Posted by: Phoebe | July 12, 2010

BSC: Task 2: Observations from the essays

I finished reading Scott Croft’s “Biblical Dating” series, per Task 2 instructions. It is excellent! I think he has a great balance of truth and grace. (PDF here)

by Renoir

I found “Navigating the Early Stages of a Relationship” (p. 20 of the pdf) particularly interesting. I agree with the value of a young man being forthright about clarifying his interest in an intentional way. He should show that his desire is “simply committing to get to know her a little better in an intentional way in order to evaluate whether the two of you should then consider marriage to one another.” That is reassuring to a young lady in many ways. She knows he has a plan to guide their relationship. She also knows that “agreeing to date is not agreeing to marry.” There is a clear intention toward marriage, but there should not be the pressure of undue expectations. I have appreciated seeing young men initiate in this way. I agree with Croft that it’s good for a girl to avoid an “unequivocal no” without thought and trying to know the person as a friend before shutting that door. Then Croft goes on to give other counsel and warnings about the early stages, particularly about avoiding premature intimacy.

Then in the next article, “Growing in Intimacy” Croft recommends a “define the relationship” talk to sort out whether the relationship is progressing toward marriage, whether it should, and whether both parties feel sure that they are ready for a new level of intention. This is ideally the point where either party with hesitations will break it off. If they have been careful about avoiding premature intimacy in the previous couple months of the relationship then, while a cessation of dating will be disappointing, it should not be extremely painful, like a mini-divorce. I have seen sad break-ups among my friends, even when they have had the best intentions throughout the relationship. I sometimes wonder that if there had been an evaluation like this two or three months rather than nine or twelve months into the relationship, if it would have been less difficult for both people.

The next couple of articles are good too. Some will take issue with “From Hi to I Do in a Year” but I think the principles are sound. Then the final article, “Settling.” This one is hardest to read. We want to find someone we admire, are attracted to, feel honored to marry. What does it look like to consider someone who may not initally inspire those feelings in us, but who would actually be a Godly partner? One difficult quote: “I don’t mean that such an approach [looking for a spouse based primarily on my own “list” and attraction] involves malice or the intent to hurt anyone. I simply mean that such an approach is self-centered. It conceives of finding a spouse from the standpoint of what will be most enjoyable for me based on my tastes and desires. What will I receive from marriage to this or that person?” Croft then goes on to give the biblical teaching on this subject. It is based on the idea that marriage is meant for mutual service and sacrifice to God, infinitely rewarding, but with a broader purpose than self-fulfillment. Ministry, not perpetual honeymoon, should be our vision. It is challenging, but good to hear. I can only hope for discernment and that the Holy Spirit will guide me and my friends in this in the future.

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