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Dating and Preparing for Marriage (Part 2) - Purpose of Dating, When and Who to Date, Qualities of a Good Spouse

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For a master copy of the outline, click here: Dating and Preparing For Marriage

To listen to the previous sermon in the series, click here: Part 1
To listen to the next sermon in the series, click here: Part 3

2. The purpose of dating (romantic dating) is to find a spouse.
A. The purpose of dating is NOT to "hook up."
i. The Bible calls this fornication.
a. Fornication - Voluntary sexual intercourse between a man (in restricted use, an unmarried man) and an unmarried woman. In Scripture extended to adultery.
b. Intercourse - 2. a. Social communication between individuals; frequent and habitual contact in conversation and action; dealings. d. Sexual connexion.
c. Connexion - 1. a. The action of connecting or joining together; the condition of being connected or joined together.
d. Fornication therefore is connecting any part of one person's body (sexual organ, hand, mouth, etc.) to the sexual organs of another person's body.
e. This means that oral sex and "hand jobs" are considered fornication.
f. Fornication (sex before marriage) is a sin and is forbidden by God (1Co 6:18; 1Th 4:3).
ii. Hugging, kissing, cuddling, snuggling, etc. are not fornication and are therefore not necessarily sinful, but they are a slippery slope towards it.
a. Things such as these may be lawful, but they might not be expedient (1Co 6:12; 1Co 10:23).
b. Expedient - II. 2. Conducive to advantage in general, or to a definite purpose; fit, proper, or suitable to the circumstances of the case.
c. Physical contact with a person of the opposite sex excites lust within us.
(i) This is a good thing in the confines of marriage (Pro 5:18-19; Son 4:9).
(ii) This is a dangerous thing outside of marriage (Pro 7:13-23; Pro 6:24-26; Pro 5:20-23).
(iii) When lust has conceived it brings forth sin which brings forth death (Jam 1:14-15).
d. It is very important to not make provision for your flesh to fulfill its lusts (Rom 13:14; 1Pe 2:11).
e. We would all be wise to determine our limits ahead of time so that when the time comes we will know when to flee (Pro 22:3; 1Co 6:18).
B. The purpose of dating is NOT to merely have a good time, though dates should be enjoyable.
i. Remember, delicate feelings are at risk of being hurt (both yours and theirs), so don't take dating lightly.
ii. If this is your approach, you will be more likely to not respect the person you are dating and also more likely to relax your guard and "get carried away."
C. The goal and end of dating should be to find a husband or wife.
i. When dating someone, pay very close attention to the words, actions, personality, and character of the person.
ii. When you are dating, keep your eyes wide open; after you are married, keep them half shut.
iii. When it becomes apparent that the person you are dating is not husband or wife material, it's time to stop dating.
VII. When and who to date.
1. Deciding when in life to date.
A. In that the purpose of dating is to find a spouse, it would not be wise to begin dating until you are ready and able to be married.
B. For men:
i. For a man who is supposed to provide for his family (1Ti 5:8), this would mean that marriage, and by extension, dating, should wait until he has a job and sufficient means to provide (Pro 24:27).
ii. For a man, this also means that dating and marriage should wait until he is mature enough to be the head and ruler of his wife and family (Eph 5:23-24).
iii. It would not be advisable for a man who wants to be married to intentionally wait until he has been living by himself for many years before marrying because he will become accustomed to living alone and may have a hard time adjusting to a life shared with a wife and children.
C. For women:
i. For a woman who is supposed to bear children and guide the house, this would mean that dating and marriage should wait until she is mature enough to handle these duties which require a high level of responsibility (1Ti 5:14).
ii. For a woman, this also means that dating and marriage should wait until she is mature enough to submit herself to her husband's headship (Eph 5:22-24).
iii. It would not be advisable for a woman who wants to be married to intentionally first live on her own for years and establish herself in a career because she will likely have a hard time being a keeper at home and submitting to her husband (Tit 2:5).
2. Deciding who to date.
A. Look for a believer of like-faith first.
i. In that husbands and wives are supposed to be "heirs together of the grace of life" (1Pe 3:7), and it's hard for two people to walk together unless they agree (Amo 3:3), it is strongly recommended that a Christian look for a spouse who shares his faith.
ii. The first place a Christian should look for someone to date would naturally be in his own church.
iii. If there are no prospects in his church, then check out churches of like-faith.
iv. Your pastor may be able to ask other pastors if there are any available Christians in their churches.
B. If there are no prospects in other churches, then you can look outside of the church for someone with hopes of them converting.
i. This can be done the old fashioned way of meeting a girl in person whom you find attractive and asking her for her number so that you can call her and get to know her better.
ii. Dating websites are also a possibility.
a. I know Christians who met their spouse on a dating website.
b. I would recommend using one you have to pay for, since you get what you pay for.
c. Especially if you are a girl, make sure that the first time you meet in person, you meet in a very public area, as there are a lot of creeps out there.
iii. A good "pickup line" is to ask a person you are interested in what church they go to.
iv. This will give you an idea of where they are coming from theologically and also will open a door of communication between the two of you.
v. This will likely be a long term strategy and will require much patience (Psa 27:14).
vi. Finding a wife (Pro 18:22) requires seeking (Mat 7:7).
vii. "Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass." (Psa 37:4-5)
C. Finding a husband.
i. Much of the previous instruction is primarily directed at men who are the ones who traditionally do the asking and seeking when it comes to dating.
ii. Women traditionally are the ones who are asked on dates, though this is increasingly changing in our modern world.
iii. The best thing a woman can do to find a husband is be a virtuous woman, and good men will take care of the asking part.
iv. If a woman does see a man that she is interested in, she could always use a third party to let him know she is interested, and then let him do the rest.
3. What qualities to look for in a potential spouse.
A. General qualities in both men and women.
i. Honesty
a. Honesty - 3. Honourable character. †a. Formerly in a wide general sense, including all kinds of moral excellence worthy of honour. d. Uprightness of disposition and conduct; integrity, truthfulness, straightforwardness: the quality opposed to lying, cheating, or stealing. (The prevailing modern sense.)
b. Honest adj. - 3. Of persons: Having honourable motives or principles; marked by uprightness or probity. †a. In early use in a wide sense: Of good moral character; virtuous, upright, well-disposed. c. That deals fairly and uprightly in speech and act; sincere, truthful, candid; that will not lie, cheat, or steal. (The prevailing modern sense, the ‘honest man’ being the ‘good citizen’, the law-abiding man, as opposed to the rogue, thief, or enemy of society.)
c. Honesty should characterize the life of a Christian (1Pe 2:12).
d. A Christian should speak truth in his heart as well as with his mouth (Psa 15:2).
e. It is the person with an honest and good heart which brings forth good fruit in his life (Luk 8:15).
f. Therefore, if you want to know if a man has an honest and good heart, look for the fruit in his life.
ii. Integrity
a. Integrity - 1. The condition of having no part or element taken away or wanting; undivided or unbroken state; material wholeness, completeness, entirety. 3. In moral sense. a. Unimpaired moral state; freedom from moral corruption; innocence, sinlessness. b. Soundness of moral principle; the character of uncorrupted virtue, esp. in relation to truth and fair dealing; uprightness, honesty, sincerity.
b. A man's integrity is his moral compass which guides him through life (Pro 11:3).
c. You will be much better off to marry a poor man with integrity than a morally corrupt rich man (Pro 19:1).
d. A man with integrity will have a blessed family (Pro 20:7).
e. A good man maintains his integrity even when going through severe affliction and persecution (Job 2:3).
iii. Faithfulness and commitment
a. Faithfulness - The quality of being faithful. a. Fidelity, loyalty (to a superior or friend); trustworthiness, conscientiousness. b. Strict adherence to one's pledged word; honesty, sincerity.
b. A faithful man is hard to find (Pro 20:6).
c. A faithful man will abound with blessings (Pro 28:20).
d. If a man is faithful in the small things, he will be faithful in the big things, like the lifelong commitment of marriage (Luk 16:10).
e. On the other hand, if a man is not faithful in the small things, he will not likely be faithful in the big things (Luk 16:11-12).
f. Pay attention to the small things in a man's life.
(i) Does he do what he said he would do?
(ii) Does he call when he said he would call?
(iii) Does he cancel on you for non-emergencies?
(iv) Does he keep his word, even when it costs him to do so? (Psa 15:4; Ecc 5:4-5).

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