and all who they will date before you marry?

  And if you have kids, how far do you want them to go?

  Some years back, a young man named Joshua Harris wrote a book that rocked the Christian publishing world, called I Kissed Dating Good-bye. He had a couple of premises. One was to court instead of date, and the other was not to kiss any other girl until the date of his wedding. Sounds pretty radical.

  It has been years since I read the book, but if I remember, it was a dream he had that he related in the book. He was getting married, and there was several girls all linking arms with him. They were girls he had dated and been emotionally involved with.

  It has been so long since I read the book, that I can't remember much about it, so hopefully what I say isn't from the book that is buried in my subconscious somewhere.

  Divorce is all too common nowadays. And sadly, it is as common in the church as in the world. I know it is sometimes necessary, but that does not make it any less sad. And I wonder if one reason it is so prevalent lies here in this discussion of dating and how far can one go.

  This single guy has a couple of theories:

1) Too much playing the field. The Bible talks a lot about purity and not having sex outside of marriage, but things were so different in those days. Guys and girls didn't date several people until they found the right one. Their family decided who they'd marry, and they were engaged young. We see that in the story of Mary and Joseph. Their engagement was as binding as a marriage, and you can bet your last dollar Joseph didn't date several girls before Mary, nor did she date several guys before Joseph.

  I am no wise man, but anyone with common sense should be able to see that dating multiple people could cause you problems in marriage. In dating, things get rough, you get tired of him or her, so you bail and find someone else. And now, it is happening in marriage. Sure, a lot of people stick with it, but if they bailed easily on dating relationships, the urge is going to be there to bail on a marriage whether or not they carry through.

2) Too much physical. I think most of us who are in the church get it that if you have sex with people you don't marry, it could cause problems in marriage. Yes, God will forgive, and that shouldn't mean you aren't worthy of someone who is a virgin. I'm not saying that. But you can pretty much guarantee that when John is having sex with his wife Susan, thoughts are going to come to his mind of Ellen, Mary Ann, Joanie, and others that he was sexual with. There will be the automatic comparison going on, and if he wants his marriage to work, he is going to have to fight that.

  Now this is where I will get in trouble: But what about cuddling and kissing? Could that not cause trouble in a future marriage also?

   There is a Bible College affiliated with my church group in the same town as my church. The denominational headquarters and offices are also in the same town, so we have a lot of people who attend the Bible College, and stay in the area, and attend my church. So you're going to have people at some points in time attending the same church with someone they dated in Bible College and did not marry.

  And my church isn't alone. There are tons of people who are attending the same church, who are in the same circles as someone they previously dated....... and that has caused me to think about this in detail over the years. I'll give a scenario with fictional people:

   Say John dated a few girls before he married Susan. He kissed them fairly often, held hands, cuddled, but never let his hands go where they shouldn't, and never crossed into having sex.

   Now he is sitting in church beside his wife Susan. He looks across the aisle, and there is Martha, one of the girls he dated back in high school. Man, was she a good kisser..... oops. Married to Susan now. She's a good kisser too. Not as good as Martha.....oops, don't go there John.......Oh, there was that one time when we went to that park.......

  I can't believe that stuff like this never happens. And I can't believe that it cannot have an effect on a marriage.

  So am I saying a dating couple shouldn't kiss? Pretty much. Really, be honest here, and answer this question in your head: how many guys are you comfortable with your wife having kissed before she married you? How many women are you comfortable with your husband kissing.... or more..... before he married you? Would you want your teenage girl doing with her boyfriend what you did with yours? Or what you did with your girlfriend?

   I know. I am a single guy. I don't know what I am talking about.... or do I?

   And no, I am not perfect. I am so far from perfect, I couldn't see it with a long range telescope. And I have just as much of a battle to be pure as the next guy. Maybe more of a struggle.  But that article got me to thinking, and here are the results. Disagree if you wish, but I still think I raised some good points.


  1. Great post! I read Joshua Harris' book a couple of years ago. He has some valid, Biblically-based thoughts. Right now I am reading Barrett Johnson's "The Talk(s)". He gives statistics on what age kids start having sex in relation to the age they start dating, and what forming close relationships does to your brain. It is scary raising kids in this day and age especially when "the world" has crept into "the church". I know that some of the things I am teaching my children are laughed at even among some of our friends. The important thing is that I have to stand before God one day and give an account to Him not to my friends.

  2. You are absolutely, positively right on, Mark!!!