In a previous post I pointed out that the current climate of the church (or, really, the climate of any isolated grouping of people) has created a struggle in which no one ever really dates anyone. Women have to choose between two options: (1) despise men for pursuing multiple women and have the awkward not-knowing-if-this-is-a-date stage, or (2) let men pursue multiple women and have dates abound.
Neither is a preferable option to many, so I suggested another alternative, arranged marriage.
Yes. You heard that correctly. Arranged marriage.
For today’s blog, I would like to focus upon three different arguments that illuminate why dating is a horrible form of romance, and why arranged marriage is one of the best, if not the best, form of romance.
First and foremost, it seems from the Bible that intimacy is only for marriage. It is only in marriage where a person can truly be intimate with another person, and it is the only place where a person should be intimate with another person.
Christians constantly harp on abstinence before marriage, but why?
Because sexual relations is a form of physical intimacy, and intimacy is forbidden between those not covenantally bound to one another.
Genesis 2:24 reads, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”
It was not until they were married that they became intimately united.
But, is union and intimacy only physical? Absolutely not!
There are at least six different fields of intimacy within marriage, some of which are enumerated by Desiring God:
I see no reason why anyone outside of marriage should become intimate with another person even emotionally. After all, any intimate union is reserved for the covenant bond of marriage. Yet, this is what we find in dating relationships. Dating has basically become pseudo-marriage or practice marriage, in which people test to see if the marriage would work.
But, in order to practice being married, because marriage involves an intimate union with another person, one would have to be inappropriately intimate with another person to whom one is not married.
This should not be the case.
Intimacy is only for the covenant union and bond of marriage.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Friendships should involve some of the above fields in moderation. Friends should spend time with one another, talk with one another, and do things with one another.
But, none of these friendships should involve intimacy. Yet, the level to which dating has reached is verging on this.
On the other hand, arranged marriages set two people up to enter into a relationship that begins romance with this covenant bond and union. In an article dedicated to interviewing a couple that had an arranged marriage, we find very encouraging remarks about this system of romance.
Regarding being intimate, the husband said,
“Yeah, that’s the best part of arranged marriages. There’s no fear. It’s not like dating. You’re not constantly judging the other person: Is he the right one? Is he not the right one? Is he faithful, not faithful? Will he go away if I say this, if I say that? Here, that part is gone.”
People are not scared to be intimate. They are not terrified of being vulnerable. They know that they are bound to the other person forever, and this allows them to fully engage in the romance of intimate union with one another without pressure. Naturally, thus, the wife said,
“Now it’s like falling in love each day with him.”
However, even so, if we are still not willing to embrace arranged marriages, we should at least embrace causal-intentional dating, which is basically a form of dating in which men and women never get too intimate with one another (casual), yet the basis of the dating is to find a spouse (intentional). Because of the nature of the relationship being casual, yet having the intention of finding a spouse, dating multiple people should not be an issue; after all, they are not intimately bound to one another, and they are trying to find someone to become intimately bound with.
As a side point, to show that dating has become pseudo-marriage, I’m sure many of you right now are appalled that I would say we should be allowed to date multiple people at once. And this proves my argument. That’s right. Your own reaction to the situation of dating multiple people proves that dating has basically become a pseudo-form of marriage, in which dating another person is likened to adultery, even though no vows have been made and no bond has been made. In other words, it feels wrong to date multiple people. And because people who are not married, and are only dating, have not made vows or been bound to one another, meaning that there isn’t anything actually wrong with dating another person, the only explanation for why we would feel this way is because of the cultural belief that dating involves some sort of intimacy that is being broken.
And I am not alone with this type of thinking. Other writers have said,
“I think we would do better to put the emphasis on fidelity where emphasis is warranted: marriage. And, in turn, treat dating relationships like the fickle, irresolute relationships they are because dating and marriage are not nearly the same.”
But I have digressed, for this is beside the point. The main topic is arranged marriage, and even the aforementioned form of dating is shattered with the remaining arguments.
So, let us now turn to the second point, which involves the notion that men and women are all bound in sin.
Everyone has a sinful nature. Romans 3:10-18 proves this. This means that in every relationship we have, we who are evil by nature will be relating to other people who are evil by nature. We will hurt people, and we will be hurt by people. This is the way of the world.
Yet, if we are to take our sinful nature seriously, we will realize that going into dating is going into a relationship in which people will hurt and be hurt intimately without any covenant bond to secure them to one another.
And without any familial link, relationships will fade because of this pain.
Everyone hurts everyone, and friendships dissolve, and people in romantic relationships break up. Just watch any TV Drama and you will get my point.
Are we seriously going to sit here and say that we expect young men and women to romantically embrace those who have hurt them so badly when they are not covenantally linked?
Sure, they might forgive them and remain friends with them, but we are asking a lot from people who are naturally evil if we expect them to intentionally choose to remain romantically involved with another person outside of the marital bond.
Dating, then, is foolish, given the sinfulness of the human heart.
And when we turn to examine how arranged marriages deal with this issue, we find that it provides an answer. The interviewed wife continued by noting,
“And then the best part is that you can make your mistakes as well and you know that the other person is not going anywhere… It’s loving an imperfect person perfectly. To keep it together, you have to grow with the other person, make mistakes, because I am going to make mistakes. He is going to forgive me, and he’s going to make mistakes and I will have to forgive him. That’s how it’s going to work.”
In other words, they both know that they have to make the relationship work, and so they try with everything that is in them to make the marriage succeed.
They understand the incredible value of marriage and act accordingly.
Having an understanding of sin, arranged marriages are really the only option. We need a system in which we can allow men and women to be intimately involved with one another as they grow with one another in love, all while being covenantally obligated to remain together, such that when sin rears its ugly head forgiveness and reconciliation can begin quickly and easily.
This brings us to the third point, which is quite related to the second.
Both men and women are incredibly insecure about themselves. We just are. Everyone is. I know of no person who does not have some sort of insecurity in their lives.
Yet, because of the nature of dating, insecurities are exacerbated.
Let me explain.
Because dating is effectively trying out a person for marriage, we are constantly judging others. Dating is, then, for all intents and purposes, like shopping for the perfect spouse.
However, there is no perfect spouse. And there will always be someone who is more attractive and more fit to be your spouse than your current significant other.
Do we really expect insecurities to not, then, be exacerbated because of dating? Men will constantly compare their abs to that hot, young guy in Gym class. Women will constantly compare their hair to that hot, young girl in Spanish class. Any insecurity we have will be compared to those who do not have such blemishes (whether the blemish be physical or non-physical).
And, you know what? It will drive people insane. Indeed, the modern feminist movement is pushing more and more for models to be shown with more and more fat on them. Instead of being razor-thin, they want models to be more realistic because current modeling sets unrealistic goals for men (to desire to have) and women (to aspire to be).
Because of these insecurities, guys will become needy, questioning whether their girls will leave them for these better versions of themselves. Girls will plague men with the constant questioning of, “Do you think she’s prettier than I?”
Surely you can see that jealousy and angry competition will be produced from dating.
Insecurities will abound. Whether the insecurity be personal (e.g., I don’t like my nose.) or relational (e.g., I’m not sure if he wants to break up with me for her.), they will be exacerbated because of dating.
But, you know what happens with arranged marriages? Insecurities will still be there, but because the people are covenantally bound to one another, they are obliged and required to accept and love one another, even with all their blemishes.
The interviewed husband noted the following:
“I think marriage is a partnership… And there is no one perfect out there for you, because no one is perfect. If you think, This is not working out and I will find someone else because they will be better and more perfect, that’s not likely, especially if you are just fighting over small issues because that is everyone.”
To which, the wife responded by saying,
“First of all, we have to stop judging others. Marriage is for keeps. This is forever. It’s not like buying a dress, not like, ‘If it doesn’t fit, I’ll throw this [away] and get a new one.’ It’s not going to be like that.”
In arranged marriages, people are accepted from the very beginning. They don’t have to win the other person over to be accepted. No, they are already accepted, and in this acceptance, love abounds.
Arranged marriages would be so much easier on everyone. And the husband sympathizes with me by saying,
“It makes it easy. There’s no pressure on you that you have to date. In fact, it’s the opposite. There’s no worry that I’m going to end up alone!”
Dating is foolish, therefore. Arranged marriage is the way to go.
Church, we should come together around our young men and women, the ones of appropriate age who desire marriage, and arrange for them to become married. As a church, under the direction of parental guidance (given that the young men and women have living and loving parents in the church), inquire into the lives of our young people and, in love, arrange for the best matches.
Life would be so much better for everyone.
– The Odd Thinker
For further reading from the Odd Thinker, see the following related articles: