Dating?

  

“How do I find a mate without a date?”

 

by Errol Hale

Dating is not preparation for marriage, but for divorce.  Dating relationships are romantic, exclusive and temporary.  People often think they will be permanent, but the vast majority of dating relationships are temporary.  Because people think these relationships are more serious and lasting than they end up being, when they end, the result is at least one, if not two broken hearts.  Hearts that are broken repeatedly, become calloused.  Breaking up becomes easier.  This creates an ‘easy-come, easy-go’ mentality that is carried into marriage, resulting in attitudes that accept divorce as a viable option when a marriage encounters difficulties.  Dating is preparation for divorce.

Dating is a relatively new phenomena.  Dating as it is understood in American culture in this day and age is less than 150 years old at most.  Prior to dating, and in other cultures even today, people connected with marriage partners through betrothal or courting.  The table on the following page offers a comparison of the three models.

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So then, how do you find a mate without a date?

1.      Prepare yourself to be the kind of godly mate you want to marry to prepare yourself for the mate you will marry.

2.      Pray, asking God to prepare you and the other person for each other.

3.      Serve in ministry, spending time in groups with others who are serving in ministry.

4.      Look for godliness and the traits of a godly mate (responsibility, provider, interest in family and children, look for interest in the Lord and in ministry, look for commitment to purity.)

5.      Do not allow yourself to be carried away with the natural romantic attractions and feelings you may experience.

6.      Never tell anyone but your parents about your attractions (or if an adult, the one closest prayer partner you have). This is important because usually these attractions will fade, so do not give your heart away.

7.      Do not pair off, even when with a group.  Never spend time alone together.

8.      If the Lord seems to give the other person an interest, prayerfully and carefully discuss the possibility of a relationship.  This can best be done by communication via godly parents contacting each other.  If no godly parents, a respected church leader may be able to help.

9.      If the interest is mutual, do not pair off.  Rather, prayerfully discuss a responsible plan to explore the possibility of a relationship, again with the counsel and involvement of parents or spiritual leaders.

10.  Until there is a virtually binding commitment to marriage (not engagement that can be easily broken), do not allow romantic feelings to be shared, to avoid being hurt.

11.  When committed to marriage, enter into a formal marriage agreement or betrothal.  (This means teenagers are not ready.)  At this point, the relationship is morally binding as marriage, though not legally.  Do not engage in any privileges of marriage until married.

Parents are especially important in this issue as it relates to their children’s lives.  God commands fathers to protect their daughter’s virginity (Deuteronomy 22, 1 Corinthians 7).  While the Bible speaks specifically about virgin daughters, the principle carries over to sons as well.  There is no double standard with God.  Parents need to protect their children and young adults from falling prey to the dating mentality and be involved in the process of betrothal or courtship.

The counsel contained in this pamphlet will most certainly seem old-fashioned to many, including many Christians.  But consider this.  Has the ‘new-fashioned’ method of connecting with a mate led to stronger marriages and fewer divorces or to weaker marriages and more divorces?  Has modern dating encouraged purity and decreased the number of unwed pregnancies, or has it encouraged promiscuity and increased the number of unwed pregnancies?  The fact is, ‘old-fashioned’ just happens to be better.  That is not an opinion, it is a fact, backed by statistics.

There is no reason to believe that non-Christians in popular culture would even consider betrothal or courtship over dating.  In light of the commands in God’s Word to “test all things, hold fast to what is pure and abstain from every form of evil” (1 Thessalonians 5:21-22) and to “flee sexual immorality” (1 Corinthians 6:18), however, why would committed Christians consider dating?  As long as the question on people’s minds and lips is “How far can we go?” people will date.  When the question becomes “How pure can we stay?” people will give serious consideration to betrothal or courtship.

Finally, looking to the Word of God instead of popular culture, let us be reminded that it is usually God’s plan that people be married.  His prohibitions are not intended to withhold His blessings, but to insure them.  God’s best awaits those who will wait on Him.