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Section 4  - Let Your Light Shine Study #15  - Dating
Dating And Marriage

Introduction:Marriage and dating relationships are heavily influenced by cultural norms. Dating, as one would commonly understand it today, is a relatively recent phenomenon, developing in America and the West since the 1950’s. Before that time, and in many places in the world today, marriage relationships were typically arranged by families or a formal “courting” took place. This was the case in Biblical times as well.

Consequently, one will not find the term “dating” anywhere in the Bible. With regards to dating and guy-girl relationships, many of us may come out of the world with bad experiences or low expectations. The Bible offers some very important principles and viewpoints on guy-girl relationships that draw right boundaries and set us on a path for building successful friendships and dating relationships. In the church, we understand steady boyfriend-girlfriend dating to be a courting relationship that may eventually explore the possibility of marriage.

The Scriptures:

Yoked to Believers

1 Corinthians 7:39
A woman is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she wishes, but he must belong to the Lord.

This is neither encouragement nor suggestion; it is a clear command of God: "...he must belong to the Lord." Disciples marry disciples.

2 Corinthians 6:14-18
14 Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?
15 What harmony is there between Christ and Belial ? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?
16 What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people."
17 "Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you."
18 "I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty."

The context to this scripture is about who we give our affection to. Paul told the disciples in Corinth that he and his companions had given their affection (hearts) to them.

2 Corinthians 6:11
We have spoken freely to you, Corinthians, and opened wide our hearts to you.

but the Corinthians were “withholding” their affection from Paul and the other disciples.

2 Corinthians 6:12
We are not withholding our affection from you, but you are withholding yours from us. Paul was telling them that they should be eager to give their hearts to other disciples but NEVER be yoked (give their affection and hearts) to unbelievers!

Types of Dating

Discuss the church’s two general views of “dating”.

- Friendly dating: guys and girls going out to encourage one another and get to know each other with no romantic strings attached and no expectations except friendship…this should happen a lot!

- Steady dating: having an exclusive boyfriend or girlfriend…this should happen after taking the time to build a regular friendship and consulting MANY advisors!

Need a Boyfriend/Girlfriend

Psalm 37:4
Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Steady dating (i.e. getting a “boyfriend”/”girlfriend”) in the world can take place for all the wrong reasons: insecurity (needing to “be with someone” in order to feel loved or special), social pressure, lustfulness, status.

First and foremost, our delight should be in the Lord. He is the primary source for what our hearts desire in terms of intimacy, feelings of worth, security and confidence.

Sometimes our impulse to want to “date” is premature or based on worldly motives. Ask this question: What is it that you are seeking in a dating relationship that cannot be attained in (1) your walk with God or (2) a regular platonic guy-girl relationship?

Spiritual Relationships (Guy/Girl) Principles

Be considerate of one another. Do not be a stumbling block.

1 Corinthians 10:32-33
32 Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God--
33 even as I try to please everybody in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.

Go on dates with a double; home before midnight; dress appropriately, etc.

Be absolutely pure

Ephesians 5:3
But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God's holy people.

1 Timothy 5:2
older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity.

In all guy-girl relationships (dating and non-dating) the standard of purity is very high. What kinds of things, short of sexual immorality, would still be a “hint” of sexual immorality/impurity? (Inappropriate kissing, touching, making out, etc.)

Get Advice

Proverbs 19:2
It is not good to have zeal without knowledge, nor to be hasty and miss the way.

Proverbs 19:20
Listen to advice and accept instruction, and in the end you will be wise.

Our worldly notions of dating should not be imported into God’s kingdom; be humble enough to admit that you do not know how to successfully build a spiritual dating relationship with a Christian…you need advice!

The Spiritual Exercise: Write out a list of things / principles that God says are essential to building a spiritual friendship (with the opposite sex) and entering into a godly marriage