But without deepened commitment and ultimately marriage, keeping such friendships detached from commitment (platonic) will lead to frustration and hurt.
An occasional date to a homecoming banquet or spring prom—particularly with a group of friends—can just be a fun time for a bunch of schoolmates to hang out together and nothing more.
24), though a couple’s mutual consent wasn’t necessarily excluded (see Song of Songs; Jacob and Rachel in Gen. In our culture, dating has traditionally been directed toward marriage, as it builds a deepened relational intensity and intimacy that can only be satisfied within marriage’s safe boundaries.
When a young man and woman spend a good deal of time together—whether via technology or face-to-face—emotional attachments are deepened.
Dating may have the advantage of “screening” a prospective spouse before making any commitment to marriage. There is the tendency to become attached prematurely without wider exposure to the opposite sex (just think of a guy and a girl pairing up during university freshman orientation).
Also, if steady dating is begun too early and continued too rigidly, the development of friendship and true partnership—which is so important to a healthy marriage—may be eclipsed by increased attention to physical expression and emotional intimacy, which can blind a person to the shortcomings and character flaws in the other.
A man and a woman may engage in a friendship that involves a growing emotional intimacy but without the requisite deepening commitment, which results in warped relational patterns, disappointment, and pain. The other extreme is to plunge into a romantic, physically involved relationship that commonly leads to frustration and disappointment, and often results in profound emotional pain.
A wiser, God-honoring approach involves first establishing the groundwork of friendship, which allows opportunity to explore each other’s character, commonalities, background, and spiritual commitment.
This article offers a number of practical suggestions to help set proper patterns for relating, building friendship, dating, and embarking on commitment that leads to marriage.
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.