Is marriage too big a risk for men?

With the modern possibility that a woman can take a man’s children, half his assets and saddle him with years of potential debt in the form of child support and alimony is marriage now too great a risk for men? Many men think so.  A lot of young Christian men who are engaged get cold feet about marriage because of these very real possibilities.

“She is so sweet and submissive now, but what will she change into after we are married.” This is the thought of many young men today.

Two reasons men don’t want to marry

There are really two reasons today that men don’t want to marry.  One is for selfish reasons.  “Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?” is the philosophy of a lot of men today.  The practice of women “giving the milk for free” (having sex before marriage) has served only to help increase this irresponsible behavior in men.

In fact there are many in the so-called “manosphere” that actually recommend men forgo marriage all together and instead simply pursue a life of casual sex with various women.

Some in the manosphere argue that marriage is far more advantageous to women in our current culture than it is for men and if we were looking at this simply from the perspective of men getting the kind of respect and sex they want from women they would be right.  

But while respect and sex are things that are critically important to most men – these are not the only things that are important to  many men.  This leads us to our second reason some men do not want to marry.

The second reason that men do not want to marry is not for selfish reasons.  This second group of men truly want to share their lives with a woman in marriage and have a family. But they fear the very real possibility that a woman will deceive them and rip their heart out through divorce. Even if the woman does not divorce them she may turn out to be a contentious and angry woman that is cold to them both inside and outside the bedroom.

Some Christian men even find what they think is Biblical support for their belief that marriage is just too risky a proposition.

The Bible tells us it is hard to find an excellent wife

“An excellent wife, who can find? for her price is far above rubies.” – Proverbs 31:10 (NASB)

Some men read passages like this and think to themselves “if it was hard to find a good wife back in Biblical times – how much harder is it today?” And they are right. It is very difficult for a man to find a good wife today.

The Bible tells us it is better to be alone than with a contentious woman

“It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman.” – Proverbs 21:19 (KJV)

Again these are not encouraging words for young Christian men to read about the prospects of marriage.  If women were contentious in Biblical times, how much more contentious are they today in age of feminism?

The Apostles say “If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry

Christ had this discussion about marriage and divorce:

“9 And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.

10 His disciples say unto him, If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry.

11 But he said unto them, All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given.

12 For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother’s womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.” – Matthew 19:9-12 (KJV)

I have written exhaustively in previously posts about what Christ said here on divorce when we understand it light of the entire witness of the Scriptures.  But really this conversation boiled down to the fact that men thought they could put their wives away (divorce them) for any reason and Christ was putting a stop to easy divorce.

This meant you could potentially marry a very contentious woman and nasty woman but if she did not sin against you sexually (by either committing adultery or through sexual defraudment against you) you had to stay married to her.  This is what Christ was saying.

So the Apostles were basically saying – “if a man has to stay with a contentious and nasty wife it is better not even to get married.”  Christ responds to their conclusion that it is only for those “to whom it is given” – in other words those who have the gift of celibacy.

Paul talks even more about celibacy. Some think the Apostle Paul would agree with them that is better not to get married.  The Apostle Paul wrote these statements about celibacy:

“It is good for a man not to touch a woman.” – I Corinthians 7:1 KJV

“So then he that giveth her in marriage doeth well; but he that giveth her not in marriage doeth better.” – I Corinthians 7:38 KJV

If we stopped at these passages many young men would go away feeling validated from the Scriptures that their feelings that marriage is too risky a proposition is right.

But when coming to God’s Word we must examine all of the Scriptures and not just the ones that seem to validate our feelings and desires.

The two reasons Paul thought Celibacy was better than marriage

The Apostle Paul did not say it is better for a man not to get married under ALL circumstances.  Rather it was only under certain circumstances that it was in fact better that men do not get married.

The first reason Paul gives for celibacy is “I think then that this is good in view of the present distress, that it is good for a man to remain as he is.” (I Corinthians 7:26 NASB)  This was because of great persecution that Christians were under.  Christians being rounded up and put in prison or even worse being put to death.  It is understandable why Paul would recommend celibacy if possible under such grave conditions.

“but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how he may please his wife, and his interests are divided…This I say for your own benefit; not to put a restraint upon you, but to promote what is appropriate and to secure undistracted devotion to the Lord.” – I Corinthians 7:33 -35 (NASB)

Paul then gives a second reason to consider celibacy. According to Paul marriage creates a new temptation.  The temptation to put your spouse before God.  The temptation to turn your spouse into idol.

Celibacy is NOT always good

While it is true that Paul wrote “It is good for a man not to touch a woman” (I Corinthians 7:1 -KJV) he also wrote:

“Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.” – I Corinthians 7:2 (KJV)

“for it is better to marry than to burn.” – I Corinthians 7:9 (KJV)

Christian men do not have the option to do as unbelieving men and just go around having casual sex with women.

Also for the Christian man celibacy is not an option unless God grants him that “gift” (I Corinthians 7:7). If a Christian man has a strong sex drive the answer to that strong sex drive and also to avoiding temptation to fornicate is marriage.

So if God has given you a strong sex drive and not the gift of celibacy – you have a Biblical obligation to seek out a wife.

Previously we saw that the Bible warns us as Christian men about the potential pitfalls of marriage.  There are a lot of sinful women out there.  There are a lot of Christian women out there that are contentious and do not have the submissive spirit God calls on women to have toward their men. But regardless of these facts the Bible tells us marriage is a good thing.

The Bible calls marriage an honorable endeavor

Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.” – Hebrews 13:4 (KJV)

“Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the Lord.” – Proverbs 18:22 (KJV)

“House and riches are the inheritance of fathers: and a prudent wife is from the Lord.” – Proverbs 19:14 (KJV)

The Bible calls children a blessing from God

“3 Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.

4 As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth.” – Psalm 127:3-4 (KJV)

“Children’s children are the crown of old men; and the glory of children are their fathers.” – Proverbs 17:6 (KJV)

God commands us to marry and have children

One of the oldest commands in Scripture is found in the creation of man and woman in the Garden of Eden:

“And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” – Genesis 1:28 (KJV)

God’s command to “be fruitful and multiply” (to get married and have children) has not expired. It was not a temporary command.

God designed men and women to bring him glory through living out their design.  A big part of our design is that we were designed for marriage.   How can we fully live out the roles that he has given to us if we do not marry? How can we model the relationship of Christ and his Church (Ephesians 5:22-33) if we do not marry? The answer is we cannot.

Yes God makes exceptions for his command to marry in the form of Biblical celibacy.  But this is only if we have the gift of celibacy.

Conclusion

Marriage has always been a risk for men and a good woman has always been hard to find as we can see from Scriptures.  I will fully admit that marriage today is probably the greatest risk it has ever been for men in the history of world.

Our society has completely rejected the roles that God designed for men and women in society, in the church and most importantly in marriage. In fact our society has actually encouraged and enabled rebellion in women and this makes the probabilities of marriage difficulties and divorce very high.

But as young Christian men come to realize these risks they would do well to heed the words of Joab to the men of Israel:

Be of good courage, and let us play the men for our people, and for the cities of our God: and the Lord do that which seemeth him good.” – II Samuel 10:12 (KJV)

Having courage in the face of overwhelming odds is what it means to be a man.

Yes marriage for a man is huge risk today.  But anything in life that is worthwhile is a risk. Did you know that 90 percent of small business startups fail? But would we recommend that people stop trying to start businesses? Of course not.   In the same way just because we know 50 percent of marriages end in divorce does not mean we should can give up on God’s institution of marriage.

Instead of giving up on marriage, we need to do everything we can to mitigate the risk of failure in marriage by following Biblical principles in dating and seeking out a wife. If you start out with a woman who has a good foundation your chances of success are far better.

See my post on Biblical dating for good principles to follow in finding the wife that God would have for you.

Why doesn’t my husband love me anymore?

Many women ask this question “Why doesn’t my husband love me anymore?” sometime after they get married. But you will never get the answers you seek until you first understand that you are asking the wrong question.

The question you are really asking is “Why doesn’t my husband show me affection anymore?”

You may be scratching your head now – maybe you are thinking something like “Affection and love are the same thing! – if you love someone you are affectionate towards them!”

But that is not actually true. There are many ways that a person can love someone and many ways that a person can show love toward someone.

The four types of Biblical love

Storge Love is the instinctual family love that a parent has for a child, a child has for a parent and a sibling has for their other siblings. You don’t choose to love your blood – it is hardwired into you by God.  Now that does not mean you are always fond of your blood, but deep down you love them and will do things for them because they are your blood.

Agape Love is a love based in choice.  It is when we choose to love someone not because of instinct or because of feelings that this person by their actions or their attributes generate in us.  We agape love someone because we have made a commitment to perform certain acts of love toward this person.

Phileo Love is a love based in friendship or affection depending on its context.

In the sense that it is commanded toward our brothers and sisters in Christ along with agape love it is a call to be friendly and kind toward our brethren.

But there is a second sense of phileo that is a conditional type of love.  Affection comes from this type of phileo love and it is feelings of affection in response to the actions or attributes of the person who is the object of affection.

Phileo love can actually be joined with family love – philostorgos to indicate a special fondness for a family member in response to the attributes or actions of that family member.

Eros Love is really a specific sexual type of phileo love and in Greek literature outside the Bible phileo love and eros love would be used interchangeably to talk about the feelings between two lovers.  It is a sexual love that is in direct response to sexual attraction.  While eros love is never mentioned in the New Testament, it is fully demonstrated throughout the entire book of the Song of Solomon.

The difference between Agape love and Phileo love demonstrated in God’s love

“For God so loved [agape] the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” – John 3:16 (KJV)

Before the foundation of the world God unconditionally committed to love his future creation in mankind.  He knew that man would fall into sin and need a savior and he planned to send his Son as the sacrifice for the sins of all mankind.  This is a demonstration of God’s agape love – his love based on his choice and in his will, not in his emotion.

But God’s phileo love (his affectionate love)is a love that is in direct response to our love and actions toward him.

“For the Father himself loveth[Phileo] you, because ye have loved[Phileo] me, and have believed that I came out from God.” – John 16:27 (KJV)

So we see here in John 16:27 that God the Father’s affectionate love toward his disciples was in response to their affection for Christ and the actions of belief toward him.

So it is absolutely Biblically correct to say that in one way God loves all mankind (agape) but in another way his love is only in response to our loving acts toward him (phileo).

Another way of stating this Biblical truth about love is that God loves all people but he is not affectionate toward all people because not everyone acts in love toward him.

So as a woman if you want your husband to be more affectionate or are wondering why he is not as affectionate as he once was you must first accept this simple truth:

The affectionate type of love you are seeking from your husband is a feelings based and conditional love that is directly in response to your actions toward him.

So the next question you might ask is “What did I do toward him before when he used to be affectionate toward me?”

Measuring WHY your husband shows affection now against WHY he did in the early relationship phase is a mistake

Often women try to look back at the conditions of their relationship when they were dating, engaged and or perhaps newlyweds.

“I didn’t have to do a thing to get his affection when we were dating.  He said affectionate things to me all the time.  He did affectionate things for me all the time. He loved me just for being me.”  – This or something like it is what you might be thinking.

Yes when you were dating, engaged or perhaps even newlyweds he made all these grand gestures and statements of affection for you.  He may have seemed to worship the very ground you walked on and you did not have to do a thing to get this affection – it seemed like unconditional love.

But this was not agape unconditional love as much as you want to believe it was.  It was phileo love – feelings based love.

Ladies since we know that phileo love in the context of a romantic relationship between a man and woman is a responsive love – what was your husband responding to? What generated his phileo love for you and the corresponding acts of affection that came with it?

For most men the initial spark of his phileo love was probably based in his eros love(a type of phileo love) when he initially saw you and was sexually attracted to you.

So literally you did not have to do a thing for him to fall in phileo love with you at first sight!

Then after he got to know you, liked your personality and he found things in common with you then his phileo love for you grew in anticipation of a future permanent relationship. Again you may have done little to nothing to fuel this love. It was simply your attributes (physical and personality) and the possibility of a future permanent relationship that fueled is his feelings of affection for you.

But these conditions no longer exist.

Whether you have been married 6 months, 6 years or 16 years you may never be able to get your husband to show you the kind of affection he did in your early relationship simply based on your physical attributes and your personality.

Measuring HOW your husband shows affection now against HOW he did in the early relationship phase is also a mistake

Not only do many women falsely measure the conditions for WHY their husband showed them affection in their early relationship but the next big mistake is in comparing HOW he showed affection in the newness phase of their relationship.

How your husband showed you affection in the early days of your relationship cannot be the measure by which you judge his affection after your relationship moved out of that newness phase.  In most relationships that was temporary insanity on the part of the man. Does the phrase “I am crazy for you!” ring any bells?

Many women live their whole lives in the past – longing for the days when their husbands first met them and adored them and lavished all kinds of affection on them. Basically they are living and longing for something that was temporary. Women also do this even with their bodies living in the past of what their body used to look like and never coming to an acceptance of the natural aging process.

As a woman you will never find happiness and contentment in your marriage until you accept that as relationships mature and as your body matures things change.

In fact is its because of this longing for the past that some women get drastic cosmetic surgeries as they age and they divorce their husbands longing for the thrills of adoration and affection they experienced during their early relationship with their husband.

But you know what they find? Not long after they are married again to a new man the affection and feelings of the relationship when it was brand new go away. This is one of the main reasons that almost 70 percent of divorces today are filed by women.  They continually seeking a type of affection that is temporary and does not last.

Your husband may still have phileo love for you but you don’t recognize it

The truth is that most men when they move out of the newness phase of a relationship and regain their sanity go back to normal male operations. Men are not as naturally affectionate as women are. Even the way that men show affection is often very different than women.

While many men verbally communicate their feelings of affection during the newness phase of a relationship this is NOT the norm of how men operate.

While women primarily communicate their feelings with words, men on the other hand primarily communicate their feelings with actions. This is something that for most women does not compute – but it is a fact.  The rare women who come to accept this fact in many cases end up having happier marriages and they typically don’t have the unmet expectations that other women do.

Let me just stop here and say I am not saying it is right for a man to never tell his wife that he loves her.  Men need to do that. Men need to tell their wives and children that they love them on a regular basis.  It takes intentionality and it takes men coming out of their comfort zone, but it needs to happen.

Ok back to you ladies. So perhaps your husband was showing you affection through his actions and you did not notice it.  Maybe it was those times he saw you were overwhelmed and went and did a couple loads of laundry.  Maybe it was when he stepped in the kitchen and did the dishes.  Maybe it was that night he came home from work and saw that you were overwhelmed and took you and the kids out to dinner.  There are so many things like this that men do each and every day that in their minds are acts of affection toward their wives but these things go unnoticed by many women.

He only touches me when he wants sex!

Most men are typically not physically affectionate unless they want sex.  It is hardwired into men. Are there exceptions where men are more emotional and/or touchy without it turning into sex? Yes.  But these men are rare.

For most men the equation goes like this:

Physical affection = Time to have sex

I realize as a woman you might hate this.  Many women complain about this. Some wives eventually figure out this equation and stop giving their husband physical affection because they know where it will lead (and this is very wrong by the way).

“Why can’t he touch me or I touch him without it every time having to turn into us having to have sex? I feel so used.” – This is a thought that may have crossed your mind as it has the minds of millions of women before you.

Let me try and convey this truth in a way that will make sense to you as a woman.

For you verbal communication, emotional connection and words of affection may or may NOT lead to you having a desire to have sex with your husband.  Sometimes it will, sometimes it won’t.  Sometimes you just want to talk, cuddle up and then go to sleep together – no sex is needed.

But imagine on one of those occasions where your husband was talking with you and you were emotionally connecting with him and then that caused you to have a strong a desire to have sex with him. He massages your neck and shoulders which just turns you on more.  Then he just stops and moves on to something else or if you are in bed he kisses you goodnight and rolls over and goes to sleep.  How frustrated would you be at that point with your desire burning red hot?

Now take that feeling of frustration and realize that for a lot of men EVERY time there is any kind of physical affection (hugs, cuddling, kissing, you sit on his lap…etc.) he is instantly turned on and ready to go. What happens for you on occasion and takes time to build happens to him in EVERY intimate touch between the two of you.

In fact you may have done nothing at all and not even touched him but just from him having a sexual thought he might be hot for you so he comes over and starts touching you.

In either case, whether you initiated the physical affection or he did asking men to separate physical affection with their wife from sex is a very difficult thing for a man to do- it feels unnatural to a man to separate these two things when it comes to his wife.

I am not saying it is impossible for a man not to have sex with his wife every time they have an intimate touch or embrace.  Many men practice restraint in this way all the time. I am not even saying that men should not practice a little restraint in this area. But the key phrase is “a little”. A married man most of the time should be able to act on his desires to have sex with his wife.  If that is every day, or every other day then so be it.

And on those occasions when your husband does show you affection without going for sex as women you need to realize how much your husband is sacrificing when he does this. He is literally resisting every fiber of his being telling him to have sex. And no it is NOT selfishness on his part – it is by the design of God.

“Well just because it is hard for men to do, doesn’t mean they shouldn’t do it!”

There are a great deal of people (even men who beat themselves up for the approval of women) that think men just need to be “civilized” and “reprogrammed”. Men need to be “more verbal and vulnerable with their emotions like women and they need to tone down the physical side of their sexual natures and embrace a more emotional sexual nature like that of a woman”. In short – men just need to be more like women and we would have better marriages.

There are a lot of marriage books, even Christian marriage books that are teaching this today.  Very few will come right out and say men need to be more like women in their approach to relationships, but most of them simply reword this and do it in a more subtle way.  But make no mistake this false teaching is being heavily propagated in marriage counseling books and sessions across America.

To that every man in this world should say “BOLGANA”! Especially Christian men who know that God created men and women with distinct and very different natures for his purposes and his design.

No my friends – what is called for is not for men to become more like women, but rather what God calls for is for us to UNDERSTAND and ACCEPT the differences in our male and female natures.

So if you realize that your husband does in fact show you signs of affection you were not seeing as signs of affection then this is what you must do. You must learn to accept the way he now shows you affection rather than longing for the days when your relationship was new and he was in crazy mode. People who are stuck in the past can never move forward.

But what if there are truly are no signs of affection that you can see? How do you go about creating the conditions that might lead to rekindling his affection for you?

5 Changes you can make that might rekindle your husband’s phileo love for you

You used to be able to win your husband’s affection based on your good looks and personality alone.  Basically you had do next nothing to get his affection but breathe and be his girlfriend.  But once a relationship moves past the new phase your actions toward him now become the basis for his phileo love for you rather than your physical attributes and personality alone.

Respect your husband

Do you find yourself constantly questioning and fighting with your husband? Do you speak disrespectfully to him especially in front of others? Do you find yourself criticizing him and telling him where you think he fails or could do better on a regular basis?  All of these behaviors can make a man feel disrespected and will definitely kill his phileo love and affection toward you.

If you have body acceptance issues – deal with them

Many women whether it is just a year or so, or several years after marriage begin to have body acceptance issues.  They may gain some weight before or after having children.  They may develop lose skin or cellulite.  They long for the days when they had smooth skin over 100 percent of their body and no rolls and no defects.

But let me tell you a secret ladies – most men do NOT care about these imperfections in their wife’s bodies.  That is why a famous song says that a man loves his woman’s “perfect imperfections”.  If you have body acceptance issues this will greatly affect every area of your marriage.  It will affect the next three things we will address regarding how you dress, how you undress and how you give your body to your husband.

Those next areas we will discuss are absolutely critical to instilling genuine affection in your husband toward you.

How you dress matters

As I said many times previously your physical attributes will not win his affection on their own.  However that does not mean they are not still a vital part of generating phileo love in your husband. Are you wearing sweats and big tee shirts all the time? Get clothes that flatter your figure. Get your hair done and if you need makeup then put it on. Dress to impress your husband!

How you undress matters

Has your lingerie been collecting dust for months or even years? Get it out, wash it and put it on for your man. Women don’t realize how important lingerie is to most men – when you present your body to your husband in lingerie it is like holding up a sign that says “I am yours”.

How you give your husband your body matters

Even if you don’t sexually deny your husband – are you enthusiastic about sex with him? Do you find yourself swatting his hands away on a regular basis? Do you have all kinds of restricted areas on your body? Like “you can touch here, but not there”. Do you make your husband have sex in the dark?

Putting all kinds of restrictions on how, where and when your husband can touch and see your body is a sure fire way to kill your husband’s phileo love and affection for you.

Ladies let me say one last thing here on freely and willingly giving your body to your husband which is a requirement by God (I Corinthians 7:4) of both men and women in a marriage. This is going to be a blunt statement but it must be said.

Just spreading your legs does not fulfill the requirement to give your husband your body.

Your entire body, from head to toe belongs to your husband.  That means if your husband wants to touch your butt he can touch your butt. If he wants to come up behind you in the kitchen and cup your breasts in his hands that is his right given to him by God. It is not right for you to limit sexual activity with your husband to his penis and your vagina.  I warned you that I was going to be blunt – and I was!

Now should men exercise sensitivity in this area toward their wives? Absolutely! Men should be sensitive to things like time and place.  A man cupping his wife’s breasts in the kitchen may be ok when no one is around but he should not be grabbing her breasts when they have company.  Also men should take into account that there are certain times of the month where areas of a woman’s body may be more sensitive. When trying out new sexual things in the bedroom this should also be approached with sensitivity and gentleness.

If you as a wife need to move your husbands hands away for legitimate reasons – this should always be done in gentleness and with kind words to him that let him know your body still belongs to him, but this is just not the time and place.

Conclusion

Maybe your husband loves you dearly but he is simply not showing it in ways he did when you were first dating.  If he never tells you he loves you then maybe gently and respectfully approach this with him.  Don’t condemn him, and acknowledge that you know how hard it is for him as a man to verbally express his feelings – but you need to hear those magic words “I love you” and so will your kids.  Maybe he never compliments you what you cook or what you wear and you need to hear that.  Just gently let him know that little compliments will go a long way in making you feel loved.

But if your husband does tell you that he loves and does give you compliments but you want grander acts and words of affection because you are living in the past when you were first dated then it might be you that needs to make a change and accept how you husband shows you affection now verses how he showed you affection then.

Perhaps you realize that yes you are getting zero signs of affection from him and you are not doing those 5 things I mentioned earlier to generate affectionate love in your husband. If you are not then you need to get on it.

It’s may take some hard mental changes for you to do those 5 things.  But in the end it will be worth it when reap the affection that you have sown in your husband’s heart by doing these things.

“But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.” – II Corinthians 9:6 (KJV)

How the modern practice of “Christian dating” is cruel to men

Many Christians advocate for teaching teens and young adults abstinence. They are right in doing so because the Bible teaches sexual relations between a man and a woman are reserved for marriage.   But the majority of abstinence training only teaches half of the abstinence God calls for when it comes to intimate relationships between men and women.

This “half measure” abstinence that is taught in most Churches today has lead to modern practices in Christian dating that encourage emotional cruelty toward men.

I think the best way to illustrate the cruelty of so-called “Christian dating” is with a story.

A Christian dating story

Jonathan was a young Christian man raised in a conservative Baptist Church. All growing up and in his teen group he was taught that sex is for marriage.

“Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.” – Hebrews 13:4 (KJV)

He memorized this passage from Hebrews and countless other passages of Scripture. He was determined that he would not have sex before marriage and prayed each day for the Holy Spirit to help him avoid sinful thoughts of trying to get any woman to have sex with him before marriage.

Jonathan attended a conservative Christian college where he felt the call of God on his life to become a minister. While he was studying for the ministry he was introduced to a beautiful young woman named Sarah. He befriended Sarah and eventually he approached her in the college library and asked her on a date.

Sarah told Jonathan that she would love to go out with him but he must agree to some things first. She told him “I believe that sex is reserved for marriage, and that includes all sexual touching. Eventually I may let you give me a peck on the lips and hold my hand but that is as far as I believe God would have us to go.” Jonathan replied “That’s great I feel the same way!” and they agree to a date the following week.

On the night of their first date as Jonathan approaches her dorm to pick her up he is nervous and excited all at the same time. He has bought her a beautiful bouquet of roses and he can’t wait to give them to her. When he sees her come out her dorm his breath is taken away by her beauty. She graciously accepts his flowers, hands them off to her girlfriend and they were off on their first date.

At the restaurant they talk and explore one another’s lives. They both want this night to never end. Afterward they go for a long walk just continuing to talk – but there is no physical contact, no holding hands. Sarah and Jonathan are both having the same thoughts – “I would sure love to hold their hand, but I know I can’t – not yet.”

Jonathan drops her off at her dorm and while he wishes he could have held her hand and kissed her good night he still had a wonderful time.

Within just a few weeks of dating Jonathan tells Sarah for the first time that he loves her and she tells him that she loves him.

Over several weeks Jonathan and Sarah continue to date and with each passing date he so wants to hold her hand and kiss her goodnight. He also finds that he really wants to do much more. Each date he begins more and more to imagine what she looks like without clothes and how wonderful it would be to touch her body. How wonderful it would be to have sex with her. But he dismisses these thoughts as wicked and sinful and asks God to forgive him each and every day several times a day.

Eventually on one date she reaches out to hold his hand to let him know that it is now ok. At the end of the night she gives him a good night peck on the lips to let him know that is ok now too. These things feel wonderful to Jonathan – but he longs for so much more with her.

Now let’s return to the beginning of Jonathan and Sarah’s relationship and look at it from Sarah’s perspective.

After that first date she was on cloud nine. As they continued to date she was fantasying about how big their wedding would be and what her dress might look like. She was imagining how many children they would have and how she would decorate her home.

The fact that he was handsome didn’t hurt either. Sarah had always worried if she would be able to find both a godly and handsome man and in Jonathan she had found both. She couldn’t wait to kiss him and hold his hand. But she made herself wait, she knew there needed to be some time. She didn’t want to give Jonathan the impression she was one of those “easy girls” or think she would do “other things” too.

Finally after several weeks of dating she felt it was time to “let herself go” and hold his hand for the very first time. At the end of the night she would give him that good night kiss she had so longed to do since ending her first date with him.

Every day he texted her and she couldn’t wait to hear about his day and to share the happenings of her day with him. Every beep of her phone was a thrill – “how will he tell me he loves me next? “When will he propose?” – She wonders. If he went several hours without texting her, she would text him to check and see how he was doing and if anything was wrong.

With each date she went on with him she was more impressed with his character and godliness more than ever. “He knows the Bible so well and loves the Lord – this is a man who could lead me, this is a man who could be my husband and the father of my children. This is a man whom I would be proud to serve as his help meet.” – This is what she thought.

Jonathan knows it will be two years before he graduates from college with his pastoral degree and then he can being looking for his first ministry as a youth pastor. He believes a man must be able to provide for his wife as Christ provides for his Church before he can marry her. He wonders how soon he should propose knowing it will be some time before they can marry.

One day he decides to “take the plunge” and even though it will still be roughly two years before he graduates and gets his first ministry job – he is going to pledge his undying love and devotion to her and the fact that he wants to marry Sarah when the time is right in a little over two years.

Jonathan takes Sarah to the nicest restaurant he can afford (based on his pay as a cook at a local restaurant). The ring he bought was only $200.00 – that is all he could afford. He gives it to her and asks her to marry him. He tells her “I know this ring is not much, but someday I will get you a much a nicer one.” She tells him “I don’t care how much the ring costs – of course I will marry you! I love you!”

Sarah gives Jonathan the biggest kiss she has ever given him – not just some peck on the lips. He takes her home to her dorm and she is on cloud nine and so is he.

Sarah runs into her dorm room and shares the wonderful news with all her girlfriends. “I am getting married!” She can’t sleep that night as she now begins to make real plans – not just fantasies of her wedding and then their beautiful life together. Her father is a wealthy man and will be able to provide her and Jonathan with nothing but a first class wedding. Her mother has many precious pieces of furniture just waiting to be hers. And the children they will have together – they will be so beautiful and he will be such a wonderful father.

She can’t wait for these two years to pass by so she can have the wedding of dreams, the husband of her dreams, the children of her dreams and the home of her dreams.

But she also thinks to herself – “But I also want to enjoy our engagement time together before we are married and I don’t want this special time we share now before we are married to be gone too quickly.”

When Jonathan gets back to his dorm room he also shares the wonderful news with his friends “She accepted!” Like Sarah Jonathan can’t sleep that night either. Except the reason he can’t sleep is very different than Sarah’s. Jonathan is thinking about that passionate kiss Sarah gave him when she accepted his marriage proposal and how in his heart he wanted so much more. He can’t stop thinking about her breasts and the curves of her hips. He can stop thinking of how sexy her tight rear end looked. He imagines how beautiful her naked body would be and how soft her body would be to touch and how wonderful it would be to have sex with her.

Then he remembers – “It is going to be two long years. How will I make it through never touching her the way I long to touch her?” He prays and asks the Lord to forgive him of his sensual thoughts about Sarah and resolves to keep his mind on pure things, and not these “impure sexual thoughts”.

Over the next couple of dates Sarah has the “wedding date topic” on her mind. But she does not want to come on too fast about it so she exercises self-control and waits three more dates before finally popping the question to Jonathan – “When do you think would be a good wedding date” and she presents a Calendar she printed out for two years in the future.

That calendar just reminds Jonathan again that his agony will be prolonged another two years. But Jonathan gives his thoughts to God and helps Sarah to pick out a wedding date. She is so excited! They take a walk through a park and Jonathan goes to give her a kiss and as they embrace he begins to move his hand down the small her back to her bottom.

Sarah is shocked! “How could he have just done that?” – She thinks. “We were having a romantic evening and we just picked out a wedding date and now he has his hands on my butt!” – Inside she is disappointed and mortified.

But in that moment she realizes “He is a sinner just like me and I should forgive him” and she gently moves his hand off her bottom and back onto the small of her back.

After they kiss she tells him “Jonathan, remember our commitment to the Lord and the fact that we want to follow his ways and wait for marriage right?” Jonathan replies “I am so sorry, I don’t know what came over me – it won’t happen again.”

But Jonathan knew exactly what was going through his mind “I want her so bad, even just to touch her bottom tonight”.

Several weeks went by without incident. Sarah felt that Jonathan had a moment of weakness but the problem was solved. Then one night as they kiss good night and embrace one another Jonathan reaches up and feels her breast. Sarah quickly pulls his hand away and asks Jonathan “Why did you do that – I thought we had an understanding?” Jonathan begins to cry – “I don’t know what is wrong with me, I am so sorry for what I did. I need to go”.

Sarah was worried about Jonathan. She texts him with no response all evening long. Finally the next morning Jonathan texts Sarah back “We need to call off the engagement and we need to break up. It is not because you would not let me touch you or have sex with you, it is because I cannot control myself when I am around you. You are intoxicating to me, and every time I am with you I think about what it would like to touch you, to see you naked and have sex with you. I need to work on myself and be a better man before I can be with any woman again”.

What went wrong with our Christian dating story?

Was it a flaw in Jonathan’s character that caused him to touch Sarah’s bottom and on a later date her breast? Or was it a flaw in something else?

The flaw was in the entire concept of modern Christian dating, the flaw was not in Jonathan’s desire for sexual intimacy with Sarah. It was not even in the pleasure he received from thinking of her body or what it would be like to touch her or have sex with her.

The flaw was with Jonathan being in that position in the first place. Being in that intimate relationship with that woman BEFORE he was married to her.

I have attended conservative Baptist Churches for most of my life. I still attend a conservative Baptist Church. I admire Bible believing churches of all Christian denominations. I also agree with many of my Bible believing Christian brethren that God designed sexual relations between a man and woman to be kept strictly within the bounds of marriage.

But I also believe that God designed emotional intimacy between a man and a woman to ALSO be kept within the bounds of marriage.

This is what is wrong with Christian dating. Christian dating tries to have a man and woman share many of the intimacies that a husband a wife share together except the physical intimacy of marriage.

The entire concept of Christian dating is flawed and encourages sin. It tells couples a lie. You can have all the emotional intimacy of marriage without the physical intimacy of marriage.

I am not saying that women are not also tempted to have sex too because I know they are. But I am sorry ladies – no matter what you say in most cases a woman’s temptation to have sex before marriage is a tiny fraction of what man’s temptation is – PERIOD.

“Christian dating” is cruel to men

Christian dating meets most of the needs of women in an intimate relationship and meets very few of the needs of a man in an intimate relationship. God never designed relationships between men and women to be half measures like this.

All forms of intimacy that exist in marriage between a man and a woman are ONLY to exist in marriage.

It is amazing to me how many Christian women will admit that a wife denying her husband sex is an act of emotional cruelty toward him but they are utterly blind to the fact that it is equally emotionally cruel to a man for him to be denied physical intimacy with a woman he sees on a regular basis while he dates her or is engaged to her. His needs before marriage are no different than his needs after marriage.

How to stop this emotional cruelty toward men

The answer to stopping this cruelty toward men is to abandon the entire of concept of Christian dating as we know it and return to a Biblical model of courtship and betrothal.

Before the last century this emotional cruelty we call “Christian dating” did not exist. For most of the history of mankind marriages were arranged and while the couple waited to be married they saw very little of one another for this very reason that I describe in the story above.

They knew that it was cruel to have a couple taste of the emotional intimacy that God gives a man and woman without them being able to express that intimacy at THE SAME TIME on a physical level as well.

The Bible gives us two ways to stop this emotional cruelty toward men

The two answers to this problem are for men to flee intimate relationships with women before marriage and only in marriage then pursue both emotional, spiritual and physical intimacy with a woman as God intended it to be.

Flee pre-marital intimate relationships

“But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.” – Romans 13:14 (KJV)

“Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.” – I Corinthians 6:18 (KJV)

There are some things God tells us to fight and other things he tells us to flee. God tells us to flee from fornication – which includes pre-marital sex. God also tells us to “make no provision” – which means don’t put ourselves in a position where we would be tempted to sin.

So as a Christian man – you really should not be entering into an intimate relationship with a woman before you are married and I mean intimate on ANY level. To do so puts you in the position of being tempted to sin and as you grow closer to this woman emotionally you WILL desire her body physically. It is how God designed you.

Remember there are NO half measures with God. The intimate relationship God designed between a man and woman was meant to be an ALL or nothing proposition.

Avoid long engagements

“But if any man think that he behaveth himself uncomely toward his virgin, if she pass the flower of her age, and need so require, let him do what he will, he sinneth not: let them marry.” – I Corinthians 7:36 (KJV)

When you as a man are prepared to take on a wife – meaning you can provide for her as the Lord expects of you, then you need to make the engagement period as short as possible.

In a previous article, “12 ways to transform modern dating into Biblical dating”, I gave several ways that Christians could date in a way that honors God. I listed several ways to “vet” a potential spouse and I made it clear that Christians need to guard their hearts when they are dating.

If we are to truly avoid emotional cruelty toward men and men being placed in highly tempting positions then Christian dating needs to be approached in a very logical and methodical manner.

A man and woman definitely need to “interview” one another and then have their families and friends interview prospective spouses. Once compatibility has been established the wedding should be planned very quickly. During this short engagement period the couple should seek pre-marital counseling with a Pastor to make sure they both fully understand and agree upon the Biblical roles of a husband and wife in marriage.

Answering the Naysayers

But shouldn’t men just learn to practice self-control as they date?

“Self-control” is something the Christian ladies often like to bring up in this discussion of dating and pre-marital sex. Often they will point to these translations of I Corinthians to bolster their claim:

“But I say to the unmarried and to widows that it is good for them if they remain even as I. But if they do not have self-control, let them marry; for it is better to marry than to burn with passion. “– I Corinthians 7:8 (NASB)

“You see – avoiding pre-marital sex is all about self-control, it does not mean we have to give up dating.” This is what advocates of Christian dating tell us today.

But what these same people miss is that God has clearly answered how a man can avoid pre-marital sex with a woman and self-control is not God’s answer:

“Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband… For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that….” – I Corinthians 7:1-2 & 7 (KJV)

What is God’s answer to a man avoiding pre-marital sex? Marriage. Not dating and practicing self-control, no my friends the answer is marriage.

But what about Jacob and Rachel?

In Genesis chapters 28 and 29 we see the story of Jacob and Rachel. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard this story offered in some Church circles as a story of pre-marital romance.

In this account we see that Jacob’s father Isaac has sent him to journey back to the land of their family to find a wife. He comes upon his Uncle Laban’s land and meets Laban’s daughter Rachel.

The following passages from Genesis 29 are cited as evidences of pre-marital romance between Jacob and Rachel:

“And it came to pass, when Jacob saw Rachel the daughter of Laban his mother’s brother, and the sheep of Laban his mother’s brother, that Jacob went near, and rolled the stone from the well’s mouth, and watered the flock of Laban his mother’s brother. And Jacob kissed Rachel, and lifted up his voice, and wept.” – Genesis 29:10-11 (KJV)

So we are told this was a romantic gesture – love at first sight by Jacob and a passionate embrace between the two of them. What else could this be but romantic?

Well if we look down at verse 13 we see another kiss taking place:

“And it came to pass, when Laban heard the tidings of Jacob his sister’s son, that he ran to meet him, and embraced him, and kissed him, and brought him to his house. And he told Laban all these things.” – Genesis 29:13 (KJV)

Would these same people who say Jacob’s kiss of Rachel in verse 13 was pre-marital romance say that Laban’s embrace and kiss of Jacob was romance too?

The truth is that this was the custom of family members when greeting one another. Rachel was Jacob’s kin – she was his cousin, the daughter of his mother’s brother. What he did was not an act of pre-marital romance, but rather an act of greeting toward family.

But advocates for pre-martial romance in the Bible point to this next part of the story as definitive proof for their position:

“And Laban had two daughters: the name of the elder was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. Leah was tender eyed; but Rachel was beautiful and well favoured.

And Jacob loved Rachel; and said, I will serve thee seven years for Rachel thy younger daughter. And Laban said, it is better that I give her to thee, than that I should give her to another man: abide with me.

And Jacob served seven years for Rachel; and they seemed unto him but a few days, for the love he had to her.” – Genesis 29:16-20 (KJV)

It says Jacob loved Rachel BEFORE they were married. It even says the seven years he worked for Laban to buy Rachel were like “but a few days” because of how much he loved her.

I can hear it now “You see Mr. BGR – if Jonathan in your story had truly loved Sarah he would have had no problem waiting those two meager years to have sex with her – Jacob waited seven years because of his love for Rachel!”

Well if you are thinking that – you would be WRONG.

Jacob did not date Rachel during this time – there is absolutely no Biblical evidence that they spent any intimate time together and in fact the customs of the day would have prohibited any intimate contact or speech between them.

In fact this story illustrates something that infuriates many women. Why did Jacob love Rachel? Was it because she had a great personality? Was it because he got to know her and connected with her emotions and her soul? Nope.

It was because she was beautiful.

“Leah was tender eyed; but Rachel was beautiful and well favoured.” – Genesis 29:17 (KJV)

Yep. Jacob worked seven years to marry a beautiful girl whom he knew little about – only that she was a kin to him and she was hot!

This would be the equivalent of a young 18 year old man today seeing a beautiful woman, finding out she was a Christian woman associated with a good church and then asking her father for her hand in marriage.  Her father tells him he must be able to support her first.  So he goes out gets his degree, starts his career and then buys a house.

Seven years later he returns and finally comes back to marry the woman after having NO intimate contact with her during that time.

The story of Jacob and Rachel DOES NOT illustrate pre-marital romance in the Bible.

But Christ shares an intimate relationship with his betrothed bride, why can’t Christian men do the same?

This is a question that has been raised to me when I have discussed this subject in the past and my opposition to the invention of modern Christian dating.

I agree that the relationship of Christ to his Church is pictured as a groom to be and his betrothed bride. But it is not an identical relationship to marriage here in this world. It is not a physical relationship. It is a spiritual relationship. The relationship between Christ and the Church is emotional and spiritual. The relationship between a husband and wife is emotional, spiritual AND physical.

When a man and woman marry – they become “one flesh”, not “one spirit”, “one mind” or “one heart”. Marriage while being symbolic of a much great relationship between God and his people is a physical and temporary relationship for this world only. That is why many of the components of marriage also exist in the relationship between God and his people, but some of them do not and sex is a big one.

Because of this distinction between physical marriage in this world, and spiritual marriage to come between Christ and his Church it is not Biblically correct to say that men should submit themselves to the emotionally cruel system of Christian dating so that they can demonstrate Christ’s patience in waiting for his bride. There is no comparison between the two.

But what about pre-marital romance?

I think most Christian men if they looked objectively at God’s Word and were honest with themselves about how they feel when they are dating a woman will say that what I speaking from God’s Word is the truth.

But most women will have a very hard time swallowing this pill. The reason is that women crave and love that pre-marital romance time that we now have in our culture. Songs, movies and books are written about it.

I think if women truly stood back and looked at how what brings them so much pleasure “pre-marital romance” can at the same time bring so much emotional cruelty to their prospective husband they might rethink that position.

In a Biblical model of marriage – physical intimacy is what generates emotional intimacy. The two are to exist in marriage together, neither of them are to ever exist apart from marriage.

Three choices that are set before today’s young people

  1. Embrace the “full abstinence” that God’s Word shows us as the example of relationships between men and women prior to marriage.  Don’t put yourself in a position where you are trying to have an emotionally intimate relationship with the opposite sex while trying to abstain from physical relations with them.  This type of “hybrid” relationship is emotionally cruel to men and puts them in position to be very tempted to have sex before marriage.
  2. Continue the current practice of “half measure abstinence” that is taught in most Christian Churches today resulting in emotional cruelty toward men and placing them in a very compromising position where they will be tempted to sin.  Continuing telling young men that they just need to “control themselves” instead of teaching BOTH young men and young women that they need to fully abstain from both emotionally intimate and physically intimate relationships with the opposite sex before marriage.
  3. Disobey God’s Word and leave abstinence behind completely.  Engage in emotional AND physical intimacy before marriage. Many Christian young people are doing just that today.  There are a lot of Christian young people that think they can have that emotionally intimate relationship with the opposite sex without physical intimacy. But not far into their relationship, many young ladies actually realize how cruel it is for a man to be in an emotionally intimate relationship with a woman yet be denied physical intimacy so they give in and give him that physical intimacy.

The sad news is that today the majority of Christian young people are choosing option 3. I know this first hand from talking to many teens and college students (my teens tell me about their friends as well) and I get emails from teens and college students all the time. But even for those Christian teens that are not choosing option 3, most of the rest are going with option 2 and the “half measure abstinence” that is emotionally cruel toward men.  A tiny fraction of teens and college students are choosing Biblical Dating and Courtship over our modern style of dating.

We need to stand up and teach the truth on this issue no matter how politically incorrect it is – especially in our home and Churches.  We need to return to the Biblical model of full abstinence before marriage.

See my previous post “12 ways to transform modern dating into Biblical dating” for more on this subject.

12 Ways to transform modern dating into Biblical dating

What does the Bible say about dating? How can you as a young Christian man or woman date in a way that pleases God? Are their Biblical principles that can help young people find the right spouse?

Before we seek to answer these questions we need to look at how young men and women used to enter into relationships.

“Dating” as we know it today did not exist before the last century. Men did not have to romance women to get women to marry them. Men did not need pickup lines or any of the other tricks of getting women to show interest in them. Women did not need to “put out” before marriage to give the man a “taste of the goods”.

The two ways men acquired wives in pre-modern times

First let me address the word “acquired” which is a word usually associated with getting property. It is a well-known fact of history that women were considered the property of their fathers (or other male relative if the father was dead) and these property rights were transferred to husbands in marriage.

So it is historically correct to say that in the vast majority of cases men did not “win” their wives (by romancing them) but rather they acquired them by purchasing them from their male relatives.

The first way was the marriage was arranged by the parents when the man and woman were children and they were betrothed but the marriage was not consummated until the man had the ability to support the woman and had a home established for her.   Sometimes the arranged marriage was not from the time of the man and woman being children but was a quick arrangement when two sets of parents realized they had two adult children who were not yet married and they would have them to marry.

The second way was if a man found a woman attractive he would NOT approach the woman directly – instead he would approach her father, her brother or other male relative who was responsible for her. He would then demonstrate his ability to provide for the woman and then these two men would agree upon a bride price.

While a woman’s male relative might take her opinion into account of whether she wanted to marry a man often time’s women had little say in whom they married.

A third but rare way that men acquired wives

A third and very rare case would be if a woman had no male relatives in charge of her (no father, grandfather, brother or uncles). Only in this rare condition would a man have to deal directly with the woman herself to see if she would be interested in marrying him.

Even in this last rare case – the idea of dating did not typically happen because it was socially unacceptable for single women to entertain men who were not their husbands. If they did they might be seen as a prostitute or a whore.

There often was little to no romance involved even in the case of a man approaching a woman directly who had no male relatives in charge of her. He simply demonstrated his ability to provide for her and she would decide if she wanted to marry him.

My point in all this is, before the last century the vast majority of marriages were formed because of economic and political necessity – they were not formed based on men romantically pursing women as we see is the case today.

For these reasons you won’t find any reference to anything close to what we call dating in the Bible – it simply did not exist in pre-modern times.

The randomness and chaos of modern dating

As I have previously shown, in times past marriage was a very ordered ordeal. Parents or others elders that were looked up to often helped young people to find suitable spouses that would benefit one another economically or politically.

Today however, instead of marriages coming together on the grounds of spiritual, economic or political reasons – most marriages in the Western world come together because of pre-marital romantic feelings that a man and a woman share for one another.

Most young people enter what we now call “the dating world” without a clue of how to find a prospective spouse. They wonder aimlessly at school, college, work, church or other social functions hoping to bump into that right person.

Even when a person does “bump into the right person” or so they think – dating itself today is far from how God’s Word would have it to be.

Men pursue women by buying them gifts and make all kinds of romantic gestures to show their affection for the women they are with.  They continually have to come up with romantic words to flatter the women they are with.

Women often feel pressured to give sex not long after dating to “keep him hooked” on them.

In many ways modern dating and romance has become a form of idolatry. Listen to romance songs on the radio or watch romance movies. Are the things that these people say to each other often times not a form of worship and idolatry toward one another?

Even if a Christian couple has committed to not having sex before marriage often times our ideas of modern dating put Christian couples in very tempting positions with little to no safe guards against sex before marriage.

But there is a way to bring order to the chaos of modern dating and the answer is found in God’s Word.

12 ways to transform modern dating into Biblical dating

Here are several ways to apply Biblical principles to the modern concept of dating to bring it into line with God’s Word and it may also help you to find the right spouse that God has for you.

Dating is for marriage – not for sex or fun

Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” – Psalm 25:7 (KJV)

“Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.” – Hebrews 13:4 (KJV)

“Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.” – I Corinthians 7:2 (KJV)

It is not wrong for a young person to desire to find a spouse and be married one day. In fact this is a noble and right desire and should be encouraged by all parents. When you as a young person desire to be with someone whom you know you would never marry – that is by definition a “youthful lust”. When you desire to possess something that God did not intend for you to have that is lust.

So unless you see someone as a potential spouse – you have no business seeking an intimate (emotional or physical) relationship with them.

Follow your spirit not your heart

The world will tell you the very opposite thing – “listen to your heart” is the theme of many romance songs and movies. But it has no basis in Bible.

Yes – God tell us to love him with all our heart:

“Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” – Matthew 22:37 (KJV)

But God also tells us that our hearts can deceive us:

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” – Jeremiah 17:9 (KJV)

So instead of going with your heart which can lead you astray, instead you need to follow the spirit of God in your dating.

Test the Spirit by the Word

The Bible tells us that the Holy Spirit of God will lead us in “all the truth” and that includes who we should date.

“Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth…” – John 16:13a (KJV)

But just as we can be lead astray by our hearts, we can also be lead astray by false spirits.

“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world…We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.” – I John 4:1 & 6 (KJV)

When the Bible refers to “false spirits” it is not restricted only to evil and demonic spirits. It is also referring to false teachers and those who would give us bad advice or advice that does not line up with God’s Word.

So how do we know if it the Holy Spirit leading us or some other false spirit or bad influence? It is by listening to the Word of God. The Holy Spirit of God will never lead us in a direction that is contrary to God’s Word.

It is amazing to me how many people, whether it is in dating or even religious practices who are doing things that are completely contrary to the Word of God and then claim “but the Spirit of God lead me to do this and gave me peace about it so it must be right”.

My response to these folks is – “Yes you were led by “A spririt”, but not “THE Spirit”.”

Young people you need the follow THE Spirit of God as you seek the spouse God would have for you.

Only date Christians

“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? Or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?” – II Corinthians 6:14-16 (KJV)

Contrary to popular belief – the Bible does NOT teach the concept of evangelistic dating. We are not to date or marry unbelievers.

This goes back to the previous points about not following your heart and testing the spirits. You heart and other false spirits will tell you – “It’s ok if they are not a believer in Christ, you can help them to be one”. Other false feelings you may have are “but they are such a good and kind person, surely God wants me to be such a good person”.

But the truth is the Bible says “what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?”

Prove that they are indeed a Christian

“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” – Hebrews 10:25 (KJV)

I tell my children the first two things they should ask about a person before they would ever consider dating them should be – “Are you a Christian?” and “Where do you go to Church?”.

Obviously each one of those questions needs more detail.

Does the person really understand what it means to be a believer?

Do you sense the Spirit of God upon their life?

Are they a faithful member of their church or do they only attend a few times a year around the holidays?

Guard your heart

So up to this point you if you have followed the previous steps you placed boundaries on yourself and made yourself accountable to your parents or other godly Christians in this dating process. You have determined that dating is for marriage, not for fun. You have sought to be led by the Spirit and not by your sinful heart. You have a found a person who claims Christ and faithfully attends Church.

But it is not yet time to let yourself “fall” for this person, or let your guard down.

“Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” – Proverbs 4:23 (KJV)

The phrase “keep thy heart” could also be translated as “guard your heart” as the NIV translates it. We need to be careful of whom we allow into our hearts. When we open our hearts to someone we can make rash decisions that we later come to regret.

The young woman who gives her virginity away to the man with flattering lips who promised to marry her but later leaves her after he gets what he wants will have many sorrows.

The young man who overlooked the fact that a young lady did not believe in God’s roles for Christian women but was simply captivated by her beauty will one day come to regret his decision.

Once a person passes the initial screening processes you need to truly investigate them. There is an old saying that “A man is known by the company he keeps” and the Bible has a similar statement to this:

“He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.” – Proverbs 13:20 (KJV)

Does he or she have wise and godly friends? When you talk to their friends what do they reveal about the character of this person you are dating?

Guard your body

Ok the cat is really out of the bag now. When I say “dating”, I am referring to a relationship between a man and woman that could potentially lead to marriage and I am referring to what is known as courtship. Now this is one even my teens have a very hard time swallowing because of the culture we live in.

Those who have read any of my posts on Biblical sexuality know that I do NOT believe we must suppress our sexuality even before marriage. Our sexuality is a gift from God meant to be experienced and enjoyed before marriage and after marriage.

I just read on another Christian site that young Christian men should avoid learning too many details about sex until just a few days before they are married for fear that they might have sexual fantasies about their wives to be.

What a ludicrous statement to make!

Yet many Churches all across America and the world teach this unbiblical philosophy of about sexual fantasy and sexual imagination.

HOWEVER – while we might be able to enjoy our sexuality before marriage through sexual imagination and even masturbation (which the Bible does NOT condemn) we are forbidden from pursing any kind of sexual relationship with a person before we have entered into a covenant of marriage with them. That includes cybersex, phone sex or any other kind of sexual activity.

People such as myself and others that embrace the idea of courtship believe that young people should not be allowed by their parents or themselves to be put in a position where they might sin sexually with one another.

I can hear all the teens and young college students yelling at me at this point.

But the Bible says we should not put ourselves in a position where we know we could possibly be tempted to sin:

“But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.” – Romans 13:14 (KJV)

Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.” – I Corinthians 6:18 (KJV)

I think the best policy is for parents and young people to agree that they will always be in a group setting, whether it is with a church youth group or college and career group or a least around a larger group of Christian friends or relatives at all times.

Agree on Biblical marriage roles

“Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.

Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;

That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” – Ephesians 5:22-27 (KJV)

“I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.” – I Timothy 5:14 (KJV)

There are many people who truly believe in Jesus Christ and are saved and regularly attend their churches but reject all the Bible’s teachings on God design of gender roles. They believe these teachings are outdated and were not meant for all time.

Listen to me young man. Listen to me young lady.

You can find the nicest person in the world, even a Christian who regularly attends church.

But if you do not agree on the doctrines of Gender roles as taught in Scripture you will be in for a lot of heart ache!

Seek your parents blessing

“Hearken unto thy father that begat thee, and despise not thy mother when she is old.” – Proverbs 23:22 (KJV)

If your parents are believers – you should have their blessing before proceeding in marriage. Even if they are not believers – they may still have some helpful advice.

In most cases your parents are the ones who know you better than anyone else in this world. Even if everything seems to match up – your father and mother may see some incapability between the two of you that you did not notice.

In fact because Samson did not listen to his parents advice about a woman it ended up costing him his life in the end (Judges 14:3).

Now there are some cases where parents are wicked and unbelieving people. So please don’t think I am saying parents ALWAYS have to give their blessing. But I do think in most cases you should have your parents blessing before marrying someone.

Seek other Godly counsel

Before agreeing to marriage with this person seek wise and spiritual advice from those around you.

“Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.” – Proverbs 11:14 (KJV)

Bring the person you are dating around your Christian friends and then ask them afterwards privately what they thought of the person.

Pray and ask God to show you the right spouse

“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.” – Romans 8:26-27 (NIV)

Last but certainly not least you need to pray! This should be the first thing you do before you set out to date and it should be the last thing you to do before you open your heart to a person and let them in.

Even if you apply all these other Biblical principles there are so many variables when it comes to choosing the right spouse that God has for you. There are different types of personalities and differences in preferences. Pray and ask the Lord to guide you to that right person.

Premarital counseling with a Pastor is CRITICAL!

I know this is really tough – but even up this point you must still continue to guard your heart. I know of many Christian men and women who discovered things about their soon to be spouse in pre-marital counseling but they felt they were too invested with a wedding planned and the time they had spent with this person.

Please listen to me young person. It is NEVER too late to back out of an engagement. You may find in pre-marital counseling that your spouse does not really believe in Biblical gender roles. You may find out that they do not have a Biblical philosophy of sex in marriage. These are critical things that will affect you for the rest of your life.

Conclusion

So after reading all these 12 ways to transform the chaos of modern dating into Biblical dating the question you are probably asking is “When can I stop guarding my heart?” I believe the answer to that question is after you have completed premarital counseling and have determined that this person is a spiritual match for you in all the important ways I have mentioned here then you can begin to let your guard down.

But really I think until the day you are married and have entered in the covenant of marriage with this person – you need to be careful with your heart.

Even after marriage – do you realize how many people have allowed their spouses to lead their hearts astray from God? We must never allow that.

But after we are married that is when we can fully give our hearts and bodies to our spouses while still remembering that God must always be first in our marriage.

Please don’t misunderstand me. There is no perfect person out there. There is no person with whom you will agree on all things. There is no such thing as your “soul mate” – sorry to burst your bubble. But there are good Christian people out there who love the Lord more than anything including you and that is why they will always love you because of their commitment to God.

There are no perfect people, but there are men and women who truly believe in Christ and his Word and they embrace Biblical gender roles and want to live their life by the God’s Word. If you can find a person like that – this is the person you want to marry.

In some upcoming articles I will give some more gender specific things to look for in Biblical dating. But everything I have said here I think Biblically speaking applies to both men and women.

 

 

 

The undated wife

Recently I received an anonymous comment from a Christian wife. For the sake of this post we will just refer to her as “the undated wife”.

The undated wife writes:

“I have read many of the posts on your site and I agree with some things you say. I agree that women should not deny sex to their husbands and I do not deny sex to my husband, although there are many times I don’t feel like having sex with him.

But I think you miss the fact that women have an equal right to be dated by their husbands. Why do men think that dating is just before marriage? Why do men stop dating their wives after they get married?

Let me give you a little bit of background to my situation. I married my husband about 8 years ago, we were both divorced. I had no children from my previous marriage (I am unable to have children). He had three kids from a previous marriage that he has joint custody of. Now they are all teenagers. I love his kids and they love me.

I am a stay at home wife.

My husband says he loves me. He is a good provider. He is a good father to our children. But he works all the time. Even when he comes home from the office, he takes his laptop out many times and continues to read and answer emails all evening long. The only time he seems to carve out anytime is when his kids come to our house. Then he spends time with them. In fact sometimes I feel like the minute his kids arrive I am not even there.

There are times when he realizes he has not been paying enough attention to me and purposefully does not take out his laptop. We just sit and talk or watch some TV together. But I have told him I feel he needs to make more of an effort to date me. He needs to take me out to dinner more, he needs to take me to the movies. He should be taking me on weekend getaways several times a year like he did many years ago. He has turned into a “homebody” – he is fine with just being home with me and the kids.

I said he is a good provider and good father. I don’t feel he is a good husband to me. I always feel like his kids and his job come first, and I am always last on his “to do list”. Sure when I say something to him about feeling neglected – he will try for a while to talk with me more, and he might even take me out once in a great while. But I want more! Don’t I deserve to be his number priority? Why do I always have to feel like I am second to his job or the kids?

I got him to go to counseling with our Pastor whom he respects. Our pastor told him he needed to date me, he needed to take me out once a week. He need to take me on a weekend getaway at least twice a year. My husband MAYBE might take me out once a month on date. He has not taken me on a weekend getaway in a year and half. He says we don’t have enough money for trips right now and I just have to be patient (we had to cancel our family vacation this summer because of finances). He tells me things will get better financially in a couple years after we pay off the debt. A couple years!!!!! If something is important to you – you make it happen. But again I am not as important to him as his job or his kids. God says a wife is to be her husband’s number one priority right? That means I come before everything – his kids, his job.

I read your post on how a man is to know his wife – I almost cried when I read it because I want that from my husband. I want to feel like his number one priority.

I just feel like all I am here for is to do his and his kids laundry, cook for them and drive them places, and of course have sex with him.

I feel more like a maid and a sex slave than his wife!

Can you maybe write a post about husbands loving their wives before everything else? Can you write about how God wants men to date their wives? Isn’t that what loving your wife is? To date her, to make her feel like she is your number one priority?”

Now normally this is the part where I start offering what I believe to be Biblical advice to this wife.  But I am going to do something different this time.  I have a lot of Christian women that read and comment on my blog and I would like to hear back from you on this.  Of course if you start getting nasty toward me on other positions I take then your comment won’t make it through.  But if you stick to this post, and what this women says in a respectful way your comment just might make it through.

I look forward to the discussion.  I will post my own thoughts on this later.