How much intimacy is appropriate for couples who are dating?

What activities and how much intimacy are appropriate for couples who are dating?

Christians should seek God's will for a life's partner during courtship. Dating is the time for learning to know each other and planning for the future. It is not (as in society) simply for a good time, or experimentation, or conquest.

Two words help answer our question: purity and modesty Paul instructed Timothy in 1 Timothy 5:2 to encourage "the younger (women) as sisters, with all purity." In Genesis 24:65, Rebecca, when about to meet her husband-to-be, "took a vail, and covered herself."

A young man should regard his intended as his "sister" during courtship. He should have genuine respect for her that will preserve from violating her purity. An embrace and kiss when greeting or parting is appropriate with his sister and is equally so with his intended. Their greetings may be more than a quick peck on the cheek but they should avoid any activity leading to greater physical intimacy. Both should dress and behave so as not to stir up strong desire in the other. Strong desire may lead to disaster and loss of purity. Couples should avoid circumstances or activities where they would be ashamed to be found. A good testimony is vital.

Couples need time together. Eating out, drives through the country and visiting points of interest afford suitable opportunities. Visiting older Christians will encourage them. The young may also gain insights of great value for their future together.

They need to learn each other's values, expectations and goals. They should recognize and make needed adjustments. These are easier to make during courtship than after marriage. Reading and praying together will promote spiritual bonding and growth and begin a good habit for a lifetime together.

J. Slabaugh