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Is "dating" & "girlfriend/boyfriend" inappropriate?

Discussion in 'Christian Advice' started by vortigen84, Jun 5, 2012.

  1. vortigen84

    vortigen84 Newbie

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    Do you think the concepts of dating and girlfriend/boyfriend -- as opposed to girl friend / boy friend -- are inappropriate for single Christians?

    I do. The way I see it, those are romantic things and romance is part of sex so therefore it also belongs in marriage. For example, you don't typically see a couple of Christian guys holding hands and having a romantic stroll on the beach; we consider that homosexual. Yet if a single guy and girl do that, we tolerate it as heterosexual... but it's still sexual when it shouldn't be that way yet, right?

    You either have just a friend -- and a good friend is no small thing -- with no romantic connotations, or you propose to that friend and then have a marriage with things appropriate for marriage, such as holding hands, kiss and cuddle, and so on.

    Do you think I'm being too strict?

    I know some folks will be like, "Man, what planet are you on?" But I find it frustrating that most Christians seem to be pretty worldly in their approach to relationships. If society is godless and lost, why should we be following their customs when they by and large are fornicating? Shouldn't we know better? I guess because deep down we want to normal and fit in to our society. I could be overreacting, but I don't think so because statistical research shows that fornication among Christians is the norm rather than the exception. I think our lack of integrity is something we ought to be ashamed of, and I think part of the problem is that we're not approaching relationships adequately to start with. Everyone knows the party line -- "No sex before marriage!" -- but we just interpret that as no coitus before marriage, and apparently we do it anyway. I think that's because we play with fire and get burned; we allow too much before marriage, we don't have this idea that all intimacy / romance belongs in marriage.

    I wonder how much intimacy the early church or the old testament times considered acceptable before marriage?
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2012
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  2. Nienna_Lady_of_Tears

    Nienna_Lady_of_Tears Veteran

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    Not all physical affection is sexual in nature. While yes, if two guys were walking hand in hand on the beach we would assume they were homosexual, it is not based on the holding hands itself rather than holding hands is something that guys do not typically do outside of a relationship. But the act of holding hands is not in and of itself sexual. People do it all the time in prayer, and I have seen a man hold a woman's hand in prayer and mean nothing sexual by it. Girls who are merely friends do it, and it does not mean they are lesbians.

    Also, even in more of a "courtship" type relationship, they STILL are your girlfriend or boyfriend, no matter if you have any physical affection shown to them. The problem is that these relationships where they had NO physical affection, oftentimes they ended up married and having NO physical attraction either. A friend of mine was in one of these, they got married, and three years later he had not even held her hand... needless to say they divorced.

    FACTS ARE, a woman is NOT going to accept a proposal where the two of you had not had anything other than a friendship. A woman needs to be hugged, or at least have had her hands held, to see if you really do care. Of course with as strict as you seem to be you might as well accept the old testament practice of betrothal. Otherwise I have no clue how you will find a wife.
     
  3. aloou

    aloou Guest

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    I think this is the ideal but I think it happens quite rarely. If i chose i would have friendship to engagement then courtship to marriage. I would expect some physical touch within the engagement/courtship including kissing.
     
  4. rturner76

    rturner76 Senior Veteran Staff Member Red Team - Moderator Supporter

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    This is the Islamic way also. It is only friendship unless there is an engagement, then you may perhaps hold hands etc. but always chaperoned anyway=the strict ones. I agree with Nienna_Lady_of_Tears that it would be more likely in an arranged marriage that it would work just because a girl would think you were not interested. I don't know though, if you both go to a church that believe that it should be that way, maybe they will agree with you. I would just fear a passionless marriage because I hear people that grow up so repressed just have in ingrained in them that any physical activity is dirty and shameful even after marriage they can have that repression built in and I wouldn't want to deal with that.
     
  5. aloou

    aloou Guest

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    Yes I have someone close to me who is in that very situation with an almost inept sexuality that has been quite damaging to the marriage.
     
  6. vortigen84

    vortigen84 Newbie

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    Maybe, but the facts are also that most people feel the need to fornicate before they marry, so...?

    See, I don't see why a deep friendship and trust established over time wouldn't count as enough for a woman to go on when he proposes. Can women really not accept men for marriage except on grounds that he sweet talks and has a feel first? That just seems like lust to me. If that's the case, I think that relates to the 80% of Christians who fornicate; they have to first play with fire to get her to say yes to marriage, and they get burned.

    Also, wouldn't this in effect mean you end up with a double-proposal? For example: you have a male friend, just a friend. That friend fancies you, so he first proposes the idea that you go "out" with him, and you say yes; you are now his "girlfriend", and you are supposed to have a strict and watered-down form of intimacy at this stage, which most people end up going too far in. This goes on for who knows how long, until he may or may not get around to proposing marriage: the second proposal.

    I don't think that's right, eh?
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2012
  7. doylerey

    doylerey Newbie

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    This kind of thinking hinders Christian relationships more than it helps! If you want to be this strict with how Christians interact then why not stick to a literal interpretation of Jesus' remarks if your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. Your analysis of Biblical behavior is not even on par. 1 Samuel 20:41 tells us that Jonathan and David kissed each other and wept together. This had no sexual overtones at all, it was a sign of deep friendship. Have you read The Song of Solomon? If the words of the two lovers were put into a movie it would be pornographic. Jesus himself during the last supper reclined with John at the table again a sign of close friendship.

    Rather than try to heap on a bunch of restrictions for Christians who want to pursue a relationship, we should encourage them to love each other with the love of Christ. I have found that when Christians try to subdue their romantic feelings, they find themselves lying to themselves and others about how they really feel in order to stay "friends". Stop doing what the Pharisees did, which was to create rules and laws in order to prevent the possibility of sinning! Is that not what you just suggested Christians should do? Have you forgotten the gospel already? Let us instead encourage each other to live in the Spirit and love by the Spirit. There is nothing wrong with romance outside of marriage again look at The Song of Solomon as an example.

    I agree that the flesh often wins in its attempt to drag Christians away from the Spirit's leading, but the solution is not man made limitations. The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace...AND SELF CONTROL! These are fruits of the Spirit, not man. Maybe if the church took more of an active role in cultivating Godly romance rather than shunning it, then maybe we would find that Christians would really stand out in the world. As a pastor, I have seen the poor quality of pre-marriage counseling that is given to young couples. Most pastors have never been trained in the subject. So Christians do the best they can with little help or advice.

    Holding hands, kissing, and talking about personal things with each other is certainly acceptable behavior providing it comes from love. Sure these can be abused, but so can everything. I have seen people withhold these things as a tool for control over the other. This is a long reply but I do not want us to lose sight of the gospel. There is no condemnation in Christ Jesus. We do not have a license to sin, but dating is not a sin! Mercy triumphs over judgement, so let us show love, mercy, and grace to those who choose to enter into a romantic relationship with another Christian.

    Mike
    Pastoradvice.com
     
  8. vortigen84

    vortigen84 Newbie

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    Yeah, maybe a bit.

    But there's also a reason why the wedding night is traditionally considered a big event, right? That's where the consummation is ideally to take place. I think consummation is supposed to be more than just sex. Do Christians generally not understand the concept of foreplay? It's like we say "Foreplay before marriage is fine -- have a kiss -- but you better not go the whole way." That just seems absurd to me when I think about it. It's playing with fire; it's a tease. I'm virtually certain that's why we have 80% of Christians fornicating: wrong ideas & wrong attitudes.

    But it also seems to me that we have Biblical ideals that we don't really believe can translate into real world practice.
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2012
  9. vortigen84

    vortigen84 Newbie

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    Well that's all very noble of you talking about legalism, but the stats still say 80% of Christians fornicate, don't they?

    What are you going to about it? You're a pastor, you teach the sheep, you're supposed to play a role in effecting change in people's attitudes aren't you? Perhaps you guys have been teaching the wrong thing if the figure is that high?

    Besides, I am not making up regulations as such. I am saying that I think romance is supposed to be a marriage-associated thing, or belong in marriage. I think part of the reason we're getting burned is because we are following worldly customs and are playing with fire. The Bible says to flee from temptation, yet we seem to tolerate a social norm that involves walking right into it like idiots.

    If you think there's a different reason, I'd like to hear it.
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2012
  10. Nienna_Lady_of_Tears

    Nienna_Lady_of_Tears Veteran

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    Heavy kissing, like french kissing, is certainly foreplay and should not be done before the wedding. However, a plain kiss is not foreplay, and I see no reason why the line cannot be firmly drawn at that.
     
  11. BFine

    BFine Seed Planter

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    If you have someone who is in agreement with you on
    what you think and have shared on this forum, then
    may all go well for you and her.

    Lastly...
    I would like the source cited for the 80% of actual born-again Christians
    who are having sex outside of marriage.
     
  12. vortigen84

    vortigen84 Newbie

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    I don't think it's an issue of how far you can go, but when is the right time for it.
     
  13. vortigen84

    vortigen84 Newbie

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    I'm not discussing whether my ideas work for me, but whether they're right. I want someone to sway my conscience that I'm incorrect. I suspect I may be overreacting because my ideas are very counter-cultural, but I need someone to shoot me down with a good counter-argument.

    Besides I'm from New Zealand. As much as I may be interested in someone here, it's just not practical.



    I don't know about "actual born-again", but it is evangelicals.

    Here's the link: RELEVANT Magazine - September/October 2011: The Generation of Contrast

    Come to think of it: that is America. Sometimes I forget what country I'm in when I'm online lol.
     
  14. vortigen84

    vortigen84 Newbie

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    No, but overall I think the Muslims are putting us to shame when it comes to modesty. Yeah they take it too far perhaps, but we don't go nearly far enough.
     
  15. Ark100

    Ark100 The Lord is my Refuge

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    Many people have their ideas regarding whether its ok or not.
    We are all wired differently. Some can resist temptations well, while others cannot. Some exercise self control and discipline regarding intimacy and what they accept, whereby some cannot even say 'No' when they are being tempted and lured.
    I have seen some people who are christians and they have boyfriend/girlfriend. They don't even think this is wrong.
    What they are doing behind closed doors no one knows, but a lot of very staunch born again christians will not have boyfriend or girlfriends. They are usually very strict and would only start a relationship and marriage only when they hear from God.
    It really depends, and I cannot even talk on behalf of anyone else on this topic.
    All I know is sex and all sorts of deep intimacy are some form of sins when you are not married to someone.
     
  16. vortigen84

    vortigen84 Newbie

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    If I want to be romantic with someone, I'll propose because as I see it that's what marriage is for. Otherwise I think I'm being unfair to that person and their feelings; how is it loving to lead a person on while you're not committed to them? It's unfair on people's feelings to do that. I've had that done to me, girl took off for someone else, was confusing and unpleasant because I was expecting a commitment despite none being made. You do not tell someone you love them and be affectionate with them unless you mean it, and if you mean it, you play for keeps: marriage.

    I think a friendship should tell you enough about a person to know if you want a relationship with them or not. If it does not, then I think what you need is a deeper friendship, not a boyfriend or a girlfriend. There is intimacy you can have in friendship that is not romantic or sexual in nature, and I believe it should serve as foundation for a proposal of marriage if one is interested on building on it.

    Some will assert that guys and girls cannot be "just friends", but I disagree. I would bring up Jesus with Mary & Martha, some will retort that he was superhuman and we're not, but nonetheless that's what we aspire to. I don't think Jesus would have had a girlfriend or dated; I think he would have proposed.
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2012
  17. Ark100

    Ark100 The Lord is my Refuge

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    'Some will assert that guys and girls cannot be "just friends", but I disagree'

    I disagree too. I also believe its possible to have opposite sex 'friends'. I have some male friends that is just 'friendship' brotherly type thing.

    With the leading on part, I don't think some people intentionally set out to mislead you, but they may find during the getting to know you part that they are actually not 'in love' so they make a bolt for the door.
     
  18. Radagast

    Radagast has left CF Supporter

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    That's going way too far. If there was no romance first, how would anyone ever get married?

    There is such a thing as "courtship."
     
  19. Jonathan95

    Jonathan95 Veteran

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    No, maybe it can lead to Lust. Lust is Sin outside marriage. In marriage-Sin if anyone but wife/husband.

    Also: (Romans 14:23) And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.
     
  20. Radagast

    Radagast has left CF Supporter

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    This has been widely reported in the media, as if it's a fact.

    It has been linked to a survey conducted by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. It was a telephone survey, which is always problematic for this kind of topic (many people refuse to participate, as the methodology report notes). Their survey report did not discuss religion at all, nor does the 80% figure appear in any of their publications.

    That 80% number seems to first appear in an article in RELEVANT magazine, but as far as I can tell, the numbers are just made up. I suspect that the survey design precludes any kind of valid conclusion about religion and sexuality, in any case.
     
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