There is so much discussion in the church on the right way to do relationships. Dating, courting, betrothal, long engagement, short engagement, save the kiss or kiss before marriage….etc.
Honestly…..in some ways I think the answer is much simpler than that. I recently found this great video by Jeff and Alyssa Bethke. This sums up a lot of my thoughts well.
Some of my favorite quotes….
From Jeff: “We almost want God to give us the right answer so we don’t need Him. But especially in dating and in a lot of other areas, we’re promised the Spirit who is with us to guide us and to teach us and in the moments when we need Him the most, He can nudge and He can push and He can pursue and say ‘Hey maybe go this way’ or ‘Maybe this isn’t right’ and when you’re living close to Him, you’ll feel that and you’ll have a better ear for that.”
From Alyssa: “I really want to get to the heart of the matter. Because if we’re just saying ‘we’ll do this, this, and this’ then it’s almost like a list of behavior modification, which isn’t the Lord’s heart in it. The Lord really wants your heart and what’s best for you, so the Lord has specific Scripture about not going a certain way. So one we want to obey the Lord because we love Him and we know He is a good Father, and gives good structure for us and also the person you’re with is a brother in Christ or a sister in Christ, so you want to treat them as such and a friend and somebody that you want to take care of. So just kind of getting more to the heart of it more than ‘this is a list of dos, dos, dos.’… I think it gives you more joy to obey instead of doing it just out of (frustration).”
Jeff: “Or God’s going to smite you.”
Alyssa: It’s just a struggle because you love the person and you’re attracted to the person, so…lean into the Spirit practically. Before you go on a date or before you see the person, ask the Spirit to come with you. And obviously the Spirit lives in us and is with us at all times…But when you’re aware of it, you go into the date thinking, “Okay, God’s here with us and I want to honor Him in it.”
As Jeff said, this isn’t comprehensive by any means, but there are some good points there. If we are seeking the Lord and getting to the heart of the matter, God will be honored, even if those specifics or “rules” look different for different couples.