In the first part of this series, we introduced the idea that modern dating has ruined our view of marriage. We treat dating as an audition for marriage, date as many people as we can to “learn” about what we want in a spouse, and we walk away if the relationship no longer works. And while dating may seem like a necessary means to an end, it definitely has its flaws and teaches us some bad habits along the way. There has to be a better way… right? Is there a biblical way to date? In today’s post, we’ll go over two more reasons why modern dating has transformed our idea of marriage.
*This post contains affiliate links. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.
Modern dating habits create a lot of emotional baggage.
Our culture tells us to date around. Date a lot of people so you know what you want in a future spouse. But the consequence of dating a lot of people is that you end up with a lot of unnecessary baggage. We get hurt. We hurt others. And whether we want it to or not, this pain has a way of reshaping us. We become guarded and we bring our past hurts and regrets into our current relationships.
Some might argue that we learn a lot in the dating process. And to a certain degree, this may be true. But at what cost? Could there be a better way to gain wisdom than from an unhealthy dating relationship?
Modern dating trains us to leave when things get hard.
This is perhaps the most damaging aspect of modern dating. We date someone until we no longer want to… and then we walk away. The truth is that walking away from a dating relationship is always on the table. It’s why a lot of people choose to date a while before getting married. It’s a lot easier to walk away from someone you’re dating than someone you’re married to. But if walking away is always an option, will we ever learn how to work through the hard parts of a relationship?
Again, some might argue that this is a good thing. You don’t want to meet someone, marry them right away, and then find out they are a terrible person. It’s important to get to know someone before making a life-long commitment. But when modern dating tells us to date a lot of people before marriage, this idea of leaving when it’s hard becomes a habit. And this is when it becomes a problem. And isn’t there a way to get to know a person before dating them? This idea of dating someone you barely know is yet another way modern dating has ruined our view of our marriage.
Is there a biblical way to date?
I grew up in the “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” generation. For those of you who don’t know what that means exactly, let me explain. As a teenager, I was challenged not to date the way the world dated. In fact, we were encouraged not to date at all. We were told to wait on God and allow Him to “write our love story.” Essentially, the only person we would “date” would be the person we were going to marry. It would save us unnecessary pain and allow us to save ourselves fully for our future spouses. In exchange for our commitment to do things “God’s way,” we were told that He would bless our marriage by giving us the happily ever after of our dreams. Essentially, our marriage would be easier and better because we didn’t date.
There were definitely some good biblical truths taught during this time in Evangelical Christianity. For one thing, purity is something to be treasured. Saving yourself for marriage is biblical and will save you a lot of heartaches. But the promise… the promise that says “do it this way and your marriage will be absolutely perfect…” This promise is where everything falls apart. Even the best marriages are hard. And even if you do everything “right,” you will NOT have a perfect and easy marriage. Our marriages will always be flawed because they involve two imperfect people.
So what’s the solution… do we simply date like the rest of the world then?
Be sure to check out the final post in this series where we will dive into dating from a biblical perspective…
*Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.