The Bible’s Viewpoint
Dating With a View to Marriage
Julie and Lee were dating and were determined to remain morally clean.a But one evening when they were alone, their sexual feelings began to build. Fortunately, they came to their senses before going too far and committing a serious wrong.
TRUE worship involves more than simply attending a weekly religious service. It is a way of life that influences one’s conduct and moral standards. Jesus Christ said that only those “doing the will” of God merit His favor. (Matthew 7:21) To please God, we need to keep our relationship with the opposite sex honorable and date with a view to marriage.
How can you keep your relationship clean in God’s eyes, especially in view of the tremendous pressure on couples to throw moral restraint aside? First, recognize that God’s standards were set down with our very best interests in mind. Second, accept the truth about human nature. Third, lay definite ground rules for right behavior. And fourth, have God in your relationship. Consider these points one by one.
Standards Tailor-Made for Our Benefit
At Isaiah 48:17, 18, we read: “I, Jehovah, am your God, the One teaching you to benefit yourself, the One causing you to tread in the way in which you should walk. O if only you would actually pay attention to my commandments! Then your peace would become just like a river, and your righteousness like the waves of the sea.”
Yes, the commandments and principles set down in God’s inspired Word, the Holy Bible, are for our benefit. (2 Timothy 3:16, 17) They are evidence that our Creator really cares about us and wants us to be happy and successful in all aspects of life. (Psalm 19:7-10) Is that how you feel in your heart? If so, you are showing true wisdom.
Accept the Truth About Yourself
Like a true friend, Jehovah is honest with us; he tells us the truth about ourselves. For example, his Word warns us that “the heart is more treacherous than anything else and is desperate. Who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9) The Bible also states: “He [or she] that is trusting in his own heart is stupid, but he that is walking in wisdom is the one that will escape.”—Proverbs 28:26.
How might a couple who are dating show that they trust in their own hearts? One way is by allowing themselves to get into circumstances where they may be tempted to become overly intimate, similar to the couple mentioned above. Another way is by disregarding the wise advice of God-fearing parents. Such parents know that sexual feelings, especially during youth, can be like a powerful engine that has to be well controlled.
Hence, young people who ‘walk in godly wisdom’ take parental guidance seriously. Yes, they take to heart the advice of parents who love them enough to say things that a son or daughter may not want to hear. Of course, the one who loves you most is your heavenly Father, Jehovah God, who advises you to “remove vexation from your heart, and ward off calamity from your flesh.” (Ecclesiastes 11:9, 10) How can you do that? By not giving in to improper desires.
Lay Clear Ground Rules for Behavior
“With those consulting together there is wisdom.” (Proverbs 13:10) Early in their relationship, prudent couples apply those words by agreeing on Scripturally appropriate expressions of affection and by being determined to stay within those limits. To take liberties with each other or to be overconfident is like driving dangerously. It is too late to make resolutions about road safety when you are being pulled out of a wreck!
“A shrewd man [or woman] sees trouble coming and lies low,” the Bible says. “The simple walk into it and pay the penalty.”(Proverbs 22:3, The New English Bible) Couples can avoid much trouble by dating in the company of a wholesome group or a suitable chaperone. The penalty for foolishness while dating may include a damaged conscience, lack of respect for yourself and the other person, and shame for all concerned, including family members. So be shrewd; agree to apply Scriptural standards and stick to them!
Make Jehovah the ‘Third Cord’
Marriage is like a threefold cord, with God as the primary strand. “A threefold cord cannot quickly be torn in two,” says Ecclesiastes 4:12. The same principle can apply to dating couples. Those who want God’s blessing on their relationship receive that blessing when they stay close to God individually. Says Psalm 1:1-3: “Happy is the man [or woman] that has not walked in the counsel of the wicked ones . . . But his delight is in the law of Jehovah, and in his law he reads in an undertone day and night . . . , and everything he does will succeed.”
Yes, real success in life, including success in courtship and marriage, comes when we do things Jehovah’s way. After all, he is our Creator, and romantic attraction and marriage are precious gifts from him. As such, they deserve our utmost respect.—James 1:17.
a Some names have been changed.
HAVE YOU WONDERED?
● How do we know that God wants the best for us?—Isaiah 48:17, 18.
● What truth about ourselves should we accept?—Jeremiah 17:9.
● What is the secret to success while dating and, later, in marriage?—Psalm 1:1-3.
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Early in their relationship, prudent couples agree on Scripturally appropriate expressions of affection and are determined to stay within those limits