As I note below, friendship should be the building block for potential growth in romance later on, since dating relationships face the ongoing temptation of physical and emotional intimacy.

becoming best friends before dating-3

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.

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.

This “just friends” commitment-avoiding status produces some measure of intimacy and provides some emotional benefits that typically come with marriage—but without the responsibility marriage requires.

We’ve heard of married persons having “emotional affairs” (i.e., extramarital emotional attachments with the opposite sex without physical involvement), but this can happen with single persons as well.

What are some constructive ways of building healthier, more God-honoring patterns of relating?

What guidance does Scripture give concerning integrity in such opposite-sex relationships?

Dating, however, isn’t mentioned in the Bible, and we shouldn’t try to find a “biblical basis” for dating, lest we superimpose our Western categories onto Scripture.

The Bible does typically refer to family-arranged marriages (e.g., Isaac and Rebekah in Gen.

This pattern tends to ignore the shaping influence of the family and the family’s (often) constructive role in giving input about a prospective spouse.