Intimacy in a christian dating relationship
PART 5: Navigating the Early Stages of a Relationship » My last article, “Biblical Dating: Navigating the Early Stages of a Relationship,” sought to apply some of the principles we’ve discussed in this series to the early stages of a dating relationship.
We talked about how to establish intentions for the early stages, appropriate topics of conversation, types of dates and level of emotional investment.
The situation has obviously changed somewhat, but that is still too tempting and too intimate.
Pray with the people that are watching over your relationship.
Let’s look at how this stage might play out by considering some of the same issues we looked at for the early stage.
Clarity and intentions should be established when things move from “testing the waters” to “yeah, the water’s fine.” Don’t assume that because you agreed to start dating or courting (presumably with the intention to determine whether marriage was the right thing) you (or your partner) will “just know” when things begin to progress. Maybe, but being deliberate and clear about where the relationship is need not suck all the fun, spontaneity and feeling out of the whole affair.
Finally, you should tell her that if she does not find herself in the same place in terms of her feelings about the relationship (or if she becomes certain at any point moving forward that she is not interested in marriage to you), she should break up with you immediately. That’s OK to a point, as you will need to have some more serious discussions about major issues.
That said, it is still dangerous to spend time together alone in a private setting.
in greater detail if it looks like things could be headed toward marriage, but caution is always in order as you get more deeply involved.
Temptation in this area is easily underestimated, and it is very difficult to regain discipline and backtrack once you have sinned physically. Remember those long candle-light dinners in restaurants I suggested were unadvisable in the early stages of a relationship?
They can actually be good at this stage — especially when compared to long nights “chatting” on the couch at one of your apartments.
You should find one of two things as you have this these conversations regarding goals and anticipated ministries; there should either be a good deal of commonality between your goals and visions, or there should be significant flexibility on the part of the woman (who would one day be called to submit to her husband’s headship with regard to career, direction of the family, etc.).
Things will likely be very difficult down the road if one of you feels strongly called to a particular life or ministry that the other would absolutely dread.