Friday, December 4, 2015

Dating 101

The word says very little about dating and courtship. The Bible talks of marriage and what should happen within the confines of that marriage – but nothing on how to get to the marriage stage. In fact, the entire concept of dating is relatively new in the last 100 yrs or so. We as a society/culture have moved from arranged marriages – where the parents were completely in control. Then there was the courtship phase – where the parents were heavily involved and the mates were invited to the house, met the family, and vetted by the parents. Next was dating – where we picked our own mates, dated multiple people in secret and the parents meet them towards the engagement/marriage stage. Now we’re in a mix of situationships and “Netflix & chillin” – where we are deceitful, loose and completely non-committal.

But back to the Bible, the closest lessons I’ve seen in the word on dating/courtship would have to be Jacob and Racheal (Gen 29:15-30). My boy Jacob fell in love with Racheal – she was fine and had a job! Brother agreed to work 7 years for her hand – 7 years! Considering he stayed with and worked for Racheal’s father I think it’s safe to assume he was courting her that whole time. Then after being deceived by dad and given the older sister Leah, he worked another 7 years for Racheal. 14 yrs looking at a woman you love but can’t touch – all while working on her father’s land. Sounds like courtship to me.

So in my attempt to understand the concept of dating from a Biblical standpoint, I turned to a mini-Bible study on dating. It was a 7 day reading plan that took me close to 2 weeks to finish – ironically my biggest revelation I received didn’t come from the scriptures, but from the way I handled the readings.

Day 1: Ephesians 6:2-3

2 “Honor your father and mother.” This is the first commandment with a promise: 3 If you honor your father and mother, “things will go well for you, and you will have a long life on the earth.”

The way you treat/interact with you parents says  a lot about how you will treat your mate. Love, honor and respect them… and if it’s something we’re doing that is embarrassing to our parents or we wouldn’t know we did – it’s probably not a good idea. And there’s a promise! Do this and you WILL have long life on earth. Sounds pretty simple to me.

Day 2: 2 Corinthians 6:14

14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?


So I had to look up what exactly an “unbeliever” was. I wasn’t sure if it was someone who didn’t believe in religion – an atheist, or just someone who wasn’t a Christian. What I found is that if you do not believe that Jesus was God and that he came to Earth to die for our sins – you are an unbeliever. This is the core of Christianity. How can you seriously date someone – and consider marrying them – when the core of your faith is different?

Day 3: Job 31:11

31 I made a covenant with my eyes not to look with lust at a young woman.

This one hit home for me. It’s so easy to confuse my fleshy desire for someone with really liking them as a person and seeing serious potential in them as a mate. We as a society get so caught up in how attractive a person is. We’re even willing to look past obvious red flags early on because “he cute” or “she’s fine”. The bible even goes on to say that “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised” (Proverbs 30:31) and that “lust is a shameful sin, a crime that should be punished” (Job 31:11).

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t be attracted to you mate. Even Jacob thought Racheal was fine. Just don’t let these desires of the flesh distract you from someone who knows God.

Day 4: Psalms 37:3-4

Trust in the Lord and do good. Then you will live safely in the land and prosper. Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires.

This is another one that hit me hard. I love God, I try to follow his word but I’ve had problems trusting what God has in store for me. There are so many distractions and we are a people of instant gratification. I try to make things happen on my own in relationships versus waiting on God to bless me with the woman that he has obviously sent for me. In this verse he clearly states that if we “take delight in the Lord” – if we follow after Him, love Him, obey His word – “He will give [me my] heart’s desire.”  God knows one of my desires is family. I truly believe he’s just waiting on me to trust in him.

Day 5: Proverbs 6:20

20 My son, obey your father’s commands, and don’t neglect your mother’s instruction

This goes back to Day 1. It’s funny how the author goes back to including the parents in dating. That’s something that we’ve certainly lost over the years. And even when they do get involved we tend to ignore there wisdom for our lust. Imagine all the heartache we could have avoided if we listened to the advice of our parents? I know I am bad for not even seeking their advice and I don’t think that most of us do.

Day 6: 2 Timothy 2: 22

22 Run from anything that stimulates youthful lusts. Instead, pursue righteous living, faithfulness, love, and peace. Enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts.

This whole passage is pretty self-explanatory. It’s about how to keep yourself pure for God’s purposes. Don’t be lustful! (2nd time that’s showed up too.) But instead go after things that are of God – righteous living, faithfulness, love and peace. If we were to follow this passage alone, the dating community would be 100% better. It tells us not to be lustful, how to act and who to spend time with. Meditate on that!

Day 7: 1 Timothy 4:12

12 Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.

Generally the young are those who are the purist in spirit and in their pureness, are more likely to follow God’s word without questioning and are more likely to be going against the grain of the world. So I’d like to interpret that first line to read, “Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are going against the norm.” The world has put so much pressure on us to act as they do, to date (or not date…just have sex) as they do, to lust as they do, to divorce as they do. There’s been multiple times where I knew I was doing the right thing, but was made to feel alone because it was not what the world expected. We know that the path to God is going to be less traveled and even frowned upon by the masses. We should be confident in our choices when they align with God’s word and Hs will. We should continue to be that example, the light, to other believers and to the world so that they see God in us.

Good study right?! Did I mention it took me almost two weeks to complete it though? That’s were my real revelation came in. Let me explain. My love languages are Physical Touch and Quality Time so I feel some kinda way when someone doesn’t make time for me. I get annoyed when I’m not a priority. I feel like I should take precedence over at least most of the 1000’s of things going on in another person’s life – yes, I’m a little selfish on the inside. I was internally complaining about this when it hit me. That is exactly how I treat God. I talk to him, I communicate with him but I don’t make nourishing my relationship with Him a priority – at least not the way I feel like I should.

It took almost 2 weeks to finish this reading plan because everything was a distraction – work, after work meetings, the gym, time with friends, traveling, movies, etc. If someone who claimed to like me made time for all of that, but not for me I know I would feel undervalued. So I can imagine how God feels about my priority towards our relationship.

If marriage is to be a reflection of Jesus and the church – how can I be annoyed with someone not making time for me when I don’t do the same with God? He’s probably just as annoyed (or more) with me!

Moral of the story: Don’t expect more out of your worldly relationships than you’re willing to pour into your spiritual one. Grow closer to him – you’ll grow closer to them.