So, I work with college students. Sometimes they like to date each other. Being human, with normal, God-given (but fallen) physical desires they also want to do stuff together while they’re dating. You know–sexy stuff. Of course, most of them who’ve been around long enough have learned that the Bible says the sexy stuff is God’s good, beautiful, and pleasurable idea for knitting a man and a woman together in marriage. In the meantime then, I’ll have couples approach me wondering if there are ways that they can continue to build their relationships in holy, appropriate ways, and avoid temptation.
Now, I remind them that it’s not just about not breaking rules–it’s an issue of the heart. I remind them of the grace of the Gospel for any past or future failure, and that this is not the one, irrevocable sin. I encourage them to look to Christ, develop their relationship with him, and all the good spiritual, foundational stuff. But then, well, I get “practical” and offer them a few (slightly humorous) tips that helped my wife and I during the (four!) years we were dating.
I can’t emphasize enough that these are not laws, but general guidelines that help you obey God’s laws for your good. These are not hard and fast unbreakable rules. They are wisdom, though. Some of them may seem childish or nit-picky. You might think read them, roll your eyes, and think “Really? Come on, I’m not an animal!” True, but you’re not an angel either, and following these can help you honor God in your dating relationship:
- Clothes are not optional. But seriously, stay fashionable–in your clothes.
- If no one’s home, you’re not home. This might narrow your hang-out options initially, but it forces you to be creative. I really can’t stress this one enough.
- Cars are fun when you’re driving. When stationary, you can get in an accident.
- Give someone you trust absolute authority to speak into your life and talk to you about this area whenever. Also, don’t lie to them.
- Consider the consequences on a regular basis.
- Pray at the beginning of your dates.
- “Napping” together is stupid. Falling asleep during a movie is one thing, but otherwise…nah.
- And God said, “Let there be light…”
- Private porn usage always makes a public appearance. Eventually, porn shapes the way you act with your boyfriend/girlfriend. Avoid it at all costs.
- Spas are fun group activities.
- God gave you legs for a reason. Run when you have to.
- Have this conversation often. Re-affirm and re-commit to biblical guidelines and standards for your relationship.
Above all of these, of course, is to constantly be chasing Christ. Tips and rules can help for a while, but it’s the deeper holiness comes through the Spirit of Holiness changing our affections from within through the grace of the Gospel.
Soli Deo Gloria