For My Dating Sons

Today, I pulled out my old Bible, a dilapidated, well-loved and worn Living Bible from my youth. It is filled with markings, notes, papers and indications of my young faith in Christ. I was startled to find a piece of paper with notes about dating. This information is not for me anymore, so instead I pass this on to my sons, who both recently began to date. So to Lane and John-Mark (and their precious women), I pass on the “wisdom” of my youth (combined with some additions from my experienced “wisdom”).

What is a date? Getting together exclusively with someone of the opposite sex to do something together.

What do you want to accomplish? You need to be aware that you are laying a foundation for marriage. You are not just “having a good time.”

Have you set your dating standards? Decide your standards before you date but, of course, it is never too late to set boundaries.

  • Plan first dates in group arenas. Double dates give you a chance to learn about each other before being totally alone.
  • Talk openly about your beliefs and standards.
  • Pray together. Invite God’s presence into your time together.
  • Avoid late nights when you are tired and alone.
  • Save sex for marriage (that includes anything sexual).
  • Concentrate on building the other up and not yourself.

Is sexual temptation wrong? No. It’s what you do with it that leads to sin. Physical contact is an appetizer, not an after-dinner mint. “Love can wait to give, but lust can’t wait to get.” Real love is patient and waits for the protective frame that marriage provides sexual intimacy.

Why not just “be” together? Why marriage?

To become one.(Genesis 2:24, Ephesians 5:31). You are now getting to “know” each other. This “knowing” happens on many levels and grows deeper as you develop your relationship, perhaps ending in “knowing” each other intimately in marriage (Hebrews 13:4). Work toward building that oneness.

True love involves commitment (Mark 10:9).

True commitment is for a lifetime. You can’t have love without trust and you can’t have trust without commitment.

Men and women need each other (Genesis 2:18, 20). God said it was not good for man to be alone. Alone, we become selfish beings caring only about ourselves and our comfort. Alone, we are fearful and build fortresses around ourselves to keep out others. Alone, we have no support when life gets hard and battles are insurmountable. Woman was created an equal counterpart, an ezer kenegdo, a complement, to man’s nature. In marriage, she is given to you to help you “rule and subdue the world” which for you means whatever God is calling you both to do for his kingdom. She is to be an “ally-warrior” at your side to help you fight life’s battles and fight for God’s kingdom. And she is given so that you might create more God-worshippers in this world. 

My sons, I conclude with one last word to you as men. If God gives you the gift of a wife (Proverbs 18:22 says that is a good thing), you are to be her kephale (head). This doesn’t mean that you lord it over her or have the right to tell her what to do. This means that she is joined to you as a head and a body are joined together. Because of this, you should seek to do whatever benefits her and builds her up. You should help her discover herself and be all that she was created by God to be. This means that daily you sacrifice yourself for her and put her needs above your own. This is a tall order but with God’s help, it can be done. Begin now to treat your girlfriend as better than yourself, as the gift that she is to you.

May God bless you both,


PS. For those who are single, please do not take this to mean that without a spouse you will be a selfish, fearful, and guarded person. Men and women need each other in every sphere of life. We are all called to fight for God’s kingdom together. May God guide you to find that special way that you can “rule and subdue” the earth and provide relationships so that you will not be “alone.”

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