Today’s ideas about “biblical” love, dating, and courtship come from a variety of sources. Notable influencers in this area have been Bill Gothard, Joshua Harris (I Kissed Dating Goodbye), Josh McDowell and Richard Ross (True Love Waits). I’m sure all of us are affected by our own experiences as a young person navigating the mine field of romantic relationships, and all this combined together may add up to more confusion than clarity.
My biggest concern is the lack of Bible in “biblical” advice about The Search for a Spouse. The Bible guides us in several ways, including command, doctrine, principle, precedent, and illustration. Taking in all the preaching and teaching I’ve heard over the years would lead me to believe that there is a mandate for every Christian to focus on acquiring a spouse with an accompanying list of commandments so each can find The Right One.
We are not very quick to acknowledge the few clear Scriptural reasons we are given to pursue marriage: to avoid fornication, as a picture of Christ and the church, and to raise godly children. Even though Paul advocates for singlehood, we can ignore him whenever he speaks by permission and not of commandment. Right?