God hard-wired men and women to desire intimacy with the opposite sex.
While it's possible to be friends with the opposite sex, it needs be done so with obvious and intentional boundaries in place. When it comes to the actual experience of dating, it is absolutely necessary that boundaries are defined up front. Any couple that thinks they can go the course of spending a considerable amount of time together, without definite parameters is setting themselves up for failure.
As a dad, we need to actively engage our sons and daughters around this topic and provide them a functioning model of what this looks like. If we don't, the culture around them will set the tone. As my 20 year-old daughter understands, no man on this earth knows her and loves her more than I do.
I realize that every young girl out there may not have a dad that will be there for her. In that case, both the mother and daughter should look to pull in a man that can speak into the assessment of the young male suitor. As I have discovered over the years, men see things about other men that only men see.
They often do, especially within the actions of other women. In every God-honoring relationship, a primary objective should always be to build each other up in Christ Ephesians 4: Regardless of the dating outcome, each person is encouraged in their personal growth and relationship with God. As a dad, I want to be a "sounding board" for my sons and daughters.
At this point in their lives, they need me to be more of a counselor than an active coach. If I've done my job well during their primary years, the foundation is formed and they're beginning to build upon it. Yet it appears that, in many cases, Christian parents have not been actively involved in helping our children develop a biblical understanding of what dating or courtship looks like. For most Christian dads and moms out there, our own dating experiences had little roots to any biblical truth.
Where did we go wrong? The problem goes far beyond dating. It is quite apparent that our American culture no longer looks to the Bible to establish its moral foundations. Peter Marshall was correct in his U. Senate prayer when he said, " As a result, our young people of today embrace a worldview that is more secular than biblical and more me-centered than God-centered.
Yet, as parents, we can help our children get back on a God-honoring path when it comes to dating. It has and continues to be a two-way conversation around what it means for God to be glorified in and through our lives as we become less and Christ becomes more, i. As parents, we need to re-position dating back on a pathway that anchors our teens and adult children to God's ways. Just as in marriage, dating or courtship needs to be about God's glory and building each other up in Christ.
To consider it any less, is setting up a slippery slope where both emotional and physical ties naturally take hold. Men and women were created for intimacy with one another. Time will never erase this reality. If a man and woman spend time together in close proximity and share their inner-most feelings, things will happen. Even couples with the best-intentions have faltered when boundaries aren't in place. Fail to plan; plan to fail. This may sound like "old school" or something our great grandfathers did.
What rules and guidelines should we set for our teenager who wants to start dating? Most Christian parents tend to fall into two different camps when it comes to teen dating. Sexual promiscuity is rampant, even among Christian teens, and many young people receive little or no moral. When girls start chasing your son, it's time to establish some ground rules.
The fact of the matter is that when it comes to love and romance nothing really has changed from one generation to the next. Biologically, our bodies were made to have intimate and sexual relations with the opposite sex. Sure, times have changed and people have changed with them. Yet, if we really believe in the "unchanging" truth found in God's Word that speaks to the sanctity of marriage and the need for sexual purity, we will find ourselves turning some pages back in our history dating books to learn from our great grandparents.
I'm speaking to myself and to the men out there. We need to step it up and get back to some biblical basics when it comes to loving our wives and our children. We need to set the example for our teenage sons and daughters. Our younger men need to uphold our daughters as precious sisters in Christ and protect their pureness. They need to know that real love is not about pleasing yourself. It's all about pleasing God and putting another person's interest before your own. Remember that respect precedes love. Build it stone upon stone. Don't call too often on the phone or give the other person an opportunity to get tired of you.
Don't be too quick to reveal your desire to get married--or that you think you've just found Mr.
Wonderful or Miss Marvelous. If your partner has not arrived at the same conclusion, you'll throw him or her into panic. Relationships are constantly being tested by cautious lovers who like to nibble at the bait before swallowing the hook. This testing procedure takes many forms, but it usually involves pulling backward from the other person to see what will happen.
Perhaps a foolish fight is initiated. Maybe two weeks will pass without a phone call. Or sometimes flirtation occurs with a rival. In each instance, the question being asked is "How important am I to you, and what would you do if you lost me? It wants to know "How free am I to leave if I want to?
Do not grasp the other person and beg for mercy.
Some people remain single throughout life because they cannot resist the temptation to grovel when the test occurs. Extending the same concept, keep in mind that virtually every dating relationship that continues for a year or more and seems to be moving toward marriage will be given the ultimate test. A breakup will occur, motivated by only one of the lovers.
The rejected individual should know that their future together depends on the skill with which he or she handles that crisis.
A breakup will occur, motivated by only one of the lovers. Instead, release your grip with confidence while never appeasing immorality or destructive behavior. If your partner has not arrived at the same conclusion, you'll throw him or her into panic. It is quite apparent that our American culture no longer looks to the Bible to establish its moral foundations. There is nothing about marriage that eliminates the basic need for freedom and respect in romantic interactions.
If the hurting individual can remain calm, the next two steps may be reconciliation and marriage. It often happens that way. If not, then no amount of pleading will change anything. Do not depend entirely upon one another for the satisfaction of every emotional need.
Maintain interests and activities outside that romantic relationship, even after marriage. Guard against selfishness in your love affair. Neither the man nor the woman should do all the giving. I once broke up with a girl because she let me take her to nice places, bring her flowers, buy her lunch, etc. I wanted to do these things but expected her to reciprocate in some way.
Beware of blindness to obvious warning signs that tell you that your potential husband or wife is basically disloyal, hateful, spiritually uncommitted, hooked on drugs or alcohol, given to selfishness, etc. Believe me, a bad marriage is far worse than the most lonely instance of singleness. Beginning early in the dating relationship, treat the other person with respect and expect the same in return. A man should open doors for a woman on a formal evening; a woman should speak respectfully of her escort when in public, etc.
If you don't preserve this respectful attitude when the foundations of marriage are being laid, it will be virtually impossible to construct them later. Do not equate human worth with flawless beauty or handsomeness! If you require physical perfection in your mate, he or she may make the same demands of you. Neither of you will keep it for long. Don't let love escape you because of the false values of your culture. If genuine love has escaped you thus far, don't begin believing "no one would ever want me. Millions of people are looking for someone to love.
The problem is finding one another! Regardless of how brilliant the love affair has been, take time to "check your assumptions" with your partner before committing yourself to marriage. It is surprising how often men and women plunge toward matrimony without ever becoming aware of major differences in expectations between them. Sexual familiarity can be deadly to a relationship. In addition to the many moral, spiritual, and physical reasons for remaining virgins until marriage, there are numerous psychological and interpersonal advantages as well.
Though it's an old-fashioned notion, perhaps, it is still true that men do not respect "easy" women and often become bored with those who have held nothing in reserve. Likewise, women often disrespect men who have only one thing on their minds. Both sexes need to remember how to use a very ancient word.