How should I date?
Is dating just about 'shopping' for the right partner?
Whenever I hear my non-christian friends and family talk about dating or 'playing the field', and whenever I hear about dating in a movie or in a magazine, it always seems to include sleeping around. The theory seems to be, in order to find the right long-term partner, you should date as many people as possible, and 'try out' all the aspects of a long-term relationship.. ie. including sex.
This is the advice that our world is feeding us. This is the wisdom of our culture. The analogy that is usually thrown around in defense of this is: 'You wouldn't buy a car without taking it for a test drive first would you?' or 'You wouldn't buy a house without shopping around first?'.
But these are hardly good analogies, and in fact they are an insult to the sacredness of sex. These analogies make sex out to be nothing more special than the act of making a purchase. This is a very low view of sex and an ignorant view of the special place sex has in human relationships.
When we think about how to date from a Christian perspective, it must mean something different, because the Christian is always looking towards marriage.
Here is where Christians have the advantage in dating:
- Christians can date other Christians without having to be obsessed or worried about the physical side of the relationship. When you decide that sex is not part of dating, you focus more on getting to know the true character of the person you are dating.
- Christians have the 'fear of the Lord' (Proverbs 1:7), and can trust that the one who established marriage in the beginning will be faithful in continuing to bless what he designed to be good for men and women. God loves a good marriage, and that's what Christian dating should be looking towards.
So Christians shouldn't see dating as a way of 'trying people out' sexually, or anything like that. They should date in a way that honours God's values and shows trust in his promises, ie. keep sexually pure, and display the character of Christ - humility, faithfulness, patience, justice, self control, love, etc...
So, are you dating in a way that honours Christ?