Here are some great points about dating that Jared Wilson (blogger at the Gospel Coalition website and pastor of Middletown Springs Community Church) wrote on his blog today. I wonder if we, as Christians, focus a bit too much on sex in dating, and I think that emphasis is seen in these points below. Nonetheless, sex before marriage has remarkable consequences for everyone involved (emotional ties that are too deep for the level of commitment; minimization of the purpose of marriage; unplanned pregnancy which can lead to higher levels of abortions, children without their own parents if they are given up for adoption, miscarriages, etc.), and it is clear that the culture and Christians in general is/are engaged in sexual relationships before marriage at a high rate. This is something that clearly needs to be addressed, which may lend itself to emphasizing sex as much as we do. This is good that we address these things, but I’ve also heard of a number of Christians who, even after they are married, find sexual activity to be very difficult to engage in—some do not even have sex on their wedding night. If this is because of shyness or feelings of nervous anticipation, that is one thing; but, if this is because of feelings of shame or fear because of a church culture that inculcates a sense of shame regarding sex (as opposed to a healthy view of sex that advocates for positive, godly choices) then that is a serious problem.
But I digress. I don’t believe Jared Wilson says anything negative or harmful. These are just things that I thought of when I was reading through it.
10 Things Young Singles in Romantic Relationships Ought to Know
by Jared C. Wilson
1. It’s not bad to want to have sex with your significant other. It’d be another sort of worry if you didn’t. The key is to want to glorify Christ more than you want to have sex with each other.
2. The key to glorifying Christ more than you want to have sex with each other is that it is a decision to be made over and over again.
3. Persons in a dating or courting relationship are on their best behavior. So however they are now, you can expect, over time, for them to get “worse.” As familiarity grows, people let their guards down. Marriage does not fix bad behavior; it often gives it freer reign. Ladies, this means if your boyfriend is controlling, suspicious, verbally condescending or manipulative, he will get worse, not better the longer your relationship goes on. Whatever you are making excuses for or overlooking now, will get harder to ignore and more prominent the longer your relationship goes on. You can’t fix him, and marriage won’t straighten him out.
4. Nearly every Christian I know who is married to an unbeliever loves their spouse and does not necessarily regret marrying them, but has experienced deep pain and discontent in their marriage because of this unequal yoking and would now never advise a believer to marry an unbeliever.
5. Assuming you’re special and you’re different and their experiences won’t reflect yours is shortsighted, unwise, and arrogant. The people who love you and are warning/advising you against your relationship might be ignorant fools. Those sorts of people do exist. But odds are better that your parents, your pastor, your older married friends are wiser than you think.
6. Living together before marriage is a marriage killer.
7. Premarital sex de-incentivizes a young man to grow up, take responsibility, and lead his home and family.
8. Pre-marital sex wounds a young woman’s heart, perhaps imperceptibly at first but undeniably over time, as she trades in covenant benefits without covenant security. This is not the way God designed sex to fulfill us. Never give your body to a man who has not pledged to God his faithfulness to you in covenant marriage, which presupposes an accountability to a local church. In short, don’t give your heart to a man who is not accountable to anybody who provides godly discipline.
9. All of your relationships, including your romantic relationship, is meant to make Jesus look big more than it is meant to provide you personal fulfillment. When we make personal fulfillment our ultimate priority in our relationships, ironically enough, we find ourselves frustratingly unfulfilled.
10. You are loved by God with abundant grace in Christ’s atoning work, and an embrace of this love by faith in Jesus provides Holy Spiritual power and satisfaction to pursue relationships that honor God and thereby maximize your joy.