The seasons of dating and marriage
Major League baseball teams are at spring training. Spring training, while very important, is treated differently than the regular season. There is one goal in the regular season: to make it to the post-season. If you know a Chicago Cubs fan they are very happy people right now. Not because they won the preseason or the regular season, but because after 108 years they won the World Series in October.
Just like in baseball, you have seasons in every area of your life. It is critically important to know what season you are in! If you don't, you will quickly make a mess of things.
There are seasons in dating and marriage. Unfortunately, what is modelled in much of our media and society confuses the seasons. This is why many people are making a huge mess of dating and marriage. The longer-term result, absent of God's healing and direction, is unhealthy families and children.
The current standard operating procedures for dating and relationships looks like this: during pre-season, evaluate if they are a hottie or a naughty. If they meet your expectation in either category move on to the regular season. During the regular season, go out, have fun, get physical with little or no rules. If you are lucky, you may end up liking them and grow as friends. In the post-season, you become committed to each other, perhaps even get married, but you are wise to keep your options open. If you are not happy, not getting what you want or are bored you have lost the World Series. Oh well, go back to spring training and find someone new.
God's plan for dating and marriage is healthier and much more effective. Trust me, I am old. In the pre-season, you build your life on Christ first and then you look for someone who has the potential to be your best friend the rest of your life. In the regular season you build your friendship as you pursue intimacy (intimacy is much more than sex) and protect purity (no sex).
The post-season begins when you stand before God and make a marriage commitment. You love each other unconditionally. You continually work on yourself and invest in your marriage. You enjoy great and Godly sex within marriage, learning that sex is the glue that bonds you and your spouse together and gives greater depth and meaning to the other areas of intimacy (the areas are emotional, intellectual, aesthetic, creative, recreational, work, crisis, conflict, commitment, and spiritual).
My assistant, Staci, just said her earthly good-bye to her grandma, Mary, from Bottineau, who was married to Albert, for 74 years. Mary and Albert enjoyed the fruit of implementing God's plan for dating and marriage. I am so glad they chose not to follow today's standard operating procedure. I pray that you and I will seek God's wisdom and His strength to obey His amazing plan for love, dating, sex and marriage.
God bless you.
Hauser is the founding and senior pastor at Prairie Heights and can be reached at email@example.com