07 Oct 2010

Seeing that our ministry has a good number of singles in their 20’s and 30’s, there’s no doubt dating and marriage are in the minds of many. I found a sample chapter from Mark Driscoll’s book, Religion Saves on the subject of dating. It’s a pretty comprehensive chapter that is full of wisdom and practical advice.

Here’s the question he attempts to answer:

How does a Christian date righteously, and what are the physical, emotional, and mentally connecting boundaries a Christian must set while developing an intimate relationship prior to marriage?

In summary, he first explores the sociological origins of dating as well as how dating is understood today. He also examines misconceptions regarding cohabitation and the gift of singleness as well as idols in singleness. Lastly, he gets practical and offers principles for both men and women.

For men and women:

  1. Maximize your singleness
  2. Do not pursue a serious relationship until you are ready to marry
  3. Be reasonable
  4. Do not be legalistic about dating
  5. Do not have a romantic relationship with someone who is a non-Christian
  6. You should be in a romantic relationship with only one person at a time
  7. He should initiate and she should respond
  8. You need to look at who God puts in front of you
  9. Feel free to use technology wisely
  10. Invest in a romantic relationship only with someone you are attracted to.
  11. Only date someone who agrees with you on primary theological issues
  12. Guard your heart
  13. Be careful of legalism and libertinism
  14. Marry someone who will be a fit for every season of the life that awaits you.
  15. Pursue someone you love
  16. Do not have sexual contact until marriage

Seven dating principles for men

  1. Are you overlooking good women?
  2. Do you enjoy her?
  3. Is she modest?
  4. Will she follow your leadership?
  5. Does she have noble character?
  6. Can you provide for the lifestyle she expects?
  7. As you stand back and objectively consider her, is she like any of the women that Proverbs warns against?

Seven dating principles for women

  1. Do you want to help him and join his course of life?
  2. Is he tough enough to remain strong in tough times?
  3. Will he take responsibility for you and your children?
  4. Is he considerate and gentle with you?
  5. Will he be a good father?
  6. Is he a one woman man?
  7. How valuable are you to him?

Download the sample chapter here.

As you read these headings, you might find something you object to or even strongly object to. I understand there may be things that don’t translate culturally. But before you get too hot under the collar, I ask you to do a few things before you dismiss anything:

  • Did you actually download the link and read?
  • Did you seek to understand the context and the heart behind it?
  • Have you asked  yourself, why do I object and am I at least open to the possibility that you may need to think differently?

Personally, I feel that this chapter is more helpful than not, although I do acknowledge that there are contextual reasons why he states things in certain ways which may not pertain to you. But allow this to be a conversation starter at the very least.

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