The going out thing

It’s worth picturing what a truly Christian relationship might look like in today’s world. The following seeks to apply the principles of 1 Corinthians 7 which should be read first.

“7:1 Now for the matters you wrote about: It is good for a man not to marry. 2 But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband… 8 Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I am. 9 But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion… 25 Now about virgins: I have no command from the Lord, but I give a judgment as one who by the Lord's mercy is trustworthy. 26 Because of the present crisis, I think that it is good for you to remain as you are. 27 Are you married? Do not seek a divorce. Are you unmarried? Do not look for a wife. 28 But if you do marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. But those who marry will face many troubles in this life, and I want to spare you this. 29 What I mean, brothers, is that the time is short. From now on those who have wives should live as if they had none; 30 those who mourn, as if they did not; those who are happy, as if they were not; those who buy something, as if it were not theirs to keep; 31 those who use the things of the world, as if not engrossed in them. For this world in its present form is passing away. 32 I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord's affairs--how he can please the Lord. 33 But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world--how he can please his wife-- 34 and his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord's affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world--how she can please her husband. 35 I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord. 36 If anyone thinks he is acting improperly toward the virgin he is engaged to, and if she is getting along in years and he feels he ought to marry, he should do as he wants. He is not sinning. They should get married. 37 But the man who has settled the matter in his own mind, who is under no compulsion but has control over his own will, and who has made up his mind not to marry the virgin--this man also does the right thing. 38 So then, he who marries the virgin does right, but he who does not marry her does even better. 39 A woman is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she wishes, but he must belong to the Lord. 40 In my judgment, she is happier if she stays as she is--and I think that I too have the Spirit of God.”
Going out

There would be very little evidence of “going out.” The relationship would simply be that of two Christian friends, of the opposite sex, who find themselves getting on particularly well. The couple would not choose to be alone at one-another's homes at times when temptation could come. Nor would they be physically “all over one-another.” If they agreed on any amorous physical contact at all, it would probably be kept to holding hands and a peck on the cheek. Out of mutual care, they would do their utmost not to bring about any sexual frustration in each-other, being aware that the other may have a lower tolerance on these things.

Secure in the knowledge that this pleases God, they would face whatever flack this might bring from friends. Nevertheless, it would be obvious to others that their friendship was a special one. Indeed, it would be likely to be all the more special because of these boundaries: There would be no baggage brought from other sexual encounters; and there would be no insecurity about whether the other would leave them because of the lack of sex, because this would only show that the partner was not an appropriate one. Instead, true friendship would flourish in a relationship of respect. The couple would spend their time chatting, and enjoying each other’s company socially—a far better guide to compatibility, and the best possible preparation for any marriage.

However, whilst recognising that their friendship might lead to marriage, the couple would ponder whether to keep their friendship purely at the level of friendship. They would be well aware of the anxieties and problems that inevitably come with marriage (and children), and the impact this would have in diverting them from devotion to Jesus, and limiting the possibilities they have for serving him. They would not therefore be quick to give up the advantages their present situation affords.


Yet if they were sure they were both committed Christians, were at an age where marriage was an option, and found themselves worrying about whether they could continue to keep their friendship sexually pure, then they would conclude that it is obviously right to get married. They would undoubtedly talk about this, but one might still surprise the other by romantically popping the question.

In prioritising the concerns of the bible rather than those of the world, the couple would reject the assumption that people cannot get married until they have lived together or reached their late twenties. They would instead realise that faithfulness to God is far better preparation than either of these things. Instead, they would look forward to maturing together as husband and wife, recognising that marrying when older brings its own problems anyway, as each partner can be more set in their ways.

They would also reject the agenda of the wedding industry in convincing us that we should wait until we can afford marriage. They would realise that a good wedding can be organised in a matter of months if necessary, and so would keep their engagement fairly short to avoid prolonging the risk of sexual sin.


The joy of their wedding day would then be enhanced by the knowledge that they are entering marriage without compromise, and its excitement would be enhanced by their looking forward to serving God as a team, and if possible raising children to do so too. They would not be naïve about the difficulties which might come, but be thankful that in having obeyed God they are at least free from some of the baggage others carry, and that by his Spirit and word they have the best resources any couple could ask for.