True Love Doesn’t Wait. Really!

Call to Arms

We believe that the Church is in a crisis.

There are thousands of godly young men and women who want to get married, who are ready to get married, and who, in fact, should already be married. Indeed, they should have been married long ago. But despite many years spent “waiting”, they remain unmarried. Their families, their friends, and their church have all prepared them for marriage. They have been prepared for early marriage, even, for early, fruitful marriage … and they are not married.

There is no persecution, no law, no physical infirmities preventing them from being married. But they are not married. And, not being married, they are failing to serve Christ and the Church in all of the purposes for marriage: to avoid fornication, to raise up a Godly seed, to be a living metaphor of the faith itself.

This is not a ‘panic’, it is a crisis. We have from among the very best and brightest of our Christian young people, from the finest families, the best taught men and women who are already well past the flower of their age, and they are not married. That is beyond a crisis, it is a catastrophe.

In response to part of this crisis—the part where these unmarried young people were or are engaging in rampant fornication—there is a movement amongst the evangelical, conservative churches called ‘True Love Waits.’ You are probably familiar with it, maybe even have participated in it: You have some speaker come; you sign a card; and you wear a ring. You promise to ‘wait’ for marriage before you engage in sexual intercourse.

On it’s face, the overt message of the ‘True Love Waits’ movement is that the Godly young man or woman does not have sexual relations outside of marriage. And that is true enough. Good message.

But that is not, unfortunately, the title of the movement. I suppose that, among other things the title: ‘The Godly Young Man or Woman Does Not Have Sexual Relations Outside of Marriage’ was just not catchy enough. But as a result, we have a problem with a title. And, quite frankly, not just with the title, but with the messages that, sometimes subtly and sometimes overtly, accompany the title. What do we hear, what does our modern youth hear, when someone says, ‘True Love Waits’?

by-a-pool-1.jpg!BlogWell, first of all they hear the words ‘true love’. Now, quite frankly, Christians all believe in ‘true love’. But they don’t believe, or shouldn’t, in the kind of ‘true love’ that this phrase implies. The ‘true love’ of the phrase, and, quite frankly, of much of the ‘true love waits’ literature, has much more in common with the play ‘Romeo and Juliet’ than anything we find in Scripture. The ‘true love’ of Scripture is a love that has God as its focus, no matter what its object. The true love of Scripture is an obedient love, which does hard things in difficult circumstances. The true love of Scripture loves the otherwise unlovable, because having been unlovable it was loved. The true love of Scripture is a relationship and an action, not a feeling.

The ‘true love’ of the popular movement, on the other hand, is a feeling. It has a human as its focus, and a whelm of emotions as its driving force. Biblically speaking it is not love but lust. It might, in the end, be a good lust[1]; we are not Catholics to deny such a thing. But it is not love, and definitely not ‘true love’.

Next we have the word ‘waits’. The theory of the word is ‘does not have sexual intercourse outside of marriage’. This we all agree with. This Scripture teaches.[2]

But the word ‘waits’ in the title implies something else. It implies a certain, if even possibly brief, ‘not now’…. that there is to be an eventual end to the waiting. That, while they are waiting now, they will soon be able to stop waiting and rejoice with their husband or wife.

But what they give by implication they take away by method. While it may sound very spiritual, the idea of getting a wife or husband by a mere avoiding of fornication is neither practical nor Scriptural. In order for true love to have successfully ‘waited’, true love needs to stop waiting at some point. Our young people are not going to be married by a mere ‘waiting’. No one has ever been married by such a method, and no one ever could be.

And Scripture, far from praising waiting in this matter, condemns it. Scripture does not prescribe ‘waiting’ as an antidote to fornication, it prescribes marriage.[3]

We have designed this site to help these young people, their families, and their church. This site is designed to discuss what the Scriptures teach regarding the path to marriage, how we have failed to follow it, and what we must now do about it. Because we firmly believe that ‘True Love Doesn’t Wait’Rather, ‘True Love’ marries.

 

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Note: The issues we raise on this website we also cover in two published books, both of which are available both in electronic (free) and print versions:

what are you doingWhat are you Doing? A conversation about dating and courtship

e-version

print

 

covenantThe Covenant of Betrothal: Affirming the sufficiency of Scripture over the path to marriage

e-version

print

 

Footnotes:

[1] There is an unfortunate disconnect between the Greek and the English concerning the word ‘lust’. The Greek word indicates a ‘strong desire’, and is even used by Christ for his ‘strong desire’ to eat the passover with his disciples (Luke 22:15). So let me be very clear: I am saying that it is very appropriate to have strong emotions toward your husband and wife; emotions that include sexual desire. But this is not the Biblical ‘love’ that we are called to in I Corinthians 13, it is not the ‘true love’ of God  or, rather, is but a pale, if important, shadow of that love.
Sexual desire of a man for a woman is a good thing, but it is not the good thing.

[2] Acts 15:20, 29, Acts 21:5, Romans 1:29, I Corinthians 5:1, I Corinthians 6:18, I Corinthians 7:2-5, I Corinthians 7:8-9, Proverbs 5:15-23

[3] I Corinthians 7:2-5, I Corinthians 7:8-9, Proverbs 5:15-23

 

 

6 comments

  1. J. A. says:

    I am just wondering, if your only purpose for marriage is to have lots of sex and to raise “godly” children, what about the couple that does not do anything to prevent it and cannot have children? Is their marriage not blessed?

    • Von says:

      Well, J.A., you can stop wondering! While having ‘lot’s of sex’ and raising Godly children are important purposes in marriage (See Proverbs 5, I Cor 7, The Song of Solomon, Psalm 127, and 128), they are far from the only purposes in marriage. These others include the dominion mandate (Genesis 1,2), representing Christ and the Church (Ephesians 5) among others.

      And even in the limited confines of your question, the couple that cannot have children can still have lot’s of sex, no :)

  2. “The true love of Scripture is a relationship and an action, not a feeling.”

    Why would I pursue a relationship if I don’t love someone? It is both the feeling and the relationship.

    Courtship is the wisest and most comfortable way if it is done properly. The man goes to the girl’s father and so on.

    • Von says:

      I think you are merely begging the question. A man might, and indeed many men have, enter into the covenant of marriage for all the reasons that Scripture lists as being benefits of marriage; including sexual pleasure, a helpmeet, Godly offspring, etc. These things are not contingent on Romeo and Juliet type feelings arising before the covenant is instituted.

      • I agree that Romeo’s and Juliet’s love was totally inappropriate. I very strongly dislike that story!

        Sorry; I didn’t word that in the best way. I’m not saying it’s necessary for those feelings to be there before the covenant. But Biblical love is both an action and a feeling.

    • Chris Nystrom says:

      If the feeling is not present is it less of a marriage from God’s perspective?

      If you do not feel like a Christian does that mean you are not one?

      If you feel like it one day, and the next day you do not does your situation change?

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