This week, as we continue our marriage & family series, Pastor J.D. shares the first half of his answer to the question: “What Counsel Would You Give Young Christians About Dating?”
You’ve probably noticed this by now, but our culture isn’t doing awesome with the whole dating and marriage thing. Our culture yearns for good, fulfilling, lifelong marriages but obviously doesn’t know how to get there.
I want to give you six biblical resolutions for dating.
These are uncommon, and certainly counter-cultural, but if you want something nobody else has, you have to be willing to do what nobody else does. And the goal is that these will lead to the kind of marriage you long for, the kind of marriage Jesus wants for you.
1. Resolve to prioritize character over chemistry.
The truth is there are different kinds of beauty and they carry different weight.
The Apostle Peter says there are two kinds of beauty that can be applied to both men and women: “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight” (1 Peter 3:3–4 NIV).
Let me tell you: When your kid gets sick and you are on the way to the emergency room at 3 a.m., it doesn’t matter what kind of six-pack he has. All that is going to matter to you is if he’s the kind of guy you know will petition God in prayer, if he’s a spiritual rock that you can lean on.
When you lose your job, it’s not going to matter how white her teeth are. What’s going to matter is if she’s the kind of partner you know will stand by you and not go anywhere.
You are preparing to tie yourself physically, emotionally, and spiritually to someone else for life. Because marriage is companionship and because it is permanent, character matters most of all.
2. Resolve to date for clarity, not intimacy.
If the purpose of dating is to choose someone to marry (and it is), and that means character matters most of all, then physical intimacy is something that, for the most part, you should keep to a minimum in dating.
Physical intimacy works like a drug; it intoxicates you. That’s not always bad: When you are in pain and you pop a codeine pill, the drug deceives you into feeling awesome. At times, you need that. But if you took codeine and then decided to go for a 10-mile run, you’re setting yourself up for trouble.
The same is true for relationships: When the drug of physical intimacy keeps you from seeing who the other person really is, you’re creating problems for yourself.
When the physical excitement of sex fades—which it will—all you are left with is a sick relationship.
3. Resolve to reject the “marriage completes me” myth.
In a sense, you always marry the wrong person. Why? Because your spouse is a sinner—and so are you. They will inevitably let you down. They will disappoint you. That’s not to say the choice doesn’t matter. But if we think the “perfect person” is going to make marriage a breeze, we are sorely mistaken.
What if you gave up the myth that there is a “perfect person” out there for you and instead understood that’s not what marriage is about anyway?
What if you saw that God’s main purpose in life is preparing you for himself, and that marriage is one way (though certainly not the only way) he can do that?
If we approached singleness this way, rather than being on a rabid, obsessive search for the right person who was the key to a happy life, we could put our eyes on Jesus and focus on following out him, letting him supply our needs.
Want to ask J.D. a question? Head to our Ask Me Anything hub to submit your question.
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