In today’s world, dating is treated as a recreational hobby. Many do it for fun or for sport, not really realizing the consequences early dating can bring. Many children begin dating as early as ten when their bodies begin to develop and emotions run high. While some view this as appropriate or even healthy, acting upon such emotions at such a young age is detrimental to growth and maturity.Continue reading “What is the Optimal Age to Date?”
Last week, we learned about dating and courtship. We learned what true dating and courtship are, and we also defined the two terms. Then, we set the bare minimum standard for dating, reiterating what I published a few months ago in my post “5 Reasons You Shouldn’t Date Until You’re 19”. This post specifically laid out guidelines on deciding when to actually start dating. These included, but are not limited to, financial stability, a knowledge of proper manners, emotional stability, spiritual maturity, and discipleship by men/women in the Church.
Moving on past when to date, we also learned when not to date. High school was discussed in detail, and it was eventually decided that, as a general rule, high school dating is neither necessary nor reasonable, based on the reasoning found in this article, published by the Circe Institute.
After all of that, we are still left with one major question- what does real, Christian dating look like? This is, quite unfortunately, a question that few ask and even fewer would care to answer. Most Christians date whenever and however they wish, leaving younger, more inquisitive minds with a warped image of both themselves and their relationships. Somehow, we have almost deluded our younger generation into believing that young teenagers are within their rights to date before the age of fifteen.
This is a travesty. Nobody seems to know what real, Christian dating is. Some, such as Joshua Harris, seemed to have a clear picture, only to fall to the world’s pressures and recant. Others claim to have a clear picture but they deceive both themselves and others, all under the guise of a Christ-like performance. Truly, a sad thing has happened to the Christian community.
Dating must begin first and foremost with the Bible. I, personally, believe in the Bible as the full and inspired Word of God, flawless and infallible, as the final source on any matter regarding Christianity. So, with that, let’s take a look at two key verses that speak into this matter.Continue reading “The Art of (Christian)Dating”
The last time I wrote on this subject, we learned the differences between two terms: “dating” and “courting”. At the end, I concluded two things- that the term doesn’t matter, and that they still need to focus on one thing- marriage.
It is now, several months later, that I realize the term does matter. The differences between dating and courting heavily seperate the two terms, and yet it is something many of us, including myself, do not fully understand.
Dating has become corrupted. Even the great Joshua Harris, glorified guru of the Christian dating industry, mis-defined dating. Actually, he didn’t define it at all. He simply said to “stop dating, start courting”. Yet again I find myself disagreeing with Mr. Harris, despite the fact that these words were uttered well over two decades ago.
Before we continue, let us define these terms in a more reasonable manner.
Dating: building a romantic relationship with a member of the opposite sex, operating under the cover of parents/parental figures and working towards the possibility of courtship.
Courting: building a romantic relationship with a member of the opposite sex, having already dated for a reasonable period of time, remaining under the covering of parents but including members of the church, and working towards the possibility of marriage.Continue reading “To Date or Not to Date?”
Once a subject frequented by author giants such as Joshua Harris, courtship and dating have now been left in the dust as an irrelevant topic. Unfortunately, with the dramatic exit of Harris and his co-authors, we are now left with many questions and few answers. Frequently, during conversations with fellow Christians, I encounter this subject and often find it difficult to speak on. After all, it’s an awkward topic and is supposedly foolish for one of my age to even think about. Unfortunately, this is just as deluded as the idea that the Patriots are a good football team.
In a famous book, the author writes, “An Olympic athlete begins training at an early age. You don’t see someone begin training a day before the 400-yard-dash. It takes years of preparation, all for that moment.” While I remember neither the author nor the book, the quote remains with me to this day, a reminder of the fact that nobody is too young to begin preparation for marriage. If you’re reading this as a single kid, you need to start preparing.Continue reading “Dating or Courtship: Which Term Should a Christian Use?”
In today’s world, dating is treated as a recreational hobby. Many do it for fun or for sport, not really realizing the consequences early dating can bring. Many children begin dating as early as ten when their bodies begin to develop and crushes begin to hit them. While many feelings can be appropriate or even healthy, acting upon these at such a young age is detrimental to growth and maturity. Continue reading “Five Reasons You Shouldn’t Date Until You’re 19”
The word “dating” often brings out mixed emotions and views. Secular people think of dating as a commonplace activity, comparable to sports or television in what it brings. Christians think of dating with many different opinions. Some treat it just as commonly as non-believers do, while others give it a wide berth. Some give it no veneration, while others revere it as if it is a gift from God; which, of course, it is. Despite the apparent similarities between secular and Christian dating, Christians should remember that dating is a gift from God, and should be treated with all due respect and reverence.
One of the major differences between secular and Christian dating is the means. Secular people treat dating as a means to take, though this appears to be quite confusing, it is easily explained. Essentially, many secular people view dating as an activity used to take from others. This is comparable to Christmas time, when the only thought within the mind of a child is what to get from Santa Claus. Just as children view Christmas as a time for getting presents, secular men and women see dating as a time for receiving pleasure. Whether acknowledged or not, pleasure is always found at the center of secular dating.
Christians must treat dating as a means to give. While the secular assessment of dating centers on self-seeking pleasure, Christian dating should focus on selfless giving. Tragically, the art of giving has become a lost art within today’s culture. Millions of unsaved people make it a habit to take without giving, while Christians are supposed to do just the opposite. Christians must learn to give, not out of duty, but out of love, for “If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing” (English Standard Version, 1 Corinthians. 13.3). Without love, a person cannot hope to give. But within love, giving becomes the most radical testimony a Christian could share, for love through giving is a way to reach out to anybody, be they Muslim, Atheist, or Buddhist. Giving is not only a testimony of faith but also a testimony of character. A Christian armed with this knowledge will find giving within love illuminates personal testimony. Giving displays love, and love does not tear down, as hatred does. Selfish taking is a form of hatred, which destroys all hope for relationship. Contrary to this, love creates relationship, and the creation of relationship should consistently be the main goal within a Christ-led courtship.
Non-believers view dating as a pathway to sex. In today’s world, sex and dating are intertwined. The two go hand in hand, according to some, and are interchangeable. Because there is no Biblical background to most relationships, there is no context to sex. Thousands of unsaved men and women enter sexual relationships with no knowledge of God’s intention for sex within marriage. Because of this, few realize that sex must be held within marriage, else it inevitably becomes boring to the participants, who eventually break up or divorce. Today, secular marriage is only necessary when a couple wishes to exchange rings, have a ceremony, and join last names- no other reason. When the couple lives together, sleeps together, and can already have children, what true purpose does marriage hold to a secular couple? None.
Christians must treat dating as a road to marriage. Unlike secular dating, which is used to gain pleasure, Christians should view dating as a pathway to a possible marriage. Dating will not always end in marriage, and, because of this, should be viewed as a pathway to marriage. When viewed as a road to marriage, Christian dating becomes something far more special then secular dating. This time period is used as an opportunity for possible couples to learn about each other. The time within engagement is spent differently when the end goal is marriage, since secular dating has no end goal, save for pleasure, which is not fulfilling in the least. Did God intend for dating to be used within the context of marriage? Yes! How else is a young Christian going to learn about his future spouse? If two people were to enter marriage without having any true knowledge of each other, their marriage will likely be destroyed. Dating within the context of marriage has been blessed by God, and should be emulated by all young Christian men and women.
The major difference between secular and Christian dating is the inclusion of God within the relationship. Earthly relationships have no inclusion or basis with God; instead, they focus on pleasure, within sex, and taking what they can get. It is because of this that “About 40 to 50 percent of marriages within the United States end in divorce” (Lewis). When God is not included in dating, the relationship between the couple cannot be expected to last.
If a future marriage is to last, it is paramount that dating couples include God into their relationship. A problem found within many Christian couples is a lack of knowledge on how to incorporate God into their relationships. While they still pray, read their Bibles, or go to church, they are not actively including God into their relationship. The inclusion of God into a relationship involves careful prayer between the couple, reading the Bible together, going to church together, asking God how they can be the best husband/wife. This incorporation of God, while seeming to be unimportant, is crucial for producing a healthy, mature marriage.
While the differences between Secular and Christian dating appear to be few, they are extremely different, two beliefs separating two totally different ways of approaching relationships. Because of these differences, Christians have to remember that dating is a gift from God, and should be treated with all due respect and reverence.
Lewis, F. Henry. “Divorce Statistics in the United States and California.” Gardner & Lewis, LLP, 9 October 2018, https://www.michaelagardner.net/blog/2018/10/09/divorce-statistics-in-the-united-193973
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. Crossway, 2001. Print.