Friday, February 11, 2011

In a Relationship... Biblical Relationship!

In almost every aspect of life, Christians may have these two extremes: legalism and antinomianism. Legalism is trying to   make a certain principle as God's commandment for us when in fact it is not. Antinomianism came from the Greek words "anti" (= against) and "nomos" (= law). It is trying to make a principle as not God's commandment for us when in fact it is. Both are wrong and both dishonor God.

When it comes to premarital, romantic relationships, how can you avoid becoming either a legalist or an antinomian? The answer, of course, is by consulting the word of God.

I believe that Dr. Rick Holland[1] beautifully did. The following is a summarized part of his essay entitled "The Guided Path", found in Alex Chediak's Book, 5 Paths To The Love of Your Love[2]. You can read the whole essay here: Part IPart II, Part III, Part IV.

The (Single) Purpose of Premarital Relationships

"Premarital relationships should serve one purpose: to test the relationship for marriage. Let me say it another way: There is no good reason to have a girlfriend or boyfriend until a person is ready to get married! ... Readiness involves being old enough and mature enough to assume the responsibilities of marriage. No romantic relationship should ever begin unless marriage is the possible
even probableoutcome."

[The following are 10 biblical principles for romantic relationships useful to make you ready and/or to guide you when you're ready for a dating[2] relationship]

The Ten Principles for a God-Centered Relationship

1. The Character Principle
"The Character Principle is about being the right person more than finding the right person. If your character is being conformed more and more into the image of Christ, you will desire the right kind of person."
Biblical Basis: Titus 2:2-8
  • godly character is a product of Spiritual Discipleship (example is mentoring)
  • godly character is consisted of Qualities such as humility, (see Phil. 2:3-11) holiness (see 2 Pet. 1:14-16). godly love (see 1 Cor. 13:4-8), selflessness (see Jas. 3:14). the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-25), Christlikeness (see Eph. 4:13).
  • godly character is also the main character in Evaluating a person (see Prov. 31:30)
2. The Confirmation Principle
"The Confirmation Principle is the commitment to submit one's life and relationship to the spiritual scrutiny of God's authority, care, and protection represented here on earth."
Biblical Basis:
  • Parental Confirmation (Exo. 20:12; Lev. 19:3; Deut. 21:18-21; 27:16; Mt. 15:4; Rom. 1:28-32; Eph. 6:1-2; 2 Tim. 3:1-5)
  • Church Affirmation (see Eph. 4:11-16; 1 Tim.; 2 Tim.; Titus; Heb. 13:7,17)
  • Friend Affirmation (Prov. 12:15; 15:22; 19:20-21; 27:9)
3. The Contentment Principle
"The foundation for developing a righteous relationship with a member of the opposite sex is the ultimate relationship  your relationship with God. If you are not happy with God alone, you will not be happy with someone else. ... Taking that anything other than God will bring satisfaction and happiness is to make that object an idol in one's life."
Biblical Basis: Phil. 4:10-13; 1 Tim. 6:6-7 

4. The Common Ground Principle
"A Christian should consider only another Christian for a romantic relationship and marriage."
Biblical Basis: 2 Cor. 6:14-18; 1 Cor. 7:39
"If wise King Solomon was ruined by relationships with unbelievers [1 Kings 11:4], who do we think we are imagining we can handle it?"

5. The Cultivation Principle
"Dating relationships need cultivating."
[It is best cultivated when...]
  • you see each other first as spiritual siblings
  • getting to know each other in groups first (parents, church leaders, spiritually mature friends).

    "Spending time together with no one else around is asking for trouble. The biggest danger in being alone is the temptation to express inappropriate physical... and inappropriate emotional affection."
Biblical Basis:
  • Christians as spiritually related (Jn. 13:34-35; 15:12,17)
  • The phrase "one another" used almost 40x in NT.
6. The Complementarian Principle
"The term complementary comes from the biblical teaching that men and women have been given different roles so they might complement each other. The complementarian position recognizes the uniqueness in God's creative order with respect to men and women."
"At the heart of mature masculinity is a sense of benevolent responsibility to lead, provide for, and protect women in ways appropriate to a man's differing relationships. ... 
At the heart of true femininity is a freeing disposition to affirm, receive, and nurture strength and leadership from worthy men in ways appropriate to a woman's differing relationships."  (John Piper)
Biblical Basis: Gen. 1-3; Eph. 5:21-33; Col. 3:18-19; 1 Tim. 3:4,12; Tit. 2:3-5; 1 Pet. 3:1-7
[To be ready for marriage...]
  • Men need to learn to Christlike leadership. (see Eph. 5:22-33)
  • Women need to learn wise submission to men worthy of this privilege.
"This means that a man should be the initiator in a relationship. Because a wife's role is clearly to follow the leadership of her husband, a single woman should allow a man to pursue her only if he is worthy of her submission."

7. The Companionship Principle
"God invented marriage because man was alone, not because he was lonely. From the very beginning, God has intended relationships to be about glorifying Him by purposeful companionship. So the purpose of marriage is simple: to serve, represent, and glorify God as a two-in-one team. Dating[2] serves as an arena for testing a relationship to see if it glorifies God enough to warrant marriage. This is the Companionship Principle."
Biblical Basis: Gen. 2:18
"A man should not judge a woman solely on how she looks without makeup; in the same way, a man should not consider only whether or not a man has good hygiene. Instead, both should determine if the other has a true heart for the things of God."

"Physical attraction should play a part of premarital attraction, but only a part. ... physical desire should be satisfied in marriage, but the satisfaction of companionship should be more important."
Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth, a lovely deer, a graceful doe. Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight; be always intoxicated in her love. (Proverbs 5:18-19, emphasis added)
8. The Commitment Principle
"Love is a commitment. It is a decision to be made and a promise to be kept. It is the way Christians care for one another. And it is the way a husband and wife reflect the glory of Jesus Christ. Real, genuine, sincere, biblical love endures all things and stays committed to an imperfect person. I am not suggesting that you can never break off a dating relationshipeven if you have told someone you love him or her. Rather, in a romantic context, those words should be reserved for communicating a permanent relational commitment."
Biblical Basis: 1 Cor. 13:4-18; Eph. 5:22-23

9. The Communication Principle
"At the core of every problem in marriage and premarital relationships is prideful selfishness. And nothing solves this problem more than communication. If you want to be successful relationally, learning to communicate biblically is nonnegotiable. ... God-honoring communication is the bridge that will take you to relational enjoyment and get you over the inevitable conflicts of relationships."
  • The key is humility. Put the focus of your communication on the other person
  • Let Jesus flavor what you say and how you say it.
Biblical Basis: Eph. 4:25-29; Lk. 6:45

10. The Chastity Principle
"Sexual sin is prohibited, uniquely offensive to God, damaging, against God's will, a violation of the Holy Spirit's presence, and a sinful use of your body that was bought by the blood of Jesus."
Biblical Basis: 1 Cor. 6:18-20; 1 Thess. 4:3-7
"Promiscuity before marriage refers to the robbing of the other of that virginity which ought to be brought to a marriage. The future partner of such a one has been defrauded." (Leon Morris)
I believe that these principles are to be kept regardless of your method in premarital relationships. And we should honor them because they came from the word of God. May each of us learn to submit our love life to the Lord of heaven and earth.

[1] "Dr. Rick Holland is the pastor of College and Student Ministries at Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California, and an instructor at The Master's College and Seminary." (p.216)  
[2] My (Donnie) personal, theological view is the same with Rick Holland. But, practically, I adhere to the "courtship" method. See Joshua Harris' I Kissed Dating Goodbye and Boy Meets Girl. For me, it is the best method to apply the biblical principles.
[3] Holland here used the term "Dating" broadly. Synonymous to the process of doing premarital relationships.


This is a very great post! I so love the way you discuss the real essence of relationship based from God's will. It's indeed a very good example that no matter what happens if you follow God then you will have a fruitful relationship.

Love these blogs. The greatest marriages sometimes come from greatest heartache. I love how God will take a mess and turn it into a message. Please visit my blog to read about my mess that became a message.Happy Marriage Life

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