Most of marriage involves time together, one on one, in a friendship.And spending intentional one-on-one time—not too serious, just time—allows both parties to experience what it would be like to continue in the relationship. I am fearful the Christian community has irresponsibly coerced men and women into marriage through cultural pressure. If you aren’t ready for marriage, or if you do not want to get married, you are not sinning.As my friend Lindsey, married and in her thirties, recently remarked, “I’m sure glad I wasn’t much of a Christian when I started dating my husband!” Whether over coffee in my kitchen or on the hallowed ground of women’s small groups, I hear these murmurs constantly.It means dating someone who meets the values and goals you have for a future spouse (more on that later).
Dating with a trajectory towards marriage means dating with a purpose. I don’t have first-hand knowledge, but thanks to reality TV, I believe it appears to involve asking the woman’s dad if she is available to date, and possibly not kissing until the actual wedding.Outside the Duggar-verse, there is the less overt but just as prevalent “ideal spouse” dating. Did she want my sweatshirt because she was cold, or because she likes me?I can’t say it clearly enough: Hanging out in groups will not be enough information to determine who is worth marrying.Everyone is different when you get them one-on-one.