Friendship dating and romance
Dating, however, isn’t mentioned in the Bible, and we shouldn’t try to find a “biblical basis” for dating, lest we superimpose our Western categories onto Scripture.The Bible does typically refer to family-arranged marriages (e.g., Isaac and Rebekah in Gen.
Thus they are more likely to be disappointed when the friendship doesn’t “go” anywhere.Furthermore, the dating system usually leaves all the decision making to the young person who is emotionally involved, often immature, and beset by peer pressure with little significant input from parents or church.Finally, the dating system tends to neglect the practical realities of life: sufficient education, an income-earning track record, savings, life experience, common interests, and conflict-resolution skills.Dating may have the advantage of “screening” a prospective spouse before making any commitment to marriage. There is the tendency to become attached prematurely without wider exposure to the opposite sex (just think of a guy and a girl pairing up during university freshman orientation).Also, if steady dating is begun too early and continued too rigidly, the development of friendship and true partnership—which is so important to a healthy marriage—may be eclipsed by increased attention to physical expression and emotional intimacy, which can blind a person to the shortcomings and character flaws in the other.These suggestions are as follows: drop that “faux spouse” who refuses to commit to you; follow the Golden Rule of dating (treating the person you’re dating as you would want someone else to treat your future spouse); don’t date until you are at a place in life where friendship can naturally develop into a flourishing, exclusive relationship; don’t kiss until you’re engaged—or even the day of the wedding; set patterns of faithfulness and self-control that will guide you through dating and marital life; observe how the friend in whom you are interested resolves disagreements, shows forgiveness, and handles disappointments and frustrations; before engagement, address general concerns about previous sexual experience. While “enjoying” the seeming benefits of emotional attachments, unmarried couples— though friends—may be avoiding the hard work of deepened commitment, but to their own harm.
A guy and a girl who aren’t officially dating may send texts to each other during the wee hours of the night, “chat” extensively over Facebook, or “hang out” with each other on their i Phones or i Pads.
The other, more common extreme is to plunge into a physically involved, romantic relationship.
This approach reverses the proper order of things, which should involve getting to know someone and building a friendship before engaging in physical expressions of affection that should be reserved for committed relationships.
But a consistent pairing off between a man and woman is a different situation.
While romantic love is typically the basis for marriage in our culture, non-Western marriages often involve two families engaging in investigations, negotiations, and contracts.
Maybe they’ll call each other “BFFs” and watch movies or have dinner together, but they do so in a detached way—as though their sexual identity doesn’t matter.