Sometimes Love Does Have a Label

The “love has no labels” campaign was launched back in 2015.  The purpose of this campaign was to conflate race, age and people with disabilities with homosexuality to further attempt to normalize homosexuality. So, in the commercials they will show older people kissing, interracial couples kissing and disabled people kissing and then compare that with gay and lesbian couples kissing as if it was the same thing.

According to lovehasnolabels.com our natural aversion to two men kissing or two women kissing at a football game or other public events is just an “implicit bias” that we may not even know we have and we can work to change this “bias”.

But according to God’s Word some types of love DO in fact have a label.

“For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: 27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.” – Romans 1:26-27

God labels what those two guys or two gals are doing as “vile affections” and “against nature”.  Those are some pretty strong labels.

This is the first part of a new Instagram and Facebook campaign I am launching.  I have had a presence on Facebook for many years but I am just expanding on to Instagram over the last six months.  Because Instagram only allows 15 second clips, I am having to do something I am not good at – be very concise.  But that is a good thing since most of our youth today have very short attention spans.  If you can’t catch their attention in 15 seconds you may not catch them at all.  But most of the teens and young people are on Instagram so while I will still be on Facebook, I am going to really try harder to target the Instagram audience with the message of God’s Word regarding Biblical gender roles.

But don’t worry, for those of my audience who want more meat (longer more detailed teaching) I will be doing longer videos this year as well.

What is the difference between courting and dating?

Both dating and courting will involve couples doing things together.  A dating couple and a courting couple might go out to dinner, a movie theater, a sporting event or church event together.  A dating and a courting couple might spend time together with their various friends and family members.  A dating and a courting couple may be physically attracted to one another.

With all these similarities it understandable how some people might confuse dating with courting.  But the differences between these two activities are a matter of WHY, WHEN and HOW.

WHY Dating and Courting Occur Is Different

The reason why men and women date is to enjoy one another’s company.  For instance, if a couple goes on a date and either one or both do not enjoy the other’s company then they will not see each other again.  Even if a couple has been dating for some time, if they cease to enjoy one another’s company then they simply “break up”.

The reason why men and women court is for the purpose of discovering if they are compatible for marriage.  While courting couples may enjoy their time spent together as dating couples do they understand that this is only a happy byproduct of the courting process and not it’s core purpose.  When one courts they are interviewed by the other’s parents, family and friends and they also interview their prospective spouse’s family and friends.

Courting is not about having fun, it is a fact-finding mission about a prospective spouse.

The purpose of courting is to find out the character of a potential spouse by asking them about what they believe about God and about life and then finding out from their family and friends if their life matches their beliefs.

While courtships are sometimes terminated like dating relationships are, the termination of a courtship does not happen easily and it a serious event for both families.  Only if a serious incompatibly was found or if unfaithfulness was found on the part of either person would a courtship process be terminated.  Another important reason why courtships are terminated far less often than dating relationships is because both families do a preliminary investigation of the potential spouse before a courtship arrangement is agreed upon.

WHEN Dating and Courting Happens is Different

In dating a man typically approaches a woman and “asks her out”.  It might be to dinner, a school event, a church event or some other event.  With courting a man does not ask the woman out.  He asks her father’s permission to court his daughter.

And this brings us to another key difference between courting and dating.  The man does not ask permission to court another man’s daughter until he is prepared to support a wife and family.  Courtships unlike dating are not meant to be conducted over many years.  They are meant to be a short time to see of the couple are compatible for marriage and then they marry.  Typically, this process takes only a few months but usually does not go beyond a year.

From a courting perspective, it would be highly inappropriate for a young 16-year-old man in high school who is totally unprepared for marriage or unprepared to support a family to ask a young woman’s father if he may court her.  But with the practice of dating, a man need not be mature enough for marriage or able to provide for a family to enter into an intimate relationship with a young woman.

One last thing about WHEN courting occurs.  We have spoken about the prerequisites for a young man to be able to court someone’s daughter. So the next logical question would then be what about the young woman? What is the age for courtship for her?  The age is when her father deems her ready.  This may be before the legal age of adulthood which is 18 or after the legal age of adulthood. His primary concern would be to make the determination as to whether his daughter is spiritually and emotionally mature enough for marriage.

HOW Dating and Courting is Conducted is Different

When young men and women date they may kiss and hold hands on the very first date.  In fact, some couples even have sex on the first date.  Still for many teens they may not have sex for some time but they still become very intimate with each other in other emotional and physical ways.

For many young men and women dating is sort of like taking a drug.  They experience the dopamine rush in their brains of being with a new person.  Every text they receive from the other person gives them a rush. Every touch from that person gives them a rush.  Then they need to go further and further with the touching.  Even if some teens do not engage in full sexual intercourse, many dating teens are touching one another in other sexual ways.  It is all about the rush, the thrill of being with that person.

And then for many teens when the rush and the thrill of the new relationship goes away they breakup and move on to the next teen to experience new thrills with that new person.  And this cycle goes on and on throughout high school or college until they finally decide to settle down, get serious and get married.

When young men and women court they do NOT touch.  Some courting couples may be allowed to hold hands when the wedding is very close. But beyond that there is no kissing or hugging or cuddling during courting. And while they definitely investigate one another for compatibility they are not as emotionally intimate as dating couples.  The goal of courtship is to make sure a couple is compatible but at the same time not engage in the emotional and physical intimacy God meant for marriage.  Courting couples experience that dopamine rush too, but they do not allow it to control their actions.  They can finally and fully let go once they are married.  And on their wedding night and during their honeymoon – physical and emotional intimacy is all new for them and as beautiful as God intended it to be.

To help courting couples avoid the temptation to touch or talk in ways that are reserved for marriage they are never allowed to be alone.  They always have parents or siblings or other Christian elders with them at all times. Courting couples might go out to dinner, a movie theater, a sporting event or church event together but often they don’t even sit next to one another. Someone else is in-between whether it is a sibling or a parent.  So, they experience the events together but they do not touch. This is a major difference between dating couples and courting couples.

Conclusion

Some people wrongly think that courting is just “dating for marriage”.  But as we have shown here it is so much more than that. A core component of dating is physical intimacy even if the couple does not go all the way to intercourse.  Another critical difference between dating and courting is the parental involvement.  In dating the man asks the woman out, in courting the man asks the girl’s father for permission to court his daughter.  With dating the ability of the young man to provide for a family and his overall readiness for marriage is irrelevant. The only thing that matters is if the young woman finds him attractive and fun to be around.  In courting, the young man’s ability to provide for a family as well as his faith and overall maturity are critical prerequisites to him asking to court a man’s daughter.

Can You Follow the Courtship Model Without the Support of Christian Parents?

While Christian churches and civil governments have usurped authority over marriage for many centuries, the fact is God did not give either of these spheres any authority over people entering into marriage.  You will not find one passage of the Scriptures granting authority over marriage to either civil or church leaders. Not one.

You will however, find passages like the Exodus 22:16-17, giving fathers authority over their daughters in marriage:

“16 And if a man entice a maid that is not betrothed, and lie with her, he shall surely endow her to be his wife. 17 If her father utterly refuse to give her unto him, he shall pay money according to the dowry of virgins.”

Exodus 22:16-17 proves that God gave authority over marriage not to the civil government or the Church but to the family, and specifically to fathers.

God instituted the family as his first human authority structure.  And he never ever took away any authority he gave to husbands and fathers when he later instituted the spheres of civil government and church government.

While the Bible does not require men to have the approval of their parents for marriage the Scriptures do tell sons this regarding their parents:

“My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother”

Proverbs 1:8 (KJV)

“A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish man despiseth his mother.”

Proverbs 15:20 (KJV)

“Hearken unto thy father that begat thee, and despise not thy mother when she is old.”

Proverbs 23:22 (KJV)

So, I think it is Biblical to say that men should also seek the advice of their parents in seeking the spouse God has for them in the courtship process.

My point thus far in all the Scriptures I have shown is this.  God meant for the courtship process to be a family affair on both sides.  He wants the parents of the man and woman who are courting to be on the same page and comparing notes about their children.  This is not just a man and woman coming together in marriage, but it is also two families coming together.

Sin Sometimes Poisons the Courtship Process

Sin has infected every part of this world.  It has infected our bodies and natures as individuals.  It has also infected God’s institutions of marriage, family, civil government and even his institution of the Church.  Husbands physically abuse or abandon their wives.  Parents sometimes horribly abuse their children through physical abuse or neglect.  Civil authorities abuse their God given power, usurp authority over areas God did not give them and violate the natural property rights of individuals.  And church authorities are no less guilty of allowing sin to run rampant and abandoning the Word of God.

So, there will be times when a young person will not have the support in the courtship process God meant for them to have from their parents.

What happened with my grandparents is a prime example.

My paternal grandmother came from a home where her mother did not have a normal relationship with her children.  She was one of three children.  She had two brothers.  My paternal great grandmother was the matriarch of her family.   Her husband did whatever she said without question.

While it is not unheard of for wives to dominate their husbands and children (although it is sinful for them to do so) it is rare for a parent to forbid their children from ever marrying. That is what my paternal great grandmother did with her three children.  She expressly forbade them from seeking out marriage and insisted that her three children live with her and their father for the remainder of their lives.

She made her children feel that if they loved anyone other than her, their father or their siblings that they would be betraying their family in doing so.

We know when looking at the Bible that such parenting is against God’s design. God gave this command to parents regarding their children:

“Take ye wives, and beget sons and daughters; and take wives for your sons, and give your daughters to husbands, that they may bear sons and daughters; that ye may be increased there, and not diminished.”

Jeremiah 29:6 (KJV)

And this command from Jeremiah is based on God’s first command to mankind when he created man and woman:

“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)

Well you can probably guess that my grandmother went against her mother’s wishes for her to remain unmarried and live with her mother for life, else I would not be here.

Unfortunately, her brothers did not seek out marriage and they remained with their mother for the remainder of her life.  One son died in his thirties before his mother died and the other died single many decades after his mother died.  It is interesting to note that while these men never married they were both extremely sexually immoral and had sex with many women.  But they hid it from their mother, never brought any of these women home and never married so they kept their mother happy.

My grandmother was the polar opposite of her brothers.  She was not a loose girl.  She was a strong believing Catholic and she believed sex was strictly reserved for marriage.

No, my grandmother and grandfather did not court. This new “dating” thing was all the rage and that is what my grandparents did.  They dated in secret in the mid 1930’s a little more than a decade after woman’s suffrage was passed.

And just as I have warned people here about dating, my grandfather was trying to entice my grandmother into premarital sex while they were secretly dating.  But my grandmother held to her Christian faith and she insisted that my grandfather convert to Catholicism and marry her before he could have sex with her.

My grandmother not only insisted that they be married first before sex, but that they also be married by a Catholic priest.  They could not go to her Catholic church as her priest would have told her parents.  So they went further away from where she lived to a different Catholic church and even used different names and were married by the priest under different names as the church would report the marriage to local newspapers.

My father told me that when his father died when he was eleven his mother had a horrible time getting social security because her and my grandfathers’s names did not match on the wedding certificate.  She had to prove through the birth records of my father and his three older siblings and other church records that they had in fact married and she finally got her social security.

After they were married my grandmother let my grandfather start having sex with her but no one knew they were married.  She stayed with her mother and would secretly meet with my grandfather.  She asked my grandfather for time to break the news to her mother as she was still scared to death of her mother.  Eventually my grandmother and grandfather were overheard on a party line (people shared phone lines with their neighbors back then) and the secret was out and she left to live my grandfather as husband and wife.

Did my grandmother do everything right? No.  She dated a non-Christian man (He was actually raised Mormon). Also she did not immediately move in with her husband after they consummated their marriage.

But from a Biblical perspective, my grandmother was not sinning by seeking out a husband in direct disobedience to her mother.

Her father and mother were derelict in their duty as parents to encourage their children to marry and prepare them for marriage.   It would have been disobedience on my grandmother’s part to God’s marriage mandate if she did not seek marriage unless God had providentially call her to a life of celibacy in his service.

Conclusion

God’s ideal is that the seeking out of one’s spouse should be family affair. The courtship model reflects God’s ideal.  Ideally a man should seek out the approval and permission of a woman’s father to court her.  And ideally a woman should follow her father’s advice in whom she marries.  She sould seek out his blessing and approval.  But due to sin’s corruption in this world not everyone can fully follow all the aspects of the courtship model.

Father’s die leaving fatherless daughters.  Fathers or mothers refuse to allow their children to marry.  Some parents may not discourage their children from marriage, but they refuse to participate in the courtship process.

So, what is a young person to do in these situations where parents are derelict in their duties in the courtship process?  The answer is that you are only responsible for your own behavior.  You are not responsible for your parent’s bad behavior.

That means if you have no father or mother or you have parents but they want nothing to do with the courtship process then you do what you can.

As a man that means even if your parents think otherwise – you do not court until you are financially prepared to provide for a family.  And when you do court, you never allow yourself to be alone with the women you court.  If her father wants to participate in the courtship process then ask his permission.  And ask for his wisdom in knowing and understanding his daughter.  Guard your heart and keep physical and emotional intimacy for marriage.  Yes, it will be harder without parents to support you, but you can still do it with God’s strength and help.  It is a vast understatement that this entire courtship process, with or without parental participation, should be bathed in prayer.

As a woman that means when you are an adult even if you have parents that were derelict in their duty like my maternal grandparents you should seek out marriage.  It will be a must greater challenge for you as a woman than it is for a man as it was for my grandmother.  But you still need to have high standards.  Don’t just look for the first man who comes along.  Pray hard as you seek the man God would have for you.  It is sad that you as a woman are in this position, but you are here.

In a way this is similar to when a woman’s husband dies. A widow is the position of having to lead her children and provide for them as her husband did.  She has to carry a load God never designed women to carry.  But death in this world occurs because of sin in this world.

So, what does a widow have to do? She has to go out and get a job to support herself and her children.  In the same way if a young woman has parents who are sinning against God’s calling for parents to encourage and prepare their children for marriage then she should attempt to get a job and then leave their home.  Another option would be for her to move out of her parent’s house as an adult and move in with another Christian family.  Perhaps she can even see if another Christian father will stand in as her spiritual father and help her in the courtship process.

I do think though that Christian young men and women as a general rule should commit to honoring the wishes of the woman’s father in courtship.  Yes there will be exceptions like the one I have painted here and others.  But whenever possible, the father’s wishes regarding his daughter should be honored – especially if he is a Christian man who is fully engaged in helping his daughter to find the man God has for her.

Update 9/30/2018 – I let my Dad read this since a I published this a few days ago and he wanted to me to correct and add a few details of his mother and father’s dating and marriage story.  My great grandmother did not know about her two son’s whoring around – only my grandmother(their sister) knew.  Also I did not know the details of how they were married whether by a judge or a priest.  They were married by a priest at my grandmother’s insistence but they went to a different Catholic church than my grandmother attended regularly and they change their names so when the wedding announcements went out to news papers. 

A Teenage Boy’s Courtship Covenant

Today I make the following covenant before God.

I will only seek to court a woman when I am ready to be her head as Christ is the head of the Church and when I am ready to provide for her and protect her as I do my own body as Christ does his Church. (Ephesians 5:23-24 & 29).

I will seek, whenever it is possible, the permission of a woman’s father before attempting to court her and honor his rules for courting his daughter. (Genesis 29:15-20, Exodus 22:16-17)

I will not make provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof by allowing myself to be alone with any woman that I am not married to unless she is my close blood relative. (Romans 13:14)

I will guard my heart and save not only physical intimacy, but emotional intimacy as well for marriage and I will not awaken the type of love God meant only for marriage until I am married. (Proverbs 4:23, Song of Solomon 2:7)

I will not follow my heart or feelings in seeking my future wife as it may deceive me.  Instead I will seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance  as well as the guidance of my parents and other Christian elders as they follow Christ. (Proverbs 1:8,Proverbs 11:14,John 16:13)

I will not date because dating is led by the heart, not the spirit, it can often awaken the kind of love only meant for marriage and it makes provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof.

Real men DO provide and Real women DO appreciate it

“Real men provide Real women appreciate it” was a simple message posted on a billboard in Forysth County, North Carolina.  60 years ago such a sign would have been lauded by our communities.  But now in our post-feminist culture this message is considered “a sexist comment”.

Molly Grace, a woman who organized opposition to the sign, made this statement:

“The very notion that there should be a man to provide and that no matter what a woman should just plain accept it and appreciate it, is a sexist comment,” said Grace, who is an outspoken critic against the billboard.”

http://myfox8.com/2017/02/28/crowdfunding-to-change-controversial-billboard-in-winston-salem/

She wants the anonymous person who paid for it to be posted to come to a local panel and “explain why they think the way that they do and try to shed some light on it for us”.

Some people thought the anonymous person who posted the sign was targeting men, not women.

“Donald Amos says he likes the sign and said he believes it’s directed toward men who are not fulfilling their promises.

“A lot of times, women have to go on their own and do this and take the role of a man and a women and it’s not right, but it happens and I think men ought to step their game up. Really they ought to and become men again instead of shoulda, coulda, wannabes,” Amos said.”

http://myfox8.com/2017/02/22/real-men-provide-billboard-in-forsyth-county-sparks-controversy/

Perhaps it would have been considered less “sexist” to feminists if the sign had simply read “Real men provide”.  But because the sign implied that real women appreciate men that can provide for them – that cannot be allowed to stand.

Why do some people think that real men should provide and real women should appreciate it?

If you are a person that thinks like Molly let me “shed some light” on this issue for you from the source that some Americans still hold dear and that is the Bible.

The man’s providing role is referenced in multiple passages of the Scriptures.

In Genesis after Adam and Eve sinned God said he would make both Adam and Eve’s primary roles more difficult:

“16 Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.

17 And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;

18 Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;

19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.”

Genesis 3:16-19 (KJV)

Woman would experience great pain now in child birth – one of her most important duties in her help meet role to man. It would not so easy for man to provide for his family, but instead he would have to work hard to get what he needed from the earth.

In addition because of woman’s new sinful nature she would make his other very important role, that of leading the home, much more difficult as she would seek to control him and the home instead of submitting to him as God had designed her to do.

But even though God made the man’s duty of providing and the woman’s duty to give birth more difficult he also provide them both with the gift of joy from the pain they had to endure in their labor:

“A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world.”

John 16:21 (KJV)

“There is nothing better for a man, than that he should eat and drink, and that he should make his soul enjoy good in his labour. This also I saw, that it was from the hand of God.”

Ecclesiastes 2:24 (KJV)

In the Law of Moses a man’s provision for his wife was deemed of such critical importance that if he failed to do so his wife could seek a divorce:

“10 If he take him another wife; her food, her raiment, and her duty of marriage, shall he not diminish. 11 And if he do not these three unto her, then shall she go out free without money.”

Exodus 21:10-11 (KJV)

The New Testament reaffirms and strengthens the distinct roles of man and woman

The New Testament tells us that a woman’s primary role is to be the bearer of children and the keeper of the home:

 “4 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.”

Titus 2:4-5 (KJV)

God reiterates his call for men to be providers and protectors to their wives in the Epistle to the Ephesians:

“28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. 29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:”

Ephesians 5:28-19 (KJV)

Husbands are called by God to provide for the physical needs of their wife as they would the needs of their own body.  They are also called to protect their wife as they would their own body.

Was the Proverbs 31 woman a career woman?

Many Christians have tried to point to Proverbs 31 to show a defense of women having careers outside the home.  There is no doubt that Proverbs 31 shows the woman going out to plant a field or sell in the market.  But here is what people miss.

The Proverbs 31 wife did not leave anything undone in her home so as to go outside the home and provide.  It tells us of her husband “The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her…” (vs 11) and that she “She looketh well to the ways of her household…”(vs 27).

Proverbs 31 in no way paints the modern career women we see today.  With the schedules that modern career women keep being gone from their home anywhere from 40 to sometimes 50 hours a week there is little to no chance they are also doing 100% of what they should be doing at home.  Their duties to their home will slide or be neglected.

But can’t a woman and her husband just split the roles of provider and the duties of the home?

Well if we want to throw out the duties God has assigned to man and woman as well as then entire picture of marriage with man symbolizing God as the leader, PROVIDER and protector of the woman and woman submitting to her husband and serving him by bearing his children, caring for them and caring for the home then sure – it does not matter and husband and wives can split these roles.

But what if the man can’t work?

Because we live in sin cursed world husbands get sick, get disabled or lose their jobs. Sometimes because we live in sin cursed world unforeseen financial events occur where a man must ask his wife to work to provide additional income for their family to survive.  These are not the kinds of situations we are talking about in this article.  God understands this type of situation.

But what we are talking about here are young couples that marry and PLAN to have the wife be a career woman. We are talking about a man and woman literally agreeing to the fact that she will purposefully not devote herself entirely to her duties to bear children, care for them and care for the home.

These couples actually PLAN to split the duties of husbands and wives between themselves in direct contradiction to God’s design and his commands. There is no excuse for such plans of men and women which go against the very commands of God.

Real men provide

If you are a young man reading this I hope that it will help to show you that our culture has sinned against God in abandoning the gender roles he designed. I hope that you will purpose in your heart that you will not seek marriage to any woman until you can provide for her so that she can dedicate herself fully to the role God has given her as the bearer and nurturer of your future children and the keeper of your future home.

I am not saying you have to be rich when you get married.  Please don’t misunderstand me.  But you should be able to provide a modest life – with food and shelter. You don’t have to provide brand new cars and a big fancy house.  If you can provide for her the basics of life so she can be the homemaker God wants her to be then you are doing what is right before God.

As a young man you should have a plan to further yourself anticipating that as your family grows so too the expenses will grow.  This means that while you may be able to marry based on a certain wage you make – you need to plan on how you will provide more in the future as your family needs it.

And in the future should you ever lose your job – asking your wife to work outside the home should be your last resort. If you have to work two jobs to provide –then you should do so.

Real women appreciate a man who will provide for them

If you are one of these young women that were raised by your parents to be independent and not have to depend on a man you need to throw that thinking out in the trash. Your parents may have felt they were doing right by you and just looking out for you in case you don’t find a husband or in case your husband were to divorce you or die.

Yes because of sin in this world we are not always able to live up to God’s design for men, women and marriage. But we should not plan for the failure of God’s plan in marriage due to sin on our part or that of our spouse or the sinful circumstances of this world.

Instead we should plan for success.

As a young lady your goal should be this very goal given to you directly by God through the Apostle Paul:

“I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.”

1 Timothy 5:14 (KJV)

Will you follow the world’s pattern or God’s pattern?

To young men and women.  You must decide before you seek out marriage.  Will you follow the world’s pattern of partnership marriage and gender neutrality when it comes to the roles in your family or will you follow the pattern God has established for men and women?

The Bible tells us not to follow our culture when it conflicts with God’s design:

 “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

Romans 12:2 (KJV)

Will you ask God to renew your mind today? To make you the man or woman he has called you to be? To play the role he has called you to? I hope that you will.

And let me tell you something – it will bring peace to your marriage if you follow God’s pattern especially in this area of the man being the provider for the home.

You see God has placed a desire in every man to provide for his woman and his family.  For some men it is buried far beneath years of conditioning by our culture, but make no mistake it is there.  That is why many men cannot marry a woman who makes more than them.  It is not a pride issue, it is a God given man issue.

Its time to blunt about this

Sinful pride and ambition blinds us. When we are ambitious for what God has called us to do as men and women that is a great thing and blessed of God.  So when a young man has career ambitions and ambitions of not only having a family and providing for them but also making his mark on the world that is from God himself and it is good.  When a young woman has ambitions of marrying a godly man that can fully provide for her and her future children and she has ambitions for caring for those children and her home this again is from God and it pleases him.

But what about men that have ambitions to marry a woman who can provide for them as a man so they can care for the home and children? This ambition is a sinful one because it violates God’s design. What about a young man who has ambitions to marry a career woman knowing he will not be able to fully provide and knowing she will not be able to fully dedicate herself to their home as God wills? Again such an ambition is a sinful and selfish ambition.

Let me conclude with this warning to young couples who want to follow the path God has set forth in the Bible.

You have two choices in this life.  You are either called by God to a life of celibacy in his service or you are called to seek out marriage.  There are is no choice in between.  Now notice I said “seek out marriage” because not everyone will find someone to marry. But if we are not given the gift of celibacy, we are called to seek marriage.

To young men:

If you have not been given the call of God to celibacy in his service and you have a desire to seek out marriage then you cannot seek out a career path that will never be able to fully provide for your future family. If your future plans for marriage involve your future wife having to work to help provide then your future plans are WRONG. Perhaps the career path you are thinking about will eventually be able to provide for a family but at first it will not be able to.  Many men pursue apprenticeship jobs in fields that do not make enough to provide for a family but eventually they will. That is ok.  But then you must wait for marriage until your career plans come to fruition and you are able to provide for your wife and future children.

And finally to young men – not only should you be able to provide but you should seek out a Christian woman that wants a man that believes he should be able to provide for her. You want a woman that appreciates this conviction and your desire for yourself and your future wife to follow God’s design for men and women.

In other words – don’t marry a career woman. And you know how to NOT fall in love with and marry a career woman? Don’t date one.

To young women:

If you have not been given the call of God to celibacy in his service and you have a desire to seek out marriage then you must not seek out a career.  It is one thing to work and save money while you are seeking your future husband. In fact this could be a blessing to your future husband. But you must be able to drop whatever work it is you are doing the moment you find the man God has for you so that you can fully dedicate yourself to serving him in the role God has given you as his helper.

There is no sin in you as a young woman going to college while seeking that man that God has for you. But make sure that this will not saddle your husband with great debt.  So that might mean going to a community college where it is more affordable and you can work a part time job and pay off the schooling as you take it. If your parents can pay for a better school while you look than that is fine as well as long as you will not be passing this debt to your future husband.

Your goal whether you go to college or just work a job while looking for him is to come into the marriage with little or no debt or perhaps a small savings from your work that you can bless your husband with as you enter the marriage together.

Seek out a godly man that can also provide for you as God wants every man to do for his wife and children. This is not a matter of “either or” as if you must choose between finding a godly man or a man that can provide for you.  If the man you seek to marry truly understands God’s word and wants to live that out he will not want to marry you until he can provide.

I thank God for whomever anonymously paid for that message board. We will need more of those around our country to stir up this conversation and to help bring people back to the design that God has for men and women.

 

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.