Christian dating is evolving
The term "dating" cannot be found anywhere in the Holy Bible yet Christians still partake in this activity defined as searching for the perfect mate.
The evolution of Christian dating has many taboos, shoulds and should nots but the topic is more of a matter of opinion than fact.
Many have written guides and handbooks, articles and blog posts on the popular subject but there are still varying views on how and if Christians can date.
Though not totally based on Christian principles, Steve Harvey's recent book "Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man" sparked a lot of conversation among men and women.
Harvey made statements on courtship, careers and sex.
Sex is perhaps the most controversial topic in Christian dating.
When a male and a female come together, inevitably chemistries mix and temptation arises.
The Bible encourages sexual purity until marriage but society clearly encourages any and all sex as long as it is safe and consensual.
"We're both Christians so putting God first is a given. We strive for perfection but we are not close. Just because we haven't had sex doesn't mean that it's easy. It gets more annoying than tempting to have people in your ear saying to just do it since we plan to get married anyway," said Denise Henderson, sophomore mass communication major.
The new Lifetime series "Preacher's Daughters" explores three families and how they balance their Christian beliefs and their everyday routines.
Each of the main characters, preachers' daughters Taylor Coleman, Kolby Koloff and Olivia Perry are exploring the area of dating in separate ways.
Coleman is a 17-year-old prisoner to her faith and her father's strict rules, awaiting her time to leave the house while Koloff is diligently trying to find the positive balance between her mother's rules, her father's rules and her own faith.
Perry, an 18-year-old mother is working through a life change but is still interested in the dating realm.
Many current reality shows have the same purpose as Preacher's Daughters. Mary Mary on WeTV and The Sheards on BET want the world to know that they are human too yet are striving toward a higher calling.
"I don't feel that society portrays reality well on those shows. They always say 'It's fine. Do what you want. Just don't cross the line' but I've been raised and I've studied the Bible to believe that dating is for marriage only," said Ashley Williams, a senior biology major. "There's no point in getting emotionally involved and wrapped up in a relationship that you're not ready for."
In the 2012-2013 University Village pageant Williams performed a spoken word piece named "I Will Wait." The performance was a variation of the original poem by Janetiks on the topic of dating as a Christian woman and patiently waiting for the right man. This is the mindset of many Christians. Dating is not shunned, but is a mechanism used to find an eternal mate.
"I never approach those types of decisions without prayer and spiritual guidance," said Wesley Livingston, a senior architecture major. "Chivalry has become lost in our generation. Those values aren't really transferred from father to son as they should be so roles in dating have been switched due to the lack of passing down those values."
In a more equality-friendly society, roles are not strict to gender anymore. There are more women demanding that they be considered in doing exactly what men can do and homosexual and bisexual Christian dating relationships have even been considered and accepted. These types of situations were not publicized and were even criticized.
"We live in an era where children are trying to be adults and indulge in adult-like behavior without knowing and being fully aware," said John Brandon, minister of Church of Christ in Prairie View.
Today's society has allowed Christian dating to become more convenient and accessible to the average person. ChristianMingle.com has become increasingly more publicized and eHarmony.com has even added special options for Christian singles to meet other Christian singles that have the same values and interests. There are mixed views on Christian dating.
Livingston believes online dating takes away from God's part in the dating process, but Henderson said it can be used in a positive way despite other opinions.
"If I was in my 30s and didn't really have time to date, I might use one of the online social sites but not now. They're used to meet people you would otherwise not be able to meet on a regular day. I feel God can get glory out of any situation," said Henderson.
The need for Christians to remain peculiar is becoming challenging, as the line between societal values and Christian values grows obscure.
Williams said, "We just kind of follow society but that's not right. We can't just go based on how we feel and our emotions. We must use God's word and wisdom to lead us."
There is no question that Christians have the ability to date. The debate lies in the manner in which a Christian should date and the meaning behind the dating relationship.
Brandon said, "God can and should be the sole factor in your relationship. There is no way around it. Christians can and are encouraged to date but the male and female must be ready for what that relationship means."
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