In past blogs, we’ve talked about the purpose of marriage being to primarily glorify God more than to bring us happiness. When we serve the Lord and live in His will, joy and peace are natural fruits of such living. Because dating and courting relationships will potentially be marriage relationships, they should be viewed in a similar light as a marriage relationship. I’m not saying that you should act married when you’re not; however, marriage is still a holy institution.
God holds people who are married to a high standard with each other. When there is adultery in a marriage, we automatically know that something is wrong. Even people who do not consider themselves to be Christians usually get up in arms when they hear that their spouse committed sexual infidelity. In preparing for marriage, those standards should be just as high. If you and your significant other are involved in sexual activities before marriage, then you are laying the groundwork to be involved in sexual activity with other people after you are married. God’s Word is clear that sex is only for marriage (Hebrews 13:4). If you are willing to break that command before marriage, it will be harder for you to remain faithful in your marriage.
In another issue, some couples break up every time they hit a rough patch and then get back together. Some couples may not be aware how to work through problems and could use some good counseling; however, in other relationships, they should simply end. If you and your boyfriend or girlfriend are breaking up every few months, it would be wise to seek a lot of counsel… not from your friends, but from older people in your church and/or professional Christian counselors. Breaking up as a way to deal with your problems is not likely something that will stop once you are married; rather, it is practice for divorce – something that God hates (Malachi 2:16).
The examples above are just two examples of relationships going down a destructive path. There are many more that could be discussed. At the end of the day, it is important to remember that God is just as interested in you remaining pure and glorifying Him through your dating and courting relationships as He will be in your marriage.
It is easy to view your single years as the years when you believe it is okay to deliberately mess up. Because you are young, by our culture’s standards, you may think it is fine to make mistakes… only, they aren’t always mistakes… and often they are deliberate choices that seem pleasurable at the time that are really nothing more than sinful decisions. Remember that God doesn’t apply different standards of judgment to people based on their marital status.
If you find yourself represented in one of the two types of relationships above, spend some time and talk to some adults that have come to know Christ after living a sinful past and see if they are not still dealing with the effects of their sin. Yes, God does forgive those who are His; however, the Bible is full of stories of people dealing with the consequences of their sinful past. Yes, God regenerated them and they became children of God, but that did not erase the consequences. Living outside of God’s will (as defined by biblical Scripture) in your dating relationships will follow you into your marriage, so make your decisions in your dating relationship based on God’s standards… for it is Him that you are ultimately trying to please, isn’t it?
Is your relationship pleasing God? Whether or not you are in a relationship currently, spend some time in God’s Word to learn how He would have you interact with your significant other and then make a written list of the standards you will have for your relationship (present or future) – and then determine to hold to them. Pray for God to reveal things to you that may have never considered. If you are in a dating relationship, go through the Bible and write down the standards you both have for your relationship together. It is very important that these standards match. If they don’t, there will be constant battles over whose standard to follow. Additionally, spend time with the Lord alone and ask Him to show you areas in your relationship that have not been pleasing to Him; then, repent of those things – individually and as a couple – and strive to live everyday to please Him going forward.
Are you behaving in ways that you know are not pleasing to God in your dating relationship? What do you need to do about it?