A guy must ask a girl’s dad first, then the guy must ask the girl, then the girl must say yes, then the couple can start seeing each other IN GROUPS (! If things go well for the first eight months or so, the couple may or may not be allowed to spend semi-unsupervised time together and possibly even (GASP! Once the young man has firmly established himself financially and is sufficiently godly, he can ask the girl to marry him. Both families, as well as lots of church members, must be involved in the entire process, from start to finish. There are so many variables in each relationship: the age of the couple, the spiritual maturity of the couple, whether or not both sets of parents are believers, how long the guy and girl have been a Christian, the ethnicity of the couple, and on and on.To take some variation of the practices above and arbitrarily slap them onto a relationship can actually end up harming the relationship.They’re not married, don’t know if they’ll ever get married, and are just enjoying each other’s bodies.Most people who live together before they get married don’t get married and those who do have a higher divorce rate. You’ve already agreed that this is not the biblical pattern and thus is not a healthy pattern. What you’re demonstrating, by the fact that you say, “I want to do this but we always fall back into the same pattern again” is the strong bonding nature of sexual relationships. Sex was designed to be a deep bonding experience between a husband and wife.He was reacting against the casual, recreational, aimless dating that had come to dominate the American landscape. But, as we are so prone to do, we took good principles and distorted them and distilled them into a series of unhelpful/legalistic practices.He was trying to help young men and women stop hurting each other through the endless hooking up, breaking up, hooking up, breaking up, etc. Dating/courting has turned into an elaborate set of unwritten rules which must be followed to the letter, no matter what the circumstances. But the reality is, you can’t slap these practices on top of every relationship and expect the relationship to go well.We have brothers and sisters in Christ to hold us accountable and to help us apply the Word to our lives.
We know we are in the wrong and that God’s teaching tells us to be pure and wait till we are married.
However, every time we try to stay pure we end up slipping up.
What makes matters worse is that I am currently four hours away at school and every time we see each after being apart a week or two (even when we have had full intentions of not being sexual) we end up falling into our old habits.
That's what I hope this column will be about — applying God's Word to the topic of dating, finding a spouse, and getting married. After this column, you have my word that I'll spend the next several months answering your questions (that is, when I have answers). I have to start by explaining the theological doctrine that drives the approach I want to outline (and advocate).
That doctrine is called the sufficiency of Scripture.
In fact, the one thing everyone wants to find is a way to make it easier.