But God had much more in mind with romance than orgasms or even procreation, and so should we. When people in the world are expecting less and less of each other in dating, God isn’t — so among the single we have to work harder in our not-yet married relationships to preserve what marriage ought to picture and provide.Nothing in my life and faith has been more confusing and spiritually hazardous than my pursuit of marriage. Maybe you’ve wanted the relationship or liked the guy or girl, and you’ve never had the chance.From far too young, I longed for the affection, safety, and intimacy I anticipated with a wife. I experimented too much with our hearts and allowed things to go too far. And now my singleness is a regular reminder that I messed up, missed opportunities, or did it wrong. Maybe all the suggestions and advice you’ve collected has become a confusing mess of good-intentioned contradictions and ambiguity.

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” The vision of marriage we see in God’s word –– the beautiful, radical display of God’s infinite, persevering love for sinners –– makes it worth it to date, and date well.

The world’s approach can provide fun and sex and children and eventually even some level of commitment, but it cannot lead to the life-giving Jesus after whom our marriages are to take their cues.

Friends who enjoy sex with “no strings attached” will find pleasure, but not the peaks waiting on the other side of mutual promises.

The happiness of marriage is not only or even mainly physical.

With the sex, there ought to be a deep sense of safety, a sense of being loved and accepted for who you are, a desire to please without the need to impress.

When God engineered the sexual bond between a man and a woman, he made something much more satisfying than the act itself. And the more is found in a mutual faith in and following of Jesus.Those who recklessly give themselves to a love-life of dating without really dating, of romantic rendezvouses without Christ and commitment, are settling. With this “more,” we can say to the watching world, don’t settle for artificial and thin loyalty, affection, security, and sexual experimentation when God intends and promises so much more through a Christian union. Don’t sit around waiting for a boy to make you a priority, communicate his intentions, or even call you on the phone. And this God created and rules his world, including men, women, the biological compulsions that bind them together, and the institution that declares their union and keeps it sacred and safe. Girls, stop expecting guys to make any formal attempt at winning your affections.Exclusivity and intentionality are ancient rituals, things of the past, and misplaced hopes. It’s not that this new line of thinking is necessarily untrue today, or that it’s not the current and corrupt trend of our culture. One of our most precious pursuits, that of a life-long partner for all of life, is tragically being relegated to tweets, texts, and Facebook pokes, to ambiguous flirtation and fooling around. Therefore, only he can prescribe the purpose, parameters, and means of our marriages.If fullness of life could be found in sexual stimulation, or if it was just a matter of making babies, the “forget formality and just have sex” approach might temporarily satisfy cravings and cause enough conception.