Dating: Your Timeline Determines Your Pace
In dating, pace is extremely important. Three times the woman in the book of Song of Solomon warns her friends not to “stir up or awaken love until it pleases”. Once the stallion of your emotions, feelings, and hormones leaves the corral, it’s very difficult to reign back in.
In many dating relationships, neither person is thinking about a realistic “big picture” time frame Many relationships are caught up in the present moment with very little thought to the consequences of arousing or awakening love at the current time. This sets many couples on an unholy pace, that can’t be sustained without a quick marriage or a loss of purity.
A realistic time frame of when two people might be, or will be married, creates a healthy pace.
If marriage is nowhere on your radar, then NEWSFLASH, you have no business dating the other person. Getting to know the other person? Sure. Building a friendship? Sure. But taking time, emotions, money, and especially physical arousal from another person with no consideration of marriage, is selfish and sinful.
The following are three practical things to consider when setting an appropriate pace in a dating relationship:
How often you talk to each other and how often you see each other
Married people see each other every day. If you’re not married, you don’t need to act like you are. You don’t need to see each other every day or talk to each other every day or text each other every day. If you start that habit, you run the chance of creating an unspoken expectation that it needs to keep happening, making for hurt feelings when it doesn’t.
Spending too much time can be adulterous to your relationship with God. What you treasure most you will worship most. Spending too much time together can create a setting that is very conducive to worshiping the other person, which isn’t loving to each other, and certainly isn’t loving to God. When you spend your whole day working, and then your whole evening with each other, you tend to stay out late and you end up getting up with just enough time to get ready to go to work, which then starts the cycle all over again and leaves you no time with Jesus.
How late you stay out with each other
There comes a time at night when your mind and body are tired and it’s not healthy to be with a person you are physically attracted to while trying to stay pure. Contrary to what Taco Bell might tell you, good things don’t usually happen after midnight.
The bible says to “warn those who are idle” (1 Thess 5:14). Staying up late with each other, can create idle time that is not helpful for staying pure and keeping a healthy pace. Don’t be afraid to end your nights earlier. Less time together can actually increase the quality of your time together, because when you have less of it, you tend to be more focused and intentional with the time that you have.
Your physical relationship
Every door you open in your physical relationship, unlocks the door behind it. For example, chances are that you won’t have sex with a woman you’ve never kissed. Sex is a few doors behind the door of kissing. Not physically stirring up or awakening love prematurely, means keeping certain doors closed so that the ones behind them stay locked.
And be careful that you are not just thinking of yourself when it comes to your physical relationship. It’s easy to think, “this particular action doesn’t cause me to sin, so it’s OK”, but you also need to consider how it’s affecting the other person. What is perfectly fine for you may be sinful for someone else.
Men, the bible charges you to lead in your romantic relationships with the opposite sex. Set the standard high and don’t compromise. Be attentive to the pace of your relationship. Little boys, never think of tomorrow. They are consumed with today. Men have vision for the future. They consider how their current actions fit in the context of a bigger narrative. They consider the effect that a significant amount of time has on two people with heightened attraction for each other and how heightened emotions and infatuation only cloud one’s choice of whether or not to love.
Women, don’t follow men into sin. Be strong and follow Jesus when a man is following himself. Help him to set a holy pace.
If you’re dating, what timeline is your current pace setting? Is it realistic?
(Image Credit: State Library of New South Wales Collection)
About Josh Christophersen
Josh is a software engineer, church planter, and blogger with a passion for helping people do their life well. He lives in KC with his wife and 7 kids.