Maybe they’ll call each other “BFFs” and watch movies or have dinner together, but they do so in a detached way—as though their sexual identity doesn’t matter.
All the while, lines of propriety get blurred, resulting in unhealthy and often unintended emotional attachments.
Instead of following God’s leadership in how much vulnerability to allow, they seek to set up rigid boundaries on emotional, physical and spiritual intimacy.
Let’s be honest—people like rigid boundaries over seeking the Lord because it seems easier; that is, until you realize it doesn’t work.
When you read most Christian dating books, one of the key pieces of counsel they provide is to “guard your heart.” They establish that guarding your heart is an essential component of correctly pursuing any dating relationship.
The verse they generally appeal to is Proverbs , which says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” However, these generalized calls to guard your heart in the midst of dating fall short in three ways: How do you guard your heart?
Most importantly, they did not understand this passage to have anything to do with Americanized dating.
While we view the heart as the seat of our emotions and our will, Israel understood the heart to be the center of the whole person—not just the source of emotions and will but also of wisdom and perspective.
But if guarding your heart means protecting who you are so that you can influence what you do, then “How long? It begins with prayer to God (as Paul lays out in Philippians 4:6-7) and overflows into communication with the other person.In other words, the key to guarding your heart is to talk to God about the relationship before you talk to the other person about the relationship. First, hearts become unguarded when you move too fast in the relationship–becoming too vulnerable too quickly.These suggestions are as follows: drop that “faux spouse” who refuses to commit to you; follow the Golden Rule of dating (treating the person you’re dating as you would want someone else to treat your future spouse); don’t date until you are at a place in life where friendship can naturally develop into a flourishing, exclusive relationship; don’t kiss until you’re engaged—or even the day of the wedding; set patterns of faithfulness and self-control that will guide you through dating and marital life; observe how the friend in whom you are interested resolves disagreements, shows forgiveness, and handles disappointments and frustrations; before engagement, address general concerns about previous sexual experience. While “enjoying” the seeming benefits of emotional attachments, unmarried couples— though friends—may be avoiding the hard work of deepened commitment, but to their own harm.A guy and a girl who aren’t officially dating may send texts to each other during the wee hours of the night, “chat” extensively over Facebook, or “hang out” with each other on their i Phones or i Pads.In Philippians 4:6-7, Paul says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Paul tells us that prayer is the pathway to guarding our hearts and minds with the peace of God.Am I saying that building boundaries into a relationship in order to guard your heart is wrong? What I am saying is that these boundaries should flow from your relationship with God.Paul tells us in Philippians 4:6-7 that prayer, not boundaries, is the means of guarding your hearts. If we are talking about the type of guarding your heart implied by Christian dating books, then the answer is: guard every aspect of your relationship until God confirms it’s wise to move into deeper relational intimacy. Guarding your heart is one of the most important yet least understood facets of Christian dating. Guarding your heart is the key to saving yourself for your future spouse in a way that honors God.If you are supposed to guard your heart in dating, how do you do it?There is only one other verse in the Bible that uses the phrase “guard your heart.” That verse gives us the answer to the question of how to guard your heart in life and, particularly, in dating.