God and dating and relationships
When two people are dating — especially when it’s going well and two people are really into one another — the desire to spend more and more time together, to know each other better and better, to confide in each other more and more often and exclusively, is overwhelming.As your general comfort level around each other rises, that momentum grows even more. We’ll assume, per another clear principle from Scripture, that both members of our college couple are Christians.Over time, maybe you take some of the same classes, live near one another, etc.In that context, living with the desires I’ve just described, how likely do you think it is that over the course of two or three or four years — some couples date over most of their college years — you will be able to maintain enough emotional discipline and distance to avoid acting emotionally and relationally “married”?Scripture calls Christians to “flee” from sexual immorality (1 Corinthians ), not to “see how difficult we can make the temptation and still prevail” or to “see how close to the line we can get without sinning.” In my view, Scripture teaches clearly that there is to be romantic physical intimacy outside of marriage.No reasonable person would argue that physical temptation does not increase — a lot — the longer two people date who are attracted to each other and who grow to love each other.
Certainly, as God’s people, we don’t want to live in fear and have our lives be primarily defined by avoiding temptation rather than positively seeking after Christ. Still, where particular known areas of temptation exist, it’s not living in fear to be deliberate about taking the wiser course.He leads us primarily by His Word, and we are to look there first and primarily for guidance about how to live and make decisions. God does not ever “call” or “lead” His people into sin, or even into folly or biblically responsible choices. Choice one is to get married anyway and work your way through. As to emotional intimacy, we live in the age of email, free long distance and unlimited any-time minutes, and cheap flights.
It’s still really easy to “act married” emotionally, even in a long-distance relationship.I discuss this principle more fully in “Principles for Drawing Boundaries” and “What Does a Biblical Relationship Look Like?