Dating: Are You Confused Yet?
Many seem confused about the role of dating and marriage today. On one hand, the secular culture believes marriage is an outdated institution. And yet, despite strong arguments against marriage, the secularist stills seems to prize what marriage brings. I’ve often wondered why those who say marriage is an outdated institution celebrate the marriage announcement of two cohabiting people. The message, in spite of their ideology, seems to be that “living with someone and having children is great, but until you’re married something is still missing.” Clearly marriage offers the confused secularist something non-marriage doesn’t.
Christians seem confused about dating as well. Consider the mixed messages that singles report hearing from the church. First is the clear message that marriage is the preferred state (“We program our church’s classes and activities around marriages and families; we’re not sure where to put you.”). In addition, we will use terms like “unmarried” and “premarried” to refer to singles. This implies that you should get married and you’re not as you should be until you are.
Then come other confusing messages when preachers, for example, begrudgingly recall that singleness must be okay because Jesus and Paul were single. But then Paul, given his concerns over coming persecution, encouraged Christians to remain single (and even suggested they were better off for doing so; see I Corinthians 7:8-9). What does that mean?
So, where do all these cultural and church-based confusing messages leave the average person? Dazed and confused about dating.
What is needed is a clear, eternal perspective that moves you closer to God’s best for you.
Wisdom or Folly
But before we dive into a discussion of God’s eternal purpose for marriage, let me ask you a question. If what you discover about God’s design for dating and marriage challenges any of your currently held convictions or any of your current behavior, are you willing to receive His wisdom? At what cost?
The first nine chapters of Proverbs present a contrast between those who embrace the wisdom of God and those who reject it for foolishness. The two sides of this contrast are personalized as Wisdom and Folly. The contrast is profound. Wisdom provides understanding and the knowledge of God; Folly provides simplemindedness and a lack of judgment. Wisdom provides victory, a shield of protection, and peace to the soul; Folly leaves one exposed to evil and filled with anxiety.
Heed the call of wisdom regarding your dating relationships, family decisions, and if you have children, your parenting, or you might as well expect continued confusion and disappointment in dating. Folly offers no discernment; it is only interested in pursuing the passions of the moment and the quick fixes of infatuation and fantasy. Wisdom, on the other hand, considers dating and marriage through the lens of eternity and offers clarity and dignity to those who rely on her.
Ready your heart to receive her.