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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Some Thoughts on Dating (Part 1)

1. If two people are merely friends, then it is misleading to say "they are dating." Therefore, dating must include some other element; whether it is dating according to biblical principles or dating according to the ways of this world, another element turns common friendships into dating relationships. Accordingly, when we are speaking of "dating" we are referring to something more than just friendly relationships between people of opposite persuasion. We are talking about a peculiar kind of relationship that is beyond mere friendship.

2. If dating includes giving one's heart away or any sort of exclusive relationship-claim whereby obligations are imposed upon another person without an eye toward marriage, then not only may Christians not date non-Christians - they may not date Christians either! When a woman gives her heart away to a man outside of a marriage commitment, the "boyfriend" is placed in the position of exercising unbiblical authority over the woman that is reserved for the woman's prime, earthly authority (typically her father) and is one day to be transferred to the woman's husband. In such exclusive dating-relationships the woman's conscience becomes un-biblically bound by the boyfriend whereby she loses certain privileges of singleness, such as spending time with other men who might be good candidates for marriage. Nobody except a parent or spouse is to hold such a position over someone else. A single woman is to submit to her father, not her "boyfriend." Giving one's heart away without a marriage commitment not only runs contrary to what the Bible teaches regarding guarding one's heart, it is contrary to what the Bible teaches about parental authority (and the proper transfer of that authority). What is it to have a commitment to another that can be broken for any reason?

3. If dating includes considering one for marriage, then obviously Christians may not date non-Christians because Christians may not consider marrying non-Christians any more than a man may consider marrying another man.

4. If dating does not include considering one for marriage, then what is the Christian's purpose in dating? What is "dating" after all?

5. There is no place to say "I love you" in a dating relationship. Those words mean commitment; yet when dating, the commitment only goes as far as the "feeling." What does it mean to say "I love you" if you may break up tomorrow because you found someone better? "I love you" translates to "I love me and I want you (at least for now)." Those words of commitment must be followed by proposal of marriage.

6. The right type of dating includes considering another person with prayerful purpose to be one's spouse; it includes no exclusivity outside an eye toward marriage; it includes wanting to bless the other person, considering them more important than yourself; it includes no obligations of submission to an unauthorized head; it includes not saying anything misleading to the other person in order to "win" her heart for personal, egotistical or any sort of selfish gain; it includes not implying anything without words that you wouldn't explicitly say with words; it means godliness.
These principles apply whether parents are involved in the dating process or not. They are principles that are within the grasp of any Christian who is serious about dating to the glory of God and, therefore, blessing a potential spouse.

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Puritan Lad said...

Good Stuff.

Dating is "divorce practice" at best, and that's even if nothing else immoral is going on.

K said...

Ron, you are versatile, alright. Tackling even the dating scene. Great.

Personally, I hate the word "dating." I would prefer to say that I am seeing a girl or even courting her. The connotations of dating are too negative, in my opinion. The typical date is a guy asking a girl out for no reason other than that she's good looking and going out some night just to see how much self-gratification they can get out of the experience.

David Butler said...

I agree with your definition of Christian dating, and have tried to communicate this on our site, albeit, not as eloquently as you have.

Brother David

Ronald W. Di Giacomo said...

Hi David,

Thanks for visiting the site. Let's keep getting out the message!


Anonymous said...

Question: How do you not blur the lines of biblical authority as a relationship advances, esp. when there are no parents?

Ronald W. Di Giacomo said...

I'm not sure I grasp your meaning. Let me take a stab at it though. Whether there are parents or not, a woman is not to be in submission to a "boyfriend". In other words and for instance, she is not to obey him when she doesn't think it's wise; whereas in marriage the woman must obey when the moral law is not being required to be broken - even if the woman believes an instruction from her husband to be unwise. For a single woman to place herself in such a position of a submission is a farce because she'd be within her God-given liberty to remove herself from such a position of submission anytime she wanted, which implies that the "authority" that she would have placed herself beneath was not a true authority over her but one of her own making - until she decided otherwise. Such role playing makes a mockery of true authority and true submission.