I went back & re-visited this post a few times recently (and sent certain other individuals the link... ;D), and I had another thought I thought I'd like to throw out there for group chewing-upon (ok, that sounded gross, and I just got an image of a bunch of dogs scrounging around one bone...but you know what I mean). My thought runs along these lines: covenant.
I've been reading through the OT recently, and have been learning a TON about Jewish culture through a variety of means, and "covenant" just seems everywhere. A binding agreement, a promise between 2 or more parties, regulating not so much results, as the behavior of those parties, especailly towards one another.
For a people formed by covenants (God's with us through Jesus), we Christians today don't think much of them. The only one most people experience these days is the marriage vows. When we join a church, we should covenant, too-- at Immanuel (and other churches) we read a "church covenant" every time a new member joins or men are ordained. It's a beautiful reminder of what our responsibilities to each other are-- what glorifies God in our relating to each other.
We enter into a covenant with other Christians through our covenant with Christ, though we don't often remember it, or act like it. But it's there-- we HAVE to act certain ways towards each other, right? But I wonder if it wouldn't be a good thing to make more intentional covenants with friends, or family members sometimes...though that'd be real strange in our culture.
Ok...so back to dating...what do you think about covenants then? I was reading one guy's view, that we should only go straight from aquaintances to engaged to marriage, and while I do NOT espouse that theory as wise, the covenantal aspect of it appeals to me. I asked my dad about this, and he pointed out that for a good many Christian couples, their dating IS covanental, often involving implied (sometimes stated) expectations for behavior, between guy, girl, and girl's parents (especially dad). Would it be a good thing, in your opinion, for dating couples to covenant with each other and any involved parents, regarding their motives, and actions, before God -- regardless of how the dating relationship "ends"? (marriage or parting of the ways) That sounds really strange, I know. But Jesus never promised to make His disciples "normal," lol. What are your thoughts?