In modern society, couples use the dating period to become romantically and sexually involved. As a result, love and lust are often confused. Sex is commonly used as an expression of love. Unfortunately, worldly dating cares nothing about a person’s character. It lightly skims or skips the friendship phase and immediately jumps to romance and intimacy. It settles for superficial traits (such as physical beauty and status) and blinds itself to serious character flaws.
As Christians, we shouldn’t allow the world to paint a warped picture of love for us. We are not looking for the infamous unhealthy, lustful obsession or addiction that is overly glamorized in Hollywood today. No, we are looking for true, unconditional love that is not in any way selfish or abusive (1 Corinthians 13:4, 5).
Many people have grown up in homes in which they had no idea what true, unconditional love looked like. For instance, a woman may have grown up in a home that was filled with domestic violence, control, and manipulation. Therefore, she doesn’t understand how to have healthy relationships. She could live her entire life, not knowing how to relate to people in a healthy way.
A healthy, romantic relationship can only be built on the firm foundation of a healthy friendship, not merely on sex. A healthy friendship allows you to communicate and enjoy one another’s company without any pressure. Sex has a spiritual element to it that God designed only for a husband and wife. He designed the union of marriage for the couple to join together physically to become one. It is an act, or law, by which God makes the marriage bond stronger.
Is it possible to be very attracted to someone and remain sexually pure while dating? Yes it is. However, it begins with the decision to remain sexually pure. Once you make the decision, you have to allow God’s Word, His way of doing things, and His spirit to guide you through the friendship stage of the relationship. Also, you must set boundaries so you won’t be pressured into sexually stimulating situations. This includes being selective about the movies or TV shows you might watch together and the music you listen to. Avoid indulging in heavy kissing and petting. These actions are forms of foreplay that lower your guard and eventually lead to sexual intercourse.
Although abstinence isn’t popular in our society, for the single Believer, it is God’s will for your life. Begin to see abstinence as a deposit for your honeymoon. In doing so, you build excitement and anticipation for that special occasion. Reserve passion and all intimate acts for the man or woman God gives you in marriage.
Character may not sound romantic, but it is the foundation for a romantic and fulfilling relationship. It is one of the most important elements to consider when dating someone. Character denotes a person’s level of integrity, fidelity, loyalty, and courage to defend his or her beliefs and values. A person of good character chooses what’s right when faced with the opportunity to do wrong. It is vital to know the character of a person before you become romantically involved.
If you are someone who doesn’t know what true love looks like, I want to encourage you to ask the Holy Spirit to show you. Additionally, there are some practical things you can do, such as studying God’s Word regarding love. First Corinthians, chapter 13, is a great place to start because it provides a good biblical definition of true love, which is God’s unconditional love. Once you understand what true love is and what it is not, you won’t have any problem recognizing it when it comes your way.