We’re back with guest Matt Chandler, the lead pastor at The Village Church in Dallas. Matt is the author of the new book The Mingling of Souls: God’s Design for Love, Marriage, Sex, and Redemption.
Question #2: Is there such a thing as “too fast” in Christian dating? How do you know if a dating relationship is moving too quickly emotionally, or too quickly toward marriage?
I am going to be real cautious about saying there is such a thing as “too quickly.” What I would rather do is ask, What is driving the speed? And so if mere physical attraction, or kind of emotive, frilly, “this is ‘the one’” type of weirdness is driving it, then I think if the relationship is outpacing a knowledge of character, reputation, and knowledge of godliness, then that is way too quick.
But to go back to what I said earlier, if the person is known, if you are in a context in which you have watched their godliness, you have marveled at their character, you have rejoiced in what God does in them and through them, then I think that speed isn’t as big of a factor.
So we have a staff person here who really met and married her husband in a matter of months. But she had watched him do ministry at The Village. She knew his reputation. There were these things that were already known, and so what was driving the relationship wasn’t a flare-up of emotions, wasn’t a type of desperation or loneliness and this idea of “maybe this is my only shot” or anything like that. It wasn’t based primarily on physical attraction, but rather on knowledge of their faithfulness to God, desire to serve the Lord, and seriousness about the things of God.
And so, they flew. I hardly knew they were dating before they were engaged. And even then, they were counseled by one of our pastors that this was moving too quick and that they should slow down. And they listened and heeded a bit, but went on and got married. And I think they had a little hitch here and there after marriage, but who doesn’t, right? I dated Lauren for two years, and we still had plenty of hitches our first couple of years. And so I would rather not say that there is too fast, as much as I would want to know what is driving the speed.
Question #3. In your experience, in what ways is technology changing the way young people date today? And do these trends encourage or concern you?
If we are talking about a young man and a young woman who are actively dating — they have defined the relationship and they know that they are in a growing committed relationship with one another — then I think technology creates an avenue in which we might encourage one another, that we might be able to connect more frequently in regard to the busyness of the world. So in that way, I am encouraged by what technology has to offer.
If, though, we are saying that technology has changed the game in regard to how single young men and women approach one another before that relationship is being defined, then that is where I have got a lot of cause and concern about technology. What I have found is that the ability to text or to tweet at or to just write on someone’s wall, those things enable you to kind of flirt and to kind of tease without there ever being a “What exactly is this?” moment. And so in that regard, I think it can be hurtful to constantly be texting back and forth, and to constantly be involved in the technological realm, rather than the face to face realm, such that you don’t really know what this thing is. And so in that way I have got some concerns.
So if I think about my daughters, to have a young man constantly texting them and constantly engaging them on social media without any real clear “I am pursuing you,” or any real clear desire to want to establish a shared knowledge of this relationship, “We both want this relationship to grow,” I think I have got concerns there. I just see a lot of our young woman at The Village really get led into and teased by the ability for guys to just *like *every post of theirs, or constantly text the young woman without ever defining what this relationship is.