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The Dating Dilemma

With this post, I’ll be finishing our look at First Corinthians, chapter 7 – Paul’s view of romantic relationships.  He concludes by talking about singles.

If anyone thinks he is acting improperly toward the virgin he is engaged to, and if she is getting along in years and he feels he ought to marry, he should do as he wants.  He is not sinning.  They should get married.  But the man who has settled the matter in his own mind, who is under no compulsion but has control over his own will, and who has made up his mind not to marry the virgin — this man also does the right thing.  So then, he who marries the virgin does right, but he who does not marry her does even better.
1 Corinthians 7:36-38

We know from the previous parts of this chapter that Paul thinks it best not to marry because of the persecution that’s beginning to manifest in his society.  However, he lets us know that it’s simply his own opinion.

This passage is about another issue.  In that society, not all engaged couples were together because they “fell in love.”  There were arranged engagements.

The parents of a woman would negotiate with the parents of a man in order to combine their families – like a business merger today.  In that case, the couple was bound by tradition to be married.  That was the case even if they had never dated, or even met, before the engagement.

So Paul is talking to couples who are engaged either by choice or arrangement.  He tells them that their engagement is not the end of the world.  If they feel that for whatever reason, they shouldn’t be married, then they should call it off without guilt.

You may wonder what this has to do with us in our present generation.  There’s an important principle that we need to understand.

In our present culture, dating is more of a hobby.  Many go out on dates simply because that’s what most people are expected to do on the weekends.  I believe that this desire to always have a date is one of the things that’s weakening our marriages and families.

I don’t believe in dating; I believe in courting.  What’s the difference?  In courting, you only go out with someone that you think could possibly be the one God has for you.

I can tell you from experience that this works better than any other method.  I had only dated two other women before I met my wife (my junior year of college).  Because my brain wasn’t scrambled by the experiences of hundreds of dates, I knew almost immediately that she was God’s choice for me.

We were married in 1980 and time has proven that God’s hand brought Cheryl and I together.  There’s no one else on earth that I’d rather spend my time with.

So don’t succumb to the social pressure placed upon you to date all the time.  Leave room for God’s provision.  If you don’t feel called to be married, then simply be friends with those around you.  Enjoy your life with Christ and those He brings into your world.

A woman is bound to her husband as long as he lives.  But if her husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she wishes, but he must belong to the Lord.  In my judgment, she is happier if she stays as she is — and I think that I too have the Spirit of God.
1 Corinthians 7:39-40

Paul gives a final comment.  He wants to remind us of the seriousness of romantic relationships.  Marriage should be for life.  Believers must only look to marry a fellow believer.  In this way, God will be honored in our marriages.  Truly, God wants the very best for our lives, homes, and families.

Question: How have you seen the hand of God in your relationships?

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

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Posted by on April 12, 2019 in Relationships

 

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Marriage is Not an Escape

In his first letter to the Corinthian church, Paul gives advice about our romantic relationships.  As we continue looking at these, he now talks about those who have never been married (virgins).

Now about virgins: I have no command from the Lord, but I give a judgment as one who by the Lord’s mercy is trustworthy.  Because of the present crisis, I think that it is good for you to remain as you are.  Are you married?  Do not seek a divorce.  Are you unmarried?  Do not look for a wife.  But if you do marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned.  But those who marry will face many troubles in this life, and I want to spare you this.
1 Corinthians 7:25-28

You may think, from reading this passage, that Paul was against marriage.  That’s not the case.  This is referencing a certain situation that was happening in his day.

Persecution was beginning to break out against the church in some locations.  That’s what he meant by this present crisis.  He wanted them to weigh their decision carefully because of the uncertain future.

This is a very important concept for us to understand in our generation.  As a pastor, I’ve had the privilege of bringing many couples through the pre-marital counseling process.  It gives a lot of insight into what Paul is talking about here.

Let me explain.  In talking with couples, I ask them to give reasons why this marriage is right for them.  I’ve heard many answers.  There are some that don’t sit well with me.

“I want to get married now because this is the first person that has ever shown any interest in me and I don’t want to lose him.”

That’s not a reason to pledge your life to someone.  God is able to bring the right person along at the right time.  You can’t make a life altering decision, based only on someone’s availability and your desire to be married.

There are other issues as well.  I’ve seen people who are single but are in a bad family situation.  Their parents have an addiction problem or are very abusive.  They see marriage as an easy escape from their home environment.

This can end up making a bad situation even worse.  Marriage is not an escape from your problems.  If anything, it brings you a whole new set of problems.

I say this not at all getting down on marriage.  I’ve been married to my wife for almost 40 years.  I wouldn’t want any other life.  I love everything about our times together.

But I can tell you this – there are problems we faced together that we would never have had as single people.  Marriage comes with its own unique set of challenges.  You have to be prepared for this as a couple.

If you’re single, don’t ever look to marriage as an escape from a bad situation.  You may dream about being married someday.  But being married is never better than being single – UNLESS – you marry the special person that God has chosen for you.

So, to all the singles out there, I’m telling you to put your hope in the Lord.  If you want to stay single, then do so without feeling guilty.  If you want to be married, then trust God to bring you the right person at just the right time.

God wants your life to be abundantly blessed.

Question: How have you trusted God in your relationships?

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

 

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