Christianity is a religion built clearly on values that are to be espoused by all its adherents. The ultimate goal is to ensure that a particular individual morphs into the best version of themselves while doing this within its tenets. By so doing, piety will have been achieved and the said individuals even closer to God. There is a wide range of areas that these values apply to, but none as least explored as the pre-marital stage. Marriage is an essential stage in Christianity since it marks the union between two individuals as ordained by God. It is at this stage that they can fulfill their Biblical duty of loving each other, providing companionship, procreating and filling the earth. Nonetheless, the sensitive nature of many of the issues that should be communicated to the youth before getting married leaves many church leaders grappling with whether or not they should broach the subject all together. It is, however, vital to acknowledge that particular sets of beliefs and views exist within Christianity to deal with maters dating, courtship and sex before marriage.
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The main reason why this is the case has to do with the adverse consequences that may befall individuals when not provided with the right counsel. During this phase, Godly responsibility is placed upon the youth with the general expectation being that they would follow these stipulations for a better life (Harris, 2004, p. 23). Failure to talk about these issues has pushed many into the abyss, with its hallmarks being unwanted pregnancies, a litany of abortions and scandals that have shaken the core of established churches. Many ministers agree that there is a vacuum that exists since these views and beliefs are rarely communicated to those who need it the most. Biblical clarity on the issue ensures that the sanctity of this group is assured for posterity. The purpose of this research paper is therefore to explore Christian views and beliefs on dating, courtship, and sex before marriage regarding the youth.
Even though dating is an unbiblical construct, Christians have increasingly had to deal with it due to it as a nascent social construct. It is now the norm in a wide range of societies where popular culture is in vogue and seemingly driven by the age of information. The contemporary version of dating has no defined rules or boundaries with those involved in it find themselves in a maze of complex practices. Individuals who are attracted to each other end up claim to be “girlfriend” and “boyfriend” for an unspecified amount of time. More often than not these relationships end in utter disaster when either of the party loses interest and decides to venture elsewhere.
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Christianity heavily criticizes this model since it is responsible for a wide range of emotional complexities that are capable of ruining lives. These types of relationships have no defined boundaries, making intimacy a common feature. In most cases, youth in these types of relationships engage in sexual intimacy without being fully prepared to bear the weight that comes with it. Critics of this “worldly” version of dating point to the soul ties created as a significant issue capable of ruing the lives of those involved. According to Christian beliefs, young people should focus on shielding their hearts and soul from such ties since they are capable of holding them back in life (Harris, 2004). A jilted lover is, in most occasions, emotionally wounded by the dating experience, especially when they had put substantial effort to make sure that it succeeds. These negative emotions are hard to shake off, with those who find themselves in the middle of such situation carrying them into their next relationship. As a result, they become insecure with an increased chance of double-mindedness increasing the chances that their marriages would fail in future. Christian doctrine seeks to avoid such an eventuality since it may result in adultery and finally resulting in divorce.
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In breaking down dating to Christian youth, discipleship is often used as a guide to aid these individuals to cope with the issue they may face. In reality, it assists them to navigate the murky waters of the modern day dating world filled with persons who are not quite ready to delay gratification. A typical view held in Christianity is that couples dating should always be chaperoned for their benefit. It is this supervision that keeps them in line and enables them to behave in a manner fitting an individual of such stature. In such an environment, cases of persons getting intimate drastically reduced, meaning that they first learn to converse with each other together. In other cases, group dating is seen as an alternative since it encourages the said individuals to interact with other couples in open spaces that have been endorsed by trusted believers. The purpose of this strategy is to ensure that the environment in which they find themselves in improves the current state of their relationship as opposed to leading to its deterioration. Movies and dinner dates are therefore an essential aspect of the Christian version of dating since numerous benefits accrue from this form of monitored interaction. Moreover, Christianity encourages dating in individuals who have reached a certain age. In most cases, 18 has been set as the threshold where these individuals now have an opportunity to fully understand the complexities that are found in relationships and with appropriate advice on the same. Christian beliefs are firmly against any form of physical contact because it is these seemingly harmless gestures that may lead to sexual encounters. At this age such individuals are unable to deal with the intricacies that they may be presented with, leading to a total breakdown of their faculties.
In the Christian sense, courtship is viewed as necessary even though the Bible does not provide specifics on how it should be conducted. Throughout this holy book, the only cases that resemble anything close to courtship is the case of Abraham and his wife Rebecca which was a plan forged by God. The Christian view on this matter, however, suggests a model that begins with the pre-courtship stage. One should ensure that they are well prepared to deal with the responsibilities that present themselves in marriage before even thinking about taking this particular route (Malone, 2018). In essence, this ensures that they fully understand what they are getting themselves into since they are not expected to change their minds once they commit. Emotional and spiritual maturity is also an important aspect at this stage since it prepares individuals for any issues that may arise later on in a marriage. Persons who are emotionally needy need to ensure that they first deal with their problems before beginning their search for a mate. An incomplete person landing in marriage spells doom for the union since irreconcilable difference may crop up at any given instance. During this phase, persons are readily encouraged to go on supervised dates regularly. It is during such interactions that friendships develop with parties gaining a better understanding of each other. It is at this stage that they will now be able to decide on whether they should introduce each other formally. Furthermore, they need to ensure that they keep a respectable distance from each other and pave the way for Church leaders and parents to offer counsel that would benefit them in the long run. They are also expected to read the Bible more often to discern whether their potential mate meets all criteria that would enable them to be a team player in the family while raising their children.
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During the courtship period, Christianity encourages a couple to spend more time together. The primary reason why this is the case stems from the importance of ensuring that the other person is no stranger to their partner. At this stage, both individuals are expected to be completely honest with each other to foster an aura of openness between the two. In such a case, they can interact with each other with full knowledge of the truth they stand for and virtues that are meant to hold their future relationship together. It is at this stage that they also develop strict guidelines that are intended to govern their demeanor when interacting with each other. The main reason why this is important has to do with the fact that it acts as a deterrent in preventing sexual sin. They are therefore able to foster open channels of communication that are meant to aid them in making important decisions concerning the direction they intend to pursue their relationship. In addition to this, older couples that have experience marriage life are an essential element in filling the gaps that may exist in their psyche (Segal, 2017, p. 38). These individuals should act as a guide since they are more successful in marriage and in raising healthy, thriving families. The guidance provided is an essential piece of the puzzle since novices have a lot to learn about the marriage and all it entails. It is at this point that the man should take the initiative to propose to their partner and as for their hand in marriage. The resultant effect would be the two families getting to know each other since the union will also cement a union between the two families. Couples are therefore expected to fully comprehend the seriousness of the steps they are about to take and should ensure that they commit to each other and before God. By so doing, they will have proved beyond any reasonable doubt that they intend to provide they live up to any vow that would be made in the course of their marital journey.
Sex before Marriage
Purity is at the core of Christianity and so much so in the case of young individuals that are yet to experience marriage life and all it brings. Pre-marital sex is therefore prohibited and condemned in the strongest terms to ensure that the said individuals keep themselves for their significant other. A couple should, therefore, steer off any situations that may lead to sexual intimacy while always ensuring that they remember the guidelines that they had committed to before God. Avoiding sex during this period enables the couple to practice patience while waiting for each other. It also serves as a perfect opportunity for the said individuals to come to terms with the gravity of this stage and to ensure that they fully understand all its complexities (“Differences, Discord, and Dissolution,” 2016).
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If not followed, unwanted pregnancies and regular abortions may become common place ruining a relationship that was. At this point, the couple is expected to fight off any temptations that might emerge along the way. The general expectation is that they should keep off any form sexual sin that may render them unclean. At the same time, valuing their morality is an essential step in ensuring that they obey all commands provided by God in the scriptures. A man should, therefore, practice patience and perseverance since it is all for the glory and honor of God. In a Christian context, pre-marital sex destroys a couple’s chances of having a fruitful marriage ahead devoid of guilt and regret.
Marriage is central to the teachings provided in Christianity, which is why dating; courtship and pre-marital sex are subjects that are regularly discussed. The main idea behind this modus operandi is to ensure that these issues are discussed in preparation for marriage life. Persons who follow the stipulations provided in Christianity are expected to lead fruitful marriages that would satisfy both parties.
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