Why do Christians date and engage in being a boyfriend or girlfriend if that has never been the process God has provided in the Bible for a man and woman to be in a relationship? The answer to this question is indeed complex, but if the starting point is the foundational authority for all of Christian faith, and not modern cultural/secular standards, then we have the lens that we need to see what is prescribed by God in marriage and how it clearly contrast what's happening in culture.
Let's look at four reason Christians should stop dating by cultural standards.
1. It's not biblical.
From Genesis to the Gospels, marriage is the primary standard for a man and woman to come together in a relationship. In Genesis 2:18, 21-22, we see God perform the first marriage ceremony. He said it was not good for man to be alone. So out of the man He created one woman, not a bunch of women that Adam would need to try out for compatibility. The depth of an intimate relationship that involves an emotional, mental, physical and spiritual bond between a man and a woman was intentionally designed by God to be experienced in the fullness of marriage for a person's entire life. The two becoming one flesh as the Scripture says in Genesis 2:24 is a literal bodily bonding that deigned to stick and grow in intimacy as time progresses in the relationship. Trying to use that very serious and deeply impacting process to try out different people was and will never be God's design or intent, but man's. The design and purpose of marriage is for our good, and God’s glory.
2. It's destructive.
Giving husband and wife benefits to someone you're not married to is a recipe for emotional and mental disaster. People are selfish and only want from you what benefits them without having to fully commit. Then go to the next person and do the same thing until they get tired. From kissing to sex, to emotionally bonding, God didn't design us to do that with multiple people, but one person for life. Giving part of yourself to person after person leaves you fragmented and broken. Every time you kiss someone that you’re not married to, you’re kissing somebody else's future husband or wife. These intimate moments don't just fade away. They’re designed to be lasting. One of the greatest lies told in American history is that sexual freedom is liberation. Then we pretend these results are normal:
Feeling of abandonment
3. It's the world's idea.
Boyfriend and girlfriend are modern made-up titles that have no real value to authentic nor intentional commitment. Bottom line, if you're not married, the person you're with can decide someone else looks better, leave you for them and would have a right to do so. Even if you’ve given yourself to them in ways that should only happen in a marriage. These titles are only as valuable as the intentions of the person who uses them. This is a fallen standard that doesn’t come from God but a godless culture which results in damaging countless people.
Every Christian that desires to be in an intimate relationship would do well to remember that we are in the world, not of it. We've been called out of the world and into God's Kingdom. Satan is the ruler of this world and the advisory of all mankind. Therefore, through deception, he will help establish cultural standards that have no true purpose outside of the destruction of men. This is what's at the root of any standard for intimate relationships that is not founded on the marriage of one man and woman for life. Christians shouldn't be so easily swayed into what destroys God's image bearers because we have the light of Christ and the truth of God to stand on.
4. God knows best.
Your feelings and desires to be in a relationship are best known by God and come from God. It’s completely natural to desire a romantic relationship and to share your life with someone, but we have two options on what we’re going to do with that desire. Pursue what we think is best, or what God knows is best. Trusting God by faith will only end with you in His will. That means you walk by faith in preparation to be that husband or wife on God’s timing. Don’t put yourself in positions to fall into sin. Have confidence that waiting on Him would have a better outcome than trying out person after person in your own strength and becoming broken along the way. Experience the love of Christ and grow in your walk with Him before taking a life journey with who God has for you in marriage. That’s how we experience the joy and purpose of God in relationships.
You may be asking yourself after reading these four reasons, "How then do Christians go about getting married?" I'm glad you asked.
There is of course no secret formula or special prayer that we just have to do and then watch our husband or wife pop up. It will look different for everyone in the details but should foundationally look the same. You can endlessly search the internet and find all kinds of relationship tips from Christian gurus and life coaches that will spin you in circles until you end up at the alter with somebody, but could there be a more simple and biblically foundational way that any Christian with the desire to be in a relationship can stand on that will end in joy and glorification of God, regardless of the outcome?
Here is a TikTok video of me explaining how this process should look:
@livinggodstruth Replying to @lindelani.apologist #thetruthaboutdating #waituntilmarrige #sexualpurity #waitongod #stopdating #christiansingle #christiandating #christiantiktok #GodFirstLifeSecond #God1stLife2nd #livinggodstruth #trustGod #relationshipadvice #liveforjesus #biblicalworldview #walkbyfaith #trustGodswill #courting #courtingnotdating #findingawife #findingahusband ♬ original sound - John Mason
My wife Sher'na and I actually lived this out. Ten years and five kids later we are still experiencing and depending on the joy and purpose of God in our marriage relationship. Watch below to see the amazing way God brought us together. This is not a formula for finding a husband or wife, but instead a testament of a brother and sister in Christ who abandoned the world's way of seeking relationships to glorify God with their desire to be in one. God is faithful in our trusting of Him with our lives and greatest desires.