Volumes and volumes have been written about dating
Dating has become a major element in the formation of thought as it pertains to building an efficacious foundation for the institution of marriage. Many have made the postulation that mastering the enigmatic conundrum of dating will, in some way, mitigate the natural challenges of marriage.
This Western culture in which we are encapsulated has been inundated with secular paradigms that fuel the perception that life is about self. Yet, marriage in its purest design is – without a doubt – the most selfless of all endeavors. When dating is examined in the light of a biblical world view, it leaves quite a bit to be desired.
Although this treatise is written from a theological perspective that views the God of the Bible as being real and eternal, it recognizes that there will be those that will have views that are diametrically opposed to the views that are laid out here. If this is the case as for as you are concerned, I only ask that you look at what is presented in the way of reason, with an open mind. This is not a bid to validate Christianity or authenticate the Bible. That will be left to another time and date. What we aspire to do here is to take a brief look at the fallacious institution of dating and acknowledge its polarity to marriage when placed juxtaposed to the true tenets of marriage as a biblical institution.
If you disagree you are well within your right to do so
This article will also treat the Bible as authoritative and inerrant. Again, if you disagree you are well within your right to do so. I only ask that you take the time to examine the hypothetical matter being presented. If you disagree, be willing to rationally and intellectually raise your objection.
Dating, as presented here, refers to the traditional act as recognized in this Western culture, but not in the informal sense. The act of dating referred to here is the practice that is perpetuated as the precursor to marriage. This does not address the casual behavior of many who don’t seek a long term monogamous relationship. We will focus on the belief that dating, when properly engaged, has the power to properly lay the foundation for a long, lasting and successful marriage.
Marriage is a biblical institution and any examination of its existence must be done so in light of its original design. Time does not permit for an in-depth discussion into the institution of marriage here, but what we can assess here is that marriage was ordained by God in Genesis Chapter two and validated numerous times throughout the Bible.
One of the most powerful and illuminating contextual passages on marriage can be found in the book of Ephesians, chapter 5. In this brief passage, the Apostle Paul issues mandates to both the wife and the husband. For the sake of time, we will summate Paul’s mandate as requiring the women to respect and revere her husband as she would the Lord and the husband is to love his wife, even to the point of death, in the same way that Christ expressed His sacrificial love for the Church. What we see in this command is that both, the husband and the wife, are called to the selfless act of considering their mate before considering themselves. This sets the standard in marriage. In marriage it is not about you.
As much as it is revealed that marriage is not a selfish endeavor, the vast majority of individuals enter into marriage seeking what they may gain instead of what they may give. The true design of marriage has become perverted to be a self-seeking platform for comfort, convenience and procreation. Dating is one of the dynamic elements that facilitate this erroneous concept of marriage.
America boasts the largest dating culture in the world while also having the highest divorce rate. Dating is the illusion that has infused cosmic world views such as ethical relativism (the belief that no absolute moral code exists and that man determines what is right through his private judgments) and secular humanism (the belief based on atheism and naturalism that holds that man is the measure of all things and he, himself, sets the norms and standards by which he will be judged) with the natural human proclivity to seek self above all else.
It is believed that dating brings insight that allows individuals to effectively choose the right mate. It is believed that the longer a couple dates the more successful their marriage will be, but when research and surveys are conducted the contrary is revealed. The vast majority of those that were married within the first three to six months of meeting remained married long beyond 10 years, whereas, those that dated or were engaged beyond two years found it to be a difficult endeavor to reach the five year mark. Obviously, there are exceptions on both sides of the equation, but the numbers are so powerfully weighted that they cannot be ignored.
An Emotional and Spiritual Connection Takes Place
Dating introduces elements that are designed to be explored only within the confines of marriage. For instance, every encounter in the dating process that carries beyond the second date begins a process in which an emotional and spiritual connection takes place. You cannot have an ongoing situation in which continued consistent contact is present without developing a connection. The problem is that these connections are developed with no sense of commitment, meaning that at any point either party can simply decide that they no longer want to be involved with the other and just walk away. Unfortunately, many times one of the parties gets hurt in the process; however, there is no recourse because there was no commitment.
We were not designed for casual romantic engagement for the sake of assessing a potential mate. We were designed for commitment to one person. When examining the biblical marriage or even many Eastern cultures in which dating is not a part of the marital process, we find that the success rate for marriage is as high as 95 percent. Of course another element that is present in both is a true sense of covenant and commitment.
Dating may make you more familiar with your counterpart. It may give you confidence that you can adequately project the outcome of your relationship with that person, but marriage is not about familiarity or even comfort, it is about commitment and sacrifice. When one is not thinking of themselves above their mate it is quite difficult to become disenfranchised and disappointed. When the sole desire of a person is to seek the greater good for their spouse above all else, there is no room for selfish pursuits and complaints.
Dating not only exposes both individuals emotionally, it also creates a comfort level of having access to certain elements of a person’s being that is reserved for the institution of marriage without making the required commitment. This does not mean that you can’t spend time getting to know a person, but that should be done more from an observational point of view, instead of an engaging point of view. Many will disagree with this view, but I have yet to find one person that could present me with a biblical foundation for dating.
When observing a potential mate, the focus should be on their godly character and their understanding of covenant more than personal compatibility, likes and dislikes. Any couple that is 100 percent committed to God and their marriage can grow towards one another as they move towards God. Without an understanding of covenant and commitment, even those couples with much in common will find themselves growing apart. Center yourself on that which has intrinsic value and you will find that all things are possible in Christ.
Article Submitted on Behalf of
(Bishop) Dr. Rick Wallace
Founder & President
Rick Wallace Ministries
100 Men of Purpose