Dear Young People,
- “I believe in arranged marriages.”
- “I do not want my parents to run my life for me, I want a love marriage”
- “The old ways of finding a partner are better.”
- “We have to change with the times.”
- “I like the Western culture and dating.”
- “I am an Indian and will stick to our culture.”
People may have various views like these listed above. But in this issue, we look at marriage and holy living as given to us in the Bible, for these remain constant. No matter what culture you hail from, these principles hold for you because they are in the Bible and because you tremble at the word of God.
Is Dating A Good Practice?
When a boy and a girl (or a man and a woman) go out together to get to know each other better, we say that they are dating. Not all dating couples do so with the intention of finding a marriage partner. In the West, generally dating is unchristian as children start dating when they are twelve and thirteen, and these children are not dating with the intention of finding a marriage partner.
By the time they actually do get married, they might have given their hearts to others many times over. They will not be able to give their hearts in a pure and complete way to the one they finally marry.
Dating, as we have just described, is not Biblical. It is not found in the Bible in word, principle, or example. Among young people in the major cities in India, dating has become commonplace. What do we in the church of Jesus make of this? And how are we to adapt to these changes in the Indian context?
Turn to Prov 6:27-28 and complete the following questions.
Can a man take _________ to his bosom, and his clothes not be _________?
Can one walk on _________ coals, and his feet not be seared?
Can healthy young people of the opposite sex, at the peek of their sexual development, who are put together unsupervised in a romantic situation, be expected to stay pure in thought and action?
The answer to all these questions is NO.
In itself, the feeling of attraction between people of opposite sexes is not wrong. God has designed human beings with these desires to be put to use within the boundaries of marriage. Remember that sex is a language, for a very special communication, which must be spoken only within a marriage.
Between the right man and woman, within a marriage, God planned for an intimate sexual relationship. Let’s take the example of Adam.
- In Gen 2:22, we see that God created a woman (Eve) and ___________ her to the man.
- In Gen 2: 23, Adam fell in love with her at first sight.
- In Gen 2:24, God declared that the man should be _________ to his wife, and they two shall become _________ flesh.
So coming together, falling in love, and sexual union follow one after the other. Within the bounds of the marriage wows, this is holy and good. That is why it is not safe or proper for a man and woman to be alone and share intimate physical closeness outside of the marriage.
You may wonder what godly believers in Western countries think about dating. It is interesting that they too think that dating, the way it is generally practiced today, is wrong. They do not encourage it. How then do they find their partners, being in a culture where marriages are not arranged by the parents?
That is where the concept of courtship comes into the picture. More about this in the next issue. (Some Western Christian families encourage a kind of dating that has incorporated into it many of the guidelines that we will look at under courtship.)
A Word to Teenagers
The period of adolescence, the period between puberty and adulthood, is a wonderful period. You are slowly leaving childhood behind and moving towards adulthood. You are very conscious about your looks. Girls become giggly when a boy enters the room, and boys walk awkwardly and stammer when they meet girls. Girls begin to notice boys, and boys are aware of girls in a different way. All this is because certain natural instincts are awaking that God placed in you to eventually lead to the choice of a marriage partner.
Girls and boys must move with one another in a wholesome way and enjoy one another’s company. A girl and a boy being alone together is a situation that is best avoided. There is safety in numbers. When mixing, try to always be in a group. If you take this precaution, this period of your life will pass pleasantly and safely.
When you face problems as you move with one another, you are blessed indeed if you can go and talk with sympathetic elders who remember what it was like to be a teenager. Above all, walk close to the Lord during these years. Pray constantly. He is a faithful and true Friend and Guide.
(Nahomi Dhinakar; Published in Youth Column of Dhyanamlar Feb 2005) Click here for other Youth Column articles