QUESTION: Should there be a spiritual difference between dating and marriage? When some does start dating how should you spend time with the family of both sides, by themselves...? Do we know when the right time to start dating is? if you find a good Christian guy while you're a teenager could you date him or does god call us to wait?
ANSWER: Pastor Trent
Yes, there is a spiritual difference between dating and marriage. The most significant difference is that when you are married, it is God who joins you together to be one with your spouse for the rest of your life. Marriage is also a picture of Christ and his love for the church. This is the most important relationship you have on earth. Marriage is more important than the relationship you have with your parents, children, and your boyfriend/girlfriend. (Gen. 2:18:24, Eph. 5:21-33)
I believe dating should be reserved for a time in your life where you are ready to find your significant other. When I dated before college, it was only for selfish reasons. I was not at all thinking about marriage, nor was I close to being ready. If the person is a Christian, I would say you are on the right track as we are commanded to only marry believers (2 Cor. 6:14), but I still hesitate to give a complete thumbs up on dating that person. I realize there are exceptions, but it is unlikely that you will end up marrying the person you date as a teenager. Dating before you are ready tends to distract you from actively pursuing Christ, sets yourself up for unnecessary drama, feeds selfish desires, and many times leads to sinful activity (1 Cor. 6:16-20).
If you still do decide to go on dates with a Christian because you are romantically interested in him/her, then you need to be very clear to on what the Bible teaches about purity and be obedient to his word. I would also refrain from using words such as commitment and promise during the dating phase because it don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that ring!
For further reading on this subject, I recommend these books:
Sex, Dating, and Relationships by Gerald Hiestand & Jay Thomas
Marry Wisely, Marry Well by Ernie Baker