Did you know that the term “going steady” originated in the 1950s, where it referred to a couple that was ready to commit to a marriage?
Today, “going steady” takes a looser form. A local study has shown that nearly more than half the population in Singapore are involved in casual dating, which is essentially hanging out without marriage necessarily as the end goal.
This kind of dating eagerly searches the thrill and joy of spending time with a love interest without the commitment and responsibility that marriage requires. And the truth very well might be that our hearts will also be drawn to this seemingly harmless trend. But is it as harmless and fun as it appears?
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word …” (Ephesians 5:25-26)
“Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.” (Ephesians 5:24)
Marriage in the Bible is purposed by God for our sanctification and His glory, where a man can grow to love a woman as Christ loved the Church, and a woman can grow to submit to her husband as the Church submits to Christ.
But we see none of that purpose possible in the casual dating realm where couples can decide to call it quits easily, sometimes without rhyme or reason. Unlike a wedded couple that has been united by a most solemn vow before God, state, family and friends, the fuel of a casually dating couple lies largely in mutual affection, till the loss of said affection on either side do them part.
Hence, unlike marriage, which is charged and sanctified by God and by which no man can put asunder, a dating couple can go their separate ways without any conscience, legal or family complications.
It is no mere coincidence that we see a great rise in divorce rates, from 12% globally in 1960 to 44% in 2017 today, with incompatibility cited as the leading cause coming in at 44%, while infidelity was rated second at 18%.
And to me, a culture of casual dating cannot be independent of a culture of divorce. They are the fruits of the same tree. How many times have we heard couples justifying their break up – or divorce – with “it just didn’t work out”?
But incompatibility is a great lie of the devil because truthfully there are no perfectly compatible couples. There are only self-sacrificial partners who place enough reverence on the sanctity of their union to forgive a wrong instead of forgo a marriage.
Incompatibility is a great lie of the devil because truthfully there are no perfectly compatible couples.
Casual dating and – in extension – divorce as a quick-fix solution when “incompatibility” arises in marriage has become somewhat of a cultural narrative. However, if we are aware that divorce is something God hates (Deuteronomy 24:4), can we simply ignore this social trend of dating that quite possibly breeds it?
Is it a case of “everyone else is doing it, so why shouldn’t I”?
But after searching the Bible with these questions burning in my heart, I’m convicted that casual dating would more likely hinder my walk with God rather than improve it.
In the book Song of Songs, the phrase “Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires” is repeated several times. And when God’s Word repeats something, we must recognise the emphasis and importance of the message being conveyed.
I wish to humbly clarify that I am in no way against courtship with a consideration of marriage, but against the trend of casual dating that the world is bought over by. I pray you’ll consider this: Is the courtship you’re part of have marriage, and above all the glory of God, in mind?
Of course, as a single, I face the temptation of wanting to get attached. But our hearts are deceitful (Jeremiah 17:9) and constantly desire to go our own way. The only way to guard the heart is to daily make exchange of our wills for God’s will. And every day is a brand new opportunity to die to our own desires and live for His will instead of our own (Galatians 5:24).