Originally published Monday, 13 February 2012.
My hubby and I were in love for a long time before we were finally able to get married. It was a long wait -- and yes, we waited to enjoy “married people things” until we were married! It is only by God’s grace that we were able to “wait” -- but laying that foundation of obedience to God’s heart over our own has been a cornerstone of joy, sweetness and fruitfulness in our marriage.
While there’s no exact formula for how a single guy or gal should travel the road to matrimony, there are some things we can glean from Scripture that we can follow to the letter!
We can know that God has a plan! God handcrafted Eve for Adam, specifically picked Rebekah for Isaac, and brought Ruth and Boaz together in a beautiful love story. I see no reason why God would do any less for you! You are precious to Him and He knows exactly who and what you need and exactly when to bring that special someone into your life. Isaac was forty when he got married. We assume Boaz was older as well. God brought Ruth a second chance at love through Boaz. You can trust God with your love story -- He writes good ones!
God is passionate about your passions. God is the One who dreamed up sex. He’s the One who wired your heart, mind and body to beat with passion. He’s also the One who knows best how to use those passions. Before we were married, I felt like the Lord gave me a word picture for purity. Passion is like the fizz in a soda bottle. You can open the lid just a squeak and slowly let the fizz out, even if you don’t take the cap off all the way. I felt like He was saying, “Leave the cap on tight, child.” It’s hard to leave that cap on. Stinkin’ hard! But exercising sexuality in the way God designed it to be expressed saves our hearts and lives from much pain -- God’s design is for our good, for our best.
So here’s ten “safe date” ideas to help you grow your relationship in a way that doesn’t throw gasoline on the fire:
1. Zoo dates -- we had the best dates at the zoo! It was a public place where we could talk about life, learn about each other, but also weren’t alone to be terribly tempted!
2. Group dates -- when you feel like grabbing dinner and a movie, make sure you grab some friends too! Watching how your sweetheart interacts with other people also helps you learn more about them.
3. Serve together -- my husband and I served at a local Christian run homeless/under-privileged after-school center before we were married. While we were there we saw each other in a unique setting. We could see how the other person responded to kids who wouldn’t listen, kids who were grimy, had lice, were needy. We both signed on because we wanted to help, but it turned out to be the beginning of a life of ministry together. It was a good way to see each other’s heart.
4. Family time -- watch how your sweetheart interacts with their family. It reveals a lot about how they will interact with their future spouse. Spending time with each other’s families is absolutely invaluable.
5. 20 Questions -- well, not literally 20 questions. But consider writing down a list of questions you think two people ought to know about each other before they commit to life together and spend time asking each other those questions.
6. Phone dates -- phone dates can be awesome! I’ve known a few couples who had long distance relationships who kept in contact via the phone or Skype. Talking is good for a premarital relationship and phones require talking and no touching.
7. Pray together -- the statistics on married couples who pray together everyday show that the divorce rate among praying couples is less than one percent. Practice praying together before you are married. Learning to seek God together is one of the sweetest joys and biggest adventures of your life!
8. Join a small group/ Bible study together -- find a place where the two of you can share Christ-centered community. I’ve heard Christian marriage described as a triangle relationship. You and your beloved are two parallel points and as you grow toward Christ, the third point, your life lines become closer and closer. Lay that foundation early in your relationship.
9. Treasure hunt -- Find couples whose marriage you see as successful and pick their brains and memories for wisdom about how to “do” marriage and relationships.
10. Book worm date -- read books together! Many times the topics a book brings up will trigger great discussions you wouldn’t have had otherwise! Grab a great Christian growth book and dive in together.
There’s lots more to be said about navigating the singleness adventure. So without further ado, let me introduce you to a great resource and our give-away for today! It’s Bill and Pam Farrel’s book, Guys are Waffles, Girls are Spaghetti. It’s a great book on learning about the opposite gender for singles. I know you are going to love this book!