Dating while a Christian can feel like trying to navigate a minefield of prohibited actions. When surrounded by examples of worldly relationships, focusing on the “don’ts” can make them even more tempting. Just think about when someone yells, “Don’t look!” What’s your first reaction? I bet you look even though you know they have a good reason for the warning.
God didn’t create physical intimacy to be prohibited. He created it to be beautifully preserved. That is the focus we should have: that God is asking us for restraint to build the foundation for a stronger relationship and a Song of Solomon passion. Psalm 66:10 paints a beautiful picture of how God grows us: “For You, God, tested us; You refined us like silver” (NIV). Silver is refined by putting it in an intense fire until it melts, and then scooping out the imperfections that bubble up to the top. That doesn’t sound pleasant, and when God refines us it isn’t easy or painless, but there is a purpose. God wants our marriages to be reflections of His love for the Church—unshakable and full of pure love.
UNDER THE “CHUPPAH”
There is a wonderful Jewish custom of getting married under a chuppah (pronounced hoop-ah), which is typically a fabric covering held up by four poles or posts. It is meant to symbolize God’s covering over the couple being married, just as He covered and led the Israelites on the exodus out of Egypt. For both my husband and I, being married under a chuppah was very important; it was a visual reminder of our commitment to ourselves, each other, and our families. It also reminded us to keep God first in our marriage. Both of us come from families where our parents are divorced, so we had seen firsthand the damage it can cause.
By keeping God first while dating my husband, it trained me to continually keep God first, knowing that is what makes a strong marriage. Growing up, dating advice was always about what not to do. Looking back, I wish someone had told me that was the wrong focus.
DIFFERENT FOR A REASON
God doesn’t ask us to be different from the world to prohibit something, but rather to preserve us for passion in an unshakable and pure love. This is an example of how He loves us. Focusing on God first while dating made it easier to save sex for my marriage. It allowed me to feel safe and secure while experiencing a Song of Solomon passion just as God intended. It isn’t easy in dating or marriage to keep Him first, but it makes our relationships stronger because He is constantly changing us and bringing us closer. Never forget though that our God is a God of grace and endless patience; if you have gone too far physically, it’s not too late to put God first by switching your focus. Godly dating is not impossible.
—Amber Herzog, Northwest Division, Western Territory