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DATING vs COURTSHIP ---Part Three
Relationship based on covenant
Whose wife are you dating?
The worst thing about dating is your vulnerability. Dating is like marriage,
but without the protection! That's the only difference. You relate, spend time together,
give your hearts to each other -- with no life-long commitment, with no covenant! And then
we wonder why we get hurt! We must learn to relate according to covenant -- marriage is
the boundary that protects our 'sphere of vulnerability'.
Covenant vs. Contract
God designed relationships to operate in covenant. A covenant is a commitment that
cannot be broken. In our contract-happy society, we think of legal contracts -- as soon as
one party fails to fulfil their obligations, the other party is free from the commitments
of the contract. In covenant, the commitment holds regardless of the performance of
the other party.
An example of covenant relationship is God's love to us. No matter
what we do,
God is committed to our covenant! How different our view is -- at the first difficulty, we
pronounce that "our marriage isn't working out" and we terminate the covenant.
But it can't be terminated! It's a lifelong commitment, and it cannot be broken!
With a life-long focus, you want to get it right the first time (since there will be no
'second time'! :)
Debunking arguments for dating
There are two arguments commonly raised in favour of dating. Firstly "If people
don't date, how will they learn to relate with the opposite sex?" and secondly
"Dating is just cultural. Our culture dates, the Jewish culture courted." I'm
going to debunk these myths by taking them to their logical conclusions. :)
The first statement can be reinterpreted positively two ways "Dating teaches
people how to conduct [good] relationships with the opposite sex," or "Dating is
the only way people can meet their partner in our society." If the first statement
were true, then we should see a growth in strong relationships and strong marriages since
the invention of dating earlier this century. Instead, we see an exponential increase in
divorce, date rape and many other stains on society. The evidence shows that dating does
NOT build strong relationships at all! For the last 1900 years, people have been building
good relationships with the opposite sex without dating.
What about meeting your partner? How can anyone expect to meet their mate if they don't
date? I would question if dating is the best environment to determine if someone has the
qualities you desire in a mate. Much better opportunities lie in team ministry, or
families visiting families, etc, where there is no emotional involvement, and no agenda to
give a good appearance. Then partners can truly judge how that person acts in a variety of
circumstances, before they even commence in their relationship. But more about that later!
Some people say that dating is our culture. But our culture also says that you should
sleep with your partner and live together for a while before you get married, if you get
married at all. By what standard do you call the first "acceptable culture" and
the second "unacceptable?" The same standard must be used to judge both, and the
Bible is not ambiguous in its teaching on relationships. How then can we justify drawing
the line between emotional promiscuity vs. physical promiscuity instead of complete
fidelity vs. promiscuity?
© Copyright 1997-2000, Nathan Bailey, All Rights Reserved. Permission is granted to
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