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The same God says, “He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord” (Proverbs ) and, “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Dating literature, for too long, has offered too many of the wrong guarantees, and too few of the relevant graces.I once heard someone pray, “We pray against a closed sky.” It may be easy for some to feel ignored in the abyss of uncertainty. Many attempts to resolve this tension result in a self-pandering theology.Understanding that anxiety is a proper reaction to the unsettled angst of an unfulfilled and covenantally unprotected relationship is the best starting place.We can say a dating relationship is protected and settled and safe, but it isn’t — no matter what dating philosophy one adheres to, the emotional escalation of dating leads either to a breakup or a marriage.Jesus Christ knows the anxious heart of the uncertain dating Christian (Proverbs 21:1).And he does not judge: “He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young” (Isaiah ).
Affection and vulnerability with a lack of covenantal commitment is a tension that can end in a naturally explosive way — either in a breakup or marriage.In dating, disappointment exists in the form of breaking up.In marriage and parenting, the disappointments and pains can be much more devastating, and sometimes even permanent.When couples move past the awkward first-date phase of a relationship, many face a new and unsettling tension between strong romantic feelings and the reality that they are not yet married.They ask themselves, “What does a relationship look like with someone who is neither my spouse nor my fiancé?
” How does one practice vulnerability without any security, any promises, any covenant?