” The vision of marriage we see in God’s word –– the beautiful, radical display of God’s infinite, persevering love for sinners –– makes it worth it to date, and date well.
The world’s approach can provide fun and sex and children and eventually even some level of commitment, but it cannot lead to the life-giving Jesus after whom our marriages are to take their cues.
But God had much more in mind with romance than orgasms or even procreation, and so should we. When people in the world are expecting less and less of each other in dating, God isn’t — so among the single we have to work harder in our not-yet married relationships to preserve what marriage ought to picture and provide.
Nothing in my life and faith has been more confusing and spiritually hazardous than my pursuit of marriage. Maybe you’ve wanted the relationship or liked the guy or girl, and you’ve never had the chance.
If Christian dating, the intentional, selfless, and prayerful process of pursuing marriage, sounds like slavery, we don’t get it.
If low-commitment sexual promiscuity sounds like freedom, we don’t get it.
From far too young, I longed for the affection, safety, and intimacy I anticipated with a wife. I experimented too much with our hearts and allowed things to go too far. And now my singleness is a regular reminder that I messed up, missed opportunities, or did it wrong. Maybe all the suggestions and advice you’ve collected has become a confusing mess of good-intentioned contradictions and ambiguity.
Sadly, my immature and unhealthy desires predictably did much more harm than good. Maybe dating has been hard for you, too, for these reasons or others. It’s enough to leave you like an 8-year-old, asking, “Mom, where do weddings come from?
Exclusivity and intentionality are ancient rituals, things of the past, and misplaced hopes. It’s not that this new line of thinking is necessarily untrue today, or that it’s not the current and corrupt trend of our culture. One of our most precious pursuits, that of a life-long partner for all of life, is tragically being relegated to tweets, texts, and Facebook pokes, to ambiguous flirtation and fooling around. Therefore, only he can prescribe the purpose, parameters, and means of our marriages.
If fullness of life could be found in sexual stimulation, or if it was just a matter of making babies, the “forget formality and just have sex” approach might temporarily satisfy cravings and cause enough conception.
It is a faith-filled attempt to become like him and make him known together.
Regardless of the believer you marry, you will likely find out soon that you do not feel as “compatible” as you once did, but hopefully you will marvel more at God’s love for you in Jesus and the amazing privilege it is to live out that love together, especially in light of your differences.
It was not an oversight on the part of the God of all history, as if he couldn’t see into the 21st century.