This article was originally written for my weekly Facebook notes feature, called Sunday notes, on Sunday 24 October 2010
Song of Solomon 2v7
I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem,
By the gazelles or by the does of the field,
Do not stir up nor awaken love
Until it pleases.
This may well be the first? and last time that I quote from the Song of Solomon. I know it is the Bible, but it is so embarrassing and explicit – it is all about apples and cakes of figs and dripping myrrh – and flocks of goats! 😉
OK, well it seems last Sunday’s note had a wider reach than I had expected or anticipated…
Talking with one of my main “big brothers” that I have recently acquired, he assured me that everyone was praying for me (to be settled…). He then went on to say a few other things… Oh dear!
Anyway, still on relationships, I have tried my hardest to make this note not all about me this time! Rather I’m talking about one of my favourite bugbears – dating, and why it is not a suitable foundation for making a choice in marriage.
Now, let me first start by saying that I think that dating is a beautiful thing, and that it definitely has its place. By “dating” I mean a guy and a girl going out together, and sharing fun activities together for the sake of deliberately getting closer. I think the idea of romantic dinners, holding hands, talking, “getting deep and meaningful” is excellent, and something to look forward to.
I simply don’t get it – people get married, and then all this stops! Why?! This is when all the fun starts! Finally, I can stop holding my hands to myself and running away from being alone with my guy. (I will continue to run away from being alone with other guys) – and I can generally start expressing a different aspect to my character! 😉 This is one of the reasons why I am so particular about work-life balance issues – I always think that modern work demands leave little time for couples to spend together. (I’ve since written more about this issue in depth here).
Now please understand that I am not saying this for the benefit of anyone, because, if, and hopefully when, the right guy comes, I plan to thoroughly let him know all my dreams for marriage, as I cannot afford that my husband and I should not know and understand one another’s expectations. (For me, to dream is to expect!) If he doesn’t like it, then he doesn’t have to marry me! But I’m hoping that he will like it.
However, I think that the correct context for all of this is within marriage itself. Before marriage, this same dating can actually be dangerous, especially to Bible-believing Christians. Now this is a subject that my Pastor I spoke about last week. Most of my personal views on dating pre-marriage have been formed from reading a book by a young USA author, Joshua Harris, called “I kissed dating goodbye”. (That is, he was young when he wrote the book!)
I think it may be worthwhile to think about pre-marriage dating in two aspects: dating to “get to know someone” from scratch, or dating once you’ve already known a little about someone, and you both already know that you like one another. Pastor I’s viewpoint matches with my own in that he says that dating is something that people do when they are already married. Pastor I’s main point is that pre-marital dating is dangerous as it is geared towards sexual arousal. And he is of course right. It is one of those things that should go without saying and yet somehow always needs to be explicitly stated that as Christians sex should be reserved exclusively for marriage. I know we may all have made some mistakes, and have some regrets, but that does not change the fact that this is the standard that the Bible holds up for us.
Now the things that truly make dating exciting – romantic dinners, staring deep into one another’s eyes, touching or cultivating physical contact – these all cultivate an intimacy which human nature will want to take further and further – especially if you are very conscious of how single you are, and how much you want it… Now, personally speaking, because I want to totally avoid sexual temptation, I am not going to tiptoe as far as I can possibly can up to the boundaries of sexual purity – rather I am going to run away as hard and as fast as I can in the opposite direction. This is one reason why I totally agree with Pastor I that many of the activities of dating are dangerous to single Christians, as they encourage you to get closer and closer…
Other Bible Verses:
Charm is deceitful, and beauty is passing…
Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge.