The Young man poured out his heart’s devotion on paper to the girl of his dreams:
I would climb the highest mountain for your love. I would swim the widest stream for a chance to see your smile. I would cross the burning desert just to gaze into your eyes. I would die at the stake to hold your hand for a single moment.
P.S. I will see you Saturday…if it doesn't rain.
Today, I’m going to do something I’ve never done. I’m going to post on dating and marriage. The reason I’ve never done this is because I’ve never preached on dating and marriage, until now. I’ve never had a congregation that had young adults who were dating or who were becoming the age where they would want to date, before this. For the married couples who may be reading this, please bear in mind that if you have young children, they will date one day. You need to instill the right values in them, now. There are things people decide while dating that will have an affect on the rest of their lives.
1 Timothy 5:1-2 (NKJV)
5:1 Do not rebuke an older man, but exhort him as a father, younger men as brothers, 2 older women as mothers, younger as sisters, with all purity.
Treat Women as Sisters
I realize that this is written to Timothy as a pastor, but it is important in what it tells us about how to treat people. Unfortunately, the Bible doesn’t have “rules for dating.” Why not, you ask. The reason is simple; in those days marriages were arranged between parents, for their own reasons. I know this will be a huge blow to young women but “He’s so cute” was never a reason a young man was considered for marriage to a young woman.
This scripture is telling us that we should treat women with respect like sisters. Think about your sisters, men, how would you want other men to treat them? What expectations would you have for a guy who’s dating your sister? Would you want your sister treated with the respect with which you treat women? That question is really asking, “Do you treat women with respect”?
I came across this document on the Internet a while back:
8 Simple Rules for Dating my Teenage Daughter
- Use your hands on my daughter and you’ll lose them after.
- You make her cry; I make you cry.
- Safe sex is a myth; anything you try will be hazardous to your health.
- Bring her home late, there’s no next date.
- If you pull into my driveway and honk you better be dropping off a package, because you’re sure not picking anything up. (Alternate: Only deliverymen honk, dates ring the doorbell…Once!
- No complaining while you’re waiting for her, if you’re bored you can change my oil.
- If your pants hang off your hips, I’ll gladly secure them with my staple gun.
- Dates must be in crowded public places. You want romance? Read a book.(1)
Now, this is meant to be humorous, but if you look beyond the attitude it’s really a father’s desire that his daughter be treated with respect. We have become a society, though, that doesn’t value treating others with respect. We expect to be treated with respect, but feel that we’re exempt from treating others respectfully.
The Bible gives us a clue as to what it means to treat women with respect in the last phrase of our text “with all purity.” What is purity?
According to Mirriam-Webster Dictionary purity can be defined as: Free from moral fault: Innocent.
When we treat women without regard for their purity; when we have a physical relationship with them without marriage, we take something that doesn't belong to us.
Dating with no intention of marriage, is like clothes shopping with no money. You’ll leave frustrated or take something that doesn't belong to you. (2)
The Bible defines for us when it is proper to come together:
Hebrews 13:4 (NKJV)
13:4 Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge.
So, a sexual relationship after marriage is honorable, but not before. Fornication is a sexual relationship outside of marriage; God will judge that. This ties into sexual purity, sexual purity is abstinence from sexual intercourse prior to marriage. Maintaining sexual purity in your dating relationship is acting with respect for women. It shows a concern for their relationship with God, their well-being and their future. Look at this:
1 Corinthians 6:18 (NKJV)
6:18 Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body.
Or her own body, as the case may be.
When we have sex outside of marriage we sin against God, remember God will judge, but we also sin against ourselves. This scripture says it’s a sin against our own bodies. Now let me show you some statistics:
Men who marry as virgins are 36% less likely to divorce. Women who marry as virgins are 24% less likely to divorce. (3)
Those who wait to until marriage to have sex and remain faithful in marriage report higher levels of life satisfaction compared to adults who engage in premarital or adulterous sex. Those who wait until marriage and are faithful to their spouse also report notably higher happiness scores. (4)
So what do these statistics tell us? That young people who abstain from sex before marriage are happier, more satisfied with life, and less likely to divorce. God isn’t trying to spoil your fun, He’s trying to insure that your life be the best it can be.
John 10:10 (NKJV)
10:10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.
This tells us that Jesus has come to give us a more abundant life, a happier, fuller life, but it also tells us that the devil wants to destroy it.
Why Remain Pure?
Someone once said, “Why buy the cow when you can have the milk for free?”
The meaning of that is why make the commitment to marriage, when you can enjoy the benefits of the marriage bed without making commitments. In simpler and perhaps cruder terms, why get married when you can have sex without it?
You know, marriage is a lot of work; two selfish people come together and have to figure out how to live with each other and maintain a relationship. I want what I want – She wants what she wants. Unfortunately, the two wants aren't always the same. It takes compromise and commitment to be married, so that means sometimes you have to give up what you want so the other can have what they want.
Sometimes men look at marriage and say, “It’s easier to stay single. I can do what I want. I don’t have to share my stuff. I can check out a lot of women. Being single is great.” So, if women are going to let them have sex, in addition to all these other things, some men are not going to get married. They don’t see a benefit to them. If you’re dating a guy with that attitude, you don’t need him, he’s selfish and immature, which, by the way aren't good prospects for a healthy, happy marriage. Look at this statement about the first marriage:
Genesis 2:24-25 (NKJV)
2:24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. 25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.
What do we see here? A MAN leaves his parents: He’s grown up; he’s matured. He’s not dependent on his parents anymore; he can make his own way in the world. He has some resources of his own.
THEN he’s joined to a wife. He’s united with her. Then they become one (that’s a Bible euphemism for sex.) They become one flesh. They’re naked and there’s no shame. There’s nothing to be ashamed of to be naked in front of your spouse, you’re one flesh.
Do you know why sex is intended for marriage? Sexual intimacy is intended to draw couples together. There is a bond that is built between couples that are intimate that joins them together.
Matthew 19:4-6 (NKJV)
19:4 And He answered and said to them, "Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning 'made them male and female,' 5 and said, 'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'? 6 So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate."
This bond remains until one or the other dies. Think about this for a moment. A woman sleeps with her boyfriend and gets pregnant. That couple is linked for life; even if they break up, even if they marry other people. They still have that child between them. There will always be that link. They will have to work out taking care of the child.
How many marriages do you know where the wife got pregnant before the marriage, and so they “did the right thing and got married.” Now they’re unhappy. They’re struggling with the marriage and their feelings for each other. They’re always fighting. The problem is that they formed this tie before they cleaved together.
“She trapped me into marriage.
“He’s here, but he doesn't love me.”
They didn't treat each other with "all purity." He didn't treat her with respect before marriage. She allowed him to take what didn't belong to him and now they’re struggling with the consequences. Even if there’s no child there’s still a tie, in a spiritual sense.
1 Corinthians 6:16 (NKJV)
6:16 Or do you not know that he who is joined to a harlot is one body with her? For "the two," He says, "shall become one flesh."
The Bible uses the word “harlot,” but the implication is just that there’s no marriage. They’re not married to each other but the two become one flesh. There is still that link that binds them together.
Why buy the cow when the milk is free? Why give the milk away in the first place? That milk is intended to nourish your marriage.
How to Date like a Christian
I said this post was about Christian dating, but so far I haven’t said anything about how we’re supposed to date. What is Christian dating like?
I think it would be simpler to first discuss non-Christian dating. Non-Christian dating – The way everyone else is doing it. The word dating in the 1920s was another word for prostitution. Media; television, movies and music create an image of what a hip, modern dating relationship looks like. It does nothing to promote Godliness.
Non-Christians are waiting longer to get married, and sleeping and living together. 50% of adults are not married. 33% of all births are to unmarried women. The myth is that if you’re living together or sleeping together you’ll have a better marriage. That’s a lie. The odds of your marriage failing are higher than those who don’t engage in that type of behavior. (5)
Christian dating is not like the world’s dating. The following are MY recommendations:
- Date in groups or in public restaurants: Places where there are a lot of people around.
- Don’t spend the night together. When my wife and I were dating we separated by 10:30. I WENT HOME.
- Avoid being physical. Keep your hands to yourself. I kissed my wife for the first time at the end of our wedding ceremony. We weren't hanging all over each other and acting all lovey-dovey, either.
- Don’t be alone in private places. The devil’s probably not going to be able to tempt you to get naked in the middle of Wal-Mart, but he might in a nice, romantic bedroom.
- Make God a part of your romance. Let Him guide and direct you. After all, God brought Eve to Adam.
A good rule of thumb is don’t do anything you wouldn't want your pastor to see you doing. If you can’t do it while your pastor is there…DON’T DO IT. This will help you to avoid the dangers of dating, and it may help you to have a happy marriage.
I’m not naive and I know that some people may have already engaged in fornication. But the wonderful thing is that you can repent. “God, I messed up and violated myself and my partner.” God is faithful to forgive, but remember that repentance requires change. Without change there is no repentance. If you've done that, I would recommend separating for a while and being honest with your pastor. Then prayerfully and with counsel, evaluate your relationship.
When you begin to date, do so with the idea that you’re courting. Courting means there is a seriousness about marriage, and do it the right way.
Sex is a wonderful thing. It’s a gift to marriage. Waiting until the right time makes your wedding night a wonderful and joyous occasion. It makes it special; the excitement and anticipation. What a wonderful gift. So value yourself and the gift God has given you. Use it for its proper purpose, to create a closeness and intimacy in your MARRIAGE: To make your marriage a lasting and happy one.
(1) 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter: And other tips for a beleaguered Father (Not that any of them work. W, Bruce Cameron , 2001, Workman
(2) Twitter Feed: Calvary Tweets: Sept. 24, 2013
(3) Pastor Mark Driscoll, Dating, Relating and Fornicating, October 26, 2011
(4) Cohabitation Vs. Marriage: 26 Research Findings, Physicians for Life.org,
(5) Pastor Mark Driscoll, Dating, Relating and Fornicating, October 26, 2011