Humorous yet insightful article; here are some highlights.
“As a pastor, over the years I had my fair share of people approach me to find out if we were a “courtship” church or a “dating” church. The people invariably would tell me that their approach was “the biblical way.”
“Perhaps you’ve seen this list floating around the world-wide-web, but it’s worth reviewing because it makes a very important point. So here it is… ways to find a wife according to the Bible:
- Find an attractive prisoner of war, bring her home, shave her head, trim her nails, and give her new clothes. Then she’s yours. (Deut. 21:11-13)
- Find a man with seven daughters, and impress him by watering his flock. —Moses (Ex. 2:16-21)
- Purchase a piece of property, and get a woman as part of the deal. —Boaz (Ruth 4:5-10)
- Go to a party and hide. When the women come out to dance, grab one and carry her off to be your wife. —Benjaminites (Judges 21:19-25)
- Agree to work seven years in exchange for a woman’s hand in marriage. Get tricked into marrying the wrong woman. Then work another seven years for the woman you wanted to marry in the first place. That’s right. Fourteen years of toil for a wife.—Jacob (Gen. 29:15-30)
- Become the emperor of a huge nation and hold a beauty contest.–Xerxes or Ahasuerus (Esther 2:3-4)
- When you see someone you like, go home and tell your parents, “I have seen a woman; now get her for me.” If your parents question your decision, simply say, “Get her for me. She’s the one for me.”–Samson (Judges 14:1-3)
- A wife?—Paul (1st Corinthians, chapter 7)
Obviously, this list was written with humor in mind, and some of these “ways,” are not prescriptive but descriptive of the sinful ways that God’s people have conducted themselves in the past—they are in no way exemplary. But this does demonstrate an important point—people often want the Bible to say certain things, such as how to find a spouse and marry, but they ignore portions of Scripture that don’t fit their paradigm. The Bible has more to say about arranged marriages, for example, than it does “courtship” or dating. So then, how do we proceed?
We also have the clear biblical command that a Christian is free to marry whomever he or she chooses, so long as the prospective mate is “in the Lord” (1 Cor. 7.39). But in the end, choosing a spouse calls for wisdom…where God has spoken, we are bound, but where he has not spoken we are free. We are not bound by the commandments of men.
We should also note that in its collective history, the church has never addressed the issue in its creeds or confessions about how to find a spouse. Perhaps this should tell us that it is a matter of Christian liberty and that in the end, we should rely on God’s grace, wisdom, prayer, and godly counsel rather than make claims that the Bible has never made.”
There is a popular notion among Christian singles that says, “There is only one person God has you destined to be with.” Which can lead to us waiting and waiting for that “moment” and that special someone. I’m really not sure what to think of this idea, the Bible doesn’t say much about this type of thinking. Biblically speaking our top priority should be finding someone who is a genuine Christian, and pursuing a relationship based on purity, respect, truth and holiness, thus honoring God.
“German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer addresses this issue in a wedding sermon he wrote for his sister from a Nazi jail cell. He says that God joins the relationship between a man and a woman at the point of marriage. Before that, the couple has to take the initiative. Rather than directing the course of the relationship, God wants the couple to grow and learn how to make a commitment. Once they’ve done that, God increases his sustaining presence.” (source: https://www.crosswalk.com/family/singles/the-top-five-myths-of-christian-dating-11620987.html)
Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.
Be not wise in your own eyes;
fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.
It will be healing to your flesh
and refreshment to your bones.
A new documentary called The Dating Project is attempting to get singles to re-evaluate how they approach dating. I don’t know a lot about this documentary (I think it may be a Catholic based production) but I am glad that people are at least trying to start some more dialogue regarding issues surrounding singles and relationships. I hope Christians will try to address some of the relationship issues of our culture more openly and boldly. Here is the website for their documentary: https://www.thedatingprojectmovie.com/
Short and interesting read about how very few Christian singles are dating:
And a good follow up article on some possible reasons why:
Some interesting stats from Pew Research Center. I’ve just included some highlights which I’m directly quoting from their website and have included the links so you can look at the stats more in depth if you want.
Number of People Never Married on the Rise
“Since the first Religious Landscape Study was conducted in 2007, the share of Americans who are married has continued to decline, while the share of adults who have never been married has risen sharply. In fact, recent analysis of census data shows that the share of Americans who have never been married now stands at an all-time high.”
Chapter 2: Religious Switching and Intermarriage
“Interfaith relationships are common among married people and those living with a romantic partner, and interfaith marriage appears to be on the rise.”
“Interfaith relationships are far more common among unmarried people who are living with a partner (49% of whom have a partner with a religion different from their own) than among married people (31% of whom are in a religiously mixed marriage). Even among married people, however, mixed-faith relationships appear to be growing more common. Nearly four-in-ten married people who were wed since 2010 have a spouse who identifies with a different religious group.
These patterns strongly suggest that intermarriage has been rising, but it also should be noted that some research indicates that “in-marriages” (marriages between people of the same religion) tend to be more durable than intermarriages.”
More Women Identify with Christianity than Men
“Women are far more likely than men to identify with Christian groups (75% vs. 66%). Men, by contrast, are more likely than women to describe themselves as religious “nones” (27% vs. 19%).
But both men and women have become less Christian and more unaffiliated since 2007, by roughly equal amounts. The share of men who identify with Christianity has shrunk by eight percentage points since 2007, and the share of self-identified Christians among women has declined by seven points. Meanwhile, the share of “nones” is up seven points among men and six points among women.”