a) What do you think of when you hear the words and phrases:
First date, kissing, coming home late, breaking up, forcing a kiss, getting turned down, group dating, seeing each other.
b) If you could give advice to someone you are attracted to, what would it be?
c) Three questions:
Dating is good when ______________.
Dating is awful when ______________.
Love is _________________________.
Keeping your reflections on the questions above in mind (we'll come back to them), let's see if the Bible can offer any help. The Bible is not the greatest guide when it comes to dating and relationships because at the time when it was written, people didn't date like they do today. Marriages were often arranged and done to help the family in some way economically. Also, women had little say in relationships. Culturally, women were considered property of men. But the Bible does tell us both male and female were created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). I John 4:16 says that "God is love." If God is love and we are created in the image of God, then we are love. So thinking back to your answers above, what did you say love was? Would you describe yourself by your definition of love? Does this reflection change your answer?
Some influential Christians who studied God in the early 4th century, known as the Cappadocian Fathers, believed that God was in essence three separate entities that were so completely bound in love, that one is found entirely within the other. So when the gospel writer wrote: “Whomsoever has seen me, has seen the Father, for I am in the Father and the Father is in me" is referring to this inter-embracing, this fullness of love. From this perspective, God's whole being is based on relational love.
If we are created to exist wholly as beings of love, so intertwined with one another that to see one hurt is to hurt also, to see one hungry is to be hungry also, then we would do whatever is necessary to ensure the other has food, clothing, shelter - all the things necessary for healthy and whole existence.
In a sense, those we choose to date, to be in a romantic relationship with, should also view us as an extension of their own being, no separation. How would this view effect dating? How does being created in God's image of mutual affection and concern for the well-being of each other change the view of self and dating?
Please comment below. Let's start a conversation. Is this new information for you about God? About you?