Summary: A series about dating and marriage in the 21st century.
Series: For Better or For Worse Pt. 1
"The Dating Game"
Genesis 2:18 And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.
INTRODUCTION: First, let me give you a few statistics that I think will help us put this message into context. We know that well over 90% of all adults will get married in their lifetime and even among those who experience divorce, over 80% will remarry. So that tells me that generally speaking most folks view the institution of marriage as a good and even desirable thing. Second, it is my opinion, based on my own observation and experience in over 40 years of counseling, that many problems in marriage actually have their roots in our dating and courtship system.
How do you reckon that I find a mate then? Great question. I'd like to encourage God's people to find the answer from the Bible rather than our culture. I think Genesis 2:15-23 will give us a great start.
I. THE CULTURE OF DATING
a. The myths about dating
#1 - People have been dating forever, right? No, in fact what we call dating has only been around for about 100 years or so. Before that every aspect of male/female interaction was strictly controlled and regulated. Almost everything was arranged, including marriage. There were rules involving physical contact, the use of chaperones, courtship, engagement or betrothal. Sounds a lot easier back then doesn't it? In Dake's Bible from a passage in Dueteronomy we read: "It was customary among the Jews to contract matrimony, espouse or betroth a couple, then leave each one with the parents for a considerable time. The contract always specified conditions of dowry, the time when the contracting couple should come together as man and wife, and all other details of agreement between the parents and young people. Concluding festivities were held at the time of fulfillment or coming together of the betrothed."
#2 - People can fall in love at first sight, right? No, I have heard people say that they can know within just a minute or two if they have met "mister right." In an article by Jean Smith she writes: "Really, so you can make a decision about something as important as a potential partner, faster than you can make a decision about what food to order at Mr. Chang's Chinese and More?"
#3 - People need to feel a connection, feel some electricity, right? No, rather than using superficial and unhelpful indicators to find a partner, start looking at the ones that really count: character, kindness, curiosity, generosity, intelligence, humor, empathy. Remember, "Sparks are exciting, but they also burn."
b. The misconceptions about dating
One of the main misconceptions of our culture that I want to expose and debunk is that dating is for exploration! This idea has even carried over into the dating dynamic where couples have been convinced that it is good to live together as a sort of trial to see if you like each other or not. Dear friend, dating is not for exploration but confirmation! If that is true then what are we trying to confirm?
1. Confirm their COMMITMENT TO THE CREATOR.
Priority number one is his/her relationship with God. In the context of Genesis 2, we learn that Adam walked and talked with God. He listened and knew the Word of God. Christians are to marry Christians. And not only that, maturing Christians are to marry maturing Christians. 2 Corinthians 6:14-- "Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers for what fellowship hath light with darkness?" Listen, if you are a child of God and you marry a child of the devil, you are going to have problems with your In-laws. Faith and commitment to Christ are to be the first priority.
2. Confirm the CONTENT OF THEIR CHARACTER (15, 19-20).
Before Adam had any thoughts at all about marriage, he got a job. And he did what God gave him to do! Marriage is work and if they're lazy, apathetic and disrespectful at work; I guarantee it will be the same at Home! Stay away from the "sluggard" (that's what the Bible calls a lazy person)
Proverbs 6:6 Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise:
7 Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler,
8 Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.
9 How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep?
10 Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep:
11 So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man.
Proverbs 20:4 The sluggard will not plow by reason of the cold; therefore shall he beg in harvest, and have nothing.