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If you start dating prematurely, you could be hurting — rather than honoring — those you date.

When Becky was invited to lunch by a man she met at a bookstore, she was excited.

It is time for Christians to start talking about dating. Establishing principles for Christian dating will set men and women on a course towards Christ-centered marriages. Here are 10 important principles for Christian dating. That would make God a gambler, and the Bible clearly says gambling is from the devil (only joking). Marriage isn’t as much about finding someone totally compatible as it is about committing to someone despites difficulties and differences. I fear this mentality in the dating culture is actually promoting divorce. Suddenly, when marriage begins, you are asked to flip a switch. It allows you to jump into marriage with a clear conscience.

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Before continuing with this article, please review the preamble included at the beginning of Scott's first article in this series, "Biblical Dating: How It's Different From Modern Dating." * * * PART 4: Navigating the Early Stages of a Relationship » Quite a few Boundless readers asked questions or made comments about my statement in "Biblical Dating: How It's Different From Modern Dating" that "biblical dating assumes outside of marriage that Scripture explicitly prohibits?

How can you say definitively that other things are wrong? Shouldn't our physical relationship "progress" as other aspects of our relationship deepen? I understand most physical stuff is wrong, but what about All good questions.

Like Jennifer, she needs some advice but is concerned about how she can make the transition into dating easy on her children. He'd like to date again, and some of his friends say he should start looking for a woman now — after all, he's getting divorced soon.

But John knows better because he's still married, and dating now would go against God's desires.

God created sex, then told us to enjoy it only within the context of marriage between a man and a woman; so if He has us wait an excruciatingly long time for it, He is (mercifully) teaching us to meet our very deepest desires in Him alone. During those long years of singleness, this is where the rubber met the road: I remember pounding my pillow, crying out in anguish, even yelling when the flesh seemed too strong to fight for one more day.

But it doesn't begin to compare to the infinite pleasures we have in God. Sometimes my fight against temptation brought me to the end of myself and reminded me that "you are my Lord; I have no good apart from you" (Ps. I could not boast in my own strength; I was so keenly aware that God Himself was sustaining me, and apart from Him I would quickly lose the battle.

Jennifer's, Samantha's and John's concerns are common, because according to the U. Census Bureau, 19.3 million Americans get divorced each year, and many of them date and eventually remarry.

Perhaps you share their concerns, as you're also wondering how you can reenter the dating world after divorce — and do so according to God's standards. Divorce is the death of the dreams you had when you committed yourself "for better or for worse." As a Christian, you can't simply separate from your spouse one day and hit the dating field the next.

Dating with a trajectory towards marriage doesn’t mean you only date one person ever. So, if you choose not to get coffee or watch a movie with the opposite sex, then whatever. The ultimate purpose of marriage is sanctification (becoming like God). If you have no idea what values are important to you in a future spouse, exit the road to marriage at the next off ramp.

That would be awesome, but it’s not always realistic. If you are a Christian, God isn’t a piece of your pie. Why date someone who doesn’t even have God as a piece of the pie? Pull over at the closest gas station and decide what you want in a future spouse. Your list is designed to give you a framework for dating, not be a checklist for it. Your heart and the holiness of marriage are too important to flippantly give away because you are frustrated, impatient, or settling.

And as with any loss, big or small, time is needed to grieve and to reassess who you are, where you've been and where God wants you to go.

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  1. Today, people are increasingly getting together through online dating — especially if they're over 50.

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