But the beauty of marriage is God sustains you despite your flaws. ” Can you imagine how constantly hearing this question from friends, family, and unsuspecting old ladies at church can make some people believe they have a problem? When you date, allow the community of people around to speak into your relationship. Your friends are able to see inconsistencies and problems you can’t because they are outside the storm.The brokenness you see in yourself and the brokenness you experience from your spouse point both of you to the only perfect one, God. Get to know yourself.” And as soon as the person you are dating smacks his or her gum the wrong way, you are out. If you aren’t ready to date, don’t allow the cultural pressure to override God’s plan. I know too many men and women who refused to listen to people around them, and their prideful arrogance resulted in a failed marriage. Find men and women you trust, and allow them to speak into your relationship.
Dating with a trajectory towards marriage means dating with a purpose. I fear this mentality in the dating culture is actually promoting divorce. Suddenly, when marriage begins, you are asked to flip a switch. Singleness is a gift from God, but singleness is not an excuse to be lazy. And to my church’s credit, they drilled this one point home constantly. If I could get on my knees and beg you to follow one of these principles, it would be this one.Without a Christian spouse, one of two things will happen: you will drift away from God or your spouse will become a functional god (more on this later). Without a Christian spouse you will either drift away from God or make your spouse a functional god. There is another dangerous mentality in Christian circles I want to address…”flirting to convert.” Look…Christians are called to be missionaries. Casual or purposeless dating has no benefit for Christians. We are designed to know why we do stuff and where we are going. Now, please, please, please don’t be a freakish weirdo. It involves sharing personal struggles and vulnerability. This requires discipline, restraint, and abstinence from activities that don’t promote holiness. A pure mind might be the greatest gift you can give your future spouse. God must be at the center of your life before you consider dating. Don’t start dating without an assurance of God’s love for you and a solid understanding of the gospel.Dating with a trajectory towards marriage doesn’t mean you only date one person ever. So, if you choose not to get coffee or watch a movie with the opposite sex, then whatever. The ultimate purpose of marriage is sanctification (becoming like God). It allows you to jump into marriage with a clear conscience. ____________________ I hope this discussion continues. I pray parents, church leaders, friends, and family begin to spark conversations about God’s design for dating. Devoted follower of Christ, college/young adult minister, husband to @tiffanipowell, dad to Noah and Micah, avid blogger/writer, sports fan.Laying out guidelines for dating as followers of Jesus could alter the lives of men and women by keeping them out of toxic and unhealthy relationships (and ultimately marriages).