Dating just friends or more

Yes, I know, the other person is an adult who is free and responsible to walk away if he or she is so unsatisfied, but like it or not, it tends not to work that way. Especially if it’s the woman in this position (as seems to be the case more often than not) she will likely feel that if she pushes for something more than friendship, she may lose the interaction and companionship she currently has.

Still, given her desire for a husband — and perhaps to have man as her husband — the status quo of “just really good friends but nothing more for some odd reason” will leave her unsatisfied, frustrated and confused.

PART 2: Men Initiate, Women Respond » One of the big questions hovering around the topic of courtship and dating is the role of friendship.

How intimate of a friendship with someone of the opposite sex is OK? Won’t the friendship be ruined if one of us expresses romantic interest and the other doesn’t respond favorably?

Romans 13:8-14 calls us to love others, to work for their souls’ good rather than looking to please ourselves.

More specifically, verse 10 reminds us that “[l]ove does no harm to its neighbor.” Romans 14:1-15:7 offers a discourse on favoring weaker brothers and sisters above ourselves, valuing and encouraging that which is good in the souls of others.

To the extent that one person’s romantic feelings have been clearly articulated to the other (and were met with an unfavorable response) to continue in some no-man’s land of “good friends,” is arguably to take selfish advantage of the vulnerable party. What if one person develops romantic feelings in a friendship in which no “clear words” have been spoken, such that the desires of the other person are a mystery?

Let’s assume for the sake of argument that your intimate friendship is one of those rare jewels that is devoid of the potential for hurt or confusion. In the past, when both sexual immorality and intimate male-female friendships were much less accepted and less common in society, men and women moved more deliberately toward marriage earlier in life.

By offering a taste of the companionship and interactions that make marriage so satisfying, with none of the accompanying commitments or responsibilities entailed in marriage, intimate friendships discourage the pursuit of the grown-up, God-intended outlet for marital desires — marriage.

First Thessalonians 4:1-8 admonishes us not to wrong or “defraud” our brother or sister by implying a marital level of commitment (through sexual involvement) when it does not exist.

As I’ve discussed before, a broad (but sound) implication of this passage is that “defrauding” could include inappropriate emotional — as well as physical — intimacy.

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