Nothing in my life and faith has been more confusing and spiritually hazardous than my pursuit of marriage. Maybe you’ve wanted the relationship or liked the guy or girl, and you’ve never had the chance.From far too young, I longed for the affection, safety, and intimacy I anticipated with a wife. I experimented too much with our hearts and allowed things to go too far. And now my singleness is a regular reminder that I messed up, missed opportunities, or did it wrong. Maybe all the suggestions and advice you’ve collected has become a confusing mess of good-intentioned contradictions and ambiguity.If fullness of life could be found in sexual stimulation, or if it was just a matter of making babies, the “forget formality and just have sex” approach might temporarily satisfy cravings and cause enough conception.But God had much more in mind with romance than orgasms or even procreation, and so should we. When people in the world are expecting less and less of each other in dating, God isn’t — so among the single we have to work harder in our not-yet married relationships to preserve what marriage ought to picture and provide.In this series of articles, I've raised several biblical principles regarding the way we should treat our brothers and sisters in Christ.First Thessalonians 4:1-8 admonishes us not to wrong or "defraud" our brother or sister by implying a marital level of commitment (through sexual involvement) when it does not exist.
” The vision of marriage we see in God’s word — the beautiful, radical display of God’s infinite, persevering love for sinners — makes it worth it to date, and date well.The truth is that romantic feelings are like superglue. Don’t sit around waiting for a boy to make you a priority, communicate his intentions, or even call you on the phone. And this God created and rules his world, including men, women, the biological compulsions that bind them together, and the institution that declares their union and keeps it sacred and safe.Essentially, the historical reality is that until 30 or 40 years ago, long, intimate friendships between men and women in which each served as the other's emotional confidante, relationship adviser and "best buddy" were far less common than they are today.So is the trend toward intimate friendships between single men and women a good thing? If you haven't read my previous articles on biblical dating, you'll be helped in thinking through this issue by reading "Biblical Dating: How It's Different From Modern Dating." Based on some of the principles found there, let me offer a couple of practical reasons why I believe such friendships to be generally unwise, and then I'll suggest a positive role for friendship among singles in the Christian community. It’s such a common thing that either you’ve heard of it or are caught up in it yourself! It is the seemingly endless habit many couples have in which they will fight and makeup on a regular basis. It makes for great movies, but what works for a 90-minute Hollywood hit is a no-go in the real world.What I mean is this: if fighting in your dating world means hitting, pushing, shoving, name calling, yelling, manipulating, or anything rude that occurs on a consistent basis then, of course, turn walk away. In bad relationships, bad things happen and will continue to happen if you let them. Wisdom always does now what brings satisfaction later.This article isn’t meant for Bonnie and Clyde couples headed for jail.Rather, I’ll cut to the chase and zone in on those of you caught up in one of the more deceptive, yet prevalent sin in the dating world. It feels so right, and you have every excuse in the world to continue.The world’s approach can provide fun and sex and children and eventually even some level of commitment, but it cannot lead to the life-giving Jesus after whom our marriages are to take their cues.Before continuing with this article, please review the preamble included at the beginning of part 1 of this series, "Biblical Dating: How It's Different From Modern Dating." * * * PART 2: Men Initiate, Women Respond » One of the big questions hovering around the topic of courtship and dating is the role of friendship.